‘I just can’t stay motivated’
‘I know what to do, I just struggle to keep doing it!’
‘I lose a bit of weight, then life/self-sabotage gets in the way, and I put it all back on again…’
If this is you, you are 100% normal.
Let’s sit down for a chat together.
First of all, I want you to know that no matter how many times you’ve tried and not-yet-succeeded to lose weight… without a doubt, you CAN do it.
I’ve worked with countless clients who have previously spent years, sometimes decades, on various diets that haven’t worked out for the long term.
Clients like Claire, who’s lost over 4 stone, is loving being a fit and healthy role model for her kids:
Clients like Stella, who lost a stone in 8 weeks on my online program Change For Life:
And clients like Vicky, who used Change For life to kickstart her incredible transformation (and she’s kept the weight off for over a year too).
What changed the game for these ladies is a combination of two things.
Knowledge of what actually works when it comes to weight loss.
Understanding that there’s no one diet that’s best for everyone.
It always comes down to calorie balance, but there are some key principles that make a big difference.
Knowledge and power to control the mental side.
This is what we’re going to cover for the rest of this article.
If you’ve struggled for years to get to where you want to be… you are not broken, a failure, or doomed to never reach your goals.
Sometimes life gets in the way, there are always a million and one things to do… and it’s easy to get distracted from the goal.
Food and drink are a comfort and (short-term but very tempting) solution to stress.
They’re also just plain delicious whether you feel stressed out or not.
You KNOW what you should be doing. But in the moment, you end up doing pretty much the exact opposite.
And the chocolate / biscuits / crisps / wine feel delightful… until you get really annoyed with yourself for doing it again.
Caught red-handed scoffing an oreo-covered doughnut.
Sometimes, motivation sucks.
It’s not always there when you need it.
But the best thing is… you don’t need it.
Those really annoying people who seem to effortlessly stay in shape have stumbled onto a secret.
And that secret is this….
Successful weight loss comes from setting up HABITS and routines that allow you to take CONSISTENT action REGARDLESS of motivation.
People who are successful at weight loss are no better or smarter or mentally stronger than you.
What they have done is set up their environment and daily life to allow them to win.
They spend less time in places and situations that require willpower to be used (studies have actually shown this). So it doesn’t get depleted and is there when they need it most.
These people have created habits and routines that make it easier to stay on track, make the right decisions, and keep going long enough to see results.
You can do that too.
To set you up for success, we need to do three things:
Get really clear on your WHY, so you have as much motivation as possible.
Create HABITS and ROUTINES in your life that carry you through when your why is lost beneath a sea of stresses, laundry, and a never-ending to-do list.
TRACK PROGRESS along the way – set up checkpoints, milestones and rewards.
Just because I love Friends.
Why do you want to lose weight?
What do you really want?
Go deeper here than ‘I want to lose weight’. Way deeper.
Firstly, how much weight? And second… why?
What will happen when you reach that number?
Think about what would make you truly happy and feeling like the best version of you.
Maybe you want to feel more confident. Walk into your favourite shop, pick an outfit you love, and know it will look just how you want it to.
Maybe you want to be a great role model for your kids, so that they grow up happy and healthy, with no issues around food or their weight.
Maybe you want to be a kick-ass grandma, there to support your family, running around after your grandkids, living life to the full well into your old age.
Maybe you want to live longer, healthier, and be the best you can be.
All goals are valid and worthy if they are true to you.
If thinking about them brings up some emotion… you know you’re onto something.
Try visualising how you want to look, feel and be living in 6 months time.
What do you want to be different by then?
Have a think about how you want life to be, and why it’s so important to make that change.
What happens if you DON’T do it? What will life be like if you just carry on as you are?
I know, that’s a lot of questions. But taking the time to think about the answers can make a huge difference.
Clarity creates motivation. And emotion stirs you into action.
The deeper you can connect with your reason why, the more motivated you will be each step of the way.
Now you know what you want, how do you create the lifestyle that gets you there?
How to create a weight loss habit
Lets take a quick look at an area where you might be struggling.
For many of the clients I work with, afternoon and evening snacking is a big problem.
My client Anna would come home from work and then have the kids to look after. She had to cook their dinner, then wait for her husband to get home to eat with him.
During this period she would get hungry and snack on biscuits or the kids tea (or both). By the time it came to eat dinner, she wasn’t really hungry for it anymore, but ate it anyway.
What Anna needed here was more structure and a plan.
First, we made sure she had two great meals planned for breakfast and lunch – high in protein and healthy foods, so she had lots of good energy to keep her fuelled.
Then we made a plan for afternoon snack time.
If hungry, Anna had two pre-planned choices: a protein shake, or a piece of fruit.
Either of those would give her nutrition for not many calories and keep her satisfied until dinner.
Anna felt great knowing that she had decided in advance what she might have.
She created a new pathway for her brain to follow. Before it was:
Hunger = what can I eat? = brain votes for biscuits
Hunger = protein shake or fruit? = make a healthy choice and keep on track
Anna makes sure she has protein powder in stock, and some kind of fruit.
She aims to have fresh fruit in the house at all times, and has frozen and tinned fruit as easy back up options.
This brings me to the next key point:
Set up your environment for weight loss success
Want to stop snacking on junk when you get home?
Stop buying the junk you snack on! If it’s for kids, buy them things that they like and you’re not so keen on. Fill the house with healthier options so everyone has the chance to make a great choice. Tell yourself you can all have whatever you want – nothing is banned. But the effort of having to go to the shops will probably put you off getting it.
Know you need to drink more water?
Get yourself a nice bottle (big fan of Chillys bottles) to make drinking as pleasurable as possible. Carry water with you when out and about. You could try keeping a litre bottle on your desk at work, and another one at home – both need to be empty by the end of the day.
Want to walk more at lunch or after work?
Plan to do so. Tell coworkers or family that’s what you’re doing. Have your trainers out and ready. Decide how long you’ll walk for. When the time comes, no thinking, just put on your shoes and go.
End up buying unhelpful snacks when you’re out and about?
Keeping a protein bar or nakd bar in your bag can be really helpful for this. Chewing gum, tic tacs or mints can help if you’re not hungry but a craving pops up.
Sometimes order a takeaway because you don’t have much in the house?
Have a list of back up meals – quick and easy options you can create (or bung in the oven) if plan A doesn’t work out.
- omelet with frozen veg
- porridge with protein powder and frozen berries
- lightly dusted fish with 5% fat oven chips and frozen veg
- fajitas – with frozen veg, wraps can be kept in the freezer, quick and easy meal to do
- eggs or beans on toast
- greek yogurt with microwaved frozen berries and granola
- fish finger sandwich – omega 3 fish fingers and seeded wholemeal bread makes this a surprisingly nutritious option (and who doesn’t love a fish finger sandwich?)
Or you could go for one of these…
Keep one in your fridge or freezer, or grab it from the supermarket on your way home.
When you know what you can get ahead of time, it saves being distracted by more tempting but less helpful options.
So much of motivation really comes down to expecting it to not always be there…
and planning ahead so that when it vanishes, you already made it easy to keep on track.
It’s the same with conserving willpower:
No plan = lots of decisions to make throughout the day = willpower drained = no willpower when you need it
Plan and set up your environment for success = minimal decisions to be made in the moment = willpower gets saved for when you need it most.
SO much easier doing it that way.
One MAJOR habit for losing weight…
Is getting straight back on track whenever you slip up.
You never need to be perfect, you just need to be CONSISTENT.
It doesn’t matter if you overeat or make a poor choice now and again. It matters what you do AFTER that.
If you think you’ve ruined it and may as well start again on Monday, it will affect your progress.
If you get curious about what happened, see what you can learn, and move on guilt-free, you are winning.
So make your next decision a great one and keep going.
How to stay motivated when the goal is far away
If you have more than a few pounds you want to lose, weight loss can seem like a really daunting process.
The end goal seems miles away. All you can see is months of hard work and sacrifice ahead.
What if you don’t make it stick and all that hard work is wasted?
From talking to countless clients, I know there’s a high chance this is how you feel.
And from seeing countless clients succeed, I know you can too.
A huge key behind this is to make the process as enjoyable as possible.
Plan and eat foods you actually like, do exercise that makes you smile and feel good, remind yourself that keeping consistent means you can fit in wine and a meal out at the weekend and STILL make progress.
Checkpoints and milestones for weight loss
To keep the big goal less daunting, break it down and put in some checkpoints to reach along the way.
Then make sure you acknowledge and celebrate each one.
Your first checkpoint could be losing half a stone. Or getting to the point in stone or kilos where the first number is the next one down (eg dropping from the 12 stone bracket to the 11 stone bracket, or from being 80-something kilos to 79 kilos, etc).
You could have an outfit that you try on that’s tight.
It could be when you reach a new dress size in the shops.
At each checkpoint, have a little celebration.
This could mean buying yourself some flowers… a new top in a smaller size… getting your nails done… having a glass of wine… eating at a restaurant you love… or just giving yourself a fist bump and acknowledging how bloody well you’ve done.
I would highly encourage you to focus on habit goals too.
With clients, we use tools like this snazzy ticksheet to keep track of habits being formed.
Ticking off what you’ve accomplished each day gives you a great little boost of satisfaction.
You could pick one habit that you find hard to build, and aim to get a chain of ticks going.
Set yourself a goal for how many ticks you want to get over the month, and plan in another little reward if you achieve it.
Make it a game. And if you break the chain or slip off for a few days, that’s cool.
Look at what caused you to slip off, adjust anything you can to make it easier, and make a new chain.
The key to weight loss success
Lose it in a way you can live it.
Remember that if you want to lose weight and keep it off for good, you need to create a lifestyle.
Lose it in a way that, DOESN’T feel like a slog with daily restriction.
If you create a lifestyle you enjoy, you need a lot less motivation and willpower to keep you going.
It’s also worth remembering that however well you set things up, there will be times when you don’t feel motivated. That’s ok.
The key to success is to take action anyway.
That’s why it’s so important to do these 3 steps:
- Get clear on your reason why
- Set up habits and routines that make it as easy as possible to stay on the right track
- Have checkpoints and rewards planned that make you excited to keep going.
One final great motivation tool is to get inspired by other people who have done what you want to do.
If others just like you have got to where they want to be, you can too.
It is always within your power.
You never have to be stuck.
For more inspiration, take a look at these fabulous ladies HERE.
And if you need any help or advice, get in touch with me HERE.