To succeed in losing weight – or changing any health habit for that matter – stubbornness is your most important quality.
There's no doubt you will face some obstacles on the road to weight loss and better health. Having resilience and an ability to cope with setbacks will play a big part in determining how much weight you lose. Look to these eight strategies to not only boost motivation, but to better prepare yourself to deal with any difficulties that present themselves.
1. Learn from the past
It helps to work smarter, not harder as time passes by. Reflect on what can be learnt from past experiences to make a healthier lifestyle easier to follow in the future. It’s not really a mistake until it happens again. Think about what setbacks made it hard to lose weight last time, and what you can do next time they pop up. What exercise have you enjoyed most in the past? What healthy recipes do you remember enjoying? Try to learn from your weight-loss history, and modify your behaviour to help achieve greater success this time around.
2. Rebound quickly from setbacks
OK, so you've acknowledged that there will be setbacks on your journey to losing weight. Good - it's important to be realistic. But now, let's address how you will deal with them. Why not aim for a rapid recovery so that any setbacks don't linger and further harm your chances of success? Push yourself out the door for a short walk. Make yourself a healthy meal. Get back on the horse quickly, don't allow self-doubt to fester. Prove to yourself that you can rebound quickly from setbacks, and accept that they are but mere speed bumps in your journey to better health.
3. Take one step at a time
When it comes to changing your lifestyle, don’t try and take on too much at once. Feeling overwhelmed can lead to uncertainty, and will quickly send you scurrying back to your old habits. Start off gradually instead, and keep things simple by making only one or two changes at a time. Master one habit before moving on to the next, even if it takes a little longer than anticipated. You don’t need to make drastic changes to get life changing results. This approach allows you to be more positive in your attitude towards change, and be better prepared to face the challenges of a new lifestyle.
4. Involve others
Call on friends, work colleagues and family members to help you stay on track. Their support can be motivating, and it gives you someone to be accountable to. Seek out positive people who inspire you, be it a training partner to exercise with, or just someone to talk to when the chips are down. The Total Wellbeing Diet online also has a forum which lets you to chat to other people who are facing the same challenges. You can join in conversations, ask questions, or start your own discussion group with a ready-made online community.
5. Focus on wellbeing, not just weight loss
Diet and exercise tend to be the primary focus of weight control, yet they are only single pieces of the wellbeing puzzle. Better sleep and stress management are just as important. They help to cultivate a higher level of resilience and an improved ability to cope with difficulties. They also boost your energy and vitality, which may allow you to see difficulties in a more positive light. Weight loss can sometimes be a negative goal to focus on. Instead, get inspired by aiming for improved health, more energy, greater fitness and a smaller dress size.
6. See the big picture
Expecting quick results can make the process of lifestyle change difficult to maintain. Instead, focus on the process of living a healthier life, and the results will come in time. Think about your progress in terms of months, not minutes. When weight loss seems slow, remember how far you've come. While some of the benefits of a healthy lifestyle may not show on the scales, they are just as important, such as improved sleep, better health, and just feeling more confident about yourself. You'll find it easier to cope with difficulties when you take a long-term view, and have realistic expectations.
7. Be your own cheer leader
Sometimes, the only support team that's around to call upon is you. It's these times when things are a little tough that you need to treat yourself as you would a friend. Keep your self-talk positive, and take some of the emotion out of the situation. Remember why weight loss and better health is important to you, and be clear about the consequences of inaction. Breakdown your frustrations into smaller chunks to make them less overwhelming. Dispute negative thoughts. Seek solutions instead of looking for excuses. Look for a silver lining so you can grow, evolve and move on.
8. Include an element of fun
Being healthy doesn't always have to be serious. In fact, you can laugh in the face of adversity. The more you enjoy yourself, the easier it will be to stay on course. For example, adding a fun element to your exercise routine can help keep you motivated. This may include listening to upbeat music while working out at the gym, inviting a friend along for a walk, or playing active games with your children such as Frisbee or tag. While "fun" means different things to different people, a lighter approach every once in a while can certainly make a healthy lifestyle more rewarding.