How To Stay Motivated To Lose Weight
By Leo Gura - January 24, 2014 | 11 Comments
The essential mindsets and techniques for losing lots of weight.
Hey, this is Leo for Actualized.org. In this quick self-help segment I am going to talk in about ten minutes how to stay motivated to lose weight. So, if you’re struggling to lose weight, and you’ve gotten on track and then you’ve gotten off track, as so many of us have, this is going to be a great thing for you. I’m going to give you some practical tips.
Why am I qualified to talk about this? Well, one of the reasons besides the fact that I study a lot of personal development material, is that I used to be overweight. My whole life, since I was a kid, growing up through high school into college, I was 65 pounds overweight. You can’t tell that on me right now because after college I lost it all because I got that part of my life handled.
What’s Your Inspiration?
I used these techniques to keep myself motivated to lose weight. I’m going to talk about some valuable insights for you. So first, let’s talk about why you’re doing this in the first place. I think the initial motivation for why you’re losing weight is critical, critical, critical, critical to getting you to stay motivated.
So many of us lose weight for the wrong reasons. It’s not really for the wrong reasons, but it’s the way that we justify it to ourselves, it is not inspiring enough. You need to be inspired by what you’re doing because losing weight is challenging.
First, it’s going to depend on how much weight you’re trying to lose. If you’re trying to lose 5 pounds of weight, that’s not a very inspiring, motivational goal. In fact, you might struggle to lose 5 pounds of weight more than you’ll struggled to lose something like 20, 30, or 70 pounds of weight because when you set a goal for yourself to lose, say 70 pounds of fat, that’s a big undertaking.
But on the other hand, there’s a lot of work involved there and a lot of will power has to go into it, a lot of diligence and discipline. The reason that you’re doing all of that is big because you can see the difference that it is going to make in your life. Seventy pounds of weight off of your body is going to make such a big difference in so many different areas of your life, right? Your relationships, at work, and your self-confidence, and how you feel, how you look, how you’re looking in photographs, so many things, your health.
So many different things are affected if you lose 70 pounds, so you’re going to be very motivated to do that. If you’re only trying to lose five pounds, that’s going to be tricky because five pounds is not going to make a big difference. Five pounds is something most people probably won’t even notice if you take it off of you. You won’t even register it, and it’ll be really easy to just gain those five pounds back.
So, the point I’m trying to make here is not that you shouldn’t be trying to lose 5 pounds. You should try to make that goal if that’s what you are looking to do. But make sure that it’s inspiring, the goal that you set for yourself has to be inspiring. And more than just a goal it has to be a vision.
Create A Vision Of The New You
What is the vision you have for yourself? Vision is something that you can see very clearly, how you’re going to look in the mirror five months from now, a year from now. Make sure that you’re making a sustainable change. See yourself making a lifestyle change not just a quick little change.
For example, bad reasons for trying to lose weight are because you have a wedding coming up, high school graduation or reunion, or some other kind of event where you need to go and try to impress others.
It’s never going to work and that’s a horrible reason to lose weight.
Because even if in the short run it gets you motivated, in the long run it does nothing for you, nothing inside of you changes. You need to work on the psychology of why you are overweight and why you keep falling off track. So that’s really, really important.
I want you to sit down and think, “What are the top three things that are really going to change in my life if I lose this weight? If I slimmed-down, what’s really going to change?” And paint a picture vividly.
I remember when I was trying to lose 65 pounds, I needed to summon everything within myself to do it. I had tried many times before to do that and I always fell off-track very quickly, within the first week. So what I did was create a vision for myself. For me, it revolved around relationships.
I wanted to get involved in the dating scene and I hadn’t had much luck there. I said to myself, if I lose 65 pounds and get to a fit shape, then I’m going to have the confidence to go out there and get really involved heavily in the dating scene. I pictured in detail all of the benefits that would come from that, including the amazing sex and the relationships.
When I had that picture, I became very, very motivated. I was so motivated that I was double motivated — I would go to the gym double time. I would clean up my diet. I would abstain from eating too much, double time. That was really, really important.
Sustainability Is Key
Of course, even though you have the initial rush of motivation, which is nice, you need to be able to sustain it. Losing weight takes time. It takes months. If you’re talking about losing any serious amount of weight, you’re not going to be losing any more weight than 1 to 2 pounds a week. Anything else that you lose beyond that is water loss and not actual weight loss.
It takes a couple weeks of just getting on the diet for that to even kick in. So how do you keep motivated?
I want you to write down this vision. I want you to spend some time, five or ten minutes every morning or every evening, whenever you have quiet time, to close your eyes and visualize what it will look like.
What you will look like in the mirror? How are you going to look in photographs? How are people going to react to you? How is your health going to change, maybe taking fewer medications? Will you be setting a better example for your kids? Whatever your motivations are, picture that in vivid detail.
What’s going to happen is it’s going to get your subconscious mind in gear and on track. Because right now you have just intention to lose weight, and that’s well and good. But you’ve got your unconscious mind, which is very comfortable with the point that it’s at right now, which is your weight set point.
In order for that to budge, something has to change up here. It’s not so much about the actions you are going to have to do, and you are going to have to take action, it’s about changing the psychology. When you get the psychology right, the actions will correspond to it.
In a certain number of weeks, the actions are going to align with what your subconscious is ultimately trying to achieve. You need to program that subconscious. The best way to do that is with 5 to 10 minutes of visualizations of your goal every morning. Also, affirmations help.
Affirmations For Weightloss
When you do affirmations, it’s basically a short phrase or statement about what you want and you say it as if you already have it. It sounds a little silly, but I’m telling you it really works as long as you do it consistently. Doing affirmations and visualizations every morning will keep you motivated. It will keep you coming back to your vision.
By affirmations I mean, whatever your ideal weight is, let’s say you want to weigh, for me it was 170 pounds, and I used to weigh 235 I think, so 170 pounds, so you would say to yourself (and I didn’t know about affirmations at the time, now I do, and now I would use the technique) now I would say to myself, “I am 170. I am 170. I look great at 170. I look great at 170.” And picture that too while you’re saying it.
You’re going to have that image, and that is going to inspire you because you’re going to have a lot of hard work ahead of you. You’re going to have to go to the gym and bust your ass there and be consistent with that. You’re going to have to watch your diet, maybe watch calories, to cut your calories, change what you eat. Eat more healthy foods, less processed foods, maybe cut out certain foods that you like and cut out desserts. Maybe you’re going to have to cut out soft drinks. Maybe you’re going to cut out grains.
Those are all great ways to start losing weight fast and I talk about those in some other videos as well. But here, I we’re just talking about the motivation aspect. So, get yourself in gear. Create a vision. It’s not enough to just do it once. Having a vision initially is great but for staying motivated, you have to reconnect with that vision on a daily basis. Otherwise you’ll just fall back into old habits.
Build A Habit
Of course, the other point here is that you have to build the habit. And to build a habit takes about a month to two months, 30 to 60 days to build the habit. What that means is the first 30 days are going to be tough. You have to be disciplined to get the results.
You have to look forward to, and what you should be reminding yourself of in those first 30 days, is that whenever you feel like you’re about to give up you have to remind yourself that this is the first 30 days.
This is the hardest it’s going to be. It’s only going to get easier after each day.
So, let’s say you’re two weeks in and you’re about to give up, and you’re thinking about breaking that diet or not going to the gym. You will have some kind of mental conversation in your head, one part of you is going to be like, “I really feel so tired, I can’t keep up with this regimen. It’s too difficult it’s never going to work.” That’s the part of you that’s going to get you to drop off and go back to your old ways and keep your weight or put your weight back on.
But there’s going to be another part of you that’s going to say, “Hey, what if this could work?! But what if I actually made it work, how would it make you feel?” You have this dialogue going on, and you want that higher part of you to be armed with some good logic and some good reasoning that it can use against the lower half.
That higher part, one of the things that you can say, I remember vividly doing this when I was really feeling down, I would say to myself, “This is as hard as it’s going to get. I’ve already gone through the worst of it and it’s only going to get easier because I’m building a habit.”
What’s happening as each day of the habit building process is going forward and I’m doing it successfully, is that I can be confident in the fact that the next day is going to be a little easier. What’s happening is my subconscious mind is rewiring itself to get on board with this new habit. So if I’m going to the gym for two weeks straight, and I’ve been doing that really consistently, and now on the third weekend I’m having some difficulty, I’m going to start reasoning with myself.
I’m going to start saying something along the lines of, “We’ve done two weeks. We need to do one more week. This is going to be the hardest week, if I can do next week then next week is going to be easier. The week after that is going to be a little bit easier, because I’m going to get on board, my subconscious is going to get on board, it’s becoming a habit.”
What happens when you hit this 30 to 60 day mark is that it becomes much easier. You become less tense and less anxious. You don’t have to be so disciplined to stay on track. You’re not going to have to motivate yourself as much. You’re going to find that you just fall into a groove.
That’s exactly what happened to me. I spent a month or two getting myself really disciplined, hitting it really hard at the gym, cleaning up my diet. Then what I found was that for the remaining four months, I did this for about five months, the remaining four months it was pretty much just going through the motions. It wasn’t that difficult. I mean, it was difficult in the moment, but when I think about it, those four months just flew by. They just flew by.
Losing those 65 pounds on some level was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. But really it was easy after that initial hump. So keep reminding yourself about that initial hump.
One Day At A Time
The other thing I’m going to tell you is a technique that I used. If you’re at the gym, only think about one day at a time. So, baby step it. Don’t think about the fact that, “Oh I have to go to the gym today. I have to go to the gym tomorrow. I have to go to the gym the next day and I have to go to the gym all month.” Don’t think about it like that. Just focus on completing today.
To lose the amount of weight that you want to lose, all you have to do is take the right actions every single day. All you have to do is focus on that one day. Here’s what’s going to happen: your willpower throughout the day is going to diminish. You’re going to feel good and then the middle of the day you’re going to feel a little tired. By the end of the day, you’re going to have an urge to not go to the gym, or to pig out, or to break your diet, or to eat unhealthy, eat fast food.
When your willpower has waned at the end of the day, and has dropped off, what you have to do is remind yourself that this is the hardest part of the day. If I could just make it through today, I don’t want to add any more pressure to myself about how I’m going to do it tomorrow or the next day or the next week. Just think about how you can get through the day.
If you get through that day, then the next day you can have a renewal of energy, and again it’s going to be easy. The next day you can have more energy and it can be a little easier. So just focus on today. This applies both to the gym — if you’re cranking it out at the gym and you feel like giving up — and also your diet. Sometimes you’re going to have to abstain from food.
Just tell yourself all you have to worry about is today, doing it right this day. The rest of it will take care of itself. And trust that if you do today right, and just worry about doing today right, that is all you need to guarantee you’re going to lose your weight. Kind of cool, right? You don’t have to worry about tomorrow. Just worry about today.
That’s what’s nice about diets: if you know what you should be doing every day then you don’t have to worry about the next day. All you have to do is worry about the current day. Same thing with the gym.
Create A Sustainable Strategy
Then of course the last point I’m going to end on, as I’ve been talking about it as though this is something you’re going to do for like three months, or four months, or five months, kind of the way I did. I didn’t really just do it for five months.
In the beginning, when I decided to lose my weight, I didn’t say I’m just losing weight or I’m going on a diet. What I said was: I am making a complete life change. I’m changing my relationship to food. And in fact, I accepted the cost. I remember, I was rationalizing to myself and I told myself that I’m going to be going to the gym for the rest of my life if I’m going to keep this weight off.
So this was not a, “Oh, I’m just going to do this for five months.” What I said was, “I’m going to commit to going to the gym for the rest of my life. But, for the next five months — because I’m going to be losing that weight — I’m going to work extra hard. And I’m going to be extra diligent because I’m just setting it up and I actually want to drop the weight.”
And then after that, I was honest with myself. I was going to be going to the gym all the time. I was honest with myself that I would have to change my eating habits. And that these would be permanent changes.
The other thing that you’ve got to do, is you’ve got to start thinking about which changes you can make that you’re going to be reasonably satisfied with. So that means don’t make changes that are so radical that you cannot live with them. Every change must be indefinitely sustainable. That means if you’re going to the gym, you have to be able to do that, along with everything else in your life, for the rest of your life.
That means, just because you crank it hard for two hours every day for a week at the gym and you’re able to manage that somehow by not doing any of your other obligations in your life, then all of a sudden next week comes and you have to go back to work, and you have to take care of your kids, and all these other things that you’ve got to be doing and then don’t have time for the gym anymore. That’s an unsustainable strategy.
What you’ve got to do is create a sustainable strategy. How do you carve out 20 minutes for the gym? How do you carve out 30 minutes, 40 minutes, whatever you can manage? How do you make a change in your diet so that from now on, through the rest of your life, you’re not going to eat some of those things that are causing you problems? How are you not going to over eat?
So, you have to think about that ahead of time. Plan a little bit. That planning, just some of the practicalities of losing weight, is very important. Sometimes people say they’re just going to lose weight and they don’t plan it. Then they caught unaware by that.
I’m also going to say, in order to stay motivated you have to have proper expectations. Proper expectations are critical. I’m going to tell you point-blank, you cannot lose more than 2 pounds a week. Any other diet that promises that is full of shit.
Even losing 1 pound a week is pretty challenging. I was losing about 2 pounds a week. But I was hitting it really, really hard. I was literally starving myself, because I had a large calorie deficit of probably close to 800 calories, maybe 1,000 calorie deficit. So I was always hungry. I did that for five months. Do you want to do that? Maybe you do, maybe you don’t.
But if you want to lose 2 pounds a week, you’re going to have to do that. You will have to have huge a calorie deficit. You might have to change the composition of the food that you are eating: much less carbohydrates, much less protein, maybe more healthy fats. And then of course cutting out sugars, things like that.
Set some expectations. You can probably aim for 1 pound a week and be happy with that. Give yourself time. For the initial three weeks, don’t expect any changes. If you get them, that’s great. But don’t go in there expecting them. I think a lot of people lose their motivation, because they set an expectation and then they don’t see it and they get so despondent about that that they quit because it feels like it’s not working.
I can tell you this, if you change your diet, cleaning it up, and start going to the gym, there is no way it’s not going to work. The only way it’s not going to work is if you don’t go consistently. Consistency is key. You don’t have to worry about it not working, it will work, you just have to do it consistently and you have to have a little belief.
You have to give yourself the first three weeks to put the habit in place and to get your body to start getting on board and making physical changes. And then you’re going to see it, losing half pound a week, or pound a week, if you’re really working hard you might make it to 2 pounds a week. It’s really, really exciting when you get that. But don’t expect too much too fast.
When I was getting into that, and I was really working on it, I said I was going to be into this for a whole year. And you know what, I was happy because I said to myself, “If a year from now I can lose 65 pounds, to me that is totally worth it.” Because my dating life has improved, my sex life has improved, my self-confidence improved. And that’s how I did it. I think that’s how you’re going to do it too.
So here are just some practical tips. I’m going to be signing off now, just to keep this one short and sweet. I’m going to have more videos about keeping longer-term motivation because this is a really deep topic that I’m fascinated by that I can’t cover in too much detail in a few minutes.
Okay this is Leo, I’m going to be signing off. Please go ahead comment on this video, tell me what your challenges are and if this helps you. Also share this, ‘like’ this, it’s why we put these out for free, so you can spread them around and share them with your friends. Then go to Actualized.org for more enhanced personal development videos just like this one, where we really cover the topic of staying on track with your habits and your motivations really, really in-depth. Not just with fitness and weight loss, but also with staying on top of your career, your business, and other personal development things like that. Also you can go to the website and sign up to my free newsletter there.