Keeping yourself motivated – Tips for your transformation
Hi guys! This is actually a post I’ve had half-completed in my drafts for a little while, but decided to finish it off as it’s something I’ve been asked about a few times.
How did I get started on my weight loss journey and what do I do to stay motivated?
I really do think self-motivation is the biggest part of getting healthy and losing weight. I personally rank it above everything else as if you can’t motivate yourself to go to the gym or make better food choices, you’re stuck before you can even get going. So here’s a few of my top tips for getting started and keeping motivated when trying to lose weight/fat and get healthy.
Truth be told, there was no lightbulb moment that triggered the start of my journey. I was just sick of being overweight and miserable. Every day after work I’d sit on my butt (I work an office job so I already sit down all day) and make myself feel worse. I started at just over 82kg and had always hated the idea of joining a gym because I was sure everyone would stare and laugh at me. Guess what – no one is looking. And if they are, you can be rest assured knowing you’re working harder than them.
Once you do get going, you’ll find yourself getting addicted to the feeling of accomplishment after a good workout, and the satisfaction of seeing results or fitting into a smaller clothes size. I know even then it might he hard to stick to it and find motivation, but keep going!
1. Set your goals
Setting reasonable short and long term goals is a journey essential. Without a clear cut plan of what you need to do, you’ll just be aimlessly going in circles. Whether it’s to complete a 12 week program, lose 5kg or run 1km without stopping, having a goal and a plan laid out will be super helpful and give you something to work towards.
2. Plan and Prepare
On a previous plan that I was doing, we were told to sit down on a Sunday and write everything for the week in a diary and plan all our workouts and food. There are parts of this I agree with, and parts that are just not possible for me.
Planning foods and meals the week before – yes, definitely.
Planning workouts and other activities the week before – not so much.
I don’t know about everyone else, but most of the time I make plans fairly last minute (usually the day before the event). I have always said that I will not sacrifice my social life for the gym or a workout. I’m not a crazy socialite so planning workouts around socialising isn’t too big of a deal for me, but considering I have two hours a day of free time if I get up and commute at the normal time, I do need to make things fit a bit. Usually if I have something on during the week, I’ll get up earlier and get the early train to work so I can go to the city gym before I start work. This gets my workout over and done with, and even if it does mean getting up at 4:45am I still get to go see friends. Even if you can’t fit in your workout at another time of day, you might ask your friend/s to meet up later so you can get your workout in. Your friends will most likely be supportive of your goals.
Meal planning is a definite essential. I usually spend Sunday afternoons or whenever I can find some free weekend time preparing and cooking meals for the week. If I don’t, I end up having to buy my lunch at work, which is usually either Subway, Sumo Salad or similar. It ends up costing me a fair amount of money a day for something I could have made for half the price at home. If I can’t find time to plan my whole weeks worth of food over the weekend, I do it at least one day beforehand. I still make my snacks the night before I need them so they are fresh and ready to go. Even if I do have everything planned and packed, sometimes I still adjust my plan depending on what I feel like or but my lunch at work. The advantage of IIFYM is that if I feel like something – I can make room for it.
On a sort-of related note to planning, tracking your foods will help you immensely. It will keep you accountable and show you where you need to improve. I was absolutely horrified at how much I was overrating and how little nutrients my food had when I first starting diarising my meals. Luckily I’ve improved since then! I use myfitnesspal to track my foods both on my computer and on-the-go. It’s free and definitely recommended.
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin
3. Don’t beat yourself up too much
You’re only human. Making yourself feel super guilty for eating something ‘bad’ won’t fix anything, and will just stress you out. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get back on the wagon.
4. Don’t compare yourself to others
No two people are alike. Sometimes your hard work doesn’t equal as much in results as it may for others. I was cursed with fairly average body genetics, slow metabolism and a pretty terrible level of coordination. My results will always take more work than someone who is already skinny and has a fast metabolism. It’s taken a lot for me to come to terms with that. I know it is disheartening when someone comes along, works half as hard and gets twice the results, but stick to it. You know how hard you’ve worked and so will your support network. Everyone else’s opinion is irrelevant.
5. Keep visual inspiration handy
I have the following networks for finding fitness inspiration:
Every time I feel like I can’t go workout or feel like giving into my sweet tooth, I look at my social media pages. Seeing other people’s transformations makes me want to work harder and be better. I especially like blogs like this one, which shows before and after photos that aren’t photoshopped or perfectly posed. I’ll try and get a post up soon with my favourite inspiration/fitspiration pieces.
6. Believe in yourself
Don’t ask yourself if you want to go workout – tell yourself you are going. When you feel down, tired and unmotivated, remind yourself how much better and accomplished you’ll feel once you’ve finished. Any workout is better than no workout. Any progress is progress.
When you feel like you can’t keep going, do one more rep. One more step. Keep telling yourself you can do it and believe you can, and you will. Use all the negativity and the people telling you that you can’t do it as fuel to prove them wrong.
Always remember how far you’ve come and where you started. When you’re feeling completely lost or like you’ve ruined your ‘diet’ completely, take a look back at some old photos or make a side by side comparison of your own before and after. Sometimes it’s not until you look closely that you realise just how well you are doing.
7. Don’t limit yourself too much
I’ve tried clean eating. I’ve tried straight up calorie counting and sticking to 1200 calories a day. And I’m not sure I could do it again, nor would I want to. I know they say that clean eating isn’t restrictive, and I totally agree that’s it’s great for you, but I am most definitely an IIFYM convert. I used to try and avoid dairy and eat only ‘clean’ foods, but it was damn hard and eventually I’d just cave and end up eating something a lot worse than I would if I’d allowed myself a small treat earlier. I now know that dairy is a great source of protein and is super versatile. I know that by choosing the right kinds of dairy, I can have it in my diet and it be beneficial for fueling my body. IIFYM has taught me that you don’t always have to be perfect, and if you feel like some chocolate or ice cream, you can have it, provided you make room for it within your daily macro targets. Admittedly, the reins aren’t as loose when you’re on fat loss targets, but a little reshuffling can still go a long way. If you are sticking to your fibre and protein targets, chances are you are eating a lot of great, wholesome foods anyway. I know I’m being a little preachy about this, but it’s one of the best choices I’ve made.
I’m sure there are a thousand more tips I could write, but maybe I’ll save them for another post. If you have any doubts or questions, it’s certainly worth talking to a dietician or doctor. These tips are just what has helped me.
Do you have your own weight loss tips or motivational tricks? Let me know in the comments below!