Weight loss is different for everyone. But finding the right motivation to keep the pounds off is a challenge for most of us.

Even if you start out optimistic, external circumstances can make it difficult to keep going: “Motivation is not necessarily a quality that comes from within ourselves. Our environment plays a big role here,” says clinical psychologist and Society of Behavioral Medicine President Sherry Pagoto.

To make matters worse, the way you approach losing weight can negatively affect your motivation. For example, setting unrealistic goals can really throw you off track and torpedo your determination and drive.

These twelve science-based tips are designed to help you stay motivated as you lose weight.


1. Think about why you want to lose weight

Did your mom ask if you’ve gained weight? Or did your girlfriend ask you to go on a diet together? These are not good reasons for losing weight. What matters most is why you want to lose weight yourself. When a person’s weight goals stem from his or her own drive, weight-loss results are more likely to last, according to a review article in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity.

Have you received a prediabetes diagnosis or just want to feel good about yourself again? Whatever your goal, don’t let it slip away.


2. Set realistic weight loss goals

Biggest Loser type changes are not the norm and definitely should not be a role model. Healthy weight loss programs work with reasonable and achievable goals. What does that mean? “Losing half a pound to a pound a week is realistic and sustainable over the long term,” says Grupski.

It’s best to start with a manageable goal, such as losing five kilos. “When we achieve small goals, our self-confidence increases and motivation is maintained,” Grupski explains. After your initial successes, you can, of course, set new weight goals or goals off the scale.


3. When it comes to losing weight, the journey is the destination

Losing weight is not just about reaching a target weight. If you focus too much on the scale, your motivation can suffer in the long run. Once you reach your weight loss goal, you may be less motivated to maintain your new healthy habits, according to the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity article mentioned above.

Weight loss in and of itself is merely part of a broader strategy to achieve greater wellness. As part of that strategy, it’s all about finding healthy foods you enjoy eating and exercising in ways you enjoy. This can encourage you to stick with good habits even after you reach your goal weight.


4. Choose a sustainable method

Trendy diets that promise particularly quick success often do not lead to lasting weight loss. And the yo-yo effect is probably one of the biggest motivation killers. A sustainable weight loss program is therefore the better choice. An ideal diet for you is one that you can maintain over the long term. A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows this.

If you love bread more than anything, keto or other low-carb diets are probably not the best solution for you. Instead, make sure you enjoy a tasty baguette or some grissini every now and then.


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