A spe­cif­ic rea­son and a clear plan will help you achieve your weight loss goals.

Some­times it feels impos­si­ble to start and stick to a healthy weight loss plan. Often peo­ple sim­ply lack the moti­va­tion to get start­ed, or they soon lose it. Luck­i­ly, you can work to improve your moti­va­tion. And these five tips will help you.

Decide why you want to lose weight

Clear­ly iden­ti­fy all the rea­sons why you want to lose weight and write them down. This will help you stay com­mit­ted and moti­vat­ed to achieve your weight loss goals. Try to read them dai­ly and use them as a reminder when you are ready to devi­ate from your plans. These rea­sons may include pre­vent­ing dia­betes, being able to go out with your chil­dren or grand­chil­dren, look­ing bet­ter, improv­ing self-esteem, or being able to wear your favorite suit again. Many peo­ple start los­ing weight because their doc­tor tells them to, but research shows that peo­ple are more suc­cess­ful when their moti­va­tion to lose weight comes from with­in.

Have realistic expectations

Many diets and weight loss pro­grams promise quick and easy weight loss. How­ev­er, most prac­tic­ing nutri­tion­ists rec­om­mend tar­get­ing a rate of 0.5–1 kilo­gram per week. Unat­tain­able goals can cause you to feel dis­cour­aged and make you give up. On the con­trary, set­ting and achiev­ing real­is­tic goals leads to a feel­ing of accom­plish­ment. Addi­tion­al­ly, peo­ple who achieve their weight loss goals are more like­ly to main­tain their weight loss in the long term. Even small amounts of weight loss (5 to 10 per­cent of your body weight) can have a big impact on your health:

  • improve blood sug­ar con­trol;
  • reduce the risk of heart dis­ease;
  • reduce cho­les­terol lev­els;
  • reduce joint pain;
  • reduce the risk of devel­op­ing cer­tain types of can­cer.

(Read also: 3 rea­sons why los­ing 15 kilo­grams in 30 days is a bad idea)

Focus on process goals

Many peo­ple, when try­ing to lose weight, set them­selves only goals that they want to achieve in the end. How­ev­er, focus­ing only on achiev­ing end results can sab­o­tage your moti­va­tion. They often seem too far away and unat­tain­able.

Instead, you should set goals relat­ed to the process or actions you intend to take to achieve the desired result. For exam­ple, the goal of the process is to train four times a week. Research has shown that those who focused on the process were more like­ly to lose weight and were less like­ly to dis­rupt their diet com­pared to those who focused only on weight loss results.

(Read also: 10 impor­tant lessons from a man who lost 65 kilo­grams)

Choose a plan that suits your lifestyle

Cre­ate a weight loss plan that you can stick to and avoid pro­grams that would be near­ly impos­si­ble to fol­low in the long term. Although there are hun­dreds of dif­fer­ent diets, most are based on cut­ting calo­ries. Reduc­ing your intake will lead to weight loss, but fol­low­ing strict diets that result in fre­quent crash­es (the so-called yo-yo effect) has been found to be a pre­dic­tor of future weight gain.

There­fore, avoid restric­tive diets that com­plete­ly elim­i­nate cer­tain foods. Research has shown that peo­ple with an all-or-noth­ing mind­set are less like­ly to lose weight. Instead, con­sid­er cre­at­ing your own per­son­al­ized meal plan that focus­es on devel­op­ing healthy eat­ing habits.

Keep a weight loss diary

Self-con­trol is crit­i­cal to moti­va­tion and weight loss suc­cess. Research has shown that peo­ple who watch their food intake are more like­ly to lose weight and keep it off. To prop­er­ly keep a food diary, you should write down every­thing you eat. This includes all meals and snacks. You can also write down your emo­tions in a food jour­nal. This will help you iden­ti­fy your overeat­ing trig­gers and find health­i­er ways to cope with them.

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