Weight Loss Motivation: How To Find Yours

Spry editor Lisa Delaney is one of the rare souls who know what its like to be an after. This journalist and author of Secrets of a Former Fat Girl shed 70 poundsand six dress sizes–and has kept it off for 20 years. She answers your questions here each week.[1]

DEAR FORMER FAT GIRL: I have zero weight loss motivation right now, and Im hoping you can help. I lost 100 lbs. a few years back, but gained most of it back from medications I am taking. I feel like Ive lost my will. What can I do?Tracey

DEAR TRACEY: Tracey, I know youve got the motivation in you, because without it, you wouldnt have been able to drop 100 lbs.thats a huge accomplishment. But I know how distressful it is to have worked so hard, only to have all your efforts (or so it seems) undone by pills and potions.

RELATED: Exercise Motivation Tips[2]

But let me offer a different perspective: All of the things you did to lose that weighteating less fat, more fruits and vegetables, less junk food and more whole food, and getting regular, heart-pumping and muscle-strengthening exerciseare still working to keep your body healthy, despite your weight.

The fact is, weight is a very poor judge of whether a person is healthy or not. I had this very conversation with my 11-year-old the other day, whose eating habits have slipped in the past 6 months. He had been on the heavy side for his height, but has now shot up and is looking trim and fit. But when balked at his desire for Cheez-its rather than fruit and yogurt for his afternoon snack, he said, Well, Im not overweight, right? I explained to him that eating well and exercising arent just important to how you look, but to how you feel and to whats going on inside your body. We as a culture are too ready to jump to conclusions about a persons health based on how they look, and not so much about what they do. Yes, being heavy is a risk factor for all kinds of diseases, but you can temper its effects by continuing to practice all those healthy habits you employed to get your weight down in the first place.

That said, I know how demoralizing it can be to not get the feedback we expectin the mirror and on the scalewhen were doing all the things that should lead to a healthier weight. Thats the problem with using our shape and our weight as the benchmark for whether what were doing is, in fact, worth the effort. But I also get that what you see in the mirror is important to your overall being, self-esteem and self-confidence. Ive got some advice on how to handle all this, and (hopefully) help you find the weight loss motivation to do right by your self and your health.

Talk to your doc. Forgive me for stating the obvious, but so many people leave their physicians out of the conversation when theyre dealing with side effects of medications, thinking they just have to suck it up. If you havent told your doctor how distressing your weight gain is, do it. Ask if there are any solutionsa lower dose, a different medication, lifestyle changes you could make that might help reduce your dependence on whatever meds you are on. There maybe nothing he/she can do in this regard, but this is an important first step.

Keep a food diary and exercise log. Boring advice, right? But its amazing how enlightening a food/exercise journal can be. Keeping an honest account (every BLTbite, lick, taste) of what were taking in and how active we are empowers us to make changes. It gives us a baseline from which to make changesadding more fruits and veggies, taking away starches, increasing our workout intensity, etc. It will also help you get out of your funk and start applying some energy to looking for solutions.

Try some plateau-busting strategies. Ive got a standard set of best practices for breaking through a plateau that may be helpful for youeverything from revving up your workout to shaking up your diet. Take a look at them here.[3]

Brainstorm other benchmarks. I totally understand wanting to look great in a pair of jeans or a little black dress. But when youre not seeing results on the scale, find some other, more objective (and controllable) ways of measuring your progress. I actually recommend this for anyone who is on their weight loss journeyIm not a big fan of the whole goal weight idea. With each of these, keep records of where you are when you started, get specific about your goals, and chart your progress along the way. Some suggestionsboth mundane and lofty:

  • Specific health measures, such as cholesterol numbers, blood sugar numbers, etc.
  • Number of workouts/week
  • Number of servings of vegetables/fruits
  • Number of glasses of water
  • Specific athletic goalsamount of weight you can bench press, miles you can run or walk, etc., in a certain amount of time.
  • An athletic/active event youd like to participate ina multi-day bike ride, 5k, 10k or half-marathon, mountain climb (go for it!), etc.
  • Trying and mastering a new sport (tennis, skiing, rowing)

Dont go it alone. What I love about embracing athletic goals, training for events and trying new sports is that they are often your entre to a whole new community of people who share your goals and will support you along the way. Look for training groups, join a team, hire a personal trainer who can help support you along the waytheyll fill in the weight loss motivation blanks when you exhaust yours.

Treat yourself well. The past is the pastwhat you do today is whats important. Try not to mourn the lighter body you once had and embrace the challenge of staying healthy now. Every day is a new opportunity to make healthy choices, to choose not to beat ourselves up for poor decisions of the past or factors that we cant control. Resist the urge to beat yourself up, and do everything you can to lift yourself up. Post your favorite motivational sayings (here are some of mine[4] to get you started), surround yourself with people who have your back, listen to uplifting music, read powerful stories of transformationgo to church (even if its not Sunday), if thats your thing. When youre in short supply of motivation, its OK to lean on other sources for inspiration and motivation.

Lisa Delaney is editor of Spry magazine and Spryliving.com. Ask her your question here. Brought to you by: Spry Living[5][6]

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  1. ^ Secrets of a Former Fat Girl (www.amazon.com)
  2. ^ Exercise Motivation Tips (spryliving.com)
  3. ^ Take a look at them here. (spryliving.com)
  4. ^ here are some of mine (spryliving.com)
  5. ^ here (www.spryliving.com)
  6. ^ Spry Living (spryliving.com)

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  1. Reply

    What Are Some Good Ab Exercises? I’m really skinny and I really don’t have any fat in the abdomen area, but I’m trying to get my abs defined. A lot of the articles for ab exercises I’m seeing have things like “fat loss tips for great abs”. Since I don’t need to lose fat, I’m wondering if I need to do different kinds of exercises than what those articles are suggesting.
    I’m also doing cardio exercises. Should I do ab exercises before or after I do cardio? Or should I do them at completely separate times?

      • HealthNut
      • March 13, 2013

      They say so, because you do have fat on top of your abs, you just do not need to lose it anywhere else. Or little flab.
      jogging is an excellent exercise because it let you tone throughout your whole body. If you want to tone in
      specific areas, you should target them with exercises. If they are
      your problem areas, they will be very difficult to tone. You will have
      to work double on them. The best approach is this:
      1. Lower/control your daily calorie intake (control for normal
      weight, lower for overweight).
      2. Run/jog to lower your overall body fat percentage.
      3. Target your problem areas with exercises.
      an excellent exercise, you can do it in front of your TV: sit on a
      stool, and put your toes under something (piece of heavy furniture,
      for example). In your hands hold a little dumbbell. Please, make sure
      that it is not very heavy, start with one kilo, for example, or you
      will damage your back and spine! Slowly move the upper part of your
      body back, until it’s parallel with the ground. Stop for a second and
      move it back to the sitting position. Repeat ten times. Every week add
      to the number of repetitions. You will see the results in a week,
      guaranteed! You will see or feel under the fat – if you have any – six
      pack and muscles. Dumbbells do wonders. Much better than these
      crunches – I came up to three hundreds and there was no results AT
      ALL. With the dumbbells you will see it in a week.

  2. Reply

    How Do I Get In Shape Over The Summer? I weigh 130 plus pounds and I’m 13 years old. But the 130 pounds is mostly fat. By fall when school starts again, I want to have lost some fat and gained some muscle. Every day I play DDR (Dance Dance Revolution) on difficult, and it is difficult, I sweat my butt off every time. I also go to the pool and swim 24 laps every other day. But I haven’t seen any results. Should I keep doing what I’m doing, or should I add something on? Please give me some fat loss tips, thanks!

      • HealthNut
      • March 13, 2013

      First of all…good for you for working out and taking charge of your health. I am sure you are a beautiful person.
      How’s your diet?
      Are you eating enough protein? Are you eating a lot of empty carbs like pastries….? How’s your sugar intake?
      Sometimes the scale doesn’t change but our bodies do. Try taking measurements. I had lost 13 inches off of my body….but only 10 lbs on the scale.
      Keep in mind that muscle weighs more than fat.
      Keep a food journal – it will hold you accountable. Look up online how many calories you should eat based on your age, height, weight, and activity level.
      Hope this helps sweetie and best wishes.

  3. Reply

    Does Anyone Have Any Quick Fat Loss Tips? Been working out and dieting for some time now and have lost a great deal of weight. i am now starting to stall and it is getting harder and harder to loose weight. looking for some help in changing my routine and diet. any quick fat loss tips would be appreciated.

      • HealthNut
      • March 13, 2013

      You may find this helpfull. No matter how much I try to control my weight it does not work, however there was one time in my life that without rying and without realising I suddenly lost 4 stone. It was a time when I was suffering back pain and could hardly walk. Being alone in the house I tried to make things easy as far as food was concerned. I had a microwave on the floor and all I ate for a few months was tinned soup, various types, nothing else, no bread. It was so easy, just open the tin, pour it into a dish and then in the microwave. Amazingly I lost 4 stone in about 4 months. I have never been able to achieve that by dieting.

  4. Reply

    I Am 5foot 11 Inches Tall And Weight 230lb. Can Any Body Give Me Some Weight Loss Tips Or Diets? Hi. I am a 15 year old kid, who is 5’11, 230lb. And I need some weight loss tips before school starts. I work out alot. I play high school football, and competitive baseball in the summer. During football I lose all of my weight, but after that I gain all of my weight for baseball season. Please HELP!!! What can I do?

      • HealthNut
      • March 13, 2013

      No fats , no sugars and no junk food plus all the exercise you can manage ,

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