It is normal to put on extra pounds during pregnancy, and some women seem to get back down to their pre-pregnancy size very quickly. Most are not so lucky, however, and the extra fat seems to linger on and on. If this is you, take heart. You aren’t alone and you can get back to a healthier, slimmer you. Here is how to maintain motivation to lose weight.
Phone apps, online fitness journals and similar devices can all keep you motivated on your weight loss plan. You can log your workouts, track calories and get reminders at set intervals.
Other tech gadgets can help, too. Get a pedometer to keep track of how many steps you take per day. This can really motivate you to make subtle, yet powerful, changes in your daily life, such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking a distance away from the grocery store door, going an extra lap around the block or walking instead of driving to the corner store.
Other devices keep track of calories burned, heart rate and even oxygen saturation. All tech devices help motivation by letting you see what is really going on with your body instead of guessing. For example, if you know your target heart rate zone, then a heart rate monitor helps you see if you are reaching that zone in your workouts.
Online calorie counters let you look up foods to find out the calorie count per serving and other nutritional facts. This takes the guesswork out of your diet when you are limiting calories. The less guesswork there is, the less room for error there is and the more you can focus your mind on keeping to task.
An online food and fitness journal gives you a format to document your daily food and exercise practices. Writing this down keeps you thinking about your goals. You can choose whether you want it to be private or public.
Some people choose a public journal because they find that when they know it will be seen by others, they will be motivated to be most disciplined and stick to their weight loss plan. However, if this visibility feels like too much for you, keep the journal private.
The important thing is to keep yourself psyched to continue with your program, and what works for others might not be best for you.
Support Groups and Buddies
Joining a weight loss support group or getting a friend to be a fitness buddy does wonders for weight loss motivation. It helps by making you feel less alone on your journey and keeps you accountable.
It is one thing if at the end of the day you’re the only one who knows if you ate your vegetables and did your workout or gorged on donuts and sat around the pool. It is much different when another person knows. Whichever group or friend you pick, just make sure that their manner of support is a match for you psychologically.
Some people like competitive or drill-sergeant-like motivators, while others need a softer approach. Figure out what strategy suits you and stick to it.
Set tangible rewards for yourself along the way. Several small rewards usually work better than planning only a single, large reward at the end. This is because small rewards help keep you going the next few steps to the next reward.
Breaking your overall goal up into several goals allows you to celebrate more often and give yourself the encouragement and accolades you truly do deserve. Losing weight is not easy and despite what your inner critic might say, you do deserve to pat yourself on the back for your hard work.
Write Yourself Notes
Post notes to yourself in visible places around your home and even in your car. All the notes should be positive and encouraging affirmations. It might feel silly at first, but it is much less silly than spending time criticizing yourself.
An example of a positive affirmation is, “I am an amazing woman, I deserve good health and I can do.” Uplift yourself instead of degrading yourself in thoughts, words and actions and you are more likely to reach your goals.
Buy Goal-Weight Clothes
Buy at least one outfit or article of clothing that you will be able to wear when you get back down to the size you want. It should be something extra special that you wouldn’t usually buy for yourself. Make sure it is a realistic enough size that you won’t get discouraged, however. Pay attention to your own body. Not everyone can be a tiny size and still be healthy.
Clear Your Mind
If you are finding it exceptionally difficult to lose weight or get motivated to lose weight, take a gentle look inside your own mind. Many times, the key to success lies as much here as it does in eating right and exercising.
This is especially true if you have had trouble losing weight in the past or if you were carrying extra weight before you got pregnant. Many people hold on to excess weight for various psychological reasons, and you shouldn’t feel bad about that. However, these reasons do need to be addressed, because if any apply to you it will affect your weight loss motivation.
For some, an extra layer of fat helps them feel safer because they feel less prone to being noticed by others in sexual ways. To explore whether this might be true for you, think about how you feel when someone gives you a compliment about your physical appearance. Decide if this makes you feel happy inside, neutral or uncomfortable.
If you’ve carried extra weight all of your life, you should consider whether you might resist losing weight because it could cause you to feel too different. We get comfortable with the known, and the unknown feels a little disturbing even if it is a positive change.
It helps to explore this and work through these feelings, if you feel that might be the case. One way to do this is to list all fears you have, for by doing so you get them out of the subconscious and expose them to the more aware parts of your mind.
There they are more easily dealt with. Then, start listing all the positive things that losing weight can bring to your life, such as feeling better, being healthier, enjoying playtime with your children more, having more energy, and feeling better about your appearance.
Some people carry extra weight as a way of self-punishment. Many of us carry around guilt or shame feelings in one form or another, and, on a subconscious level, we find ways to punish ourselves for our perceived faults or wrongdoings.
Healing this requires forgiving yourself from any perceived mistakes and letting yourself move on from the past. No amount of guilt or shame makes anything better. Instead, holding on to these feelings makes you less able to be the types of person you want to be.
Any time you falter during your fitness plan, don’t give up. Think of how far you have come, and how far you can go. Don’t let a mistake prevent you from keeping to task. One day, or even one week, of slacking off doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get back up and renew your dedication to your goals.
In the end your determination can see you through if you just don’t give up.