You’re not alone.
Anybody trying to lose weight goes through a similar journey.
You start out on fire.
You’re motivated to lose weight. You exercise and it’s easy to say ‘no thanks!’ to junk foods.
Making healthy choices feels natural and effortless.
But then, everything shifts.
Suddenly, everything that felt so natural feels inconvenient now.
It’s easier to make excuses.
Your motivation is gone. Exercise seems inconvenient and you’re craving all of those foods you’ve left behind.
“I don’t want to workout! I’ll start over Monday! Pizza sounds so good right now!“
And all of the sudden you’re 3 slices in and feeling guilty.
Like a failure… like you knew better but you did it anyway… and you find yourself wondering, “Why can’t I stay motivated to lose weight?”
It should. It’s the frustrating shift that virtually every person trying to lose weight experiences on a regular basis (myself included).
If you’ve ever hit a rough patch and lost your motivational mojo, then the Bee-Xtreme Community is perfect for you.
As with many things in life, we go through changes in stages. Weight loss is no different.
As you know, successful weight loss is about changing your lifestyle.
That’s just another way of saying you need to change your behaviors. The stages of behavior change have been studied in depth.
Below is my take on the Transtheoretical Model of Behavior Change (I know, fancy wording), and how it corresponds to staying motivated to lose weight.
To stay motivated to lose weight, you need to make sure you’re in the right stage, mentally.
What stage are you in?
THE 5 STAGES OF WEIGHT LOSS MOTIVATION
WEIGHT LOSS MOTIVATION STAGE 1: PRECONTEMPLATION
In the first stage of weight loss, people have no intention to change their lifestyle.
They either don’t see a reason to change their habits, don’t think there’s a problem with their body/health, or they’re happy just the way things are.
In this stage, people rationalize their thoughts.
They may think to themselves “losing weight is too much work” or “life is good just the way it is” or “I don’t need to lose weight to be happy.“
The good news? If you’re reading this you’re probably not in this phase.
WEIGHT LOSS MOTIVATION STAGE 2: CONTEMPLATION
Contemplation is the phase where most people wanting to lose weight get stuck.
In this stage, you’ve made a conscious decision that you need to make changes if you want to lose weight.
Now you’re contemplating, what to do to make that happen.
Maybe you already know what to do, or maybe you don’t have a clue.
During this stage, you’re seeking out information, but not yet actively changing your eating or exercise habits.
You may be in this stage right now.
WEIGHT LOSS MOTIVATION STAGE 3: PREPARATION
During the preparation stage, you feel ready and able to make lifestyle changes because you see that there’s a benefit associated with the effort you’ll be making.
You feel ready to make changes because they’ll result in a reward.
You feel encouraged and inspired to take action.
So you start making small behavioral changes like drinking more water, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or swapping out fries for a side salad.
Moving from the contemplation stage to the preparation stage is a big deal. You’ve successfully acknowledged and accepted that you need to make changes and have begun to make small changes.
The preparation phase is one of the most important phases.
Many people stay here. While others skip this stage completely and immediately start to take action.
I admire their drive, but their success levels dramatically decrease, as they skipped right past one of the most important steps to losing weight and staying motivated…
Having a meal plan or exercise program that works for their goal, or educating themselves about what they should eat and which exercises they need to use to reach their goal.
WEIGHT LOSS MOTIVATION STAGE 4: ACTION
The action stage of weight loss is one of the most difficult. The action phase is where you’ve set goals and start taking action to get them.
This is when you’re actively changing your bad habits and replacing them with good ones.
It’s the time where you’re breaking your emotional connections to food.
It’s the time where you’re questioning if you have what it takes to do this for the rest of your life.
It’s the stage where many people make it to, but end up relapsing back to the 1st or 2nd stage.
People struggle to stay in the action stage because they don’t have the education, tools, plan, and support they need to stay motivated.
If you can stay in the action phase for at least 6 months, you have likely made a lasting change in your life.
WEIGHT LOSS MOTIVATION STAGE 5: MAINTENANCE
In the maintenance stage, you have successfully changed the majority of your bad habits and have lived a healthy and active lifestyle full of whole foods and exercise for more than six continuous months.
You know how bad behaviors can adversely affect your weight and health.
You know that eating healthy food makes you feel so much better than the temporary happiness emotional eating provided. In fact, you have no intention of engaging in that behavior ever again.
Your confidence is sky high, and your body has undergone a complete transformation.
People (including the original non-supporters) are now complementing you on your weight loss and asking you how you did it.
Congratulations, you have successfully changed your life for good, and living this new healthy lifestyle is just as easy to do as living the unhealthy one was in the past.
WHY YOU CAN’T STAY MOTIVATED TO LOSE WEIGHT
To lose weight you have to stay in the action phase… people typically lose their motivation to lose weight and leave the action stage for 4 reasons:
1) YOU HAVEN’T ACCEPTED YOU HAVE TO GIVE UP THE HABITS THAT CAUSED THE WEIGHT IN THE FIRST PLACE
Are you really ready to give up your bad habits? You don’t have to change overnight. Make a conscious effort to slowly phase out your vices, and replace them with healthier alternatives.
2) YOU’RE NOT EMOTIONALLY JAZZED UP ABOUT YOUR GOAL BODY
They don’t want to lose weight bad enough. Get crystal clear about what you want, why you want it, and how (freaking!) good it’s going to be when you get it. Visualize it!
Think about how bad you want it every time that little devil on your shoulder is trying to get you to cheat on your diet or skip the gym. A Weight Loss Vision Board can help you stay motivated and focused.
3) YOU AREN’T GETTING THE RESULTS YOU WANT… SO YOU GIVE UP OUT OF FRUSTRATION
This happens when you don’t follow a complete plan that’s best for you and your goal.
Make sure you’re following the right program for you. But it’s also important that you follow professional advice…
Preferably a professional who completely understands exercise, nutrition, and how to use both to lose fat, and keep you motivated… like me! ; )
4) YOU HAVE SOMETHING WORKING AGAINST YOU AND YOUR METABOLISM
Motivation struggles are often a symptom of a much bigger issue.
It is A LOT HARDER to stay motivated if you have toxic build-up, metabolic damage, or a hormone imbalance working against you.
The good news is, it’s completely possible to use food and exercise to reset your body quickly and reverse problems so you can lose fat fast.
Please leave me a comment and let me know what stage of weight loss motivation you’re in and what you struggle with the most.
If you tell me what you need help with, I’ll make more posts for you. : )
Hugs and Love
Your Biggest Cheerleader
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Toni Sweeney is a Triple Certified Ketogenic Diet and Primal Health Coach and weight loss expert who personally lost 80 pounds while making a total lifestyle change. The founder of TS Transformations, her formulas and plans has helped thousands of women lose weight and keep it off forever.