Whether you recently had a baby or the scale has slowly been creeping up over the years, when you have 50, 100, or more pounds to lose, the task can seem so daunting that you're tempted to give up before you even try. Here are some things to keep in mind to help you stay motivated on your big weight-loss journey.
- Keep in mind results won't happen overnight: When you're watching your calorie intake and exercising regularly, it's safe to lose about two pounds a week. That may not seem like much, but over time, those little bits of weight loss will add up. You didn't gain all that weight overnight, so don't expect to lose it that quickly either.
- Set small, realistic goals and then celebrate them: Sure, your ultimate goal might be to fit into the jeans you wore in college, but in order to stay motivated, you need to set minigoals along your weight-loss journey. Every Sunday night decide what your goal will be — to work out three times that week, eat greens every day, or meet with a personal trainer. Then when you reach your goal at the end of the week, reward yourself in a healthy way with a new water bottle, fitness mag, or some new songs on iTunes to add to your cardio playlist.
- Keep track of every pound lost: Since your weight-loss journey is made up of small steps along the way, it's important to track your progress, one pound at a time. Write down your weekly weight or measurements in a calendar or on a chart hanging on your bathroom wall, take photos of yourself every week to visually see your body shrink, use marbles to track pounds lost, or try a PoundPuncher bracelet. Whatever way you choose to chart your progress, seeing how your efforts are working will definitely inspire you to keep it up.
- Keep a food journal to hold yourself accountable: You "ate healthy" all week but didn't lose any weight. What gives?! Unless you write down every bite you take, it's easier to cheat and grab a cookie here and some fries there. Those handfuls add up, and if you write down your food intake, you'll better understand why the scale isn't budging. It will also keep you honest. You'll be less likely to devour two pieces of cake at your friend's birthday party if you know you'll have to write it down later. To keep you even more accountable, share your food journal with a friend.
- Don't do it alone: The support of your friends and family is huge when it comes to staying motivated. Tell everyone who's close to you that you're trying to lose weight so they can help you stay on track (instead of calling you up to go out for ice cream). Set up fitness dates, share healthy recipes, swap fitness DVDs, and have a reliable friend you can count on to call when you feel like running to the bakery instead of going for a run.