15 ways to stay motivated to exercise and lose weight

Three of the most common reasons people choose to hire a life coach, in my experience, are to help them stay motivated, start a fitness program, and lose weight. And, of course, staying motivated on their fitness program, or staying motivated to lose weight.

When embarking on this journey to exercise and lose weight, about 90% of my clients learn that the reasons they aren’t able to stick to their weight loss goals is due to lack of motivation – consistent motivation. It’s my job to help with this struggle and push them to stay motivated.

The reality is, while losing weight IS hard, the science is extremely easy. The amount of calories you consume should be less than the amount of calories you burn. That’s it. While, on a literal and logical sense, achieving what’s called a consistent ‘caloric deficit’ to lose weight is easy, the emotional fortitude one needs to accomplish this is what makes it so difficult to sustain.

So, to help with this goal in sustaining weight loss once you’ve gained momentum, here are 15 changes you should make and hold in your life to achieve success and stay motivated to lose weight. After reading this article, be sure to read about the 40 weight loss “secrets” that don’t work.

1. Find a gym partner – ask a friend.

The best way to embark on a difficult journey is to have a companion, a comrade, a partner in crime. Find someone who can help keep you motivated while at the gym. Studies have shown that, even on a social psychology level, individuals are prone to work harder at the gym if they have a peer working out with them. And, it follows, that they are able to get more out of their workouts. It also removes the excuse of not going to the gym if you have someone with whom you’re accountable.

2. Hire a coach or personal trainer.

Just like having a partner in crime, having someone who can guide you, coach you, remind you why you’re sweating your butt off, can help you work transformative miracles when it comes to your weight loss goals. Having a life coach or personal trainer will help you maximize your accomplishments and ultimately keep you accountable to the goals you’ve set for yourself while helping you gain clarity on why you’re doing what you’re doing. The most rewarding part of my job, as a life coach, is showing my clients that the inevitable obstacles along the way are merely tests to challenge their threshold and how far they’re willing to go to achieve their goals.

3. Begin your days with motivational quotes.

Keeping your brain in a positive mind-set should start from the second you get out of bed. Whether while you’re drinking your coffee, morning tea, or whatever you decide to consume or do first thing in the morning, read motivational quotes every day to lock in a ‘can-do’ attitude throughout the rest of your day. Remind yourself of this goal anytime your mentality shifts to the negative. Getting your hands on daily motivational quotes is extremely easy, from buying a daily motivational quotes calendar to visiting one of my favorite websites: Motivational Quote Generator

4. Set realistic attainable goals.

One of the greatest obstacles in losing weight is setting unrealistic goals. Losing fifty pounds in six months (while attainable) can seem far away and unrealistic on day one. But striving to lose a minimum of 2 pounds a week and checking in every two weeks on where you’re at is much more achievable (and it results in the same goal). Long distance runners won’t focus on how far the finish line is, they focus on getting to the next half mile, or even just the next marker to stay motivated on their entire journey.

5. Write down your goals!

Speaking of goals, write them down! One of the first things my clients learn of my coaching process is 1) to bring something to write with and 2) be ready to write! Anytime my clients profess a goal, it’s written down, followed by motivational action steps needed to achieve those goals. When your mind creates a goal, that’s all it does – ‘creates a goal’. There isn’t much your brain can do with just the creation of a goal. Writing it down makes it real and your mind can look at it from an objective point of view and see it as something accomplishable. Keeping your goals inside your brain de-prioritizes them and they become easily forgettable.

6. Avoid comparing yourself to others.

In this social media rich world, it’s really difficult to not compare yourself with where others are on their fitness journey. Forget social media though and just go to the gym. It’s easy to remind ourselves while we’re at the gym where WE are on OUR fitness journey. In Bertrand Russell’s book, a 20th century philosopher, The Conquest of Happiness, he writes an entire chapter on Envy and how comparing ourselves and our journeys to another’s is detrimental to the success of our own journey. The truth is, we can never know what this other person has done up to this point to get to where they are (nor should we concern ourselves). Focus wholeheartedly on your own journey and on your own path to success.

7. Be mindful of your social circle and who you hang out with.

Sales and Real Estate guru, Grant Cardone, says that you are the five people you hang out with. Be sure that these five people are people who are lifting you and living their own positive goals. Surround yourself with individuals who are on the same wavelength as you when it comes to goal-setting and motivation. Whether negative or positive, on a social psychology level, the energy someone holds is absolutely contagious. Be sure you’re becoming infected with something good!

8. Understand the power of cheat day.

Guess what, one day of a calorie surplus (the opposite of a calorie deficit (see the intro paragraph on the easy science behind losing weight)), will not halt your weight loss goals. If you’ve been on track the day before and you’re back on track the day after, your body won’t suddenly put on 10 pounds of body fat. Schedule the cheat day, anticipate it every day you’re doing something positive for your weight loss goals (something to look forward to!) and enjoy it!

9. Avoid avoiding delicious foods.

Speaking of ‘cheating’ this weight loss journey does not have to be miserable. There are so many foods out there that have an unnecessary stigma on them and are avoided like the plague. The problem with avoiding them is that when the cravings come around for them and you cheat a little bit (and it’s not cheat day!), the little bit could turn into a lot and you could easily get discouraged that this weight loss thing is just not for you. While it’s important to stay mindful of your caloric count, there are plenty of healthy ways to consume that cheeseburger or that slice of pizza (e.g. homemade with low fat cheese?). Treat yourself to the delicious stuff!

10. Don’t follow fad diets.

The word ‘fad’ comes from the term ‘fiddle-faddle’ which has been defined as ‘trivial fancy adopted and pursued for a time with irrational zeal.’ Think Keto, Intermittent Fasting, Atkins, or South Beach, if something is SUDDENLY becoming EXTREMELY popular, run the other way. The biggest issue with the ‘fiddle-faddle’ diets are that they create temporary results that are not sustainable. The Keto diet, for example, will help you lose a lot of weight in an extremely short period of time. But, after this weight loss is achieved, a low-carb, high protein diet is not sustainable and people do gain their weight back after re-introducing a healthy portion of carbs to their diets. The tried and true method of losing weight and keeping it off is and always has been good ole fashion persistent diet and exercise.

11. Keep track of your calories and macros.

Every time I work out at LA Fitness, there’s a commercial that interrupts the music that goes, “What gets measured, gets improved!” And I couldn’t agree more. When people see me, it is obvious because of my physique that I workout and am training as a bodybuilder. As such, I get asked how they can get fit and have some semblance of a body like mine. I always respond with, “Well, what are you eating?” The adage, ‘we are what we eat’ is so accurate. Every single day, your body uses whatever your eating in so many different ways; and it’s important to pay attention to and maintain awareness of what we’re feeding our body so we’re able to maintain energy and keep the body fat off. There are plenty of resources online that can help you track your calories and your macros, but everyone I personally speak with, and all of the bodybuilders I follow rant and rave about My Fitness Pal. The app is easy to use and free (there’s an upgrade option, but I’ve been using it for years and haven’t seen the need to upgrade).

12. Drink lots and lots of water.

Hydration is key on so many levels and there are so many benefits to drinking water, I don’t have room for it all here. I’ll leave it to this article by Medical News Today to explain at least 15 Benefits of Drinking Water. How much water should you drink? It’s really hard to drink too much, but here’s a calculation to know what minimum you should be striving for. You should also know that the hunger pangs you feel can be related to thirst. Drink some water and watch that hunger sensation disappear.

13. Eat Breakfast!

Eat anything as soon as you wake up. It doesn’t have to be a three course diner size meal, it can be anything so long as you put something in your body to re-activate your metabolism. The moment you wake up, your body has gone at least 10 hours without eating (depending on when you ate dinner and what time you wake up) and is now in a ‘fasted’ state. Your body thinks it’s starving and will begin slowing down your metabolism. So, eating something, anything ‘breaks’ the ‘fast’. It’s why it’s called ‘BREAKFAST’ because you’re ‘breaking the fast’. As mentioned before, skipping this most important meal will put your body in starvation mode. When your body is in starvation mode, it doesn’t know when the next meal will be, so it slows the metabolism down and hangs on to whatever you put into it next (which turns into body fat!). Plus, getting that boost in the morning will help your workout (if you go to the gym in the morning).

14. Be sure you have proper gym wear.

Comfortable gym wear is key. You’re about to put your body through rigorous and hopefully intense exercise designed to keep you healthy and shed the body fat. It’s important to wear gym clothes that are clean, comfortable, and fitting. Also, if your sneakers are more than 3 years old, it may be time to buy new ones.

15. Take a before picture and track your progress.

The picture is mostly for you, so, 60 days from now, if you think you’re not making progress and you’ve been working out and eating right almost every single day, you can check the picture, take a new one and make a side by side comparison to remind yourself how far you’ve come. But here’s where social media can be useful. Post the pic and announce to your friends what you’re doing. And then post a progress pic every 30 days. Get your squad cheering you on so you stay the course and stay inspired!

Life Coach Tommy is a Certified Life Coach based out of Sherman Oaks, CA and serves Los Angeles and the surrounding areas. You can contact him for a free consultation by clicking HERE



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