Anyone who has tried to lose weight knows what a struggle it can be. It can be disheartening to see minimal progress when you’re putting maximum effort into diet and exercise, but the truth is that progress with weight loss is typically gradual. As such, it’s best to think of it as a journey rather than a destination.
The following ideas can help you maintain a journey-oriented mindset as you work toward your weight loss goals.
Consistency over Intensity
You might occasionally have days when you want to go into your weight loss efforts full force, but you’ll definitely have times when it feels like the most you can do is the bare minimum. In reality, those brief moments of intense effort won’t do you nearly as much good as simple consistency.
Intense efforts may be great for a little while, but it can be easy to burn out when you’re trying to do everything all at once. It’s better to focus on consistency rather than intensity with your exercise and diet. Remember, your goal is long-term health, and consistent, everyday habits are what will matter most in the long run.
Track Progress in Multiple Ways
It’s also important to remember that progress takes multiple forms. The number on your scale will only tell you so much.
For example, people who work on losing weight will often replace their fat with muscle. Muscle is more dense than fat, so while you might see a lull in how much weight you lose, you’ll still see your waistline shrink all the same.
Over time, track your progress in multiple areas, such as:
- Your weight (which is a given)
- Your waistline
- The amount you can lift
- The number of minutes you can run before having to catch your breath
- The amount of sugar you consume (or avoid)
- Your insulin levels
The point is to track your successes rather than your failures.
Look at the Positive
In the same vein as tracking your successes, take time to look at the positive. You’ll have great days when you do well with your diet and keep to your exercise regimen, but there may be bad days as well. Even so, during your down days, it can help to take some time to look for what you did right—and there’s almost always something.
Then forgive yourself and move on. Remember, it’s about consistent effort. As long as you try again tomorrow, you’ll make progress.
Also, part of being positive means not putting off your happiness until you reach your goal. Learn to be happy now by doing something you love each day. By letting yourself find happiness in the course of your journey, you’ll not only improve your quality of life, but it will be easier to find motivation to work toward your weight loss goals.
Finally, in the course of your journey, don’t try to go it alone. Get support. Coaches or mentors can be great support people, as can friends or family. Some people join weight loss organizations or get gym memberships. Whatever you do, the point is to surround yourself with people who will encourage you and provide some accountability.
In some cases, you might need additional help to reach your target weight. Bariatric surgery can help in that regard since it’s designed to support the lifestyle changes you’ll need to make long-term. A weight loss surgeon can help you decide whether surgery is right for you and support you throughout the process, so it may be worth setting an appointment.