If you’ve succeeded with dieting and getting close to your weight loss goal, that’s awesome. You are undoubtedly very proud of your accomplishment thus far! Let this feeling inspire you to keep up the great work and stay on track. It’s not always easy to do, so if you’re dieting to lose weight, we’re here to share the top ways to stay motivated, according to a doctor. You’ve got this—and we’re here to be your cheerleaders.
Making the decision to diet can be a total win for your overall wellness, but it can be a long haul. Everyone’s experience is different. For some, it can take several weeks, and for others, it can take a few months to notice a real difference. No great accomplishment happens overnight, and we have five beneficial tips for staying motivated when dieting to lose weight. Keep reading to learn more, and next, check out The Diet and Exercise Plan To Find Your Waist Again, Expert Says.
We reached out to Mike Bohl, MD, MPH, ALM, the Director of Medical Content & Education at Ro who sits on our Medical Expert Board. Dr. Bohl gave us some great advice. He suggests, “First, set process goals for yourself—not just outcome goals. Often, when people go on a diet, they’re only focused on the end result—what they will look and feel like at the very end. However, since it can take a while to get there, it’s important to set smaller goals along the way, so you feel like you’re still achieving things and making progress. If you make goals focused on what you’re doing rather than just focused on what the end result will be, you can check off a new goal every week (or even every day).”
Examples of process goals are having a nutritious lunch each day of the week, eating fewer snacks between meals for a few days, and planning gym time five days during the week. According to Dr. Bohl, these are “easier-to-achieve goals” and can be accomplished in a quick amount of time. You’re breaking out the overall time it will take to drop a certain number of pounds into small, productive habits.
Dr. Bohl recommends keeping a journal and recording your progress. He points out, “It can be hard to notice small changes, but if you refer back to your journal every two weeks or so, you can see just how far you’ve really come (and stay motivated to keep going)!”
Another helpful way to diet successfully is to do it with a friend or even a diet support group. Dr. Bohl shares, “Having a diet buddy not only keeps you motivated and helps you feel less alone in your journey, but your buddy may also be able to teach you things (e.g., a great new healthy recipe they learned) that you can incorporate into your own routine.”
It’s important to know that being flexible is okay. It’s actually necessary in helping you avoid burnout before you reach your end goal. Dr. Bohl explains, “One of the most common reasons for stopping a diet is that the diet is too hard to stick to. If you find yourself feeling too limited, give yourself a cheat meal or a cheat day, and don’t feel guilty about it. One day of cheating to make yourself feel better followed by getting back on the diet the next day is much better than giving up the diet entirely because you didn’t allow yourself any flexibility.”
When you’re dieting, you’re gifting yourself health benefits, not simply improving your overall appearance. “Many dieters are focused on what they see in the mirror, but there are other markers of success that you can follow,” says Dr. Bohl. When you go for your yearly physical exam, take note of how your blood pressure and cholesterol have improved. It’s pretty impressive to see more goodness from dieting than just dropping pounds.