What drives you…what is your weight loss motivation? As a mom, I know how easy it is to skip a workout, or say “I’ll start eating better tomorrow”. Tomorrow turns into a month…we end up getting frustrated and criticize ourselves for not having the “discipline” or “willpower” to lose weight.
Stop beating yourself up! Let’s look at what motivates you…what are your goals? Write down every single reason you want to lose weight and analyze your list. Are your reasons for weight loss because you want to feel better, have more energy to chase your kids, be a good role model, decrease medications, prevent family history from repeating itself (intrinsic reasons)? Or, does your list revolve around fitting into size 4 pants, looking great for a class reunion, getting back to pre-baby weight…I’m guilty of having a few of those (all extrinsic reasons).
- Refocus Your Thinkings
Both are important, but intrinsic goals are proven to be more satisfying and provide more continuous motivation. If your list looks extrinsic, try to focus more on how your life, as well as your children’s life, would improve with weight loss. Below are weight loss motivation cards that I have scattered around my house to keep me on track. Fill-in the blanks, and place the cards all around the house to constantly remind yourself of your journey and why it’s important to YOU!
- Set Goals
One of the best ways to organize your life (in your chaotic kid world), is to set weekly goals. Studies prove that writing down your intentions give you a much better chance of accomplishing your goals. I believe the best way to set goals is to focus on food, fitness, and behaviors. Keep goals somewhat simple and definitely achievable… you should be able to look back on your week and say “yes, I accomplished my goals or no, I did not accomplish my goals.”
Let me give you some examples:
- Food Goal: I will eat breakfast everyday for the next week
- Fitness Goal: I will walk 4 times this week for a minimum of 15 minutes
- Behavior Goal: I will drink 6-8 cups of water a day
- Write It Down!
I’m sure you have read a hundred articles that tell you to keep a food journal and I hate to say it, but I am offering the same monotonous advice. By writing down your food choices and recording the times, you could learn a lot about your eating habits.
Knowledge is power, how can you start to change your behaviors if you don’t even know they exist? As a dietitian, I work with a lot of moms who tell me they didn’t realize how much they nibble. The nibbles typically happen while making their kids snacks, making dinner, or cleaning up the kitchen table. Parents can become the human garbage disposal by consuming the last bite of a grilled cheese or the last chicken nugget. These bites are easy to forget until you visualize your habits on paper...the calories really add up! So, my advice is to WRITE IT DOWN, include every last peanut or gummy worm!
- Reward Yourself!
Do you ever tell yourself that you can buy a new dress if you lose 10 pounds, or if you skip dessert all week you can treat yourself on the weekend? Positive reinforcement doesn’t just work for your kids.
Rewarding yourself can be a great motivational tool as long as it’s used appropriately. Try to make rewards non-food oriented and extra special. If you would buy yourself a dress on any old day, is it really a motivating reward?
It’s also not a good idea to reward yourself with the very behavior you are trying to modify! I’m trying to get your mind off your temptations, so work with me here, buy yourself flowers or clothes… not cake!
- Make a Dream Team!
It is so important to have a support system in place for continued motivation. While some mom’s enjoy a personal trainer for accountability, other mom’s enjoy walking with friends (it's much harder to hit the snooze button when you know your friend is waiting on you), or mommy workout classes.
I have a client who uses me as her dietitian/wellness coach and she also has a personal trainer… she calls us her “Dream Team”. A dream team could be different motivators for different people, you would have to choose what motivates YOU the most.
Your support system is in place for the days you don’t feel like getting out of bed to pound the pavement, for the nights you’re too tired to drag yourself to the gym, to share recipes, to vent to when your child isn’t sleeping through the night… you get the point.
Let other people (professionals or friends) join you on your personal journey, you’ll be celebrating with your support system when you find yourself reaching your goals!
However, no need to torture yourself. Try this walking to running workout to gradually ease yourself into it.