Updated 9/26/2019 to provide you with a consistently awesome experience here at Stop Weighting, Start Doing!
Bariatric surgery is a long process. Your pre-op journey can take six months or more just to get to surgery. Afterward, it’s a lifelong commitment to get to and maintain your goal weight. It can take years to get to where you want to be, especially if your journey includes follow-up plastic surgery to eliminate excess skin. Staying motivated during this time is probably something with which we all struggle at some point. Luckily, if we remind ourselves of our goals, help others and reach out to our support groups, we can stay on the path to success. The secret to staying motivated when you want to give up is to remind yourself of your goals and the reason behind them.
The Mental Challenge
Anytime you have a big goal, like losing weight, or maybe even something like paying off debt, finishing your college degree or just keeping your house clean, it’s going to take time and mental strength. A lot of times you’ll start when your motivation is super high, and then in slowly starts to decline as you get to the messy middle. The part where you have to buckle down and work. You might want to give up because of how long it’s going to take to complete your goal. Guess what? The time is going to pass anyway.
Wouldn’t you rather spend that time working on your goals and making a better life for yourself than just sitting around wishing your life was different? One of my favorite quotes to keep me motivated during my weight loss journey is from Karen Lamb, “A year from now, you’ll wish you had started today.” Staying motivated when you want to give up is about reminding yourself why you started and remembering those reasons when things get hard.
One of the biggest challenges to many people trying to lose weight is emotional eating. I like to say I’m a reformed emotional eater, but it still sometimes catches me in its greasy paws. I don’t do it as much anymore and like to say I’m an emotional exerciser now. However, sometimes, especially if I didn’t get enough sleep, emotional eating is still a problem. It’s one of the mental challenges we have to overcome to be successful with our weight loss journeys.
Staying motivated when you want to give up because of an emotional situation means avoiding slider foods, like chips, cookies, pretzels and any other simple carbohydrate that doesn’t provide any real nutrition. But how do you distinguish between head hunger (emotional hunger) and physical hunger? First, drink a glass of water. Second, set a timer for 30 minutes. Go do something you enjoy, like reading, walking, yoga, talking to a friend, writing, dancing or anything else to release some energy and take your mind off food. Third, when the timer goes off, reassess your emotional response. If you still want that comfort food, eat half a serving.
Most of the time, you’re not going to want that food after 30 minutes. Whatever activity you did probably fulfilled you and distracted you enough that you don’t need it. However, this technique is something I’ve used to take my mind off emotional eating, and it works well for me.
Another way to make sure you’re staying motivated when you want to give up is by being clear about your goals. You made this goal to lose weight, and whether you decided to take the surgical weight loss path or not, it’s going to take some time to lose weight. You didn’t put it on overnight, and you’re certainly not going to lose it overnight. But why did you want to lose weight? Was it to be healthier? Was it so that you could gain your life back? Did you want to be able to play with your kids? If you need help setting your big goals and the steps you need to get there, check out this inspiring article from Living Well, Spending Less.
If you haven’t written down your goals and your whys yet, now is a great time to start. In my post about 10 Steps to Overcoming Guilt, I talk about making time for your big dreams and goals. Thinking about your goals, what you want to achieve and why you want to achieve it can be extremely motivating. When you want to give up, simply refer to this list of motivating factors. Need more motivation? I’d recommend reading my posts about Becoming the Person You Want to Be and The Benefits of Bariatric Surgery.
Also track your progress. Opt-in to my newsletter below to receive a weight loss chart to track your progress. You can read how coloring this chart helped me stay motivated. Think back to all the non-scale victories you’ve been able to achieve since starting your weight loss journey. Reminding yourself of these victories and your reasons for losing weight will help you with staying motivated when you want to give up.
But the road to losing weight is still going to be filled with bumps. When I was first going through my divorce and struggling big time to hold myself together at a family event, I received a piece of advice that changed my life. It came from my brother, who has also overcome some pretty heavy situations. He told me that whenever I can’t get out of my head, I should go out and help God’s children. There is something almost magical that happens when you go to help others. Not only does it take the focus off of you and your problems, but it also reinvigorates your goals.
For me, it meant that I became more active in online support groups. I’d help encourage other people with their weight loss journeys and offer some pieces of advice. Encouraging others is impossible without sprinkling some of that encouragement on yourself. Staying motivated when you want to give up can sometimes just mean helping others stay motivated, which in turn motivates you. Therefore, if you’re having trouble staying motivated, try motivating others. I promise you that you’ll find more motivation for yourself.
If you’re having trouble staying motivated when you want to give up because the scale hasn’t moved in a while or it’s not moving a fast as you want it to be, don’t give up. According to the Mayo Clinic, when you lose weight, your body needs time to adjust to its new thinner self. Your metabolism slows down as you lose weight because you lose some muscle with fat. To get back on track, look at your habits. Are you weighing, measuring and tracking everything that hits your mouth? Are you meeting your weekly exercise targets? Have you loosened the rules at all? Re-examine your habits and see if something you’re doing is causing the stall.
If you are keeping up the same habits as when you first started, it’s likely your metabolism has slowed. You are either going to have to decrease the number of calories you’re eating or increase the number of calories you’re burning. Try increasing your protein intake and mixing up your exercise routine. Try a different exercise or do the ones you’re already doing at a higher intensity. Also, check with your doctor and dietitian for advice on breaking the stall.
Earlier, I recommended helping others to help yourself when you are staying motivated when you want to give up. However, don’t be afraid to also allow those people to help you. There are some amazing Facebook groups to help you with a variety of goals. For example, I’m in support groups for budgeting and debt reduction, another one for goal setting and planning, a few for bloggers and even more for weight loss surgery. Anytime I am down or have a win to celebrate, I post in one of my groups. They cheer me up, encourage me and congratulate my victories.
If online support groups aren’t your thing, try finding ones locally. I see support groups offered all over the place, from medical ones to grief, weight loss ones and even ones for budgeting. Look in a local newspaper or contact your surgeon’s office to try to find support. These support groups can help remind you of your goals and the reasons why you want to lose weight. It can help remind you of how far you’ve come and how much you don’t want to go back to where you’ve been. Leaning on your support group for help can help you keep pushing.
As always, you can either email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or reach me on any of my social media channels. I’ll be happy to give you the pep talk you need!
Staying Motivated When You Want to Give Up
Don’t give up! I believe in you so much! The secret to staying motivated when you want to give up is to remind yourself of your goals and the reasons behind them. By overcoming the mental challenges of weight loss, you can be successful with bariatric surgery. Set goals and review them frequently by tracking your progress. If you help others, it can help you stay motivated to keep going yourself. If motivation is waning because the scale is stalling, review your current habits to see if any bad ones have crept back. Get help from your support group or contact me! I’d love to give you a pep talk! Constantly remind yourself of your goals, the reason why you made that goal and track your progress.
If this article gave you some great ideas to incorporate into your life, just imagine what other amazing strategies I have for you! Share this post on social media by clicking one of the sharing buttons, and don’t forget to join my email list! You’ll be the first to get updates, access to my new products and lots of tips, inspiration and motivation to help in your bariatric surgery journey. Just for joining, I’ll send you a free weight loss coloring chart, as well as some other pretty awesome goodies to keep you motivated. Join today!
Realize that the time is going to pass anyway. You have the choice of whether to change your life or just accept defeat. Overcome emotional eating by distracting yourself with another activity. Write down your goal and the reason behind it. Read it every single day. Help encourage and motivate others who are in a similar situation. You can’t help but sprinkle some of that on yourself. Overcome stalls by mixing up your routine. Reach out to your support group for help and ideas to stay motivated. Or contact me for a pep talk!