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Wednesday
Jan222014

5 Ways to Maintain Motivation

They’re rather bleak statistics…. The average American who wants to lose weight will make four attempts this year. Only one in six of them will see long-term success (if you consider success as maintaining at least five percent of their initial weight loss). As negative as this picture looks, what can we glean from these insights? Most importantly, I believe, we can understand that we shouldn’t take our motivation for granted! Filling the “wells” of our initiative is as crucial to a successful weight loss/body transformation journey as is maintaining our good eating and exercise practices. Just as we invest in our lifestyle habits, we need to consistently invest in our mindset. Our results depend on this investment! As you renew your personal resolutions this month, check out these five strategies to recharge your health engagement.

Enlist the power of visuals.

Remember that picture of you at the beach in your mid-twenties or teens – you know, the image you recall when someone asks you when you’ve felt your best ever? Maybe you have a whole collection of photos that show you happy and active doing what you used to enjoy in healthier days – a collection that could be its own motivational bulletin board. How about that inspirational quote you once wrote on your mirror or posted on your refrigerator to always steer your mood in the right direction? Perhaps you’re motivated by hanging your favorite summer outfit in plain view. No matter what your method for making healthy outcome goals more visible in your daily life, it can certainly serve as a reminder to stay motivated. Visual prompts can be powerful cues to make good choices and keep the faith in your journey.

Track progress, not perfection.

While visual reminders of the end goal can motivate many people, others I find are better off tracking weekly, daily, or hourly behavior change progress. I like to help clients set specific behavior goals like “eat at least a cup of colorful veggies three times every day” – and monitor their progress with a simple “yes or no” score sheet. Even with this detailed tracking, the aim isn’t perfection but progress: can we achieve the behavior 80% of the time? If the behavior is impactful and meaningful at 80% compliance, we have an achievable target: our efforts are rewarded by a sense of accomplishment rather than defeat or failure. So, if you’ve been one to set lofty outcome goals without clarifying the steps to achieve them, consider tracking more details about your progress. You’ll probably find it will be easier to stay motivated!

Recruit a healthy eating/workout buddy (or advisor).

Put some skin in the game by partnering with someone who can help you (or challenge you) to comply with the key behaviors in your program like strength training two to four times per week, taking a few walking breaks at work each day, or preparing a pile of vegetables with each meal. Whether you can hire a trainer/coach or agree to treat a friend to lunch after a workout, setting an appointment and sharing the journey with someone else drastically increases motivation and progress. Your commitment to enjoy social support can make or break your motivation and have far-reaching implications for your success.

Get your assessments done (and beat the 90- Day Challenge rush).

Nothing can empower you like eliminating guesswork and creating certainty that your health-focused time and efforts are effectively addressing your biggest metabolic barriers. Using assessments allows you to hone your program down to the day-to-day behaviors. For example, if insulin resistance tendencies are discovered in a blood test, you will be able to confidently work with a personalized strength training plan two to four times per week and customized “smart” interval training a few days each week while replacing much of your dietary starches with fibrous vegetables, proteins, or healthy fats to seriously cut belly fat and improve your metabolic health. Likewise, restructuring your cardiovascular training time based on your own Active Metabolic Assessment helps you know for certain which intensities are best (for your body) to torch body fat and which intensities run the risk of over-training. Why not enter the 90-Day Challenge with more metabolic info and an action plan built for you?

Hit the ‘reset’ button and do a D.TOX.

If your motivational style is more of the “all-or-nothing” type, then a more intensive re-boot option is to embark on a safe and effective detoxification program, like Life Time’s D.TOX. Whether you’re trying to kickstart weight loss, break through a plateau in your program, reset lifestyle habits, or simply support your body’s ability to remove the toxins you’ve harbored over time  in body fat, a few dedicated weeks of cleaner living, eating, and resting can leave you feeling (and looking) younger and more resilient. Among the greatest benefits of such programs is often the keen sense of awareness that comes from removing pro-inflammatory foods and then re-introducing them (or deciding to carry on without them). You quickly realize that your afternoon crash isn’t really normal and you don’t have to tolerate those achy joints or uneven skin tone. With wholesome foods and supported detoxification patterns, your body seems to heal itself more quickly and maintain more youthful exuberance. How is that for motivating?

What strategies and support have helped you maintain motivation on your journey? Share your tips and tricks below in the comments! Thanks for reading today, everyone.

Written by Paul Kriegler, RD--Corporate Registered Dietician

This article is not intended for the treatment or prevention of disease, nor as a substitute for medical treatment, nor as an alternative to medical advice. Use of recommendations in this and other articles is at the choice and risk of the reader.

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