How can I get motivated to lose weight?

As Dr. Marshall Stamper, founder of the Lindora Medical Clinics in southern California says, “The greater your interest and enthusiasm for achieving your [weight loss] goal, the more likely you are to achieve it.” The problem, of course, is that motivation wavers. In fact, for some “dieters” it only lasts until the next meal!

That’s why we encourage “Lean for Life” participants to create personal “Motivator Cards”. First, write a list of all the reasons you want to lose weight. List every benefit that comes to mind, such as how you’ll feel, how you’ll look, what activities you’ll enjoy, how your health will improve, etc. Be as specific as possible. For example, instead of writing “I’ll feel better”, it’s helpful to describe the ways in which you’ll feel better, such as, “I’ll be able to walk up stairs without getting out of breath”, or “I’ll be able to run and play with my children”, or “I’ll have more energy”. Once you’ve written your list, choose the top five reasons for wanting to lose weight and write them on several index cards. Post your cards on your bathroom mirror, in your car, and at work, where you’ll see them every day and be reminded of why you want to lose weight.

There are a number of other strategies that can help motivate you. One of the most important is to surround yourself with people of a like mind, who are positive and support your weight and health goals. Whether it’s working with a weight loss professional, joining a support group, joining an online chat, finding a support person at home or work, or recruiting a “diet buddy,” support is extremely beneficial to your success and continued motivation.

A lack of motivation can result from feeling overwhelmed by the scope of your endeavor. Knowing exactly what you want to accomplish, and how you’ll go about achieving it, helps dispel the feeling of hopelessness that can block motivation. Creating a plan of action – breaking it down into “baby steps” – helps you feel in control and generates enthusiasm. Review your plan of action every day; this will help you to stay focused and motivated.

Positive thoughts lead to positive actions. Replace negative thoughts with positive thoughts. Every day, several times a day, repeat positive affirmations such as, “I am excited about losing weight. I have the power to achieve my goal!” If you draw strength from reading, from praying, or from silence, make time for those things.

• Create personal motivator cards

• Surround yourself with supportive people

• Develop a plan of action

• Use positive affirmations

• Do things that make you feel strong and confident