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5 Weight Loss Motivation Strategies | Farr Institute

5 Weight Loss Motivation Strategies | Farr Institute

By Kire Stojkovski M.D
Editor akhila Published 10 May 2023
Time to read 12 min

We’ve all been there. You embark on your weight loss goals completely gung-ho, then a few weeks later that initial motivation disappears. Weight loss journeys can be tough.

It doesn’t have to be that way, though…maintaining weight loss motivation is not only possible but it’s key to a healthy weight loss program. A sustainable plan includes healthy eating and physical activity as part of your weight loss efforts. Make it happen with these practical, and proven, strategies for weight loss success.

How to Stay Motivated to Lose Weight: 5 Scientifically-Proven Strategies

Staying motivated is not only worth it, but it’s completely doable once you know how. All across the United States, there are many people, men and women, that can attest to that.

Here are five strategies to get you fired up and keep you motivated when lifestyle changes like diet and exercise are on the horizon:

  • 1. Ask Yourself: Why Do You Want to Lose Weight?

You might be surprised that there’s a myriad of answers here, outside of how you might look in the mirror. People have many reasons to lose weight and it’s essential to remember them in order to stay motivated throughout the process.

Motivation Types

Is your motivation coming from deep inside (intrinsic) or is the outside world the driving factor (extrinsic)? Understanding how each motivation type works will help keep you grounded in your weight loss motivation tips.


Intrinsic motivation looks like participating in an activity because that hobby or sport itself is enjoyable for you. Another example would be studying a topic you are interested in or keeping an organized garage because cleaning is therapeutic for you.


Extrinsic motivation, though, works differently. It relies on external rewards to function. This could include participating in a sport, but because you want the trophy. Or cleaning the kitchen so your partner praises you.

Which Is Better?

While extrinsic motivation in and of itself isn’t a bad thing, too much of it might reduce your chance at maintaining that intrinsic value [1]. And at the end of the day, chances are high that you want to lose weight for yourself, not for others.

Answering “why do I want to lose weight?” will help you keep your reasons aligned with the intrinsic factors driving you.

  • 2. Make Sustainable Changes

Have you ever set out to make a complicated recipe from scratch, only to realize half way through that your original plan was a bit of overkill? Success usually doesn’t work like that.

The same applies to a weight loss journey. Aiming for over-the-top transformation long term, right off the bat, could set you up for failure. It becomes overwhelming, quickly and can lead to burnout long before you see the results you’re craving.

For example, do you hate high intensity workouts? Committing to something like Crossfit, five days a week, probably isn’t a great option.

A single study found that in one weight loss group, more than half of the weight lost returned in two years, and five years later more than 80 percent of the weight lost was gained again [2].

To avoid this, you want to aim for a sustainable lifestyle change that can last you for the long haul and provide benefit, psychologically and physically. Set weight loss and exercise goals that are realistic and healthy for years to come.

  • 3. Find Your Perfect Plan

Obtainable weight loss plans vary greatly between individuals. One person might succeed with the strict Keto plan, while another can’t stand the idea and is turned off from the get-go.

Other factors might include pre existing conditions. Someone with anemia, for example, probably shouldn’t attempt an inflexible vegan diet where getting iron is challenging.

How do you know what works best for you? Here are some tips that work for most people when trying to determine the most suitable course of action:

  1. Do your research: Don’t rush. Make a thorough investigation of your options and weigh them before making a decision.
  2. Avoid unfounded claims: Avoid the advertising traps of costly products/plans that lack the scientific evidence to back up their efficacy. Warning – there are many.
  3. Consult a physician: Preferably your own. If not, provide your detailed history upon consultation so the doctor can help you decide what’s best for you.
  4. Keep it simple: The more restrictions, the higher a chance at giving up. Choose a plan that is easy for you to understand and monitor as you go along.
  5. Check your budget: Some weight loss programs are costly. Pick a plan that doesn’t stress your wallet overtime, it’s just another hassle you don’t need.
  • 4. Be Realistic About Your Progress

Research shows that along with economic feasibility and other factors, setting realistic goals is one of the keys to a successful program and maintaining weight loss motivation [3].

If you can manage to find intrinsic, sustainable value in the activities and diet you follow, your chances for achievement are much higher. This means avoiding things like yo yo dieting and full-on workout regimens you don’t enjoy.

Set goals that you can realistically see yourself fulfilling with a little determination.

How Much Weight Can I Lose Per Week?

Most medical professionals agree that aiming to lose around 1-2 pounds per week for people is a reasonable place to begin. Otherwise you might fail early on or run into other problems like hair loss, trouble sleeping, irritability and low energy levels.

It might take some time to reach your goal weight but chances are you’ll be happy you did so methodically and safely.

What Happens If I Fail?

Take it easy on yourself and get back on the horse if you don’t reach your goal. Everyone fails at some point and it’s important to remember the reasons you want to lose weight to begin with.

If this happens, return to that and adjust your plan for a better outcome next time around.

  • 5. Treat and Support Yourself

There are ample ways to treat and support yourself in order to keep your motivation and spirits high long term during your weight loss journey.

Here are just a few:

  • Keep a journal: This allows you to see how far you’ve come. It also provides a place to jot down important factors, like mood and energy, as you go along. Doing this offers insight into your pitfalls and helps you adjust your plan along the way.
  • Take progress photos: Okay, maybe you don’t have to share them on Instagram. But photos may be a good motivational factor and help you note your progress.
  • Join a support group: Going at it alone is difficult and there are plenty of groups online and in-person to help you avoid this. Seeking out like minded individuals can provide the comfort and affirmation you need to reach your goals.
  • Indulge from time to time: Give yourself a free day or enjoy a night out with friends every once in a while. Weight loss can be stressful but it doesn’t have to be.
  • Notify friends and family: It’s important that your closest confidants know that you’re on this journey. Not only will they be able to provide support but it’s also practical…if they’re having a burger night and it’s not your off day, they can pick an alternative.

Motivating Reasons to Lose Weight

Are you struggling to find proper reasoning behind losing that fat? Maybe you need to be reminded of all the benefits that come with keeping a healthy weight, especially as you age.

Lower Risk of Disease and Health Conditions

It’s no secret that obesity raises your chance for a variety of diseases and health conditions [4]. The goal of shedding weight for this reason alone may be enough.

Do any of these conditions or cancers run in your family? If so, you could be in the group of people at an even higher risk:

  • Hypertension
  • Stroke
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Sleep apnea
  • Mental illness including clinical depression
  • Limited body mobility
  • Low quality of life overall
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • High cholesterol
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Many cancers including liver, kidney and colorectal

Achieve Fitness Goals

Have you been dreaming about seemingly impossible physical activities like that hiking trip or participating in a triathlon? Maybe there’s another weight loss goal in mind.

Being overweight can stop you from achieving these goals because it makes physical activities that much more difficult and less enjoyable. Joint pain, for example, is just one issue that arises here.

Losing weight could allow you to do something you’ve always wanted to…no matter how big or small the goal. This could be as simple as playing high-energy games with your children in the backyard.

Your family life might improve as a result and you’ll be less likely to give up when others are enjoying your achievements, too.

Boost Self Confidence

Obesity can leave a major dent in one’s self-esteem and body image. Being overweight can stop you from wearing that dress you adore or joining your friends for a weekend at the beach.

It could take time for your confidence to rise again, if it’s something you’ve struggled with for a long time. Don’t hesitate to give yourself permission to feel good during the process.

There are other ways to combat this, too, like programming yourself to think more positively. This might look like attaching affirmative statements to your bathroom mirror or participating in a meditation course. If therapy or counseling is in your budget, it wouldn’t hurt.

Once you’ve achieved your weight loss goals, you might be surprised at how much confidence it gives you.

Improve Mood

Not feeling well or confident in one’s body can be a real bust. We’ve already learned that obesity can lead to clinical depression and anxiety for people and it can be a vicious cycle [5].

In such a scenario, being overweight can feed depression, which in turn exasperates the obesity existing in the first place. It can make it even more difficult, if not possible, to start and stick with a plan for balanced eating and exercise.

Losing weight can help lift that dark, heavy cloud that’s been following you around. If you’re concerned about your mental health, we recommend discussing this with a trusted physician or mental health specialist to help get you on the right track for reaching your smart goals.

More Energy

It’s very normal for people to suffer from low energy levels when they’re not at a healthy weight, as studies show [6]. Obesity can take a toll on the entire body, after all, and for an overweight individual, minor activities can require a lot of energy.

The goal of shedding those unwanted pounds can change this for you entirely. Imagine not getting winded when you’re walking into the supermarket or putting away the groceries. All of these small daily tasks will not just be more manageable, but possibly more enjoyable, too.

Do you know what else helps you have better energy levels, aside from trying to lose those pesky pounds? Physical activity and an enjoyable exercise routine, so it’s two birds one stone here.

Easier Aging

For middle aged individuals, this goal could be a standout factor for you.

Studies show that obesity potentially accelerates the aging process for people, for starters [7]. On top of that, the longer you wait to achieve your weight loss goals, the harder it becomes when metabolism and hormones are already starting to slow down at this age.

Imagine that at 50 years old, you feel like you’re in better shape than you were at 45! A sustainable weight loss plan could make this happen.

Losing weight will help ease the already-stressful components of aging and allow you to feel more positive about the natural process of growing old.

Weight Loss Motivation in Conclusion

Research shows that for both men and women, sustainable motivation comes with a series of actionable steps like finding a realistic exercise plan and eating plan.

Make sure to get started with goals that you can imagine yourself achieving, like going down one pant size or enjoying a quick run without feeling exhausted. Monitoring food intake alone though won’t lead to success.

Weight loss motivation is all about making long term changes and the only way to stay motivated is to go about it in a healthy way. For many people, things like encouraging self talk is essential. Maybe you want to keep a food log, so you can notice the ingredients you enjoy.

While there’s no quick fix, these factors will help you lose weight, bit by bit, every day, and you’ll be less likely to give up before meeting your hard-earned achievements. Celebrate your journey along the way and when you reach the finish line, you’ll be so glad you did it.

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