For most people, starting a new weight loss plan is an exciting experience. The thrill of something new, coupled with the numerous physical and mental health benefits from weight loss can have us itching to hit the ground running. However sometimes as the days, weeks, and months wear on, you may find that you’ve hit a “slump”—lacking the motivation to continue and falling back into your old eating habits. Thankfully, this doesn’t have to happen to you—safely losing weight and keeping it off for good is within your power if you truly commit yourself to this new lifestyle change. Here are some tips for keeping your motivation high and making sure your weight loss is permanent.
1) Hang Out With the Right People
Having a solid support system is vital if you want to be successful in losing weight permanently. There will be some days on your journey that you don’t feel like carrying on, and that’s when it’s most important to have a group of like-minded people that can help you stay motivated. If you’re thinking about switching to a Paleo diet to help with your weight loss, try finding others in your area that have an interest in the lifestyle. If you’re having difficulty finding local Paleo enthusiasts, then try talking with your current friends about why they should make the switch with you!
2) Eat With Smaller Plates
There’s no denying that in the typical Western diet, portion size is out of control—even overeating healthy foods can put your weight loss goals in jeopardy. That’s why it’s so important to find a way to eat sensibly-sized portions at mealtimes, and thankfully, it might be easier than you think! In my own personal experience, I’ve found that I’m more likely to eat smaller servings of food when I eat off of smaller plates or in smaller bowls. So, next time you’re setting the dinner table, opt for the smallest dishes you have, and see how that affects the amount you eat.
3) 80/20 Rule
In China, Confucius wrote about the secret to permanent weight loss thousands of years ago. This concept, known as “hara hachi bu” (translation: “belly 80% full”), prescribes eating until you are 80% full, instead of completely full. Studies have shown that people who practice hara hachi bu are not only more likely to maintain a healthy weight but also more likely to live past one hundred! Figuring out what 80% full means to you might take a little practice, but transitioning to a Paleo diet can help you with the process. Since so many of the fresh, unprocessed foods in a Paleo diet are low calorie and nutrient dense, getting your body to the 80% mark will take much less than with the refined and processed high-calorie foods in an average Western diet.
4) Cleaning House
It’s important that you don’t underestimate the influence your thoughts have over your actual reality. This means that if you’ve always got junk food on the brain, chances are you’re going to eat it. To help minimize these invasive thoughts, it’s often helpful to make a change in your surroundings—get rid of the things that trigger your mind. In the case of an unhealthy food addiction, go through your cabinets with a Paleo food checklist and chuck everything that doesn’t make the cut—sodas, canned foods, breads, candy, and all the rest.
The overall cleanliness of your home can affect your mood and well-being also. Sure, an unmade bed probably won’t drive you to eat a carton of ice cream, but it can put a damper on your spirits, which has the potential to negatively affect your weight loss motivation. If cleaning your entire house sounds overwhelming, then start small. Once you see the benefits it has on your happiness, you won’t want to stop!
5) Have a Plan
There’s nothing that will destroy weight loss dreams faster than going at them without a plan of action. Your strategy doesn’t have to be terribly long or complex, but it should at least address a few major concerns. Obviously, losing weight will probably involve a diet change, so be sure to include information about that—if you’re switching to the Paleo diet from a highly processed one, it might be useful to jot down a few of your “guilty pleasure” foods and come up with some healthier, Paleo alternatives. With a little planning now, you can help ensure you have a way to cope with future obstacles.
6) Measure Results
One of the most important ways to stay motivated on your weight loss journey is by acknowledging each goal that you achieve; however, this can’t be done if you don’t have goals that are defined and measurable. It’s common for people to measure their success in terms of their body weight, but there are other alternatives as well. For example, if you’re transitioning to a Paleo diet for weight loss, then set a measurable goal for it. This could be anything from getting all the processed food out of your house to trying a new Paleo recipe every night for two weeks. You can even opt for various activity trackers such as the Fitbit to help track your daily activities and nutrition. Regardless of what you decide on, choosing milestones that can be easily tracked is a great way to stay focused and motivated.
7) Be Absolutely Fearless
A lot of people are in denial or are totally obvious to the fact that they are fearful of change, specifically losing weight. It might sound silly but in my experience people stay in a state of arrested development (weight loss, careers, life goals) because they’re scared of changes in their life. They’ve grown accustomed to the lifestyle they have been living for the past month, year, or even decades. You must be absolutely fearless in tackling whatever task you set out to accomplish, even if this means failure and pain. The key is to treat all experiences (both bad and good) as learning experiences. Like anything worthwhile in life, it will take practice but with time you’ll see the changes.