If you’ve been watching those same few pounds disappear and reappear on the scale for the past few weeks or months, it may be time to re-evaluate your goal weight, and consider what its is that you truly want from weight loss.
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We talked to psychological performance trainer Steve Siebold, author of the free e-book Fat Loser! Mental Toughness Training for Dieters, about finding the motivation to lose those last 10 pounds. If you’re struggling to hit your goal weight and can’t seem to blast past that plateau, consider applying his psychological tips to help you reach your goal for good.
1. Decide You’re ‘Really’ Going To Do This
From a psychological standpoint, deciding that this is really it is the most difficult part of a weight loss journey, Siebold says. Following a diet and exercise plan is actually a simple and step-by-step procedure. Of course, it the initial decision is important, but it’s the mental toughness of actually sticking to it that’s the hard part.
2. Write Down Your Goal Or Share It With Someone
Numerous studies have suggest that people perform better when they make their goal public. Being held accountable is a great way to stay motivated, so tell a friend, loved one, or even our Twitter followers (@FitnessRepublic!) what your goal is. We can all support you and encourage you along the way.
3. Think About Why You Want This Goal
Spend time on introspection and figure out what it is you want to experience emotionally to accompany the physical change. Determine whether that’s wanting to fit in your wedding dress again, or a desire to look better, feel better, or have more energy. Figure out what’s driving you to stick to this decision. Losing sight of the why, the real, emotional reason, is when people tend to fall off the wagon, Siebold says. In dieting, it’s a decision every two or three hours. If you mental imagine why you’re doing what you’re doing, the resolve tends to stick much better.
4. Create A Pinterest Vision Board
Sure, it sounds like an elementary school project, but Siebold insists that this works. He suggests cutting out pictures from magazines of the way you want to look or feel that will inspire you, though we recommend the much-easier, digital version — a Pinterest board. “It’s a visual reminder of the reasons you’re having to suffer through a habit change,” says. That visual reminder will help you stay focused on your goal Photos of strong athletes, your favourite exercise infographics, healthy recipes and motivational quotes are all fair game. (Fitness Republic’s Pinterest page is excellent for this, by the way).
5. Tap Into Your Emotional Maturity
“I tell adults that they need to grow up emotionally,” Siebold says. He suggests telling yourself, “When I say I’m going to do something, I’m actually going to do it. I will have integrity with my decision making. I want to get this result so I have to change.” This is a great mindset to have, not only in fitness, but in general — so consider it a mantra to live by.
6. Really Focus On Your Diet
As you lost weight, you reduced your caloric intake. You don’t need to eat the same about of daily calories at 200 pounds as you do at 150 pounds — and that could be the reason you’re not reaching your goal weight. About 80 per cent of weight loss is a result of diet, says Siebold. Exercise is great and super important for our health, but when it comes to shifting those last 10 pounds, it’s all about diet. “It’s habit change, it’s supposed to be difficult,” he says.
7. Give Your New Habits At Least A Month
Most experts say it usually takes around a month to get comfortable with habit change. To really make it stick and not have to think about it any more, that new behavior change can take about six months to a year, says Siebold.
8. Think Like A Fit Person
When Siebold worked on his book, Die Fat or Get Tough: 101 Differences in Thinking Between Fat People and Fit People, he interviewed 500 fat people and 500 fit people and wanted to see how they eat differently.
“Fit people first eat for health,” he says. They look at their meal for how this is going to help impact them that day, the next day, how this going to add up to energy and health. “They’re eating consciously from a health perspective and asset perspective,” he says. So you should do the same if you want to think (and look!) like a fit person.