10 Things I Do to Stay Motivated

Last week I was struggling to stay focused on eating right and getting in plenty of exercise.   It occurred to me over the weekend that I'm a girl in need of motivation.  I've had it.  Back when I was losing 60 pounds, I clearly had it.  So I decided to remind myself of some of the things that did the trick for me then.  And then I'm going to commit them to memory and recite them to myself every hour on the hour until my will to fight the good fight is renewed.   

10 Things I did that helped me stay motivated on my weight loss journey: 
1. Spent more time taking in pride in how I looked.  In the very beginning, when my Jelly Belly was at its height and I was feeling pretty bad about myself, I dropped some cash on Amazon for some beauty products I wouldn’t normally try.  I got some fancy conditioner, some tinted lip balm, a Clarisonic Mia and a scrubber for my dry, scaly feet.  Then I consciously made an effort to use those things.  It may seem simple and stupid and like stuff other normal females do regularly.  I don’t even know how much they actually improved my appearance.  But I know they made me feel better about myself.  Maybe it was just devoting some time to doing something specifically for myself.  I’ve been known to overlook that.  I don’t know.  But when I look back now, I know it helped me build up the drive inside me when I needed it the most.

2. Surfing Pinterest and pinning motivational quotes about being tough, staying strong and being determined.    After putting my kids to bed while watching crappy reality television, when a little something something to snack on might have hit the spot, I'd pin away instead to distract myself and attempt to stay focused.  
3.  Setting smaller milestones along the way. I originally wrote out a list with a treat every 5 pounds. Some treats were something as simple as ordering something relatively inexpensive but frivolous.  Others didn't even cost anything.  The first one was painting my toe nails with some silly sparkly toe nail polish.  Next was trying some conditioner for my eyelashes as stupid as it sounds.  It was $10 and supposed to make my eyelashes thicker (I didn't notice a difference.).  Another was a cutesy striped tote bag from Scout.  Somewhere along the way I stopped caring about those goals and didn’t even notice them passing me by.  As an example, one of my treats 20 pounds ago was supposed to a super cute new hair cut at somewhere other than Super Cut and I've had shagadelic split ends up in a ponytail everyday since despite that.   But in the beginning, those goals meant a lot to me and I’d be looking forward to getting to the next one. 

4. On difficult days, I’d just focus on one day at a time.  I didn’t even focus on making that day perfect.  I just focused on making it through that day the best I could.  If I was starvin' Marvin, I didn’t focus on trying to eat perfect and suffer through being hungry.  Instead I’d focus on eating something that wasn’t bad.  So instead of eating Cheetos from the vending machine, I’d give myself permission to eat a million almonds until I wasn’t hungry anymore. 

5. Took before photos and then put them away and didn’t compare myself to them right away.  Because I looked heavy in the beginning.  Because I was heavy!  And looking at how heavy I was didn't motivate me in the beginning.  It depressed me.  So I just put them away.  I emailed them to myself and tucked the email away in a folder in my archives.  Then I deleted them off the camera and moved on.  I took progress photos every 15 pounds.  Every 5 was too much.  Every 10 pounds didn’t seem like quite enough.  And when I took the new progress photos, I gave myself permission to look at the original before photos.  Part of what I looked forward to after reaching a 15 pound milestone was taking new photos and putting them side by side with the before photo to see how far I’d come.

6.   Reading blogs of people that are making an effort to live healthier.  I like reading about things they’ve tried and challenges they’ve set for themselves.

7. Give in and buy a new pair of pants when you get small enough that the last size you own starts to fall off.   I can be hella cheap about clothes.  But I decided I deserved pants that fit.  And I deserved them today.  Not 6 months from now once I fit in a smaller size that I find more acceptable to spend money on.  Not 6 months from now when I’m “done” losing weight and can “invest” in clothes that fit without worrying I’ll have to buy a new wardrobe again in a few months.    A pair of jeans costs $25 at Old Navy.  You are worth $25.  Go buy at least one pair.  My favorite black slacks to wear to work are from Kohls for $25.  I am worth that extra $25, too.  And I say that having bought size 8s roughly 4 weeks after I finally bought my size 10s.  Oh, well.  It feels nice to try on a new size.  It’s fun to watch the pants slide on easily and zip.  It’s especially fun to wear them and have someone else notice you clearly gave in and bought some clothes that fit.  Because that person will then ask you how much weight you’ve lost.  And you will get to tell them and you will feel proud of yourself.  And that is awesome and will fuel the fire in your belly for a good week.   
Size 8!  That fit! While shopping for a dress for our 10 year anniversary.  The front didn't lay right on my chest so I didn't buy it.  But so fun to zip up.
8.  Following Tumblr feeds of people that post fitness and motivational stuff.  I have the app on my phone and when I'm sitting through one too many 4th grader volleyball practices I scroll around for a little boost of inspiration. 

9. Be patient.  I remember the first 15 pounds lost wasn't nearly as noticeable to me in photos.  And by that, I mean I couldn't see any difference.  I didn't let myself think about it and just stuck with focusing on one day at a time.  Big accomplishments are made up of tons of little efforts that build up to something big.  Stick with it.
10.   Looking for new goals to set for myself.  Even if I don’t necessarily succeed at them.  Although I’ve successfully run 2 half marathons, I also tried and failed at plenty of other goals.  For example, I’ve lost money on a Diet Bet and I quit the 30 Day Shred After 4 days.  I've also tried several apps on my phone for sit ups, push ups and squats hoping to work my way up to doing 100.  I lost interest around 60.  But that’s okay with me because I couldn’t do 60 when I started.  I like that my eyes are open and on the lookout for new things.  I like that when I spot one I’m willing to try it.  The old me wouldn’t have.  The new me does.   Regularly.


2Momma2 said...

I remember being a lot more excited about weight loss back in 2007/8 when I dropped 50 pounds. I used to make bracelets to wear for every 3 pounds until I had too many and they were a pain, but it helped! I also had a bunch of progress pictures. I haven't done any of that this time around and I should celebrate little victories and keep myself going. Mostly, I just don't have the time. At least I'm losing, but why aren't I having fun with it this time around?

Thanks for the tips and the great read.


Kelly Stilwell said...

I think you are pretty inspiring, my friend! I need to lose 15 pounds and I really need some inspiration! Thanks!

Sheila Skillingstead said...

I wasn't sure what the object of your motivation was when I clicked on your link. I was pleased that you were on a second round of achieving a goal. Nice list. Thanks for the post. Every day, every hour can be a struggle or they can pass easily. Enjoy Sharefest.

misssrobin said...

What great tips! I'm so happy for you. Thanks for sharing what got you through.

Happy Sharefest. I hope you have a great weekend.

Cassandra Schmigotzki said...

How did you decide what treats you were giving yourself for the milestones? I can't decide what to do.

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