When it comes to weight loss motivation, there are healthy ways and unhealthy ways to motivate yourself, and I’m sure it will come as no surprise that the unhealthy ways carry much less chance of success.
Doing anything for the wrong reason is setting yourself up to fail because in your heart and mind you know it’s not a real, tangible reason, and sooner or later (usually sooner) you will fall off the wagon, go back to your prior eating habits, and feel even worse about yourself than you already did.
Don’t despair, though! For every unhealthy motivation, there’s a perfectly healthy alternative that will get your head in the right place and ensure that you stick to plan, because the end results will be so worth it.
Unhealthy Weight Loss Motivation
You want to reach your ideal size.
What even is an ideal size? And ideal in whose eyes? Everyone loses weight differently, and you have no idea whether or not your ‘ideal’ size will even suit you. The problem is, if you are fixated on reaching a certain size you may be so determined to achieve it that you don’t care if you start to look gaunt or ill.
Someone told you to lose weight.
No! No no no! The fact is unless you’re being told by a doctor that you need to lose weight for health reasons, how much you weigh is absolutely nobody’s business but your own. This kind of coercive control is wrong, whether it’s from a spouse, parent, or friend, even if they say they are coming from a place of love. It’s your body, your weight, and your decision, and embarking on a weight loss program to please someone else is doomed to fail.
You think he or she will come back to you if you lose weight.
Along the same lines as being told to lose weight, dieting in the hope that your ex will see the error of his or her ways is a disaster from the off. You don’t know if your weight is the reason they left, even if that’s what they say, so you have no way of knowing if losing it would entice them back.
Furthermore, why would you want someone back who is so superficial that your weight makes or breaks a relationship? In all likelihood, you would embark on a crash diet to shed those pounds as quickly as possible, and if things don’t work out – actually even if they do – you run the risk of piling it all back on again just as quickly.
You have to lose weight because all your friends are.
At the risk of sounding like someone’s mother, would you jump off a cliff if your friends did it? Getting fit and healthy with friends is one thing, and it can be great motivation, but doing it just so you can be like them is not a good way to raise your self-esteem. Constantly comparing yourself to others is a miserable existence, and you will end up feeling wretched about yourself.
You’re going on vacation.
So you want a beach body? Well, here’s the thing…any body is a beach body, regardless of size or weight. And what happens when you get there? Are you going to continue depriving yourself of foods even though you’re on vacation? That’s not what a holiday is all about.
But then again, if you decide to enjoy everything the resort has to offer, you are going to pile the weight back on even more quickly, because all that dieting has slowed down your metabolism. It’s a catch-22 situation, and the only way to win is not to crash diet to fit into your new bikini, but buy a bikini to fit your size instead.
It will make you popular.
In a world that places so much value on aesthetics, it can be easy to fall into the trap of thinking that if you lost weight, people would like you more or you’d have more friends. You may even have found in the past that losing weight made you more popular. But the thing is, it wasn’t how you looked that made people want to be with you, it was your renewed self-confidence.
Losing weight makes you feel good about yourself, which in turn makes you appear more self-assured, and it is this which attracts people to you. When the weight goes back on, you lose confidence, which makes people shy away from you. If you can find other ways to boost your self-confidence, you will have people flocking to you because it feels good to be around you.
You’ve got a closet full of clothes you no longer fit into.
The general rule of thumb is that if you live in a climate with two seasons and you haven’t worn something in 6 months, get rid of it. Or, if you have 4 seasons where you live, give it a year. Either way, the easiest way to solve this dilemma is to not hold on to clothes that no longer fit you.
What we all fail to remember is that as we get older, we change shape, and even if you did lose weight, there’s no guarantee that the clothes would fit you. Donate old outfits to charity and replace them with gorgeous new clothes in your size which will make you look stunning.
Don’t forget that trying to squeeze into too-small clothes just makes you look bigger than you are, anyway.
You want to look good in your wedding photos.
We all want to look our best on a special occasion, but nothing is as beautiful as joy. Dieting to fit into a 3-sizes-too-small wedding gown is just going to make you miserable, and that will show on your face in the photos.
Eat healthily by all means – this will have the added benefit of making your hair shine and your skin clear – but by far the most attractive thing in your photos will be the genuine happiness on your face.
Healthy Weight Loss Motivation
To Stay Disease-Free.
I’m not saying that all diseases are caused by extra weight, but shedding excess pounds will greatly reduce your chances of getting some of the biggest and deadliest diseases;
- Heart disease
- Liver Disease
- Certain types of cancers, including meningioma, multiple myeloma, adenocarcinoma of the esophagus, and cancers of the thyroid, postmenopausal breast, gallbladder, stomach, liver, pancreas, kidney, ovaries, uterus, colon and rectum (colorectal).
That’s an incredibly scary list, and well-worth losing weight for.
To Give Your Joints a Break.
Did you know that for every extra pound of weight you carry, the effect is quadrupled on your joints? So for instance, if you were carrying an extra 50lbs, your joints would feel like they were carrying and extra 200lbs. That’s an immense amount of strain, and sooner or later, something is going to give.
But in reverse, for every 1lb you lose, that’s 4lb of strain removed from the joints, so you will feel the benefits almost immediately.
To Keep Hormones Regulated.
Believe it or not, being overweight puts your hormones completely out of whack, which can cause a whole host of problems. Sleepless nights, irritability, brain fog, and general feelings of blah can all be caused by the disruption brought on by excess weight.
Losing weight can gradually bring your hormones back into synch and make you feel much better.
For a Good Night’s Sleep.
Not only can losing weight restore any hormone imbalance which might cause insomnia, but it can also reverse weight-induced obstructive sleep apnea. A potentially deadly condition, sleep apnea can make the sufferer stop breathing multiple times during the night, especially if extra weight has settled around the neck area.
Not only can this leave you feeling incredibly tired and lethargic during the day, but it has more serious consequences, too:
- Memory loss
- Mental confusion
- Weakened immune system
- High blood pressure
- Liver problems
- Heart problems
- Loss of libido or sexual function
- High cholesterol
- Low blood oxygen
These are just a few of the problems which sleep apnea can cause. 
To Avoid or Improve Arthritis.
Typically associated with older people, arthritis can actually strike at any age, and the risk increases exponentially with weight. Not only does carrying extra pounds put a strain on weight-bearing joints, but it can also hasten the destruction of cartilage, the connective tissue which reduces friction between moving bones. When this happens, your joints are literally moving bone on bone.
In addition, extra fat cells increase inflammation, which is known to be a major cause of osteoarthritis.
Losing weight can have an almost-instantaneous effect on arthritis, though, as losing just 10% of your body weight can cut arthritis pain by 50%, and can also slow down or even stop the progression of the disease.
To Keep Bones Strong.
Another condition most associated with old age, osteoporosis is the loss of bone density. Like arthritis, though, it can affect people much younger, especially those who are overweight. Having osteoporosis can severely impact your life, meaning that the slightest blow or fall can result in a fracture.
Refined sugars and starches and fizzy drinks can all contribute to the condition, so by changing your diet to eliminate these foods, you will not only lose weight but could stop or even reverse the damage to your bones.
Interestingly, taking drugs for heartburn and acid reflux – which can be the result of eating too many rich and fatty foods – can greatly accelerate osteoporosis, which is another great reason for switching to a healthy diet!
So you can enjoy food again.
If this sounds like a bit of a paradox, bear with me. Eating the ‘wrong’ kinds of foods can alter the brain’s chemistry, which in turn can affect the way you perceive a food’s taste. This can lead to you eating more of the same foods to try and get the enjoyment you crave – it’s a double whammy because not only are you eating more, but you’re eating more of the wrong foods.
When you swap unhealthy foods for healthier choices, not only will you lose weight but you will be able to taste things properly again, and after a while, you will find that sweet foods taste artificial and too sickly.
To Breathe Easy.
Breathing is essential, and it’s something we don’t even notice we’re doing most of the time. For someone who is carrying excess weight, however, that breathing can become labored and every breath can be a struggle. While this can prevent activities like going to the gym, it can also impact everyday life, like walking upstairs.
Even something as simple as going for a stroll with a friend or loved one can be impossible because talking becomes difficult when you’re out of breath, so you spend more time trying to catch your breath than you do catching up with what’s going on in each others’ lives.
Even losing 5% of your body weight can improve lung function and reduce breathlessness, which in turn means that exercising – even just a walk around the block – comes more easily.
You Are Enough
There are so many good reasons to lose weight, and the best part is, whichever one you choose, the other benefits will follow naturally; your breathing becomes easier, and as a welcome by-product you reduce your risk of serious illness, you can taste food again, your pain levels reduce and your bones become stronger.
But…if you opt for one of the unhealthy weight loss motivations, you’re doing it for other people – to attract an ex, to please a family member, to fit in with the crowd, and in reality, none of these things are likely to happen anyway.
The only person you should lose weight for is you, so choose your motivation wisely for the absolute best chance of success.
More on Motivation:
- Workout Motivation: 10 Scientific-Backed Methods to Stay Motivated
- 5 Fitness Motivations That Will Hurt Progress More Than Help
- Intrinsic Motivation and How to Use It to Get What You Want
- 16 Most Life-Changing Motivational Speeches & What You’ll Gain from Them
- 10 Monday Morning Motivation Habits for a Successful Week
- 8 Rituals to Cultivating True Self-Motivation That Lasts
- 55 Motivational Quotes That Can Change Your Life