The thrill of a new dietary venture can’t be more exciting. You finish your last meal holding a strong resolve for tomorrow’s first low-calorie meal. The phone is ready, Facebook page all set up and hash tags lined up by your side. You can’t wait to upload the full course meal from start to finish. But fast forward months later and the exhilaration seems to disappear. Meals are uninteresting; the images you once longed to upload look boring and monotonous. And your regular workouts seem more like a draggy ritual than a habit.
You might be facing a similar situation. Perhaps your spouse isn’t as supportive as way back. A family member screws over your diet. Or a co-worker slips few donuts on the desk. No matter the reason, intrinsic or extrinsic, there will come a time when motivation slumps and positive affirmations won’t do the trick. But don’t fret. Just because willpower plunged everything isn’t lost. There’s still hope; and a gentle push is all you need to keep the ball rolling.
1. Focus On Your Goals
Successful people on planet have one common trait: goal oriented decisions. That means every step is geared towards a specific purpose.
It’s hard to accomplish things when goals aren’t instilled in your mind. Think about Thomas Edison or Steve Jobs, their determination to achieve an accomplishment kept them from giving up when trials rose. Despite the countless failures, their minds filled with a tangible image of the future provided relief and strength to go forward.
So ask yourself, what is your goal? How does your future physique look like? Do you see yourself leaner, slimmer, and good looking on clothes? Or do you still want to look overweight, flabby, and skin tight on a shirt? Have a clear image of the future. Ponder on it. Hold it like it’s closer than yesterday. Once you create that picture, stick to it. Make it the basis of your daily decisions.
2. Be Patient
How do you eat an elephant?
It’s a notable question I came across over the years. And the answer is found in a story that took place decades ago.
In the 1950’s somewhere in the mountains, a group of soldiers were trying to get to a village located miles and miles away. The problem was few of them were injured and couldn’t keep up with the group. Despite their training, the injuries slowed them down and heavy weaponry made it unbearable to walk farther. However, the leader being a brilliant fellow, decided to lighten the burden of the injured by making stops at every mile or so. Few days later after successfully arriving at the village, one of the injured soldiers remarked how easier than he thought it was to cross mountains. If it were not for the commander’s idea, he would have given up from the start.
Moral of the story:
Rather than looking at how long the journey is, make checkpoints along the way. Every step you take is an accomplishment. And through patience, from one mile to the next, the goal will be nearer than yesterday. Ergo, focus on losing weight one week at a time, and as you do, congratulate yourself for fulfilling each step. By the moment you lost 40 pounds, you’ll feel glad at how fast time flew.
Going back to the question, how do you eat an elephant?
Do it one bite at a time.
3. Surround Yourself With Like Minded People
No matter how charged up you are some people exist to drag you down the road of sloth; particularly the overweight, lethargic, unattractive fellow – the one who doesn’t give a dime at looking good. When conversations are about to get awful avoid the topic like plague, if possible, make your way out of the crowd. Bad philosophy can spread like virus. By the time you realize it already tainted your subconscious. Instead, surround yourself with like-minded people, those who take care of their health and physique. The more you hang with them, the more progress can be made.
I remember a guy explaining how miserable was when family members picked on his new interest in health improvement. But despite the various taunts, one ideology kept him from crushing: “Call me vain, but at least vanity is what’s keeping me healthy and good looking”.
By no means should social life be cut off. After all, no man is an island; therefore spend precious time with people who support your efforts – perhaps a new gym buddy or fitness group. If family is the antithesis the least you can do is minimize exposure of the topic, just like avoiding an infection. Trust me, dieting is never easy, and it’ll never will. Among the myriads of physiologic disturbances it brings, social pressure is worth your attention. No matter how good a diet plan is, when peer pressure exerts unfavorable influence, boy, you better watch out.
4. Take A Break
If everything fails, it might be your physiology. Prolonged periods of caloric restriction cause some nasty metabolic side effects. Elevated Cortisol turns into an enemy, makes you insulin resistant, prone to fat deposition and muscle loss. Whereas Leptin drops, causing hunger pangs, leading to overeating. Thyroid hormones dwindle, metabolic slowdown sets in and fat and carbohydrates metabolism alters. In short you’ll feel terrible, weak, puny, and unworthy. But hold on, a cheat day or 2-week diet break is all you need. When I dieted longer than recommended, similar symptoms took place – loss of motivation, strength, ability to cope… you name them. So I took a break, ate whatever I wanted for 2 weeks (with appropriate restriction), and voilà! Everything returned to normal. Motivation was back, physical strength normalized, in a nutshell – I felt great.
If you feel like everything’s not working, perhaps you need a small break. No need to be impatient. Airplanes take detours once in a while, but the goals stands still. So should your progress. Allow yourself to breath. Unwind. Live your life. Once you do, come back. You’ll be surprised how recharged you are to begin another journey.
There you go. When motivation slips remember these words of wisdom: focus on your goals; be patient, do things one step at a time; hang out with the right crowd and most importantly – take a break every now and then.