How To Increase Willpower: 7 Tips For Weight Loss Motivation

Do you struggle with knowing how to increase your willpower? Here’s 7 powerful tips to create sustainable weight loss motivation.

Do you struggle with knowing how to increase your willpower? Sometimes weight loss motivation can be so tough.

Like it would be impossible to actually lose weight and keep it off. You try and try again, but it seems like one way or another you sabotage yourself and fly of the wagon. Or worse, the results are slow coming and it’s discouraging because you’re working so hard!

I speak from experience here, especially with yo-yo dieting. Temptation is everywhere, from the tortilla chips, guacamole, and margaritas out with girlfriends, to the cake parties in the office for your co-worker’s birthday.

You find yourself eating a bit too much sugar or missing a few too many workouts, followed by saying, “I’m starting over on Monday! Next week I am going to go hardcore and really commit to this!” But it’s a pattern that shows up week after week.

And, if you are anything like I used to be, you might even believe that the answer to your weight loss prayers is in the latest greatest diet or fitness plan.

I used to be so obsessed with spending hours online researching what to eat and what workouts to do, clearing out the pantry, thinking that this diet — THIS ONE —  is going to be the ONE that finally sticks.

Looking back now, it feels exhausting.

It never stuck and I would always end up feeling like something was wrong with ME.

Why couldn’t I do it?

Why was I so unmotivated?

Why did I suck so bad at sticking with a plan?

If you can relate, listen up because I’ve got news for you.

There is nothing wrong with you. YOU are not broken.

You’re just a little mixed up. And it’s not your fault really, because this is pretty much how we are conditioned to be.

We’re looking for love in all the wrong places trying to prove our good enough-ness by achievement, perfection, and keeping up with the Jones’.

This shows up in so many aspects of life, but today I want to focus the conversation around health, weight loss, and your dream body.

When you learn the secrets to filtering the info you receive (i.e. “this is what you should be doing”) combined with reconnecting with yourself, your own unique body, and the wisdom that comes from within, you’ve hit the jackpot to making weight loss motivation and sustainability relatively easy.

You still have to do the work, but it’s totally different. Almost like the difference between time passing watching paint dry versus time passing while you are on vacation having fun. The same time still goes by, you are just on a different wavelength.

Today I am going to share my 7 most powerful tips to create sustainable weight loss motivation.

1. Increased Willpower Is NOT What You Need

Let’s take a closer look at the idea of “willpower.”

The definition of willpower in the Webster’s dictionary actually references weight loss:

The ability to control yourself : strong determination that allows you to do something difficult (such as to lose weight or quit smoking).

Pay attention specifically to the words: control, determination, difficult.

These words feel really icky to me. Like ew, who wants to do that? And how easy is it going to be to maintain something that feels really difficult to achieve?! That sounds hard and NOT like a lifestyle I want to have for the long-term!

What typically comes to mind when you think about what you need to do to lose weight?

  • Cut out sugar and carbs (deprivation)
  • Push harder in the gym (pain)
  • Get up earlier to fit in a workout (tired)
  • Eat more greens (boring)
  • Cut back on happy hours with the girls (bye-bye fun)

I am going to be honest. This list makes me want to run for the hills!

It feels so restrictive and hard.

What if, instead we shifted our perspective around the idea of what it takes to lose weight and approached it from a mindset of:

  • Nourishment
  • Adventure
  • Self-care
  • Self-discovery

Feels totally different, doesn’t it?

What if this was a journey built on a foundation of love vs shame?

Love:

What if I could reach this goal? How cool would that be?

I GET to take really good care of this amazing body that I have been blessed with.

When I nourish my body, I feel amazing in my skin.

Shame:

I’m not there yet.

I’m embarrassed by the way I look.

I’m so fat right now.

Motivating yourself toward your goals from a mindset of love is so much more satisfying and sustainable than motivating yourself from a mindset of not-good-enoughness.

To shift this mindset around weight loss motivation you must get clear on what it is that you actually want to achieve and WHY.

It’s not about just getting to the number on the scale or fitting into that dress.

I learned that the hard way.

Once I got to my weight loss goal, I felt more trapped and fearful than ever, because once I hit my goal weight, I was 10x more scared of gaining the weight back!

I was living in a self-imposed prison where I was afraid to go out and be around temptation. I didn’t trust myself, so instead I was living like a hermit eating chicken and broccoli all the time. This was NOT the life of my dreams.

I had to stop motivating myself through fear-based thinking.

It makes sense, right? A number on the scale, not fitting into that dress for that wedding, or being embarrassed to wear a swimsuit this summer is only motivating for so long.

So, the secret to creating sustainable change is to design a healthy lifestyle that is exciting, fun, easy, and inspiring AND, wait for it… the perfect fit for YOU — your unique body and preferences.

Weight loss motivation is only as strong as your connection to the deeper reason you want to achieve that goal.

For example, if your weight loss goal is to lose 20 pounds for a big event like a wedding or vacation, then you may be motivated to get to that goal before the event, but what’s the likelihood you’ll stick to it after? The chances are slim, especially if your weight loss plan was pretty extreme.

But when you have a deep, meaningful WHY then it’s a lot easier to be internally motivated and excited about getting up every day and doing the do.

Remember what I mentioned above — adventure, excitement, self-discovery.

When you approach a goal with this mindset, you don’t need to “control” your way there, you’re happy to make choices in alignment with your goals.

One of the best ways to connect with your BIG WHY is to ask yourself, “Why is this important” seven times.

Example:

I want to lose 20 pounds.

Why is losing 20 pounds important?

Because I want to fit into my skinny jeans.

Why is fitting into your skinny jeans important?

Because I want to open my closet and wear whatever I want with ease!

Why is it important for you to open your closet and wear whatever you want?

Because that would feel like freedom. And I would feel sexy and confident about myself.

Why is it important to feel sexy and confident about yourself? What would that allow you to do in your life?

… You get the idea. You can keep going, deeper and deeper. You’ll know when you hit your root WHY because you’ll FEEL it.

For many women their root WHY is related to:

When you have a crystal clear BIG WHY, you’ll be willing to move mountains to make it happen.

More veggies? Bring them on!

Nourish my body with nutrient-rich, tasty food? Hell yes!

Workouts that help my body feel good? More please!

This is the key to a never-ending weight loss motivation.

With your BIG WHY in hand, you don’t need willpower, because you’ve got inspiration (which is an unending resource that comes from within).

And you also begin to realize that you don’t have to wait until you reach the goal in order to give yourself permission to feel this way right now.

2. Cookies and French Fries Are Not Your (Real) Problem

I’m serious. Cookies, carbs, sugar, burgers, french fries, chips, alcohol, etc… are not your problem. Food is not the issue.

Lack of willpower is the surface symptom.

We think the solution is to focus on trying to force ourselves not to eat and drink these things (i.e. control!!).

Hello, restriction never works! It just makes us want to rebel even more.

In order to change the pattern, you have to heal the underlying wound that triggers the behavior.

The reason we sabotage our success with comfort food, skipped workouts, and other unhealthy decisions is because we’re getting triggered in some way emotionally.

There are many reasons this can happen, but one of the most common is that we are trying to protect ourselves and stay safe.

Some great questions to ask yourself (and journal about) are:

  • What typically happens right before I binge or emotionally eat?
  • What typically happens after I binge or emotionally eat?
  • What are some of the thoughts bouncing across my mind when I talk myself out of a workout?
  • Where did these thoughts or behaviors come from? When did they begin (dig deep)?
  • How might it be “safe” for me to stay as I am and not achieve my goals?
  • In what (possibly weird) way is me sabotaging myself actually serving me right now?

In digging into these questions with clients, we often discover together that they have some deep rooted belief that it would actually be painful to reach their goal.

Often a well meaning parent or someone close to them taught them that it’s not safe to be these things. So, they keep extra weight on in order to stay hidden or out of the lime light… because they are afraid to shine.

Or maybe at some time in their life they received unwanted attention, so it makes sense that they would keep themselves from receiving attention.

Other times, the deep rooted belief is tied to a fear of who they would have to be in their lives if they actually DID achieve this goal that they have been chasing for so long. Sometimes it has to do with the fact that we believe that in order to lose weight and stay lean we have to take all the fun out of life and be really strict, and we don’t want that.

Or, who would we be if we were not obsessed with our body and food all of the time? THEN we’d actually have to step up and focus on our goals and dreams for other ares of our life.

These are just a few examples, and maybe you can relate or maybe you can’t. But I guarantee, if you’ve been struggling with weight loss and yo-yo dieting for some time, it would be super beneficial to dig into what blocks you may have that are causing you to consistently sabotage your weight loss motivation.

3. Set and Celebrate Milestone

It’s no secret that in the world of productivity and goal-setting, your success rate for big goals goes up when you set small, achievable milestones along the way to the big goal.

How does the saying go? How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. (Ew.)

Instead of focusing on the BIG goal, look at the little milestones between here and there that, if you hit them, will naturally result in the achievement of the BIG goal.

For example, let’s say you want to be a size 6 but you’re currently a size 12. Great. So let’s start by being honest.

This is a goal that is not going to happen overnight. It took you years to get to where you are, so let’s acknowledge that and agree to give your body the time it takes to get to where you want to be.

Next, let’s set some milestones that we know will naturally lead to the achievement of the big goal.

Here are some milestone ideas:

  • Drink a gallon of water a day
  • Complete 3 strength training workouts a week
  • 3-4 serving of vegetables a day
  • 2 superfood shakes per day (ask me about my favorite)
  • 2 planned treat meals per week
  • 8 hours of sleep per night
  • Consume your ideal body weight in protein (in grams) per day
  • 10 minutes of meditation and deep breathing per day

You don’t have to do all of these, and some of them may not even be a fit for you. My point is to brainstorm the logical steps between A to Z and set up some structure and milestones that you can hit (and celebrate) that you know will lead to consistent action and progress toward your goal.

4. It’s Not Selfish To Prioritize YOU

How often do we make promises to ourselves with good intentions, but let them slip through the cracks because we put ourselves pretty far down the list of what’s important? We do it under the guise of responsibilities or having too many things to do.

Combine that with the stress you are under on any given day and it's no wonder that you reach for your favorite comfort foods when things get tough!

Here are two important questions to consider (and post on your bathroom mirror):

  1. What do you have if you don’t have your health?
  2. What example are you setting for others, on how to treat YOU and how to treat themselves, if you are consistently NOT taking care of yourself?

A major limiting belief that most people, especially women, have is that self-care is selfish.

You can push through life, “giving” to everyone and everything but yourself, and then one day you wake up and find out you have cancer or some other disease because you ignored your health for so long.

It’s harsh, but it’s true. The body gives us signals all day long that it needs our love and attention, but in our society we are taught to ignore these signals.

STOP IGNORING THE SIGNALS.

Promise yourself (and those that you love) that you will start taking better care of yourself both mentally and physically… and then KEEP that promise.

This ties back to #1, your WHY. When you get clear on how important your health is, and you KNOW the ripple affect that “filling your cup” has on every other aspect of your life, it’s a lot easier to prioritize it on a daily basis.

5. Be Nicer To Yourself About Progress

Take 5 deep breaths and then remind yourself that in the grand scheme of things, you aren’t doing that bad.

In fact, you have a lot of positive things going for you in your life. Make a list of those things in your journal. I bet you have about 9 awesome things for every not-so-awesome thing in your life right now. You’re just not focusing on the positive things.

Further, let’s reframe your relationship with food. You don't have to eat spinach salads with bland dressing or grilled chicken and steamed broccoli every day in order to be healthy. Choose meal options that are both nourishing and tasty too.

Reframe your relationship with exercise. Let it be easy. The true benefit of exercise is that it gets you breathing deeply. Your cells need oxygen and all day long when you're at the office sitting down working, you're probably breathing pretty shallowly, right?

So rather than forcing yourself to do exercise that you hate, why not just get up and move in ways that make you feel good in your body and focus on breathing deeply as you do it? Try a new workout class. Go for a girl-talk-walk with a good friend to catch up, rather than chatting over drinks or dinner (hit the gym and talk on the treadmill if it's too cold to do this outside).

Make your healthy lifestyle fit YOU.

Don't think you have to change everything over night. Take one baby step then another until one day you wake up and instead of your first thought being "I feel fat" your first thought will be "I feel pretty freaking amazing.”

Awareness is the first step. You see your unhealthy habits clear as day. Yeah, you may be struggling with what to do about it, but so what. You're aware. Give yourself a big hug for that because you ARE on the right track. Act, analyze, adjust. That’s my motto.

Lots of people go their whole lives never even questioning what they are doing or why. You are tuning in to both and you're ready to change. That’s a huge win right there!

We don't make the decision to change until it's more uncomfortable to continue doing what we're doing than it is to do something different.

You're uncomfortable. That's a good thing. Use that momentum to your benefit.

6. Hire a Coach or Mentor

If you are struggling... get help (here's how to apply to work with me).

Being guided, especially in the beginning, by someone who has walked the path before you, makes the journey a lot more pleasant.

And, I’ll share a secret. Anyone who IS a coach or mentor has HAD a coach or mentor.

I still do, as I challenge myself at greater and greater levels in various areas of life.

But here's a key point, do NOT hire a coach or mentor to give you a strict black and white plan. Find someone that will work with you to support you in taking the steps necessary to achieve your unique goals and the life of YOUR dreams. This takes customization!

A mentor can light the way, help you stay focused on what really matters, and avoid unnecessary missteps along the way.

Sometimes this is tough to do though because it's easy to find reasons why we don't have the time or money. But here's where I am going to challenge you. We always find the money or time for things that are important. If tomorrow you needed new tires, would you find the money? Yes.

So why is hiring a coach to support you in transforming your life for the better NOT just as important?

I know that for me personally, whenever I have had an opportunity to sign up for a program that my intuition is telling me is exactly what I need right now, whether that is a commitment of 1 hour a week or 5 hours... or $1,000 or $10,000, it's never been a situation where I had the extra time in my schedule or the extra cash just laying around. Never.

I had to make time and I had to find the cash for the investment...because it was important.

Often when we find something that we know will help us change our lives we let our lack of time and money be the thing that holds us back from taking that step in the direction of creating the life of our dreams.

 But the truth is, it has nothing to do with time and money, that's just the surface issue. It really has to do with making ourselves a priority and investing in ourselves.

Sometimes we have so much guilt attached to this. But when we do invest in the support we need to expand into that powerful person that can handle what we want to create for ourselves, it repays us tenfold.

7. Find Your Community

You need to surround yourself with a high-vibe, passionate, focused and supportive community. It really is true that we are the average of the top 5 people we hang around with.

It can be lonely and confusing at times when you try to make these big lifestyle and mindset shifts on your own.

I can remember how much flack I got from my friends when I began making changes to "get healthy."

Being in the presence of other people (real life or even online) that are on the same path and who can hold you in your power, remind you of your ability, and provide resources and support increases your success exponentially. Look for groups to connect or mastermind with.

I have several layers of this myself. I am currently finishing up a group coaching program with a mentor. I have a mastermind partner I’ve been meeting with weekly on the phone since 2013. I just joined a charity group where I will be working with amazing, like-minded women on a common goal. I have many friends locally that get together for happy hour, hikes, or coffee to lift each other up and support each other.

If it feels overwhelming or impossible to find people on the same journey as you, start small. Find a friend or a neighbor that may be in a similar situation to you.

Perhaps you both want to be more active and run a few nights a week. Having a buddy means the likelihood of you hitting the pavement, or the trails, for that run is much higher. It’s easy to say no to yourself but far less easy to say no to someone else.

I hope these 7 tips were helpful. If you want more tips like this, definitely sign up for my weekly VIP newsletter below! I only send you things I know will be helpful for you in ROCKIN' your dream body and dream life!

You can do this. I believe in you.

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