When people say they want to lose weight, what they usually mean is they want to reduce fat and increase muscle and strength. It’s technically impossible to “lose” fat without surgery, since fat cells simply shrink and grow.
If you’re wanting to decrease fat, keep in mind that it’s nearly impossible to do so while simultaneously increasing muscle (if that’s your goal).
The scale can also be your worst enemy—instead rely on measuring key parts of your body including calves, hips (widest part), waist (smallest part), chest (widest part), upper arms and perhaps neck. You can also keep track of your progress with how non-stretchy clothes fit.
Avoiding the scale is an absolute must if you’ll also be toggling between regimens to reduce fat and increase muscle size, also known as hypertrophy training.
However, before you begin, you need to take care of a few tasks. First, motivation needs to be in place. Most of us have heard of successful fat reduction stories in which the person just knew they were ready. In other words, they’d found motivation.
What can you do if motivation doesn’t seem to be coming your way?
Here are a few tips and tricks from professionals on how to gain the motivation necessary for a successful, safe and long-term fat reduction lifestyle:
1. Start with cognitive reconditioning.
Self-talk is a major pillar of cognitive reconditioning, and it’s key because our brains do a fantastic job of making what we think come true.
In a society where sarcasm and self-deprecation is revered, it’s unfortunately common to think thoughts like, “There’s no way I can ever lose weight” or “I’ve already had a fattening breakfast. What’s the point in eating healthy the rest of the day?”
Talk kindly to yourself and tell yourself motivating thoughts. It might sound cheesy and even feel a bit strange at first, but practicing it over time will help make it part of your daily routine.
Particularly focus on motivating self-talk. A simple thought such as “You can do this” as you contemplate a new gym membership or online support group to complete a 5k can do wonders. Speaking of online support …
2. Surround yourself with cheerleaders as well as those living healthy lifestyles.
Who you surround yourself with plays a huge role in your own behavior and thoughts. Sadly, it’s common to have loved ones try to derail you from your efforts, whether out of good intentions gone wrong or jealousy.
You might have friends with whom relationships are founded on binging together, giving each other permission to eat unhealthily. They might get scared or anxious with your new approach to healthy living and make snide comments.
Depending on how much you value them in your life, you can try talking to them—or it may be best to avoid them while you’re on the start of your journey.
3. Adopt the ladder approach to goal setting.
Writing down your goals, with an actual pen and paper, has been proven highly effective with any dream including weight loss.
Why pen and paper? It forces your thoughts to better match the speed of your goal setting list.
The ladder approach is a means of using baby steps and short term goals that all lead to the bigger, long-term goal. The ladder approach is a lot less intimidating, and you’ll get the rush of finishing more goals in less amount of time.
4. Create a list of positive, healthy reasons you want to reduce fat and keep it visible.
Some of you peeps reading this might want to reduce fat so you look good in a swimsuit– this is a dangerous short term approach that can set a precedence for a negative self-image.
Instead, focus on genuine reasons such as lowering high blood pressure, getting to enjoy more time with your family or friends due to a healthier weight, or being able to walk up a flight of stairs without getting winded.
If you’re really craving the motivation of “looking better,” try to avoid items that might tarnish your self-esteem when there are setbacks (and there will be setbacks).
For example, include “The fun of shopping at more stores for clothes I like” instead of “Looking smashing on my wedding day.” Shopping will always be there, but if you don’t make a goal weight by your wedding, it can ruin the day.
5. Choose healthy exercise activities that you really like, and shake it up.
You might have heard that running, swimming or another activity is the “best way” to reduce fat.
There’s only one best way: The one you’ll actually stick with.
Try them all from dance classes to cycling or rowing. Studies have shown, and it’s no surprise, that you tend to do activities you like more than those you dread. However, the body is very good at adapting to certain movements.
Change your exercise or schedule at least every eight weeks.
6. Exercise when you have the time and motivation, and find a healthy eating lifestyle—not a diet—that’s manageable.
Just like exercise, there’s no “best time” to work out.
The best time is when you have the energy and time, whether it’s early in the morning, during your lunch break or after work.
However, exercise is only part of the equation. Eating healthy and for your body’s needs is key for fat reduction.
Research approaches that you can customize, that you’re excited about, and which seem manageable. A great motivator is actually looking forward to your new lifestyle, but knowing it’s always up for a modification.
Where to go from here..
Starting on a new, healthy path begins with having the motivation, support and knowledge necessary to succeed. No matter where you are on the path, from the planning stages to the preparation, know that the journey isn’t linear. You might take some steps back or make big leaps and bounds in one fell swoop. Remember: with motivation, you’ll surely succeed.
Tell us a bit about what you use to motivate yourself in the comments below!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Emily Walters is a content writer for fitnessedge.net. When she is not writing, Emily enjoys practicing yoga and running along the beaches in San Diego.