How do people stay motivated?

Hi, this is my first post here. I am currently 92kg and need to lose about 30kg which I'm doing by the 5:2 diet. I have a long list of medical problems including mobility problems, (rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia) plus OCD (which makes routine and structure a necessity with everything I do). My therapist (for the OCD) suggested I join a forum for some moral support. I want to lose weight for my health, I know it's having a really negative impact on my RA and Fibro.

I used to be a real gym bunny, 5 times a week, but I can barely walk anymore, so it puts more dependance on losing the weight via diet. I plan on trying to include a little swimming and yoga, but I certainly can't exercise like I used to. Which is part of the reason I've put 5 stone on!

One of my problems is keeping motivated after I've 'strayed' from my idea of healthy food. For example, I failed to resist the one bar of chocolate, so the whole day is wasted so I might as well have that biscuit as well, and the can of coke while I'm there. Not rational I know, but that's what I tend to think.

So, my question, what motivational tips work for you?



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16 Replies

  • I bought a Rosemary Conley DVD (full body workout £3 on amazon) and she highlights an exercise programme which can be done in a chair. I have the same amount of weight to lose as you - 6.1 kg lost since 1/1/14 - and I downloaded A My Weight app. which gives me a graph of my progress. If you slip up, don't give up. Be realistic. It is a life habit we are all trying to develop and so losing a little over the long term is better than a lot in a short time which doesn't then stay off. All the very best and I hope you stick with it.

  • Hi Reni,

    Firstly I had to look up the 5:2 diet to see what it was about. I am dieting the other way - being very good for 5 days and allowing myself a couple of small treats at the weekend that way I hope to stick to the diet.

    I think rather than use the word diet I like to think of it as a few small changes for a healthier lifestyle.

    I only have a stone to lose which isn't that much but it is extremely hard to lose as I already follow a healthy diet. I don't drink, don't eat loads of fat laden or sugary food and I am lucky that I don't have any serious underlaying illnesses.

    I do low to moderate exercise daily albeit long walks with my dog but I am going to start using the Wii Fit to hopefully increase my level of fitness and burn off more calories.......I used to go to the gym but only once or twice a week but I have a bad shoulder so need to concentrate on this before embarking on any strenous exercise as even doing daily chores can aggrevate it!

    What keeps me motivated.......that is a tough question as I am only on day 2 of this diet/eating plan!!!

    So I guess I will have to get back to you on some motivational tips in due course.......but in the meantime just take small steps in making changes - perhaps only one or two a week.

    Each time your think you want something you shouldn't have try to steer away from it and keep yourself busy .....even just a walk around the block .....I am sure you will soon see the difference.

    Good luck and keep positive.

    Smileysarah :)

  • I'm nearing my 'ideal' weight (7 lbs to go) also using the Fast Diet (5:2). I've replied to your post as I identify with the loss of control once I've 'slipped up' - certainly not rational but just very human! When I'm good, I'm very good; although I don't have OCD, I am very thorough weighing food and will spend just that extra moment making sure I'm accurate to the gram.

    The greatest tip I have to give is DON'T have that other stuff in the house! Don't buy biscuits, cake, coke and so on, as you know what it can lead to in a moment of loss of control. It's not the perfect solution - I love my own delicious homemade seeded bread, slicing and freezing it within an hour of making it to limit myself - but there have been times during this winter, when I find myself prizing frozen slices off with a knife, to make 2,3 or 4 slices of toast, and it's usually when I'm on a non-fast day. It's not the end of the world tho' as it's not 'unhealthy', and so I can rationalise my 'failure'.

    Don't want to commit to the gym, so I walk regularly, and just have a 10 minute morning routing of strength/mobility exercises which I probably do 5 out of 7 days.

    So my tip again? Don't have that quick sugar fix food in the house!

    Best of luck.

  • I'm so pleased you're doing the 5:2 Diet - I lost three stone (20 kilos) on it and have kept it off since April last year. I'd agree with the others, don't have the naughty stuff in the house! You don't have to buy that chocolate (or if you do, get the little 20p Freddo children's bars) and drink Diet Coke rather than the 'full-fat' variety.

    I entered every morsel every day into MyFitnessPal, even on my non-fasting days. Have you worked out your TDEE? If you have to enter it into MFP you're less likely to eat it!

    There are some brilliant Facebook groups that will also keep you motivated.

    I know walking is hard for you but you might find Leslie Sansone's walking videos on YouTube doable. There are quite a few that are just 15 minutes long which is a mile and even if you can just do five minutes at first they're great fun videos and she's a lovely girl and very motivating.

    As you lose weight I'm sure you'll find your mobility improves. My knees used to be awful but now they're so much better. Good luck with your journey - onwards and downwards!

  • I'm uncomfortable with the whole 'good/bad' stuff around food.

    I'd agree with the idea of making life easier for yourself by not having things that don't make you feel good and don't help you achieve your goals easily accessible.

    You could try a hypnosis script with the aim of having your subconscious do some of the work so you are not constantly making an effort not to eat X or Y or just more.

    The NHS plan will provide some structure although I feel the calorie allowance is a bit standard if you are going to struggle to achieve vigorous exercise on a regular basis and are very sedentary.

    Recording all your eating is often a successful strategy.

  • Morning I can totally relate to all you say I have ME and had a stroke in Dec 2013 and this is a tough call for me. I have lost a lot of weight in the past 6 stone but yo- yo my way through. Tablets are a killer as is fatigue and pain. So if you need a chat I know keeping going is hard but the stoke has made me sort it out

  • I found my motivation varied throughout my weight loss:

    - It started with being fed up of having to compromise on the clothes I bought - which was the original trigger for me do something about it.

    - The visual/physical; signs of weight loss were always a great boost, every couple of weeks I would notice being thinner a few areas took a while to show, but it was regular enough to constantly push to continue.

    - I also began to feel healthier - not that I realised I didn't before - and wanting to keep that feeling is really great.

    - The prospect of rubbing in the noses of my siblings who liked to coment about my weight... okay maybe not the most noble of motivations but it worked.

    - Comments from people. this was a strong motivation as people notice and compliment. Given I had a lot to lose (45kg) it became quite noticeable and I had a lot of comments which ranged from the complimentary to disbelief - more than one person still thinks I got a gastric band! Sadly they end up getting annoying after a while as people progressively pluck up the courage to say something.

    I sympathise with the OCD as I struggled with that for many years. Mine has always been linked to my health and the eventual "cure" was to be healthy so I guess there was a natural synergy there. Being very much a routine person too I found that once I had integrated a healthy diet and had identified a fairly balanced meal plan the OCD urge towards routine was actually a plus - habit to be healthy just as I used to have a habit to be unhealthy. I have learned through this process that if I push through the anxiety I can achieve a lot more than I expected and also can eventually cross out another of my triggers.

    Finally in regards to straying, try not to think of it as good and bad days. If you eat the chocolate bar, you haven't ruined the day, it was a weak moment thats all.

    Best of luck

  • Hi Reni

    Have you been checked for problems with gluten (coeliac disease)? It often goes with fibro.

  • You write 'One of my problems is keeping motivated after I've 'strayed' from my idea of healthy food. For example, I failed to resist the one bar of chocolate, so the whole day is wasted so I might as well have that biscuit as well, and the can of coke while I'm there.'

    From what I've heard and read, this is a fairly widespread way of thinking, based on the idea that 'tomorrow is another day' and you can always start again from new, first thing tomorrow morning.

    Another way of looking at it could be 'So what? What is one biscuit or one chocolate bar in the general scheme of things?' The whole day need not be wasted. Just carry on with what you planned to do for the rest of the day.

    Much that is to do with weight control is 'not rational'! That's because it goes back to learned responses from many years ago, the idea of food as a reward or as a punishment rather than something we need to keep us alive and active.

  • I'm the same - if I eat one thing that's considered wrong, my diet goes out of the window, I get upset with myself then stuff my face with everything imaginable :(

    I've changed my chocolate habit to Lindt Excellence 95% dark chocolate; tricky at first, but now, I have up to 2 squares of this very rich choccy, and it's enough; I take a carb blocker and a fat blocker while I indulge, so it's not quite so bad for me. Keeping busy is the key, as I often comfort eat, but I'm a right lazy cow so exercise doesn't come easy for me. If there's anything in my comments that you find useful, help yourself, please :)

  • I think you have to get rid of the idea that you have 'strayed'. If you are doing 5:2, you will know that no foods are 'bad' or are 'banned' and that it's not about WHAT you eat so much as about HOW MUCH.

    So you ate some chocolate? The world won't end and instead of thinking you've 'wasted' the day, just eat a little less for the rest of the day and resolve NOT to eat the whole bar next time. If you must buy chocolate, either buy a very small bar or break the bar into pieces - maybe a couple of squares in each piece and wrap them separately. Then if you have to eat them just eat ONE piece. Buy Diet Coke or Coke Zero and drink a whole can. It's all controllable.

    You will lose weight without exercise on 5:2 if you stick to having up to 500 cals on your fast days and NO MORE than your TDEE on non fast days. And on fast days...just tell yourself that you can have chocolate tomorrow! xx

  • Hi reni73,

    As well as changing your eating habits, you rather need to change your thinking about food and the things you currently eat.

    It there is something you really like to eat which is high in fat / carbs, then try to "re-think" it.

    Like chocolate? Fine .... but why eat a whole bar of it (look on the wrapper for the calories and you soon work out why not to!)

    But how's about a moderate portion of fruit, say raspberries, or blueberries, with some fat free yoghurt and a little 85% chocolate grated over the top?

    That's a lot better way of eating chocolate. (And the bar will probably last you months like that!)

    Good luck with your weight loss efforts.

  • I stay motivated by promising myself not to give up in the 12 wks despite what the scales read and just stick to my plan. Gd luck with ur weight loss journey.

  • If you look at your self nude in a mirror, it will do it. I did it and didn't like what I saw. I will lose the weight if I have to starve myself, just joking, but it will lose the weight by summer.

  • Put the picture of your self, the one you hate the most on the fridge door. I find I get more motivated when I am part of a group, trying to do things on my own I soon get down and then I tend to stray from the routine and back in to my old ways. I think the forums work well, when I have a week when for some reason my weight has not changed I look on here and get motivated by others who are having the same problems than me.

  • Reni, I think you must be a perfectionist, the downside of which can be that if everything isn't perfect you think what's the point and give up. A small failing now and then doesn't matter, just try ot 'isolate' it from everything else and carry on as if it hadn't happened.

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