Motivation & Determination

So, as you can probably tell, I'm sixteen, and my parents have told me I'm overweight (which I know I am... whoops!) Starting tomorrow, I am following a healthy eating plan (on the NHS Weight Loss programme thing, but with a few more calories added since I'm still a teenager, so around 1,600 calories a day) and the Couch to 5k/Stretch and Flex initiatives.

My problem being, I've tried this before, and I always lose motivation on the 3rd of 4th day...

HOW DO I KEEP MYSELF GOING? I try to tell myself all the benefits that losing weight and being healthy will bring, but it's just so hard to make time, with revision and rehearsals and Cadets and things, to cook for myself and go out for runs and things.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!


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26 Replies

  • Oh how I wish I'd stuck to a healthy eating plan at your age, instead I kept getting bigger and bigger until when I joined slimming world last September I was half a pound over twenty two stones. At my heaviest i was twenty three and a half stones. It's not easy staying motivated but I would suggest looking at small ways to modify your diet, for example switching an ordinary drink of cola for diet, full fat crisps for a baked alternative. Check online for healthy recipes, getting stuck in a rut with food is a huge de-motivator. Do not panic if you slip up, we all do from time to time just get back on track instead of throwing all your good work away. Finally don't deprive yourself, if there's something you crave take it, in small amounts, there's nothing worse than feeling deprived when you're dieting.

    Good luck and keep posting we're all here to support you.

  • Thank you so much :) Food wise my plan is basically to try new healthy things - Im a bit set in my ways with always having pasta for lunch at school and just sandwiches for tea because I have to eat quickly before I go out to the evening's club/activity/whatever.

    Tonight is promotional photography, and Im all set with tuna and sweetcorn pasta & strawberries & grapes...

  • personally, I'd allow yourself little treats but if you know you start struggling around day 4 maybe let yourself have a small treat on that day in the hopes that it's enough to keep you going. If I didn't allow myself treats now and then I know I would lose all motivatio with it. I'm 23 but I know I try to interest my friends in doing fun active things rather than wandering around town, going for lunch etc. Maybe trying ice- skating, trampolining etc with friends. They don't need to know it's because you're trying to be healthy, can just be something fun to try.

    Good Luck!

  • Thank you! I'll give it a go :) It's just difficult to fit in activity around my schedule - even though I'm busy I'm not very active at all, most of my clubs and things are mostly quite laid back. Starting Couch to 5K in half an hour so I'm going to need all the good luck I can get :')

  • This is a hard thing to say and only you will be able to judge whether it is right for you, but you may need to have a long hard look at all your activities and prioritise. (Probably true for most students in their GCSE year!) Sounds like you might be quite a driven person... lots of good things about that but it might be why things wobble a few days in, because you can't sustain that level of mental, never mind physical intensity. A few people have suggested making one or two smaller (realistic) changes but sticking to those as much as possible and then building on it. As I say, NHS C25K is brilliant and I wish my sons the same sort of age as you would do it, but don't ignore the merits of walking when you can do so safely. The nights are getting lighter so it will get easier.

    Our household has been in public exam mode for a year or two and another couple of years to go. Last May we got a big trampoline off Freegle and that's been great for snatching bits of exercise/relaxation on (as well as lolling around on revising)

  • A lot of my activities I can't really drop out off (4 nights a week I rehearse for two different shows) but they'll both be over by April so I'll be a lot less busy for exam season :) We used to have a trampoline, and I was big into trampolining, I did a back flip, my brother tried to copy me and broke his arm - sold the trampoline on eBay. Just finished Day One Week One of C25K, it was a lot more fun than I was expecting :)

  • Bit of family history of "If something goes wrong, give up" then!

    C25K is a lot of fun (and hard work) - like doing a show in a way.

  • When I was 16 I was in the same boat as you, but I kept delaying and now I'm 20 plus an extra stone. Lose it while you can (easily) your young, you body and metabolism will change :)

    You should make an objectives list, and include small weekly goals in relation to running and dieting.

    Do you think you've gained weight due to increased portion sizes, snacking, too much of the wrong food or a combination?

    A calorie is a calorie and eating more nutrient dense foods will keep you fuller for longer, you should lose weight providing your calorie input is lower than your calorie output. So factor into your plan something you liked to eat like a small chocolate bar, know how many calories is in it and make sure you do extra to burn it off.

    Best of luck

  • Thank you for the reply :) I have my meal plan for the week all sorted, and I've gone according to the NHS plan, with things with lots of fibre to fill me up and then lots of fruit and vegetables and stuff :) I managed to mess up already today, as my drama teacher gave me a bar of chocolate for helping her with something, but hey ho, I'll go and do my first Couch to 5K run to make myself feel slightly better :')

  • It's all about balance and you can't plan for every occasion. But note that if you had planned a treat then a surprise comes along - then you shouldn't have that treat ... To keep the balance or alternatively workout more than planned originally.

    Something that I do personally is look after my outer body, moisturise, exfoliate etc it leaves you feeling good on the outside and therefore compliments the changes happening on the inside ☺️

  • Good luck. I am not sixteen, but have a daughter who is 29, but do know how hard it is to keep motivated, but I promise you it will be worth it and if you can find a buddy on here around your age and way of thinking this will help you too. My buddy suggested I buy a pedometer, which I did, and I have to say this helps as it shows are steps I do throughout the day, which does help, psychological.

    I wish you well and hope you find a buddy with similar interests and age range as this will help you immensely.

  • Thank you! I haven't really seen many people around my age on here so far, but I also have a tumblr account where there are a lot more teenage girls trying to do the same thing. I just really like this forum because it's a lot more interactive and you can talk to real people rather than models and things who are paid to run fitness blogs :)

  • My suggestion would be to start to find treats other than food to reward yourself.

    I am wondering how supportive your family are - it is good to have the problem faced head on, but you mention cooking for yourself. That's great if you enjoy it, but it suggests that your family may not be eating healthily themselves and that must feel quite isolating for you. Even if they don't need to lose weight, we all need to be active and eat well so they could all join you and just have larger portions if that's appropriate for them. Could your family help with a set of rewards as you achieve smaller goals towards your ultimate goal?

    Your exercise plan is a great one - the two NHS podcast programmes are very accessible.

    It can be such a busy time of life with a lot to think about and in some ways, limited control (tho' in other ways a lot of freedom to make changes!) I've found with the cooking that doing preparation early in the day really helps. I'll get a new recipe ready and look forward to it as a big treat - even though it is low calorie and healthy.

    The thing which seems to mark out those who succeed from those who give up is being able to put any day when, for whatever reason, you didn't achieve what you planned for (your run session, you didn't eat a single vegetable, you had seconds of pudding) into perspective. In other words, if you lose motivation on day 3 or 4, so what, there's always day 5, 6, 7....

  • My family are pretty supportive in reality, it's just because I'm sometimes out of the house from 8am until 10.30pm that I make myself dinner in the evenings and things - the nights where I'm home at a reasonable time we all have dinner together, and my Mum makes really good proper homemade food. She's totally on board with this, and she's doing a lot of the same things too :) If I lose a substantial amount of weight (they don't want to set an exact target because they're scared I'll get too hung up over it... I'm a bit of a perfectionist) and do well in my exams (I'm aiming for all A*s) they've agreed to pay for my driving lessons and, hopefully, my car and car insurance if/when I pass! Pretty motivational :')

    Day one and I managed to take my eye off the ball :( My drama teacher gave me some Lindt chocolate for helping her out at an open evening, and I mean... it would've been rude to say no, right?

    Oh well, onwards and upwards.

    Thanks for the reply!

  • Making small changes for life is far more beneficial than make huge changes for just a few months. Keep whatever you do manageable and doable.

    Try not to blur exercise and diet into one thing, keep them separate, exercise for health, change what you eat and the amount to lose weight. Make sure you enjoy exercising, it should not become a prison sentence nor a choir, also make sure you fuel your exercise, even more important because of your age and sex, good quality nutrition is essential for future bone health and other things!

    If it at any stage you feel yourself about to break your food changes then ease off, have a treat, just don't stop completely, remember small changes, which in turn if done for long enough will start to build good healthy habits and routines, spurred on long by good results and as your knowledge about yourself and nutrition expands then you can make further changes as needed, but remember "Small Changes", it's a Marathon not a Sprint.

    Good Luck

  • Thank you :) I might put ''It's a marathon not a sprint'' up on my wall somewhere, I love it

  • You're still at school - ask the help of your PE teacher. Also, which cadets? Most of them are involved in physical activities. I know that Sea Cadets do. And army cadets do a lot of marching!

    Good luck!

  • Im an Air Cadet :) We do a lot of physical training and things, but our staff mostly just let us mess around on sports nights because noone really enjoys proper physical training, staff included :)

    And I cant ask my PE teachers... 1 and a bit years of doing nothing when I first started at this school means they sort of hate me :')

    Thanks for the reply :)

  • its there job to help make them work for there cash lol

  • True :') I might have a word with them tomorrow, ask for tips and things :)

  • Try using a goal, i.e. calories and stick to them, pedometer, as this counts your steps, this has helped me and I don't count calories any more, and don't buy things you wtill eat that you shouldn't, i.e. crisps, sweets etc, if there not there to eat, then you can't. If I could I would swim at least 3 to 4 times a day, I used to do 50 lengths every day, but since my knees have had it, can't its too painful, walking is ok, if taking my time, so you could try this and see if there is a teenager buddy on here, I think there are young people as keeping in touch helps, happy to help where I can though.

  • I'm in the same position as you with activity, I have twisted joints pretty much everywhere below the waist and an Achilles tendon which never quite recovered from being torn on a skiing holiday which makes physical activity pretty difficult/painful, but obviously my weight is a factor in that. I used to swim a lot, but my body in a swimsuit now... no way. Quite ironic really. I might take up swimming again when I'm feeling a bit more body positive. I guess it'd be really good because I wouldn't be putting weight on my twisted joints and ankle... hm.

    Thanks for the reply :)

  • Hi, I'm also 16 and trying to lose weight. My main suggestion is not to set the bar too high - if you try to change too much at once then you will end up giving up as it's too hard to stick to. The main thing to change is your diet - although exercise helps, the main weight loss results come from changing your diet to something healthier. One way I try to cut down on what I eat is to set a target: for instance I told myself to eat my 3 daily meals and cut down on snacks - either none at all, or only healthy ones. Another suggestion is to stop eating past a certain point - studies show that eating past around 7pm makes food much harder to be digested and this is a main cause for weight gain. Although these changes may be hard at first, your body adapts and it becomes a normal routine - trust me!! Finally, do let yourself indulge a little: give yourself a target of 4/5/6 (you can change this as you progress) healthy days and the other days for treats. This means you can either say from Mon-Fri you will be healthy and can have chocolate on Saturday, or maybe throughout the week you may find yourself struggling so use that day as your 'treat day' - if you don't meet your needs then you will find it too hard to continue and end up giving in to temptation... Sorry for this being so long, but I hope it helps!! Good luck :)

  • Thanks! Do you think maybe we could keep in touch? Just Id find it a lot easier with someone my own age to talk to :) And Saturday's gonna be my treat day - my boyfriends parents take us out for breakfast so hot chocolate oops :/ Thank you for the reply :)

  • No problem! Sure - e-mail me and maybe we can exchange numbers? :)

  • My opinion is that the snacking habit is the curse of recent generations. How did those of us who grew up in WWII survive? OK, we were a lot more active and sweets were rationed, but snacking didn't exist and we never thought of it.

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