This article was last updated on March 14, 2022
Those of us who are not fitness enthusiasts struggle to regularly exercise. It becomes slightly easier when you have specific goals that you are working towards. Whether that goal be fitting into a particular dress, or reaching your target weight. However, when we don’t reach our goals we can become disheartened and may begin doubting our ability to lose the excess pounds. If you haven’t achieved your fitness goals just yet, it doesn’t mean you should stop working towards them.
Here’s how to stay motivated and keep working to meet your fitness goals:
Look at the bigger picture
If you have been working out regularly and you still haven’t reached your goal, don’t be too hard on yourself. Focus on what you have achieved by looking back at where you started and how far you’ve gotten. You may not have reached your goal yet, but you have made progress. Getting started is always the hardest part and you have gotten past. Hopefully, by now, exercise has become a part of your daily routine.
Now it’s all about keeping your eyes on the prize and running towards it. You should know that when it comes to losing weight, it is much easier to drop pounds when you first start. Once you begin losing weight your metabolism declines, causing weight-loss to eventually plateau. Therefore, expecting to lose weight at a steady rate is unrealistic. Looking at old photos may help and motivate you to workout harder. It will help you to acknowledge how far you’ve come and push you to keep going.
Think of what may have gone wrong
This would be a good time to evaluate your weight-loss journey and try and figure out what may have prevented you from achieving your goals. Were there days where you missed your workout? Were there days where you cheated on your diet? Here are strange reasons why you may be struggling to lose weight even after you’ve been working out:
- Firstly, when your brain acknowledges that you are ‘eating light’, it responds by producing the hunger hormone, ghrelin. According to a study from Yale University, ghrelin makes you feel less full and slows down your metabolism which is why you should try and trick your brain by consciously focusing on the more indulgent parts of your meal. You should also choose foods that may appear indulgent but are in fact healthy, such as dark chocolate or homemade baked potato soup for example.
- Next time you go shopping, leave your credit and debit card behind and pay with cash instead. People that shop with limited cash in their wallets had a much lower chance of succumbing to impulse buying and therefore were less inclined to spend money on junk food.
- Do you think of exercising a lot? A French Study found, unless you are a major fitness enthusiast, by thinking of exercising excessively you are subconsciously telling your body that it is alright to eat right now because you will be burning calories later. By doing this, you are giving yourself the green signal to eat more than you need to. Your pre-gym snack should not be more than 150 calories.
Utilize the office space to your advantage
- The university of Missouri-Columbia found that if you spend too much of your day sitting without moving around like most people do at work then your body stops making lipase (a fat-inhibiting enzyme). To counter this, stand and stretch after every couple of hours, it will boost your metabolism by 13%, reports the Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Fidgeting while you are sitting will help you out even more. Tapping your feet or bouncing in your chair will increase calories burn by 54%.
- Getting good sleep is an important factor when it comes to weight loss. Women sleeping less than 4 hours at night consumed 300 more calories and 21 extra grams of fat than they would had they gotten all their sleep. Doctors explain that not getting enough sleep forces your body into survival mode where you feel the urge to consume carbs and fats to keep yourself awake.To make sure you are getting enough sleep, try and figure out how much sleep your body and brain need on average. Get to bed seven and a half hours before you need to wake up. If you wake up before the alarm, then you know that your body doesn’t require as many hours of sleep. If you needed the alarm to wake you up then take it as a signal that you may need 8-10hours of sleep.
Cut down on stress
- Stress obstructs many activities in your life, weight-loss is one of them. Stress leads to the release of a stress hormone called cortisol, which increases the amount of fat your body stores. Previous research also found that high levels of cortisol are associated with excessive visceral fat.
- Can you reduce the amount of processed foods you consume? Chances are you already watch what you eat and skip processed foods if you are trying to lose weight. But in case you are still eating processed foods, you need to stop. Processed foods cause inflammation in the body. Opt for clean and fresh food instead such as fruits and vegetables.
Switch up your workout
You may need to modify the way you’re working out. Sure, cardio is great for the body. However, it is not the best way to exercise if your goal is to lose weight. Celebrity trainer, Jennifer Cohen explains that the best way to lose weight is by building lean muscle and by engaging in some form of strength training in addition to your cardio workout. Building lean muscle and strength training usually involve lifting weight and exercising with weights. For people who find cardio more enjoyable, Cohen suggests taking interval training which combines high-intensity exercise (HIIT) with low-intensity exercises during ‘recovery periods’ in the workout.
Plan workouts with your friends
There are several benefits to working out with a friend. You are less likely to skip a workout when you know you have a friend waiting for you. You also tend to work out harder when you have a workout buddy as you push each other to do more. When you spend time with a friend you get caught up in conversation, meaning your brain isn’t solely focused on exercising, therefore, you won’t even notice as time passes by. By sharing conversations with your friends, you can be healing both emotionally and physically at the same time. There’s no need to feel demotivated if you have not reached your fitness goals just give yourself more time. You will get there!