Looking for motivation to lose weight?
What if I told you that motivation is garbage. It’s the wrong way to go about it.
Don’t worry. Today, I’m gonna show you something better.
The Best Motivation To Lose Weight
A lot of people are sold on this idea that in order to find success with their weight loss goals, they need to be consistently on this highly motivated state.
Unfortunately, that approach is usually what leads people into this rollercoaster ride of dieting and frustration.
The biggest problem with motivation to lose weight is that we only have a finite amount of it. Eventually, we run out of it. It’s a state of mind. Like any state of mind, it’s not permanent. It’s fleeting.
There are times when we’re motivated which is awesome. I’ve never had to convince a new coaching client to eat right or exercise when they’re highly motivated.
That’s the easy part. We’ve all been in that motivated state where everything comes easy and we want to do everything. We feel like we’re on top of the world. It’s all puppies and rainbows.
The PROBLEM with motivation to lose weight
It’s when we’re not motivated that it becomes a problem. To me, that’s when the real journey starts. When you’re not motivated. You can quickly separate the men from the boys.
If you look at the average person’s fitness and weight loss journey, again it’s a roller coaster ride. It’s up and down.
People oftentimes cycle between being extremely unhappy with their body and then they use that as motivation to workout.
After a week, when they don’t see results, they get frustrated. They then see some woke instagram influencer proclaiming “health at every size.” So they buy the hype because that’s a lot easier than putting in the work.
So they just start eating whatever they want and just go through that cycle over and over again where people are trying to chase that motivated state.
Because when they’re motivated, everything is great. When they’re not motivated, things fall apart.
The end result is they’ve gone nowhere. Or, even the slow backwards crawl to worse outcomes.
Why you need to stop chasing motivation
One of the most common things I hear from people whenever I do a consultation is, “I wish I could just go back to that motivated state a few months ago or a few years ago.”
Motivation to lose weight almost becomes this unicorn that people are always trying to chase. Which is a fool’s errand. It’s a one way ticket to yo-yo dieting. Because again, motivation is fleeting.
The reality is, and this is from coaching thousands of people by proxy. I’ve been doing this for a decade now. I used to think that motivation is the most important thing.
That’s what I specialized in. I was the rah rah coach and would always get people hyped. I’d post motivational stuff all the time to keep people motivated because I thought that that’s what they needed.
After a few years of doing that, I realized that it wasn’t the right way to go about it. Yes, people are getting results when they’re working with me. Because I’m giving them that motivation every time they see me. But are people staying that way forever? The answer was, no.
That was a tough pill for me to swallow. So I had to evolve and really change the way I approach things.
By the way, the most dangerous people in the fitness industry are the dinosaur coaches and trainers that refuse to evolve as new data emerges. They’re stuck in their old ways and they haven’t read a book since the 90’s or early 2000’s.
Developing the skill of discipline
But what I’ve learned as I learned more about how the brain works is that you need to stop focusing on always trying to find that motivated state of mind. Rather, learn to develop the skill of discipline.
The keyword there is it’s a skill. It’s something that you can build upon. Like any other skill, if you wanna get better at it, you practice it over time. If you do it long enough, that’s how you build consistency.
Once you’re consistent, then it turns into a habit which is the holy grail of identity change.
It’s kinda different for everyone. But generally speaking, the way you build discipline is to be intellectually honest with yourself.
Kinda like the conversation I had with myself where I had to admit that I was failing as a coach with my old ways.
Are you motivated or non-motivated?
First, you have to figure out if you’re in a motivated or non motivated state of mind. Very important. Because when you have high motivation to lose weight, the things that you tend to commit to are usually unrealistic.
It’s that all too familiar all or nothing attitude.
For example, when I used to do in-person training and I work with a new coaching client, they’re all hyped up. Which is great.
So I ask them, how many days a week would you like to workout? They’ll say something crazy like 5 days or even 7 days a week. They say, “You tell me what to do and I’ll do it!”
I’m like, okay, awesome. Then I ask them, what are you doing before? How many days do you workout right now? They’ll say, zero.
Then I ask them, when was the last time you worked out 5 days a week? They’ll say never. Or they’ll say back in college 10, 15, or 20 years ago.
I’m like, okay. Let’s pump the brakes a little bit. How many days a week could you commit to right now that you know you can stick to forever? Because it’s all about sustainability. That’s the name of the game.
That question changes the conversation completely. Usually, it would look like one day a week. Maybe, twice. And that’s kinda the average number for most people.
The key is to start with something that you know you can realistically do forever. You need to have an honest conversation with yourself. Can you stick to whatever number of days you pick even when you’re not motivated.
If the answer is yes, that’s where you start.
Let’s say you pick Monday because it’s the start of a new week. And then just do that. Here’s what’ll happen. Over time, because it’s easy for you to commit to it, it’ll start to become a habit.
Monday is workout day. There might be small hiccups here and there. But for the most part, if you’re honest and you set a realistic goal, then eventually you’re gonna get to a point where you think to yourself, you know what? I think I can go one more day.
Over time, that’s how you build the skill of discipline.
I even take this process a step further. I don’t even recommend going to the gym for a lot of people. It’s not a requirement for success in my online coaching program.
Again, if you’re interested, you book a free consultation by checking out…
Because you can achieve all your exercise requirements by doing resistance training based bodyweight workouts at home. All of a sudden, it eliminates any excuse as to why you can’t make it to the gym that day.
I’m completely obsessed with trying to make this as simple as possible for everyone. Because simple works.
It’s all about baby steps
Let me give you an example of a previous coaching client. When we started working together, she didn’t drink water. She hated drinking water.
Instead, she would drink diet coke. She would drink it first thing in the morning and she would have 6 cans throughout the day. I was mortified when I heard that. But, that’s okay. We all have to start somewhere.
So during our first call, we set some realistic goals. Where we started was literally just compressing everything to a 12 hour digestive eating window. For context, the average person has a 15 hour window. Which is basically ones entire waking hours.
Then we worked on bringing it down to five cans. We figured out that she could tolerate water if she put some lemon in it. So we substituted that for every can that she was taking out.
Then we worked on getting it down to four, and she would just have it with her three square meals, all the way down to just one a day.
The next thing we added was just going for a 10 minute walk once a day. No workouts yet. Eventually, we were able to increase that walk to three times a day. Now, she wasn’t sedentary anymore.
The next thing that we added was a micro workout. I asked her to do one bodyweight squat and one pushup off her kitchen counter. Why? Because anybody can do one rep doing a variation of those two movements.
Eventually, we adjusted it to one minute of doing those movements. Anybody can wrap their head around one minute. And then we would sprinkle in these one minute workouts throughout the day.
At the end of the day, the accumulated volume adds up to a full workout.
We were building a bunch of ones instead of zeros. Do you see how much more effective and sustainable of an approach that is?
Over the course of 12 weeks, she lost a lot of weight, she lost inches off her body, and up until this day, she’s still consistent.
But it would’ve never worked if I had taken her from where she started, and I asked her to go to the gym 5 days a week, here’s your meal plan, no more diet coke, you’re gonna do everything all at once. She would’ve totally failed.
Discipline > Motivation
Again, discipline is a skill that you practice and build over time. It’s what’s gonna carry you through those times where you lack motivation. Which is the time where people tend to fail. It’s when people are not motivated.
It’s all about removing all the barriers. Then setting small achievable goals which add up to staggering results over time.
There’s nothing sexy about that process which is why it’s never mentioned in mainstream fitness.
It’s a lot easier to sell the lose 30 lbs in 30 days. Or, here’s your extreme 1200 calorie a day crash diet which inevitably fails because it’s not sustainable.
What’s worse about that approach is it fosters a negative behaviour around food. That’s how people develop eating disorders among other things.
Building good habits and consistency through discipline is the only successful approach that I’ve seen produce long term sustainable results.
Consistency takes motivation out of the equation
Because once you turn whatever you’re doing into a habit, it completely takes away motivation to lose weight out of the equation. You just do it. It’s part of who you are on a cellular level. It’s like brushing your teeth. You don’t even think about it.
Here’s a perfect example of what that looks like. I have no idea why I still have this video on my phone but I’m glad I still have it. This workout video right here was taken the day after my long term relationship ended a few years ago.
A lot of people’s motivation to workout would’ve easily gone down the drain from something like that happening. I don’t really blame them.
But because I’ve developed the habit of working out through practice the skill of discipline, I still showed up to the gym the next day. And then the day after. And then the day after that.
In fact, it was when I was training where I felt normal. It was almost therapeutic being at the gym. The gym was my happy place. It definitely improved my emotional and mental health.
Physiologically speaking, exercise stimulates the release of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. Those brain chemicals play an important part in regulating your mood. Possibly even help heal a broken heart.
This is why bad workouts are so much more valuable than good workouts. If you had a bad workout, that means you still showed up. You still put up a ‘1’ instead of a ‘0’.
Why you need to change your weight loss paradigm
Speaking of health, you need to change your paradigm around this entire process and focus on health rather than aesthetics. It’s a much better approach.
What I mean by that is a lot of people’s motivation around losing weight is because of how they look.
People start working out because they want to look good. People go on a diet because they wanna look good. We’re obsessed with what we see in the mirror.
All of a sudden, exercise becomes this sort of punishment. It gets quantified to how many calories you burned during your workout which means nothing. Eating healthy food means deprivation.
But instead, if you focus on health, you’re eating in a way to make yourself healthier. You’re exercising to make your body feel better.
Again, it’s good for your heart and brain as you can see from my personal experience. Because movement is medicine.
Eventually, your overall health will improve. And as a byproduct, the side effect of that is you look amazing.
A simple way to look at this is you wanna do this because you love your body; not because you hate it.
In the history of feelings, nobody has ever achieved long term sustainable results by hating their way to a better body or better health. No.
Just remember that you change best when you feel good. Not when you feel bad.
Stop focusing on goals and motivation to lose weight. Focus on systems and practicing the skill of discipline.
The people that tend to be the most successful are the ones that can handle the boredom and stick to the process when they’re not motivated.
As always, if this was helpful, share it with a friend who could benefit from it as well!
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