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Finding motivation when managing your weight

Three people in the gym sat chatting while leaning on gym balls
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There’s no denying that losing weight can be a struggle. Everybody is different, which means weight management will differ from person to person – but it’s rare for someone to find their weight loss journey easy all the time. Even if you start off well, it’s common to lose momentum, particularly around Christmas, birthdays and holidays.

If you’re trying to lose weight and you’re struggling to stay motivated, there are plenty of resources, techniques and treatments that can help you progress in a safe and healthy way. One great place to start is with the 12-week weight loss plan designed by the NHS.

For more inspiration to keep you motivated, read on.

Do plenty of enjoyable exercise

Exercise is a really important aspect of weight loss that has all kinds of physical and mental benefits. But if you’re not used to being active, or if you feel self-conscious about working out in public, exercise can be a challenge.

One simple way to stay motivated on your exercise journey is to find a workout style that works for you – whether it’s dancing, yoga, football, swimming, hill walking, or at-home exercise videos that you can do in your living room.

The NHS recommends aiming for the following amount of exercise each week:

  • 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity (e.g. brisk walking)
  • 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity (e.g. running)
  • Some strengthening exercises (e.g. lifting weights)

The golden rule is that exercise doesn’t always have to be extremely strenuous. You’ll feel the benefit of any kind of regular activity. Our exercise guide has lots of ideas to get you started.

Plan meals in advance

Doing some simple meal planning on the weekend – or whenever you have time off – is a great way to stay on top of your diet throughout the week.

Meal planning usually involves:

  • Coming up with recipe ideas for breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Making plans to incorporate leftovers
  • Doing a weekly shop for all the ingredients you’ll need
  • If you have time, doing some batch cooking in advance so that your meals will be pre-cooked

The main benefit of meal planning is that you can avoid the temptation of last-minute takeaways or ready meals. You’re also more likely to eat healthy, balanced and calorie-controlled meals, rather than throwing together something from whatever you find in the cupboard. Read our healthy eating guide to find out which foods to include.

As an added bonus, it can be a great way to save money!

Watch out for stress

One of the biggest enemies you’ll encounter during your weight loss journey is stress.

If you feel overwhelmed because of work, money worries, or problems at home, you’re more likely to give into temptation and eat high-calorie food and alcohol and dropping your exercise regime. The problem is these kinds of unhealthy habits can actually end up making stress worse.

It’s not always easy to avoid stress, but there are resources available to help you through difficult times, why not start with our stress relieving techniques or if you need further support visit the MIND site for some useful tips.

Monitor yourself

It’s much easier to stay motivated on your weight loss journey if you can see concrete proof of the progress you’re making. This doesn’t just mean weighing yourself although this can help, especially if you have a set of digital scales. It also means keeping track of improvements you’ve made with exercise and checking in with your mental health and mood. A fitness tracker, like a Fitbit can help you track your activity, sleep and more.

Having said that, monitoring your lifestyle too closely can become restrictive and punishing. Healthy weight loss shouldn’t be about counting every single calorie or consistently pushing yourself to exercise longer and harder. Instead it should be about making sustainable changes that you can carry forward on a long-term basis.

Remember the journey and look to the future

No matter how well you take to your new diet and exercise regime, progress won’t always be linear. There will be days where you overeat, weeks where you don’t lose weight, and exercise sessions that feel like you’re back to square one. The good news is: that’s normal!

Rather than stopping at the first hurdle, look to the future and remind yourself that if you keep going, you will end up making progress.

Find a support network

You should never feel embarrassed about trying to lose weight, so make sure you communicate with your friends and family about your goals. You might find another person to go on the journey with you!

Alternatively, a weight management support group can be a really great way to stay motivated and positive, and to get plenty of advice and guidance about sustainable weight loss. Find your nearest weight loss support group here.

Weight loss service

Be realistic

When it comes to weight loss, you should never say never. Don’t try and rule out entire foods or restaurants just because they’re unhealthy – instead, get into the habit of enjoying your favourites in moderation.

Another aspect to being realistic is accepting that your body has its limits. Don’t aim for a massive weight loss goal or expect to run your first marathon within six months of taking up exercise. You’ll just be setting yourself up for disappointment.

Need more advice?

Lots of people struggle to lose weight, even after changing their diet and taking up exercise. The good news is, there are some treatments available for people who find it more challenging than others.

At LloydsPharmacy we stock a range of pharmacy treatments that can help with weight management. We also offer a medicated weight loss service to people with a BMI over 30, or a BMI over 27 and a health condition related to their weight. This service includes support from the Liva healthcare app, find out how a personal coach can help keep you motivated.

References

www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise
www.mind.org.uk/information-support/tips-for-everyday-living/food-and-mood/about-food-and-mood