If you type the word “weight loss” into Google, you’ll get more than 220 million websites, each with “the answer” to this near-universal goal. Every day, new articles are published claiming to have the fastest way to lose weight, the best workout to shed pounds, the one true diet plan to slim down.
How can people successfully lose weight with so much information? Sorting through the overabundance of (often contradictory) “keys” to weight loss can become so overwhelming that many people don’t know where to start. And when they do, they’re often attracted to unfounded fads, expensive programs or drastic measures that verge on unhealthy.
Fortunately, there are some scientifically backed truths to weight loss that hold true for everyone. They’re not tied to any particular workout plan or diet, but rather the behaviors and motivating factors that support weight loss. By understanding and implementing these tactics, nothing will be able to stop you from reaching your weight-loss goals.
Recognize the Real Health Consequences
- Obesity, heart disease, diabetes and other conditions exacerbated by weight are scary terms – s. Scary enough that they can compel a person to take action if their health and well-being is being seriously threatened.
- The thought of these health issues preventing them from being around for their family and loved ones, or being able to play with their children, sometimes helps an individual wake up and make changes.
Add a Financial Incentive
- Incentives, no matter what they are, motivate people to make choices and decisions because of the potential to win big – financial incentives are no different. In fact, research indicates that financial incentives can be more powerful than other types of rewards.
- Studies have shown that both the thought of losing money for not reaching a weight target as well as gaining money for reaching that target have proven successful in helping individuals reach their goals. You can set up financial incentives by enlisting a loved one to hold you accountable, or use a website that hosts weight-loss games with cash payouts for reaching your weight-loss goals.
Get Community Support
- The research backs it: Whether you have the support of one person or 100, you’re more likely to be successful than if you go it alone.
- Regardless of whether those in your community have the same weight-loss goal as you, it helps a lot to have a support system around you where you can share your triumphs and challenges. Everyone in the group will reach their goals more effectively – and be more likely to sustain them – than individuals attempting to lose weight by themselves. Trying to lose weight can get lonely. Many companies build this community support into their products, making it easier for you to find support at the click of a button.
Focus on Giving Back
- Do you have a special organization or charity that you support? Most organizations have races, 5Ks and various exercise events to raise money for a special cause. If you make your fitness goal about something outside of yourself, rather than just dropping pounds, it may help you stay motivated and feel good about what you’re doing. You’ll know you’re making a difference in the world as well as in your health.
Use the Resources on Your Cellphone
- Consumers spend about 85 percent of their time on their cellphones. Take advantage of the time you are on your phone to engage in supportive weight loss social media chats, easy on-demand workouts or meal tracking programs to keep your motivation on-the-go.
Sometimes a Break Is OK
- Little slip-ups are OK! It’s just important to not forget your end goal.
- Motivation has its own rhythm: It’s important for people to realize that a drop in motivation isn’t a failure. Dwelling on small failures can be harmful, because it prevents you from getting back in the game and trying again. Eating too many cookies at lunch doesn’t mean you’re doomed to fail: It means you should try again at dinnertime (or whenever it’s your next opportunity to make a healthy choice).
- Start with small daily habit changes that lead to a long-term goal. Focusing on the big end goal can make your task feel overwhelming, but breaking it up into smaller daily goals is makes it manageable and helps you succeed.
Nowadays, the Internet makes it remarkably easy to access and implement all of the behavioral change factors above. The first step is to recognize that what’s at stake is the most important thing you’ll ever be in control of: your health.