How to get motivated to lose weight • Common Purpose

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How to get motivated to lose weight


Words by Common Purpose Team

Published 9th December 2021

How Do I Get Motivated to Lose Weight?


Weight loss is difficult and takes time. Motivation for weight loss comes and goes. So we suggest instead of relying on motivation and “willpower” to lose weight, create an environment and mindset whereby you can stay on track, even when motivation is running low.


Getting started is sometimes the hardest part, but it’s the most important step on the journey. Here are 4 steps to initiate this process;


  1. Create a plan – having a solid plan in place is the first step towards action.
  2. Action first – all journey’s start with a single step. Take action first and motivation will follow.
  3. Use the carrot and the stick – allow your ideal, healthy body composition to motivate you, but also visualise your worst-case scenario and work to move away from that.
  4. KISS – Keep It Simple, Stupid! Don’t over-complicate things, create a plan that’s simple on paper, convenient and easy to execute.


The Psychology of Weight Loss


Sustained weight loss is not as easy as people make out. According to research, only 20% of people are able to maintain >10% drop in weight for more than 1 year. Although it’s difficult, it’s important to know that it’s not impossible and it gets easier over time. 


Interestingly, research has found common traits amongst those who were able to lose weight and keep it off. Here’s what they found; 


Factors Associated with Succesful Weight Loss Maintenance


  1. Internal motivation to lose weight. 
  2. Awareness, reflection and monitoring of lifestyle behaviours and habits. 
  3. Engaging in regular (daily) physical activity. 
  4. A calorie-controlled diet high in protein, fibre and micronutrients.
  5. Significant (noticeable) initial weight loss.
  6. Setting a self-determined (realistic) goal weight. 
  7. Adopting a regular meal pattern/rhythm..
  8. Social support.
  9. Psychological strength and stability (better coping strategies and ability to handle life stress, Self-efficacy, Autonomy, Assuming responsibility in life).


Creating the right mindset requires an understanding of the process, setting realistic expectations and clearly defining your goals.


Why Can’t you Stay Motivated to Lose Weight?


For most people, the motivation to lose weight is fleeting. It often lingers in the background, then bubbles to the surface (usually following a trigger event). Unfortunately, this motivation often dissipates before the journey even begins. If the expected results aren’t achieved quickly, or it’s harder than expected, then it’s common for motivation to dwindle. So how do we combat this usual state of affairs? Here are a few psychological techniques we implement whilst coaching fat loss clients.


6 Psychological Techniques to Succeed at Weight Loss


  1. Find your Deeper Why – Understanding the reasons you want to lose weight will build the internal motivation required to achieve this goal. There is no right or wrong answer here, as long as it is personally motivating for you.
  2. Have a Plan – If there is no plan of action, there is no action. Break down the big goal into phases that involve temporary periods of heightened restriction interspersed with deliberate diet breaks and maintenance periods. Ultimately the plan will rely on clear, simple daily tasks that all contribute towards the end goal.
  3. Set Realistic Expectations – Everyone loses weight at different rates. It’s important to understand what a realistic rate of loss is for you. Setting unrealistic expectations is detrimental to long term fat loss success.
  4. Commit to Consistency – Healthy weight loss is achieved by achieving a sustainable calorie deficit over time. Consistency helps build habits and routines that make getting (and staying) lean much easier.
  5. Don’t Expect Perfect – Weight loss is not linear. It will rise, fall and plateau at times. As long as the overall trend is going in the right direction, keep going! This is why a long term mindset is far better for successful fat loss than a short term “quick fix” mentality.
  6. Seek Support – Having a coach or mentor that will help guide you through the process can be extremely valuable. It’s also really important to ask for support from your close friends, family and work colleagues.