Healthy Living

How to Stay Motivated to Reach Your Goal Weight

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Don’t knock the bathroom selfie! When it comes to weight loss motivation, there’s nothing more encouraging than those little successes. But the scale doesn’t tell the whole story…

IdealShape exercise and nutrition expert, Lindsey Mathews, says weekly “selfies” helped her achieve her weight loss goals by being objective. Several of our IdealShape Up Challenge winners, like Jessica, have said a weekly snapshot helped them reach their ideal shape too!

“It’s seeing those little differences that the numbers don’t pick up,” Lindsey says. “We have a tendency to be critical and nit-picky about our bodies, but that’s not motivating. You have to be objective—and the camera never lies!”

From weekly selfies in the mirror (yep, you have our permission!) to buying jeans a few sizes too small, here are a few of our top strategies for reaching the finish line…

Take a Baseline

In order to see those little weekly victories add up, it’s important to take starting measurements. Right now, if you haven’t already, write down your current weight and starting measurements (use a cloth measuring tape to track waist, hips, thighs and arms). You may also want to determine your BMI using a basic BMI calculator.

Lindsey also suggests using two no scale, no measuring tape methods, since numbers aren’t everything. “It’s so easy to be self-critical and see what’s left to ‘fix’ rather than seeing the progress you’ve made,” she says. “Trust me, that’s not motivating!”Try these two strategies for keeping tabs on your progress:

The Saturday Selfie: Don’t be afraid to check yourself out in the mirror. Lindsey says knowing your body will help you recognize the change when you do start to drop fat. Pictures are the best way to see the difference, because your measurements and what the scale says might not change as fat turns to muscle.selfieBuy Goal Pants: Find a pair of pants you love and buy them in your goal size (or if that’s a ways off, go 1-2 sizes smaller). Try them on every week, Lindsey says. Each time you try them on you’ll find yourself wiggling into them a little bit easier. Pretty soon, they’ll fit you perfectly!

Set Milestones

Oxford researchers found that frequent goal setting is an effective way to change behavior and lose weight. In other words, it’s all about those mini goals. Saying “I want to lose 30 pounds this year” is usually too vague to keep you focused from day to day and week to week. So for those 30 pounds in one year, a good goal might be to aim for around 3 pounds every month.

Make a Plan

So you’ve got your starting pictures and measurements, and your big and “baby step” goals. Now it’s time to create a plan for how you’re going to make it happen. If you’re not sure where to start, check out our 12 week IdealShape Up Challenge. Lindsey has created a 12-week nutrition and exercise plan that’s delivered free via email each week.

Having a done-for-you plan relieves the pressure of having to create one from scratch yourself, and you can save some of that brain power to fuel your willpower!

Measuring waist

Track Your Progress Often

My husband has been trying to lose some weight recently and he didn’t feel like he was noticing a difference in his appearance even though the scale showed he had lost some weight. One morning he was able to tighten his belt another notch. This tangible, trackable success renewed his motivation. So keep taking those weekly pictures, writing down your measurements, and yes, checking yourself out in the mirror.

What’s the ultimate motivation? How about a free trip to Park City, Utah! Join the FREE IdealShape Up Challenge and get an exercise and nutrition program delivered to your inbox, plus a chance to win!

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Kirsten Jackson

Kirsten Jackson

Writer and expert


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