Motivational diary for losing weight

  1. After lurking here for a little while I’ve finally decided to start my own diary in order to motivate myself to track my eating and exercise habits along with my feelings about what I have accomplished and hope to accomplish in the future.

    When I first started losing weight I peaked at 230 pounds. This was okay with me at the time because it was during football season, but now that it has come and gone I’ve decided that it’s now time to get myself into shape. I’m 6’1″ and currently weigh around 210 pounds, but I’d like to be about 175 when this is all said and done.

    I make it an everyday goal to eat healthy and exercise, but one of my biggest problems is overeating. This has always been a problem since I was a younger kid because the rest of my family doesn’t really pay attention to what they eat. Now that I’m finally starting to, they all say that they are going to start, but have yet to actually do so. For this reason I have decided to take matters into my own hands and make sure that I lose the weight that I don’t want anymore.

    With this diary I hope to be able to track my eating habits and hopefully receive some feedback from other people who have had success in the past. I really don’t know exactly how many calories I should be eating, but I figure it’s somewhere around 3,000 based on some of the internet calculators. In order to lose weight, I’ve been eating what I believe is around 1,800 calories per day, and hopefully I’ll be able to confirm my beliefs by tracking my meals through my diary.

    I’ll be back tomorrow to update my first day of eating, and until then I hopefully won’t be eating too much. In spite of the fact that I’m upset about my late-night peanut butter cravings , everything is always better when the Cavaliers win.

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  3. My food intake for the day:

    1 bialy with peanut butter and jelly

    6 cucumber slices

    1 pickle

    1 Lean Cuisine: Beef Chow Fun

    2 Pieces of homemade smoked sausage with barbecue sauce

    1 Apple

    8 Strawberries with 1 packet of Sweet N Low

    My thoughts:

    Today is what I would consider an okay day. I regretted eating the bialy for breakfast but it was sitting on the counter and was just calling my name. I also have a weak spot when it comes to eating peanut butter, and after I ate some for breakfast I promised myself that I wouldn’t eat any for the rest of the day. It took all my power not to open up the jar when I began eating my after-dinner apple. My meals were a little off today, however, because I got to sleep in until 10:30 and didn’t want to have to eat lunch a mere hour after eating breakfast. I’m going to try to develop a better sleep pattern so that I can develop better eating habits.

    Daily Exercise:

    Today was really supposed to be a day off, but I was being so lazy around the house that I figured I would make up for it by going to the gym for a nice run. I ended up running 4 miles in 40 minutes and burned 618 calories according to the treadmill. Not bad for a day off I guess, and it helps me to not think about food

  4. Well, it’s another day in the books. I feel pretty good about what I ate today, but unfortunately I made a bad decision that I may regret later in the night. I’ve decided that my punishment will be no more eating for the rest of the night, and I’m going to brush my teeth right after I write this just to prove to myself that I ain’t kiddin’ around. So, without further adieu, here’s what I ate today with the calories that I can count:

    BREAKFAST (365)

    1 Fruit / Protein smoothie (~265 calories total)
    – 1/2 cup blueberries (~40 calories)
    – 1/2 cup blueberry pomegranate juice (25 calories)
    – 1 scoop whey protein powder (120 calories)
    – 1 light n fit yogurt (80 calories)

    1 apple (100 calories)

    1 Post-workout whey protein shake (120 calories)

    LUNCH (436)

    1 boneless, skinless chicken breast w/ 2 tbsp ketchup (~300 calories)

    2/3 cup green peas (70 calories)

    10 black olives (66 Calories)

    DINNER (628)

    1 tuna sandwich (508 calories total)
    – 1/2 can tuna (135 calories)
    – 2 tbsp hummus (33 calories)
    – 2 slices whole wheat bread (190 calories)
    – 1 onion cooked in olive oil (~150 calories)

    1 corn on the cob (120 calories)

    SNACKS (725)

    20 strawberries with 2 packets Sweet N Low (~100 calories)

    10 cucumber slices with hummus (~40 calories)

    1 Piece whole wheat bread w/ 2 tbsp peanut butter (285 calories)

    3 barbecue baby back ribs (300 calories??)

    My Thoughts:

    Today’s meals equal about 2,154 calories. I’m trying to eat around 1,800, so I’m not upset that I went a little over, but in the future I’m going to try to limit my snacking because I can see that that’s where the majority of my calories are coming from. For some of the items I may be rounding up slightly for the calories, but I think that it may help me limit my extra food intake and therefore help me get to 1,800 on a regular basis. As I’m typing this I know that my stomach feels full, but I can’t help but think that I’ll be hungry within an hour. I’m going to try to just limit myself to a glass of water or something so that I can achieve a feeling of fullness without actually eating anything. This whole counting thing should really come in handy in the long run when I’m getting to those final few pounds.


    I’m currently doing the routines from the book “The New Rules of Lifting” and I’m on Fat Loss 1. I think that this has been working really well for me and I’m going to be moving on to Fat Loss 2 in the near future. It’s nice that the routines incorporate weight training as a way to lose fat (but not necessarily weight because one can achieve fat loss without losing weight) because I want to maintain my muscle while losing the excess fat that I have. I’m really starting to enjoy my exercising and I can see myself doing it for fun in the future once I’ve met my weight loss goals.

    Last edited: May 9, 2010

  5. After some thinking I’ve decided that I should work on a plan that I can trick to on a daily basis while at the same time allowing myself to be flexible regarding what I’m actually eating. In turn, I’ve developed this system to help me stick to 1,800 Calories per day.

    9:00 AM – 300 Calories

    12:00 PM – 300 Calories

    3:00 PM – 300 Calories

    6:30 PM – 600 Calories

    10:00 PM – 300 Calories

    I used this today and it really helped me to see what 300 Calories really is. For instance, I, for the first time EVER, actually measure the cereal that I ate before eating it along with the milk that I used. I must have been eating about 2 servings of cereal per bowl in the past, and each meal would have 2 or 3 bowls of cereal. It’s no wonder I wasn’t really losing too much weight. From here on out I will be measuring all of my food so that I know exactly what I am eating. So, here’s what I ate for the day:


    1 serving Kashi Island Vanilla cereal with 1 cup skim milk (280)


    1 piece whole wheat bread with 2 tablespoons peanut butter (280)


    11 Strawberries with 1 packet Sweet N Low (50)

    1.25 Cups Chocolate Cheerio’s with 1 cup skim milk (250)


    1 Post-workout protein shake (100)


    1 boneless, skinless chicken breast with 2 tablespoons ketchup (300)

    1 whole broccoli stalk (100)


    1 can Campbell’s Select Harvest Mexican Style Chicken Tortilla Soup (280)


    Today’s meals put me at about 1,640 Calories for the entire day, and I feel nice and full as I’m currently typing this up on the computer. It’s nice to be able to cut back on intake while still maintaining some feeling of fullness, which is why I’m going to continue to spread my meals out throughout the day. One think that I’d like to do is up my intake of veggies because I’m clearly lacking a little in that category. Otherwise, I’m pretty happy with how the day went and I’m looking forward to another good day tomorrow.


    Today at the gym I did the workout Fat Loss 1B from the book I previously mentioned. It, in my opinion, is harder than workout A, and I left the gym with a great sense of accomplishment and a shirt soaked in sweat. I don’t think that there’s any better feeling that walking out of the gym with sweat dripping everywhere after a long, satisfying workout. Only two more workouts left before I move on to Fat Loss 2, and I pleased to say that I can’t wait.

  6. Slim Jim,

    Great work in identifying the fact that you need to

    1) Eat under budget to lose weight

    2. Exercise

    You need to figure out how many calories your body needs for energy balance and eat a few hundred calories less than that. By knowing your weight, height, age, gender, activity level, you can figure out what your balance point is. What is it for you?


  7. You need to figure out how many calories your body needs for energy balance and eat a few hundred calories less than that. By knowing your weight, height, age, gender, activity level, you can figure out what your balance point is. What is it for you?

    Click to expand…

    Frank – I have listed my info below. I’ve typed my information into numerous websites and they all tell me that I should be eating over 3,000 Calories per day. That seems like an awful lot of food to me, but then again it could just be my limited experience in the world of weight loss.


    17 years old (18 in a couple of weeks)
    210 LBS
    Exercise at least 6 days per week

    I ate a little bit more than I would have liked today but it was all healthy food so I don’t think it was so bad for me. I was really trying to up my protein intake and also eat some more vegetables, which I was able to accomplish with a slight Calorie increase. Here’s what I ate today:


    1.5 cups Chocolate Cheerio’s with 1 cup skim milk (290)


    2 slices whole wheat bread, 4 oz thin sliced turkey breast, 1 tbsp honey mustard, 3 pieces lettuce (300)


    1 can tuna, 1.5 tbsp light mayo, 1/2 chopped red onion, 4 lettuce wraps (300)


    2 slices whole wheat bread, 2 tbsp peanut butter, 2 tbsp grape jelly (470)
    2/3 cup green peas (70)
    10 strawberries with 1 packet Sweet N Low (50)


    1.5 boneless, skinless chicken breast (400)
    Misc roasted veggies / pineapple (100)


    Today’s meals total 1,980 Calories. I thought it would be a lot more while I was eating it, but it doesn’t seem so bad as I look back on it. I guess it felt worse because I didn’t exercise today, but I really think that my body deserved a day of rest after working out for 5 straight days. I was able to take a great nap and rest up so that I can get right back to the gym tomorrow and have a great workout. I finished off the peanut butter with my sandwich that I had for dinner tonight, and I think I’m going to try going a few days without it so that I can prove to myself that I’m not addicted to it. I’m not sure how much healthier it could be, but I may look into buying some peanuts and making my own peanut butter so that there aren’t any additives in it. All in all, I think I had a pretty decent day and I’m looking forward to getting right back at it tomorrow.

  8. Today was a tough day for dieting. I completely forgot that I had a scholarship reception to go to, and on top of that I also had to go and buy some new clothes because none of my old ones fit me anymore (it’s a good thing!!). I didn’t really know what to expect while clothes shopping because I can’t really see any dramatic chance in my body shape, but I can now fit into a 34 waist (from a 38 back in February), so obviously something is working! This experience has made me feel really good about myself and it is a reminder of why I am currently doing what I am doing. I try not to think of cutting Calories as a way of torture because I know that my hard work will all pay off in the long run. Since my diet was so out of whack today, I’m going to let myself off the hook and not count my calories (even though they shouldn’t be that bad. 9:00
    2 whole eggs + 2 egg whites, 1 Light N Fit peach yogurt 1:30
    12″ Oven Roasted Chicken Breast Sub from Subway
    -Italian Bread
    -Black Olives
    -Sweet Onion Sauce 4:15
    4 slices of thinly sliced honey roasted turkey breast ((Shopping for new clothes and scholarship reception – no time for regular meals)) 9:00
    3/4 Chicken Breast cooked in teriyaki glaze
    1 cup whole grain brown rice 10:00
    1 Light N Fit peach yogurt with 3/4 cup oats / granola cereal
    2 bowls Chocolate Cheerio’s in 1.5 cups skim milk (yes, the big bowls ) MY THOUGHTS
    Overall it was not a terrible day considering my hectic schedule, but I definitely could have done better regarding my late-night snacking. I think that the only reason I feel slightly bad about it is because I was once again unable to get in any actual exercise today. On top of the weird schedule, I wanted to give my lower back some time to rest after a vigorous workout on Tuesday. I’ve had lower back injuries before and all I can say is that they are NO fun and I hope I never have to deal with one again. That being said, I’m kind of glad that I took another day off because the LAST thing I want to do is hurt my lower back. I really like eating at Subway, but I don’t think that it can really be considered healthy considering that there’s so much bread and the chicken is highly processed. It does, however, taste pretty darn good and I didn’t even get cheese on it (I also got regular Italian bread instead of Italian Herbs and Cheese). In order to fit the giant sub into my diet plan I just combined my lunch calories and my post-lunch snack calories, which is why it is not such a big deal in my mind. Whatever the case may be, it’s all said and done and I’m looking forward to getting back on track tomorrow.
  9. The Cavaliers suck. Moving on, I had a pretty good day today and I finally got back into the gym after a nice 2 day break. Life is getting harder without peanut butter, and I’m turning to foods that I wouldn’t normally eat if I had peanut butter in the cupboard. I can’t think of much else to talk about right now (did I mention that the Cavs suck?), so here’s what I ate today:

    9:00 (244)

    2 eggs + 2 egg whites (194)
    10 strawberries with 1 packet Sweet N Low (50)

    12:00 (310)

    1 Lean Ham Steak (250)
    4 tbsp ketchup (60)

    3:00 (280)

    1 Planter’s peanut, almond and cranberry bar (160)
    2 Pudding cups (120)

    6:00 (100)

    1 Post-workout protein shake (100)

    6:30 (610)

    ~8 ounces lean ground beef cooked on George Forman to remove fat (~340)
    2 slices whole wheat bread (180)
    4 tbsp ketchup (60)
    1/2 red onion and 4 pieces lettuce (30)
    2 pickles (0)

    9:00 (365)

    1 Pudding cup (60)
    10 strawberries with 2 packets Sweet N Low (55)
    1 can chicken noodle soup (150)
    ? thinly sliced turkey breast (100?)


    Things that I ate too much of today: pudding, ketchup, and sodium in general. I did eat a lot of protein, too, but that’s definitely not a bad thing considering I had a really good workout today (more on that later…). Calories from ketchup can really add up if you don’t pay attention, and it’s important to keep track of how much you eat because it can make up a substantial amount of calories in a diet. I felt like I ate too much today, but it doesn’t seem so bad as I look back on it now.


    After being out of the gym for 2 straight days, I was really considering keeping the streak alive by taking a nice long nap to eat up my free afternoon. Instead, I opted to head for the gym to complete my second-to-last workout of Fat Loss 1. It was really warm in the gym today (it was unusually hot here in Cleveland), so I got a nice sweat worked up and I was pumped up all throughout my workout. I can’t wait to go back tomorrow and put Fat Loss 1 behind me so that I can move on to the more challenging and intense workouts that lie ahead in Fat Loss 2. This both excites me and scares me because I’ll be getting a more intense workout, but at the same time that may lead me to have an increased hunger. I guess I’ll worry about it when it actually happens.

  10. Today was a good day… until I cheated.

    I don’t want to relive the horror, so I’ll lust leave it at that and move on to tomorrow.

  11. Thank you for useful information.

    , , ,

Inspirational messages for weight loss: For most men and women, losing weight is not an easy journey. It takes many months of regular workouts and a healthy diet to get back in shape. From there on, weight loss eventually becomes more of a lifestyle choice and less of an obsession about pounds, kilos, inches and dress sizes. If you know someone who is trying hard to lose weight, help them on their way to a slimmer and healthier body by sending motivational quotes as texts, pins on Pinterest, tweets and messages on Facebook. Your friends and family deserve all the support and encouragement they can get, especially when it comes to something as life-changing as weight loss.

1) If weight loss is your dream, make workouts your reality.

2) Losing weight is hard but carrying that weight around is harder. The choice is yours.

3) Losing weight is easier than you think. It is a battle with your MIND and the best part is that you already know its STRENGTHS and WEAKNESSES.

4) Exercising may seem like the biggest CHORE today, but the lack of it will be the biggest REGRET tomorrow.

5) Your workouts don’t make you a prisoner within the gym walls. They liberate you and give you freedom from the clutches of obesity.

6) Losing weight is like running a marathon. Most people give up only a few miles before the finish line.

7) Yes, a 30 minute workout is painful, uncomfortable, yucky and sweaty. But a regular 30 minute workout will be all it takes to make your life anything but painful, uncomfortable, yucky and sweaty.

8) Watching the pounds disappear on the scales is just a small part of losing weight. Slipping into that tight dress, pairing it with sky high stilettos and walking down the street as if you own the world – this is what losing weight is all about.

9) Stop losing your mind over your weight and start losing sweat.

10) Losing weight is not about the pounds and inches. It is about being what you have always wanted to be.

11) Should you go the gym today or not? That is the most ridiculous question of the decade.

12) It is never about whether you CAN lose weight. It is always about whether you WANT to lose weight.

13) Be miserable for 30 minutes in the gym or be miserable for the rest of your life.

14) Weight loss is never about believing in diet plans or believing in personal trainers. It is only about believing in yourself.

15) A NO and a YES is all it takes to lose weight. Say NO to sitting on the couch, say YES to working out. Say NO to crazy diet plans, say YES to freshly cooked meals. Say NO to your naysayers, say YES to your inner voice.

16) Today’s workout will become tomorrow’s body.

17) Do you go to work only on the days when you feel like it? Then why would you miss a workout when you are not feeling up for it?

18) You risk losing your Pride if you don’t work out and remain fat. But the only thing you risk losing when you work out to lose weight is your Sweat.

19) Don’t work out because the doctor advised it. Don’t exercise because all your friends are doing it. Don’t go to the gym because your partner forced you to. Work out because your body deserves it.

20) Make a sports bra and compression leggings your best friends and you will never have to worry about weight gain again.

21) Stop thinking about being skinny. Stop thinking about being curvy. Just start thinking about being healthy.

22) Losing weight is all about forgetting who you are and remembering who you want to be.

23) Don’t feel like working out? Just remind yourself how you will feel after a workout.

24) Never go on a fad diet. Make it your permanent lifestyle.

25) BURN your fat. The only thing which will feel HOT is your body.

26) Work out so that when you walk into a room, people go WOW. Work out so that when you go to the beach, everyone goes WOW. Work out so that when you wear that beautiful dress to a wedding, everyone goes WOW. Work out so that when you drop your pants, your husband goes WOW. Still need more reasons to work out?

27) Weight loss is not about forgetting your love for food. It is about having the same amount of love for working out.

28) Feeling lazy? Just go to the gym and come back. Even that, is better than sitting in front of the TV.

29) Keep running until you tire out the treadmill. Don’t worry, you won’t drown in your sweat.

30) Think of all the times you stopped yourself from having a sweet treat because of your weight. Exercising is your chance to eat everything guilt-free while being fat-free and carefree.

31) Working out and eating right creates a debt which your body will repay in the coming months in the form of a HOT BODY.

32) Fat, chubby and obese – forget what you have been called your entire life so far. Hot, sexy and beautiful – just remember what you will be called for the rest of your life from now on.

33) The only thing between you and a hot body is your will to get up, put on your running shoes and go out to get your life back.

34) Working out is the only anti-ageing cream you need. Hit the gym and start shedding off the pounds, the inches and the years.

35) The beautiful city of Rome wasn’t built in a day, but that didn’t stop the Romans from building it. Bringing back your original beauty and body won’t happen in days, weeks or months. It will take a long time. It will be a tough journey. It will tire you out. But in the end, it will all be worth it.

Have you ever tried any of the following to get motivation to lose weight:

  • Visualised your ideal body?
  • Used a motivational wallpaper?
  • Written out your goals?
  • Beaten yourself up after binging?
  • Tried improving your willpower?
  • Obsessed over the right diet?

If you have, you’re not alone.

Mainstream self-help dieting books endorse these types of behaviours.

The problem is –  there’s a growing body of scientific research showing that some of these methods are not just pointless but WORSEN our weight loss attempts.

Below I’ve chosen the six most popular motivational techniques promoted by weight loss gurus to see if they work, and if not – what we can do instead.

After you read this article, my aims are that you’ll never have to worry about getting motivation for weight loss again.

Let’s begin…

1. Visualising how fabulous you’ll look after losing weight

We’ve all heard of the self-help technique of visualising yourself as the ideal person you wish to become. The theory goes if you do this enough, eventually, your behaviour aligns with the image in your mind.

It’s a beautiful idea…. But does it work?

To find out, Gabriele Oettingen and Thomas Waden from the University of Pennsylvania tracked a group of obese women taking part in a weight loss program.

During the program, each overweight participant was asked to fantasise about four hypothetical situations. Two about themselves losing weight and two about tempting food related scenarios they might find themselves. The researchers measured their answers on a positivity scale.

Contradictory to what most might assume, those with the negative fantasies had lost on average 12 kilos more than those with positive fantasies.

Researchers postulate that the reason for this is because people who fantasise about how great the future may be, are poorly equipped to handle the inevitable setbacks and give up at the first hurdle.

Imagining your ideal self, undermines your motivation to lose weight.

The right way to visualise for weight loss

After seeing these results, Oettingen speculated that the most effective state of mind for achieving  a goal is to be both optimistic about what is possible but realistic about the setbacks that might occur.

To put this theory to the test, she developed a study utilising a procedure she named doublethink – the name of a mind control technique George Orwell first coined in his novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. 

She asked participants to spend a few moments fantasising about obtaining their goal, and note the top two benefits that would come from it. She then asked them to fantasise about the two biggest obstacles that may lie in the way of attaining it.

From there she encouraged the participants to hold both the top benefit and the top set back in their mind as one visualisation and then afterwards to think of the second biggest benefit and setback, in the same way. Hence the name doublethink.

This sentence would be an example of doublethink for weight loss: “I am going to look so good in that outfit when I lose weight. When someone offers me a biscuit in work, I always struggle to say no.”

Doublethink got tested on a variety of goal types, and it always came out better than visualising either the advantages or the obstacles in isolation.

To put this into practice, from now on when you visualise the future think about the benefits, but also think about the realistic obstacles that may prevent you from getting them.

Realism isn’t flashy or entertaining, but it give us the much needed long term motivation to lose weight.

Bonus : Get instant access to my free weight loss tools cheatsheet by

clicking here


2. Relying on willpower to lose weight

Roy Baumeister, a scientist at Florida State University, after conducting many intensive studies on self-control and willpower, now believes that willpower is a lot like a muscle.

In Kelly McGonigal’s book ‘The Willpower Instinct’ she sums up his theory:

People who use their willpower seem to run out of it. Smokers who go without a cigarette for twenty-four hours are more likely to binge on ice cream. Drinkers who resist their favourite cocktail become physically weaker on a test of endurance. Perhaps most disturbingly, people who are on a diet are more likely to cheat on their spouse. It’s as if there’s only so much willpower to go around. Once exhausted, you are left defenceless against temptation – or at least disadvantaged.

Using pure willpower to achieve weight loss is a tricky balancing act.

What if you get into an argument or lose some sleep? Nearly anything that requires effort (even tidying)  significantly depletes your willpower.

Although some willpower is essential for any diet or fitness regime, it should not be the sole motivator.

In order to truly get the most out of your weight loss efforts, you should try and jump over the whole need for willpower.

For example, if all your loved ones were going to get killed if you didn’t lose weight, I’m guessing you wouldn’t need any willpower…

…Now, that’s an extreme example but there are other ways of bypassing our reliance on willpower.

Here’s my favourite:

Make a public commitment

There is a growing body of evidence showing that people who make a public commitment (tell their friends and family) are much more likely to follow through with their goals.

The support from friends is a great help but so too is the embarrassment of failing in front of them.

Start telling people about your weight loss efforts and make Facebook or Twitter statuses telling everyone about your goals. In one study on quitting smoking, researchers found that smokers who were part of a ‘giving up smoking’ twitter group improved their success rate at kicking the habit.

If you’re feeling extra confident and want to up the stakes, use the website StickK, created by a Professor of Economics at Yale. StickK allows you design a goal, input your bank account details and choose a friend to hold you financially accountable to your progress.

Either you’ll lose weight or your wallet will. I’ve used it a few times — it’s an excellent tool.

3. Using role models for weight loss motivation

A few years ago the renowned British psychologist Richard Wiseman conducted a large-scale experiment on the psychology of weight loss motivation.

He tracked over 5,000 people who wanted to achieve a particular goal such as losing weight, quitting smoking, getting new qualifications, or starting a relationship.

One-half he followed for a year, the other for six months. At the end of the study, a mere 10% of the 5,000 participants had achieved what they initially set out to accomplish.

By studying all the data Wiseman was able to pinpoint what actually gave the participants motivation to lose weight, and what didn’t.
Wiseman summarises his role model research in his book ’59 Seconds’ as:

…those who adopted a celebrity role model, perhaps putting a picture of Elle Macpherson on their fridge door, did not tend to drop that all-important clothing size…

This concept runs counter to what every weight loss motivation article out there recommends.
And what’s so strange is that it seems like it would work… whenever I put a bodybuilder I admire as my wallpaper I always feel motivated.

But according to Wiseman that’s precisely the problem with this and most other weight loss motivational techniques. We often confuse what makes us feel good in the short term with what motivates us in the long term.

Simply choosing a picture of perfection you’d love to look like and slapping them on your fridge freezer will not help you. When you’re 2 months into a diet, hungry and the weighing scales haven’t budged in a week, you might not even want abs.

In fact, in those circumstances, seeing Elle Macpherson provides just the right motivation you need to say to yourself “oh well, I guess she has got good genetics!” before diving straight into the cookie jar…

…that said, with a few clever tweaks, role models CAN help us succeed in losing weight.

The correct way to use role models for motivation to lose weight

Firstly, you need to realise that a wallpaper isn’t a role model. A wallpaper is just a photograph, and we see so many photographs every day that they lose their emotive power far too quickly to create any long term motivation for weight loss.

A good role model is a person with a story that you can relate too.

You need to get their autobiography or read their blog or watch their interviews on youtube or get in touch with them and ask questions if you happen to know them.

Secondly, you choose a role model based on their decisions in life, not on their genetics. So any picture of them should serve only as a reminder of the decisions they represent.

In 2002, a study was conducted on ‘Motivation by Positive or Negative Role Models‘ which aimed to find out whether some people are more inspired and motivated by examples of failure than examples of success.

The scientists divided their groups into two categories: those who wanted to succeed (promotional) and those who wanted to avoid failure (preventional).

What they found was that if either group adopted a role model that was congruent with their motivational strategy type they would gain motivation, but if it was incongruent they would lose motivation.

In layman’s terms, if the anxiety of not losing weight or even gaining more weight drives you towards your goals, having a slim role model will not help. And if the thought of  having the hottest body in town motivates you, examples of failed dieters will not provide you with motivation to lose weight you need either.

So to put this research to use, the first thing you need ask yourself is:

What are you MOST focused on: avoiding failure or achieving greatness?

Preventional Weight Loss Role Models

An obese person who is worried about their health will typically use a prevention weight loss motivation strategy. They need to stop themselves from continuing down the unhealthy road they’re on to prevent further damage.

The study states:

For prevention-focused individuals, who are bent on avoiding failure, a suggestion that they might succeed may undermine their preferred avoidance strategy.

So for these people, choosing a role model with a midsection that looks photoshopped is not a smart move. What the preventional strategy people need is a negative role model who illustrates the potential perils of failure. 

Furthermore, they shouldn’t be a celebrity or an extreme case like the world’s fattest man. The negative role model you choose needs to be in a position that you could realistically find yourself in the future if you happened to fail. You need to be able to relate to their story as I’ve previously mentioned.

Search the web for a failed dieter who makes excuses, keeps giving up or whatever reason you find most pathetic, and keep reminding yourself of them throughout your weight loss journey. They are now your role model for what not to do.

The only trap prevention types tend to fall into is when they start to achieve mild success, as the study states:

It has been shown that when people’s preferred achievement strategies are disrupted, their achievement motivation is undercut; the performance of defensive pessimists, who are motivated to avoid failure, is undermined when they are told that they might succeed.

It’s important for the prevention types to stay away from success stories, and keep finding examples of people who have lost weight only to put it all back on afterwards (this is common).

Promotional Weight Loss Role Models

On the other end of the spectrum are people who aren’t terribly dissatisfied with their body, don’t have any major health issues but want to look extra good for the summer. These would be classed as promotional types.

For people embarking on the promotional strategy, there are a few key elements to keep in mind.

The most important of which is that you choose someone who you can realistically emulate.

Friends or family that have lost weight are great for this reason; world class models aren’t so much. But it ultimately depends on where you are at the start of your weight loss journey.

…participants showed improved performance after observing a moderately superior model, whose achievements likely seemed attainable, but not after observing a highly superior model whose extraordinary achievements likely seemed unattainable.

One of my promotional role models is Nathan Hewitt. He’s been my best friend for the last decade and is one of the few people out there who has not only lost over 140 pounds but has managed to keep it off. 

Another SUPER important tip for promotional types is the avoidance of all failure models.

…for promotion-focused individuals, who are bent on achieving success, the notion that they may fail may undermine their success pursuing strategies

Spend you energy focusing on successful role models what they did to succeed. Leave the models of failure to the prevention types.

Note: the prevention and promotion model of motivation applies specifically to the use of role models. With techniques such as visualisation and goal setting the strict boundaries between preventional and promotional motivation strategies break down and lose power.

4. How to set your weight loss goals

As previously stated, in Richard Wiseman’s study on the psychology of motivation, all 5,000 participants had a goal but only 10% were successful in achieving it.

Upon analysing the data, Wiseman discovered that how you set your goals makes all the difference:

Successful participants broke their overall goal into a series of sub-goals, and thereby created a step-by-step process that helped relieve the fear and hesitation often associated with trying to achieve a major life change. These plans were especially powerful when the sub-goals were concrete, measurable and time-based.

Merely wanting to lose weight and writing that you want to lose weight isn’t enough. You must break up the task into measurable sub-goals. You must say what your goal is and HOW you’re going to achieve it.

For weight loss this could sound something like:

‘My goal is to workout every Monday and Wednesday. I’m also going to eat a salad for lunch every day and switch from regular soda to diet soda. I’m also going to weigh myself three times per week, take photos of my progress every fortnight and adjust my  diet and exercise regime until I’m losing a consistent 1-2 lbs per week.’

5. Beating yourself up for not losing weight

The “what-the-hell effect” was coined by the dieting researchers Janet Polivy and C. Peter Herman.

Kelly McGonigal summarises the phenomenon in her book  The Willpower Instinct:

It’s been observed in smokers trying to quit, alcoholics trying to stay sober, shoppers trying to stick to a budget, and even child molesters trying to control their sexual impulses. Whatever the willpower challenge the pattern is the same. Giving in makes you feel bad about yourself, which motivates you to do something to feel better.

All dieters have experienced the ‘what-the-hell effect’ at some point. We stick to a diet perfectly then for whatever reason we indulge in one wrong thing and the next thing we know we’ve eaten half the fridge.

As counter-intuitive as it may sound, the next time you indulge… don’t beat yourself up about it!

You’re eating it in the first place to feel good, so feel good, have a small treat… then get straight back on track.

Guilt equals binge eating and binge eating equals guilt. Try not to binge eat, but if you do try not to feel guilt!

Beating yourself up rapidly depletes your motivation to lose weight.

That said, under the right circumstances, guilt does have it’s uses.

The correct way to use regret

Charles Abraham and Paschal Sheeran have shown in a study on the motivational powers of regret that just by thinking about how much you’ll regret NOT going to the gym, you’ll often gain the motivation needed to go.

It’s totally fine to beat yourself up before the action you wish to take, but never after it.

The next time your mind starts flooding you with sophisticated excuses not to get up and go to the gym just start thinking of how much you’ll regret not going later on when those excuses don’t sound as believable.

If you happen to keep putting off the gym or starting your new diet plan, this article on procrastination tells you how to get around that problem too.

6. Choosing the perfect weight loss diet

Overeating makes us fat and nearly everyone would agree that if any overweight person avoided processed crap, ate whole foods consisting of  lean proteins, fruit and vegetables and did some exercise now and then, they’d probably lose weight.

Let’s face it, nearly every mainstream diet out there works if you have the motivation to stick to it.

Research conducted by the Kasier Permanente’s Center for Health Research has shown that people who keep a food journal lose TWICE as much weight as those who don’t.

Write what you eat in your phone, on a post in note or download a fancy food tracking app (that’s what I did).

Distracted people tend to eat more, so by placing more attention on what you’re eating, you’ll eat less. It’s like magic.

…If you’d like to take it to the next step and learn the nuts and bolts of nutrition, check out my roadmap to nutrition where I explain the stuff food is actually made up of and the overarching principles that make all effective diets work.

Bonus : Get instant access to my free weight loss tools cheatsheet by

clicking here


How to actually get the motivation to lose weight

1) Don’t indulge in positive or negative future fantasies. Indulge in BOTH. Remember to Doublethink.

2) Understand that your willpower will eventually run out. Tell people about your goals for support and increased stakes of failing.

3) Choose the right role model. If failure scares you choose a failure model, if success inspires you choose a success model. And their story is what counts.

4) Don’t just choose a goal, choose the subgoals that go with it. Knowing what you want to do is the first step, knowing HOW you’re going to achieve it is the second.

5) Don’t beat yourself up for eating bad food. Use the power of regret BEFORE you indulge or fail to take action, never after.

6) Keep a food journal. Make a note of what you eat. Learn about nutrition basics but understand that it’s your mindset that ultimately determines weight loss.

7) And finally, realize none of these techniques are magic pills… you have to actually want  it. But if you do want to lose weight, these techniques will make it easier.

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