Let’s talk about long term weight management and motivation! Finding the right motivators can be hard, but we are here to help you empower yourself through education about what works best to keep you motivated on your fitness journey!
An important theme found by the International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Health and Well-being among those who have succeeded in long term weight management was motivation! Both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation encouraged individuals in this study to stay on track. Intrinsic motivators were the key component, however, extrinsic motivators helped those that sustained long term weight loss as well.
The desire to improve one’s overall health and fitness level, as well as preventing conditions specific to weight gain, were the biggest motivators for those that were able to lose and maintain weight loss. When faced with the difficulties of losing weight and maintaining overall health, many people feel hopeless, but it is important to think of this as more of a “reinvention” of oneself, a lifestyle change, instead of a chore. Even small steps toward improving one’s fitness make a huge difference in the long run, and making small dietary changes and fitness goals were found to enhance self-esteem in many areas of their lives!
Taking charge of your fitness and diet empowers you make changes in other aspects of your life as well, and with every step you take, no matter how small, your confidence will improve, and with confidence comes self-esteem and the drive to continue your fitness journey! Use this to find your intrinsic motivation, and remember at FIT we know you sometimes need to start slow, and we believe that you need to do this for YOU. You deserve to have the confidence and education required to make bigger steps toward weight management, and focusing your motivation towards improving your mental and physical health is something we always strive for.
Extrinsic motivators that were used by individuals were more diverse and seemed to make less impact overall, which means that valuing your health and fitness level for YOU instead of for someone else is a better indicator of your ability to maintain long term weight loss and fitness. However, the most impactful extrinsic motivation theme that experts found was the desire to help others in their weight loss journeys. This was generally done in conjugation with reeducating themselves and wanting to pass on the information they learned. This held them accountable to their own journey as well- the more they wanted to help others, the more they focused on their own long-term goals. As always, having a community, like the one we foster at FIT St. Charles, is a fantastic asset!
So what can you do today to take this information and apply it to your own life? Reframe how you think about weight management- are you doing it for yourself or just because you want to look better? Do you want to actually FEEL better or are you just trying to impress other people? What motivates you matters, and while you can find motivation from wanting to look better or the belief that weighing less will improve your social standing, doing it for yourself matters more than ANYTHING else. Working out and eating right improves how you FEEL immediately after you do it, it improves your self-esteem and mental health regardless of how much weight you have lost or how many gains you have made. And that is important to remember- take steps to help yourself, and make the conscious effort to remember how you feel when you do so.