Stay Motivated While Burning Fat
One of the most difficult aspects of fat loss is consistency. Most of us are able to find the motivation to train during the first couple of weeks, but by day 22 of our new workout program dawns many of us would rather skip the gym. In this article, we will be looking at how to stay motivated while burning fat.
Staying motivated while burning fat requires clear short-term goals, support from friends and family, and some early wins. Finding ways to break larger goals down into small daily tasks is a great way to improve your chances of success.
Now that we know how to stay motivated while burning fat, let’s take a closer look at each step.
How to Stay Motivated While Burning Fat
It is very difficult to be perfect at everything. While we are sure that there are people who are crushing it at work, keep a tidy house, cook every meal from scratch, raise their kids, and find time to exercise, most people tend to focus on one or two areas and struggle with others.
Just because you find it hard to stay motivated while working out, it doesn’t mean that you are an unmotivated person, you probably just have other priorities. Perhaps you spend most of your motivation and energies trying to study for an exam? Or you are trying to fix your home up before selling it? Perhaps you spend more quality time with your kids than any other parent you know?
The point is that even the most hard-working and intelligent people can struggle with their weight. It is not a personal failure. Luckily, it is possible to motivate yourself for tasks that you don’t really enjoy, even if you have other priorities.
We will be sharing five steps to stay motivated while burning fat, follow each one and you’ll find success even if you hate to diet and exercise.
Step #1 Set Clear Goals
Goal setting is where 90% of people fail, either they set ridiculously optimistic goals, or they don’t set any goals at all. Another common mistake is to set abstract goals, which aren’t recordable. “I want to lose weight” is not a great goal. How do you know when you’ve achieved it? What is a realistic timeline? Does 0.5 kg count? Or 20 kg?
Let’s say that you currently weigh 90 kg, and you want to drop down to 80kg (this being your ideal weight based on BMI). That’s a target of 10 kg. You obviously don’t want to lose any muscle, so you are looking to drop 10 kg of fat.
Most fitness experts agree that a goal of 0.5 kg per week is reasonable. So, to lose 10 kg you want a training program that lasts 20 weeks. 0.5 kg of fat represents 3,850 calories, so you want a calorie deficit of 550 calories per day.
If you workout 4 x per week (roughly 300 calories per workout) that’s 1,200 calories – assuming you weren’t working out previously. This means that you would only need to cut 379 calories from your diet per day. If you currently consume 2,200 calories then lower your daily intake to 1,800 and you will reach your goal (you would have to lower it slightly after 10 weeks to adjust for the 5kg you would have lost).
The above is just an example, but can you see the difference between a bad goal: “I want to lose weight”, and a good goal: “I will cut my calories by 400 per day, exercise 4 times per week, and in twenty weeks I will have lost 10kg.”
This is a clear goal. But that’s not all. You still need to find ways to cut those calories. For an example of how to do so, see below.
Step #2 Simplify Your Nutrition
Many people tend to overcomplicate their nutrition when they want to lose weight. They follow incredibly strict diets such as keto or paleo in the hope that they will trigger some sort of fat loss landslide.
But let’s keep things simple. In the above example, a person who normally ate 2,200 calories per day wanted to drop down to 1,800. How can you do this? Analyse your breakfast and your lunch. How consistent are you here?
If you struggle, then a simple option would be to use a meal replacement shake. 400 calories per serving. If your normal lunch is 550 calories, then you have saved 150 calories straight away. Swapping high-calorie snacks such as chocolate bars for lower-calorie options such as protein bars is another easy way to drop calories.
But what does this have to do with motivation? Well, by simplifying your nutrition down to very small changes, you are making it easier to succeed. Small victories can make a huge difference to motivation, in much the same way that the first few levels of a video game are purposefully designed to be easy so that you get immersed in the game and don’t quit out of frustration.
Nutrition is just an example though, you can do the same thing with your workout program. Instead of creating a crazily difficult program that involves 2-hour circuits, set a goal where you walk for 30 minutes longer than usual.
This is easy to achieve, and could soon become a habit. After you have established a habit, you no longer require as much motivation. You can then build on that habit. Walk at a faster intensity. Add in 20 squats at the end. Walk to a gym and do a 15-minute workout.
You are setting yourself up for easy wins to help motivate you and get you into the habit of eating smaller portions or exercising regularly. This is the opposite of what people usually do, and as most people give up within 4 weeks, this is no bad thing.
Step #3 Reward Small Wins
It’s week 3 and you just found out that you have dropped 2 kg since you started. What do you do? Book a trip to Vegas? Probably not, it’s a small win. But equally, you don’t want to ignore the win. Buy yourself a new video game, or a new t-shirt.
Plan the rewards out in advance for different milestones, but also be prepared to reward yourself for doing the right things even if the results aren’t coming as quickly as expected. You can celebrate turning up to the gym for your 20th session in the same way you would celebrate dropping 5 kg.
It’s important to celebrate the wins, as this can motivate you through the tough times, which everyone goes through at some point.
Step #4 Track Progress
If you have read step #1 properly, you will know that the best results stem from proper planning and measurement. Without measuring your weight/body fat it is impossible to accurately gauge your progress. People tend to either massively overestimate or underestimate their progress, particularly during the first 4-6 weeks.
Weigh yourself every Friday morning. Take photos (profile and side), and if you want you can even measure the circumference of your waist, neck, abdomen, and chest. Record your measurements each week and analyse the data every 4-6 weeks.
Don’t overanalyse it. Fat loss isn’t linear, it doesn’t correspond to our schedules, so if you are checking every day you are going to get frustrated. But once every 4-6 weeks should give you a good idea of how well you are doing.
Step #5 Find Support
You don’t need cheerleaders, but you want to ensure that the people closest to you are aware of what you are trying to achieve. If you tell your wife you are trying to cut 400 calories from your daily total and ask for her support. Then she is less likely to come home with an extra-large pizza for you to share.
Don’t ask or expect people to join you, or even to help you. Just ask that they respect your choice, and don’t actively try to make it more difficult. You would be amazed at how common this is, and most people don’t even realise they are doing it!
Final Thoughts on How to Stay Motivated while Burning Fat
In a perfect world, we would all be fully motivated to succeed at all times. But this is impossible for pretty much everyone. Luckily, you can follow the tips above, and establish healthy habits that will allow you to burn fat and maintain a healthy weight forever.