We've all been there: You finally feel like you're conquering your health regimen. You're actually showing up to all your spin classes, have found a way to weasel more healthy foods into your diet and you're starting to feel really energetic. But then that rut hits and your weight loss motivation plummets. Your progress seems to slow and try as you might, you just can't get your mind back on track. Your goals, whether they're focussed on improving your fitness, upping your wellness game or maintaining some healthy weight loss, seem further away than ever before. What you need now is a good old fashioned pep talk. But because we know that none of us are particularly good at providing words of wisdom to ourselves, we've asked NASM personal trainer and fitness expert Jaime McFaden to share hers.
Create a Vision Board
According to McFaden, now is the time to revisit your primary school collage skills. "This is something I have every one of my clients do: Create a vision board. Grab a few magazines that inspire you and cut out words and phrases that make you motivated. Hang the vision board somewhere you will see it every day. A big reason successful people are successful is that they visualized the success before they had it."
What's important to remember here is not compare yourself to anyone else. In fact, a study by British psychologist Richard Wiseman which he explains in his book 59 Seconds ($13), found that adopting a celebrity role model as a goal for weight loss can actually be detrimental to your progress. Instead opt for words and phrases that make you feel good about yourself.
Shift Your Attitude
When progress starts to slow, it can be all to easy to forget about all that you've accomplished so far. But the key to weight loss motivation is to take part in a little self-reflection. "Look at where you were one year ago, or 5 years ago, and take a moment to breathe and be proud of all that you have accomplished. It can be challenging if you feel down at times. Be aware of what you are feeling and then try to shift your attitude," suggests McFaden. "This takes practice but over time if you can focus on the positives you will be happier and healthier all together."
Phone a Friend
This one is fairly easy: Bring a friend to your workouts. "Having an accountability partner can help drastically to keep things interesting," explains McFaden. Plus, working out is way more fun when you can share the experience with someone.
Mix up Your Workouts
The old adage may state that if it's not broken, don't try to fix it, but when it comes to workouts, you're better off trying the opposite. "Our bodies are very adaptable so maybe the low impact treadmill workout you were loving and doing all the time is seeming rather easy," explains McFaden. "When you start to feel a plateau it typically means you need to change something up. It is best for our body to get some variety when it comes to exercise."
And she's not just talking about moving from the treadmill to the bike. "You can sign up to take a very unique class like ballroom dancing or rock climbing. Do something to shake things up and I guarantee it will spark your fire back up," she recommends.
A big part of reaching goals and maintaining weight loss motivation is knowing exactly how to get there, but granted, not everyone can afford tri-weekly sessions with a dedicated personal trainer, but there are ways you can access their expertise remotely. Take Aaptiv for example: It's an app that's full of audio-based workouts by expert personal trainers, covering everything from cardio, strength and even meditation. So if you're beginning to find your motivational Spotify playlist just isn't cutting it anymore, try having one of these 2500 workouts in your ear.
Stop Trying so Hard
It may sound counterintuitive, but pushing yourself and your body to the outer limits isn't necessarily going to result in faster progress. "I can't tell you how many times I have seen clients crash diet and exercise with no rest and end up injuring themselves," reveals McFaden. "Too much of something may not be good. So just like with many other areas of our lives, moderation is key. The idea of going from 0 to 100 in a matter of seconds doesn't work in health and fitness. Love yourself enough to take care of yourself." If your body isn't feeling up to it, there's no shame in taking a few days off your diet and fitness regimen and you'll probably find you're more ready and willing to throw yourself back into it after you've had a little downtime.
Treat Yourself to New Set
We don't know about you, but when we buy ourselves a new pair of running leggings, a great pair of trainers or a sports bra, we're automatically more inclined to head to the gym. So if you're starting to feel a bit fed up with your weight loss progress, treat yourself to a new item of kit.