Motivation Articles

7 Things that Separate Weight-Loss Winners & Losers

How to Stay on Top of Your Game

As you've probably figured out, winning at weight loss is about making long-lasting, life-altering change. Just like any sport or skill, you might start out a little rocky. Choosing healthy foods, trying different workouts, and finding the strategies that work for you will take a little practice.  As you find your stride, those habits will get easier and you'll start knocking down more barriers that try to get in your way. Your momentum will start to build and you'll be ticking away at your weight loss goals one by one. Soon enough, you'll reach a fantastic tipping point when you feel a shift in the energy and really enter "the zone"—the stadium starts to flutter, the crowd starts to cheer! And you are winning at weight loss!
Whether you’re focusing on your diet or hitting the gym, the commitment to long-term weight loss takes the mindset and mental stamina of a champion. You’ve got to have a supportive team and a great playbook to get on a winning streak. In this head-to-head match that lasts a lifetime, it’s all about preparation. Your success will be determined by how well you set your strategy and play the game.
We're opening the playbook on the weight-loss game. Here are the winning strategies you'll need!
Winners Set Small Goals
It seems so straightforward: Your main goal is to lose weight. So, now you can just decide how much to lose and power through to the finish line, right? Unfortunately, simply knowing how many pounds you want to drop may not be enough to help you win this game. Rather than only focusing on the end zone, a better strategy is to set lots of small milestones on your weight-loss journey. Perhaps you want to run a 5K, curl 20-pound dumbbells, squeeze more veggies into your diet, or fit into a smaller pair of jeans. All of these are great goals and tackling each one can keep you motivated to keep fighting the good fight. Plus, meeting these smaller benchmarks gives you the opportunity for more frequent pats on the back. If you only focus weight loss as your main achievement, you’ll miss out on celebrating all of the other small victories!
Winners Take Breaks and Timeouts
When you first set out to shed pounds, it is easy to overdo it. We all know that the best way to lose weight is by eating fewer calories and increasing physical activity. But, if you set too many harsh rules and regulations at the start, you’re likely to get overwhelmed by a too-strict diet and a tough-to-follow workout schedule. When you’re developing your weight-loss game plan, make sure that you pencil in time for breaks. Take a diet timeout to enjoy a slice of cake at friend’s birthday party. Schedule a relaxing soak in the tub on your day off from the gym. Be sure that your weight-loss rules include moderation and flexibility for you to spend some time (and calories) on the things you love in life. This will help you stay on track longer and reach lasting weight-loss success.
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About The Author

Megan Coatley Megan Coatley
Megan is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) with a masterís degree in applied behavior analysis from Western Michigan University. As a health and wellness coach, she combines her passion for nutrition and fitness with her professional talents to help others creative positive, lasting change and live healthier lives.

Member Comments

    I do fine all day but when at work and when I first get home. I have fibromyalgia, restless legs and muscle spasms, so I am up alot at night in pain and I graze all night long. I t has cost me gaining over 70 lbs and I am trying to get back on track. I just don't know what to do I have to get control. I had lost 154 lbs and slowly am gaining it all back. I have depression anyway and this does not help. - 1/23/2015 8:46:39 AM
  • A few comments disagree with the need for a "team" Maybe I don't need a competitive team, but having a supportive, encouraging team sure helps. I was able to take off the weight while being a "spark hermit" using the resources and never interacting with anyone. But I don't think I could have maintained for nearly 5 years without this community. There are so many yo-yo stories out there, each very individual. I want to learn from them and stay exactly where I am. - 9/27/2014 3:08:05 PM
  • Nothing is a fit all,for me I find myself slipping if I do not meet with my
    TOPS group and weigh in. Accountability is important for the long haul on my journey.
    Self discipline is one of my always projects. - 9/26/2014 11:52:56 AM
  • Seems like a restating of what is often stated. I disagree with the comment that you need a team to loose weight. Huh? I didn't need a team to gain weight. I understand that it is great to connect and have support but a team is not mandatory. - 9/26/2014 9:18:53 AM
  • Recording keeps you focused not only on where you've been, but also where you're going! - 8/1/2014 8:18:36 AM
    Thank you so much - 7/31/2014 8:01:10 AM
  • Thank you so much for these very helpful tips. I think the hardest thing for me is sticking with it for the long haul. I know I CAN and WILL lose all the excess weight, but I just get so depressed thinking about how far I have to go. I think when I truly accept the fact that it will take time, and that I am enjoying all the things I'm learning and overcoming along the way, I will be much more successful in my journey and happier with myself. - 6/5/2014 3:11:28 PM
  • Thanks for sharing. - 11/21/2013 6:11:47 AM
  • I agree with most of this article, except for the "team" aspect. I have no competitive spirit, I don't like comparing myself (successes or failures) with other people. I prefer to exercise alone rather than with friends. Yet, I am consistent in my eating choices, I swim 6 days a week, and also do other exercises. I consider myself a success.

    Successful weight loss does NOT have to be a team activity. If you're a private person, or just don't like to share, you are NOT a failure if you don't buy into the team aspect of weight loss. Some of us just like to march to a different drummer. - 11/16/2013 11:27:59 AM
  • This is such a good article. I actually "knew" all this, but sometimes it helps to have it put out there in front of you. Unlike the gal before me who doesn't see any point to it all, I totally disagree. Somehow she must not be making any real friends here to think of them as "strangers who don't care" about her success. I have made several dear friends here and the support and prayers here give me something I can't get anywhere else. Yes, those around you who aren't fighting the battle DO get tired of hearing about it. But here we all know the difficulties and are a "shoulder" to go to, but also someone to cheer us on. Just complaining about what you can't eat won't help, you have to take on a positive attitude which somehow I'm missing in her statements. She's defeated and not seeing a way out. I wish I could reach out to her to try and help but this is something she must do on her own. She must find the strength and the acceptance to come here for some of what she needs but also the battle can only be fought on our own. BUT we are NOT alone. SP is here for us in so many ways. I love SP. - 11/16/2013 9:36:02 AM
  • I don't understand why I have to discuss my diet with the people around me in order to be successful. Others don't give a bleep about how often I go to the gym, or whether I've dropped a pound this week -- any more than they want to be "psyched up" to eat or act differently if they haven't actively decided to do so. Sharing with others on SparkPeople is fine -- though again I can't imagine why someone I've never met saying "great job" would spur me on (or someone saying "you can do better" would make me try harder). I find dieting and exercise to be pretty lonely work... and weightloss to be something that is only meaningful to me and not to anyone around me. Even my husband gets very sick of hearing about what I can't eat, or about the half pound I finally shed. - 11/16/2013 7:44:57 AM
    I can't tell you how AWESOME it is to read all your comments! In writing this article, I was hoping it would ring true for the winner in each of you. It seems like many of you have tried the 'all or nothing' route or got really attached to those numbers on the scale. Believe me, I've been there too. There is no perfect formula for weight loss. But at least these evidence-based tips can help you navigate the game and perhaps stop being so hard on yourself.

    Staying the course and analyzing your own habits until you find out what works for YOU is what really makes you a weight loss winner!

    Thanks for all the great feedback. You guys are fantastic! - 5/3/2013 7:22:18 PM
  • I really appreciated your article Megan: thank you!
    - 2/23/2013 1:41:01 PM
    I think I figured out what I was doing wrong..... - 1/22/2013 4:32:37 PM
  • This article was a great reminder to me to stay away from my usual "all or nothing" thinking. And I have to say it has never even occurred to me to try to enjoy my journey to a healthier lifestyle! - 1/21/2013 6:30:21 PM

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