How to Keep Going When the Road is Long

By , SparkPeople Blogger
By Beth Donovan (~INDYGIRL)

You might think that after losing more than 130 pounds, motivation comes easily to me. It doesn't come to me, I have to find it. But I find it more easily now because I've discovered where to look.

One of the first and best tips I have to offer you is to find motivating mantras, powerful sayings that have enough meaning to you to change your mind or at least make you stop and think. I have some to share with you that I use to keep myself going. Here are my most powerful mantras:

    "Baby steps still get you there... you just aren't too worn out to enjoy yourself along the way."

    "If you got a traffic ticket would you break every traffic law the rest of the day? Then why toss the whole day over a slice of pizza?"

    "Tea and sympathy, not cake and apathy."

    "You don't have to be perfect; you just have to stick with it."

    "It is what you do consistently that shows."

    "Never treat your body like a garbage disposal for leftovers."

    "One slice of pizza is always going to have fewer calories than 2 slices of pizza."

    "If your going to think 'I may as well', then you might as well think 'I may as well not.' "

    "Life is happening now, not 10 pounds from now."

    "Lose, maintain, just don't gain."

    "Aim for better every day rather than perfect right away."

    "Be the girl who orders small."

    "Dress the part. Act the part. Suck it up."

That last one was my first mantra. Basically it's the same as "Fake it 'til you make it." Dressing in loose, active clothing made me feel like moving and made me feel more active. So I did more. I got the idea to go buy clothes that made me feel like moving and wear them daily. Even if I didn't feel active, sometimes I would have to just suck it up and do 10 minutes. That's how a mantra works. Another example might be when you've had a slice of pizza and you are contemplating another because, well, you already blew it. "One slice of pizza always has fewer calories than two."

Another source of motivation for me is music. When I feel down on myself or like not moving, I put on some good music with a beat that gets me going and wanting to move. It puts me in a healthier frame of mind. Once I get the urge to move, I usually do.

Sometimes it's harder having a longer journey because the road is just so long that it takes so much stamina. It's almost like we need a personal trainer for that kind of will! I personally cannot focus on the long road ahead or I become overwhelmed. At 460 pounds, all I could see was a vast, endless sea of weight to lose and I was sure I would fail. Now 132 pounds lighter, I still focus on 10 pounds at a time.

I've lost my weight in about 4 1/2 years. I didn't lose very fast. I aim for about 25-50 pounds a year. Some years it's 50 pounds lost and I had one year I stayed the same. That was a frustrating plateau, but at least I maintained. Being disabled in so many ways and having thyroid disease, I knew not to expect to lose like a normal person would, especially since I started out bedridden. So be patient with yourself and adapt to your new lifestyle. Taking it slowly really helped me make permanent changes, rather than starve and gain it back like usual.

Look to your past and present and slightly into your future. Look where you've come from, praise where you are and plan where you are going this month. Getting too far ahead of yourself can sap your strength. Keep pictures of the old you and the new you handy, like you would those of a good friend. Look at them daily and watch for changes.

Reward yourself with meaningful things and frivolous things. Big goals deserve big rewards, but only you can decide what those goals and rewards are. Mini goals, such as 5 pounds can be rewarded with any little frivolous thing that you wouldn't normally do for yourself, like a manicure. All goals deserve rewards.

Don't wait until "When I'm skinny I'll_____." What if "skinny" never happens? What if healthy and fit start happening instead? What if by living your life now, you were able to become healthier, fitter, and thinner? The possibilities are endless. Let me leave you with a favorite saying, paraphrased because I don't remember it exactly. When a butterfly is trying to beat its way out of the cocoon, it may seem kind to help it. If you do however, it will never have the strength it needs to live. Maybe the long road to lose weight isn't easy because we need to travel it to be strong enough for what's in store.

What keeps you (or kept you) going on the road to weight loss?

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Thanks for posting this. I plan on using a couple of them when things get roufh Report
SPINECCO 12/9/2019
Great Blog! Nice. Report
Thanks so much! I've added several of these to my book of inspiration. Report
A big motivational help for me is listening to music and exercising to it! I do a great deal of marching in place and sometimes it's more like running in place, although I have two totally knees and I'm not allowed to run! I also ride the exercise bike to some pretty intense music. I also picked up one or two of your mantras. Report
Thanks, Beth. Report
Thank you. Report
Thank you for writing this Report
thanks Report
This is great! I love it. Just what I need today. Stuck on a plateau and getting depressed. Your article helps. Thank you. Report
Go Beth! You rock! Thank you. Report
Music moves me. I just cannot sit still when I hear an Irish jig or a good salsa. My mp3 is loaded with these so when I walk or go to the gym, the music infuses my soul and on the outside I may be walking but on the inside I am dancing.
I was so inspired by these mantras that I got goose bumps. Thank you. Report
Thank you! Report
This is great! I love it. Report
I'm on board, I'm inspired,WHOA!!!!! Report
I think this one of my favorite dailySpark articles ever, so motivating! Report
You wrote this over a year ago...and it's still motivating people! Having a motivating saying, does help. What a great tip! Report
Thanks! I love mantras! They are so helpful. My current signature is my current mantra....
"Nothing is impossible, the word itself says 'I'm possible!" Audrey Hepburn

Let's keep it moving!

Peace and Love,
devasinger Report
love the mantras.. thank you x Report
One of my favs is "if you were driving to Columbus and got lost along the way, would you get back on track and keep going to Columbus or would you give up and return home?". I have to admit, some of my 'detours' along the way have been longer than they should have been, but I keep on keeping on. Report
I love your mantras; love it , love it.. Report
All those are great mantras. See my signature for mine. I often abbreviate it to either "Start, do, suddenly" or "Necessary, Possible, Impossible."

"If your going to think 'I may as well', then you might as well think 'I may as well not.' "

Oh, well, today was a bust. Screw it. I may as well have that Li'l Debbie (or whatever it is today). I seem to see that garbage as a consolation not a reward. Somehow it is never "I had a great day. I think I deserve a little treat. I'll have that Li'l Debbie." Oh no! If I've a a good day , I want to keep it going.

Exception: This Sunday, I ran 20 miles! I had a Chicago Hot Dog! And I still did not offset all the calories burned.

I deserved it.

I decided a long time ago that exercise and good eating is important to me - I can't be there for my family and others if I am not healthy. Report
LOL- "Tea and sympathy, not cake and apathy." I'll keep that one, for sure! Report
wow, that last sentence said a mouthful. loved this. Report
Thanks for posting. You inspired me. Loved your mantras Report
I really like your mantras! Report
Thank you for the advise. Report
Thank You! This is helpful advise. Congratulations to you! Report
Thanks. I really needed to read this today. I am going to save and print out so I can refer to this often. Report
Thanks again! Report
This will help me. Thanks Report
Love your mantras. I am going to add some of them to my daily affirmations. Report
Thank you for a fabulous blog that is so appropriate to so many! Report
Your an Awesome inspiration! Thank you!! Report
You've accomplished so much!! Thank you for sharing your experience, your success, and your insightful tips. If I can achieve half of what you have, I'll be positively thrilled!! Report
Thank you for this blog. I was feeling sluggish and put off exercising today. Now I am ready to put on my motivational music and get going. I love the mantras and will use them. Report
Another great blog, Indygirl! Report
Thank you! I needed to read this. I was feeling down, down about my weight/body, down about work, down about just about everything. This was what I needed! You're an inspiration! Report
Excellent - have printed your quotes up in big bold font and have stuck it on my bathroom mirror for morning inspiration. Keep going girl, you'll get there. Janine Report
i must kep thi blog in my fav s thank you Report
Wonderful words! Report
I really liked the last analogy you made about letting the butterfly do its own thing to get out of the cocoon so that it can be strong enough for the bigger challenges in life. I will definately remind myself that every struggle we go through now is worth the rewards in the end and will give us the confidence and strength to achieve wonders once we put our mind to it.... be it small steps at a time. A quote from Martin Luther King has always inspired me which talks about how a journey to the top begins with just one step. So take it one step at a time and we will reach our goals. Thanks for the inspiration. Report
Thankyou for the wonderful mantras. I shall have the traffic ticket one tatooed to my body for easy reference. [not really] but it totally applies. What an awesome help. GOD bless. Report
thank you so much ,what a great motivation ,you are and the blog is awesome too Report
I love all your dailyspark blogs and hope you write more. Many more. Report
It's great to read sbout some else loosing that much weight. I too have to lose 200+ and am just getting started again. Loved your mantras and printing them out so I can post them aroiund my apt. Report
Loved this blog and the mantras. Very motivating...thank you! Report
Love the quotes at the begining. Really made me think. Thank you for sharing! Report
Beth, girl, you ALWAYS motivate me to give it my best shot. =D You're amazing. I'm totally borrowing these mantras and leaving them in my most visited places! Report