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?