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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Really liked the mantra's - thank you. Keep going- you are doing good! C Report
The blogging that you are doing keeps me from giving up. Keep on keeping on. Report
You are amazing and inspiring!! Report
The thing that keeps me going is the possibility that i might be able to reverse my type2 diabetes. I hate the thought of having a 'disease'. Report
Loved your blog and love your attitude. I have reach my weigh goal but i keep gaining back 5 or 6 pounds. I consider myself in maintenance and when i see the pounds creeping back up, i go over my goals and food intake and figure out what i'm doing wrong. Sometimes it as simple as changing my exercise routine. Congrats on the weight you have lost so far. You are doing great. Report
Thank you for such powerful inspiration. This one is worth printing and posting to read again. I have a long journey ahead and your words of wisdom will help keep me inspired. Report
Indygirl, what a great blog. I really liked "Tea and sympathy, not cake and apathy." My food sponsor would love "One slice of pizza is always going to have fewer calories than 2 slices of pizza." My sponsor would love "One slice of pizza will always have fewer calories than two slices of pizza." Direct and logical.

I have a couple of mantras, but I am going to write some more for many situations. Thank you for sharing and inspiring.

What keeps me going is Spark-people like you.

Thank you Report
Many many thanks! I just started my journey and the 100 pounds I have to lose seem so overwhelming and hearing from someone who has loss he 100 and more is awesome encouragement. Thank you for your tips!! Report
This is a timely article. Today I was questioning whether I have what it takes to stay on this journey, especially since I don't seem to be getting anywhere. I'm going to print out the mantras and keep trying. Thanks! Report
Thank you for a great article. I have 50 pounds to loose and it seems so hard at times. My goal is to loose 2 &1/4 pounds a month. It will take two years but I will be able to "live" my life during the process. I believe my plan will work for me. Report
The first thing I did was to take a little bit of time with my appearance, i.e. some make-up, a spray of cologne, some earings etc. This made me feel better about myself which in turn has made me do something about it. Report
You are so inspiring! So many people have been touched by your stories, and are pulling for you, because you have the guts to keep going to improve your health and life, even in the face of adversity! (Not that you are doing it for others, of course, you are doing it for yourself (as should be!) - but in that way you can also inspire others to be able to do similar things for themselves too! No (wo)man is an island!)

You GO, girl! Report
Thank you for sharing. Your mantras are amazing. Your are Sparkspiration. Report
Hi there,
Our weight loss stories are similar--except you are about 17 pounds further along than I am. I have a mantra that you didn't mention that really helps me during some of my "darker" moments. "I can do anything for just one day (or meal or evening or vacation or...." This one reminds me that I have what it takes to get through the moment or activity or event and to make those choices that are best for me and my body. I can get my exercise in. I can pas on a dessert or some chips that I don't really need or want. I can do it. You can do it. It has been my new "aha" that we ALL can do it. thanks for another awesome blog. Report
Thanks for posting. I found myself nodding along as I read your blog. You said it just right! Thanks. Report
Beautifully written. Thank you ~ you made my day! Report
As a lover of motivational quotes, these are fantastic! (Especially the one about tea and cake!) Report
You are such an incredible inspiration and a wonderful friend!!! I am so glad I decided to get those Sparkpoints that day! Big Hugs!!!

Ciara Report
Thank you for sharing your wisdom - it CAN be overwhelming to aim for a goal "over the long road" and your experience, insight and success help remind us there's no "magic pill" but there IS "living now." It is all a process, like you said, that strengthens us. Report
Thank you so much for sharing your story! I am disabled with chronic pain and am facing two surgeries, a hip replacement and another back reconstruction. My exercise is also limited, but with my cane or walker I can walk 4-5 blocks. I need to lose 25-30 lbs which I know is small Report
You are smply awesome. I especially love the NEVER TREAT YOUR BODY LIKE A GARBAGE DISPOSAL. I think that is what I used to do. I too have a long road but not as long as you. I started this journey at 335 and now am 276. It has taken me almost 2 years, but that is OK. As long as I am losing or maintaining. You are an inspiration. Thank you for sharing your story. Dixie Report
This has not been a good weekend for me and I was feeling down, I was asking the Lord for some motivation and I came upon your blog. How thankful I am that I found it, your comments are truly motivational and inspiring. Thanks for the montras and congratulations on your progress. Report
"Aim for better every day rather than perfect right away." I LOVE this one. I'm going to use it in my classroom as well as for myself. Thanks! Report
''Tea and sympathy, not cake and apathy'' really hit home for me today. I've recently taken up drinking hot tea when I'm feeling peckish rather than stuffing my face with sugar, salt and fat. When I'm feeling down, the best thing to do is treat myself right. This quote is a great reminder of that. Report
Great blog. I think I need to make of list of my favorite mantras to help me on this "long road", as well. Thanks for sharing Report
Thanks for the inspiration! Report
INDYGIRL, As usual, a very kind yet challenging post. Thanks for sharing. Report
Your blog is inspiring. You obviously get that the weight loss takes time and perserverence and you are doing it. Your attitude is fantastic! Keep up the good work. Cindy Report
Thanx for the great reminder mantras. I always enjoy reading your blogs, you are such an inspiration to all of us! And congrats on the new job. Report
I so needed this. Thank you so much. I am striving to lose almost a hundred pounds and I felt like giving up because I have hit a plane. Congrats on your weight loss. And thanks again for being an inspiration and motivation to ones that have lost their mojo. Report
Thank you for sharing. I have another mantra for you: "You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore." Supposedly said by Christopher Columbus, but possibly said about him instead. Report
Wow. Great, motivational article that I SO needed right now. Congrats on your weight loss so far. Wonderful. I love the mantra about the traffic ticket; makes perfect sense and that's how I need to look at things. Thank you. Report
This blog spoke to me on such a deep level, as I was finishing I realized I was crying. 25 days ago I was 465lbs. Today I am 18lbs. lighter. I know that I won't lose weight like this throughout my journey but after the dedication I've given to excersize and eating healthy it was just what I needed to show me that I am worth it. I relate so well to you when it comes to the aches, pains, and physical limitations that are associated with being THAT overweight. Sometimes I feel like Im the only one in the world who is THIS fat. Then I come across something in life like this blog and it shows me that I am not alone. Thank you for sharing your story and for reminding me that its never to late to take that first step because if you never do.... then there is no chance of reaching your goal. You are an inspiration. :) Report
I loved this blog! You help me be more motivated with your logical and fun mantras! Congratulations on your journey and good luck for the future. Report
Thank you Beth! This blog helps me so much. Report
I thought your blog was very inspiring. I just may adopt some, or all, of them and inplement them into my health journey! Thanks for taking the time to write and share it! Report
I love the mantras. There are a couple that I will repeat every day. I, too, have a long journey, but I'm concentrating on 25 pounds right now. That is when I am going to treat myself to my first-ever professional massage. Report
Great Blog, Ive been in a little plateau and these mantra's will really help me get out of it Report
Great blog! Report
That was a very inspiring blog :-)) I like all of those mantra's. Report
Thank you so much for writing this. I think it's my fave blog I've ever read. So motivational and helpful and honest! Report
If it is to be, it is up to ME!! Report
"Life is happening now, not 10 pounds from now."
i love that quote! I'm going to keep the music playing and let the beat move me forward.
Thank you. Report
INDYGIRL - thank you so much for this. I often find myself overwhelmed by how much I have to lose. Somedays I feel it is an impossible goal - while others I feel strong and capable. My Mantra has been "Because I matter" and/or "because I'm worht it". It is good, now to have some other choices when faced with Friday Pizza nights! Report
Excellent! So inspiring and effective! Report
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