Weight Loss Motivation
7. Paint Pretty Pictures How will eating better or sticking to an exercise plan make you look and feel in the long term? Create "life preservers," detailed visions of your ideal self, suggests Platkin. Imagine going on a date with your husband in a sexy new dress; picture running into your high-school nemesis looking toned and confident. "The point is to have motivational scenarios you can think about when you're having trouble sticking to your plan," says Platkin. "And remember: Make the visualizations compelling and inspiring -- powerful enough to stand up to that diabolical duo, Ben & Jerry!"
8. Treat Yourself Did you refrain from finishing your daughter's fries today? Did you take a brisk walk on your lunch break? Reward yourself. "Treat yourself to a simple pleasure," suggests Dr. Jain. "Promise yourself thirty minutes of quiet time to read a novel, or buy yourself a new set of luxurious bath gels."
9. Tune In to Tone Up When it comes to exercise, music can move you -- not only because it offers mental stimulation, but also because it may help put you in a better mood. "Music's rhythm also helps exercisers maintain a reasonable intensity level," says Vince Nethery, Ph.D., professor of exercise science at Central Washington University, in Ellensburg, Washington. And listening to music may even help you work out longer and harder. A study at Hampden-Sydney College, in Farmville, Virginia, recently found that college students who exercised to music were able to work out 11 percent longer than those who worked out in silence or a noisy environment.
10. Sweat for a Cause Sign up for a charity walk/run, like Race for the Cure (www.komen.org/race), which benefits breast-cancer research, or the MS Bike Tour (www.nationalmssociety.org), which raises funds for multiple-sclerosis research. You'll help yourself by helping others. Plus, after hitting up friends and family for donations, you'll be motivated to reach your goal.
11. Post Your Progress Find a way to remind yourself how far you've come in your efforts to exercise and eat more healthfully. "Toss a dollar in a jar every time you fit in a workout, then cash out on a non-food splurge," suggests Dr. Jain. "Or make a chart of your progress. I've even had clients who charted their progress on a world map: Every hour of exercise brought them metaphorically closer to new lands."
12. Dress for Success "If you're the kind who exercises in T-shirts and baggy sweats because your body wasn't meant for Lycra, think again," says Heaner. "Shapeless exercise clothes actually make you look worse than fitted ones do. You don't have to wear skimpy bras or butt-high hot pants -- just form-fitted clothing that lets you see your muscles." Check out Reebok's Fit System line (www.reebok.com), which includes workout wear to flatter more rounded bodies.
Originally published in Ladies' Home Journal magazine.