Your reasons for wanting to lose weight along with your expectations of how much weight and how fast you can lose it will play a role in determining your success. Past studies have shown that people who had internal, enduring reasons such as improving self-esteem or reducing health risks were more likely to stick with a plan long enough to reach their goals than people who motivation was for external and temporary reasons. As Helen Keller said “the best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched, they must be felt with the heart.”

So I ask you to think about WHY you are trying to lose weight. Is it make someone else happy? To look good at an upcoming wedding, to fit into smaller clothes? These external or temporary motivations make it less likely that you will follow through on your weight loss plan.

When you figure out why you want to lose weight it is important to consider where you are in life and whether you can devote the time and concentration required to change your eating habits. In the past you’ve probably had lots of change in your life – you’ve gone to college, got married, had a baby, suffered a bereavement, changed jobs, moved house and so on. What I’m saying is that if you are in the midst of major life changes, you will need to work extra hard and therefore devote more time and effort to change eating patterns. It can be done but if your life is relatively settled, you will be better able to focus on a weight loss plan.

With weight loss it is so important to manage your expectations. You want to stay on track and to do that you need to recognise what is achievable and what is not. Any amount of loss is a positive result, even 10% of your current body weight will yield huge reductions in diabetes, arthritis, heart disease and hypertension. But don’t set yourself up for failure. Always be realistic in what you can achieve, and what weight you can sustain forever. Don’t worry so much about what you should and shouldn’t eat but do keep focused on why you want to lose weight. When you do that you’re food choices become easier, and better.

Blog Post by Aisling Connolly