With all the uncertainty we’ve faced over the past few months, it’s fair to say life has been more challenging than normal. So it’s no surprise that many people have struggled to manage their weight during the coronavirus pandemic, as revealed by our new research. If you’ve found it harder to keep up with healthy eating and activity recently, we’re here to give you a big boost of inspiration. To help you get back on the weight loss wagon, we’ve asked psychologist, author and broadcaster Dr Linda Papadopoulos to share her advice for staying motivated during lockdown. Take it away, Linda…
“Staying motivated on a weight loss journey can be tough at the moment, which is perfectly understandable given that everyone’s life has been turned upside down.
While focusing on your own motivation is crucial, it can be all too easy to lose sight of your weight loss goals when you’re feeling anxious about things. Getting the support of others is invaluable in staying committed – by sharing challenges and hearing how others are staying on track, as well as getting emotional support, we’re much more likely to succeed.
Empowering yourself to think about where you want to be at the end of this period, and setting realistic weight loss goals to get there, could give you a much-needed sense of control. So, while you might think this isn’t a good time to make changes, it could actually be a great time to think about your future self.”
Dr Linda’s top tips for staying motivated
Reframe your goals
“We don’t know what’s going to happen over the coming weeks and months, and we need to think how we want to come out of this surreal time. Our motivation might be different now and that’s OK. It might need to change from a longer-term goal to something more immediate. For instance, if your motivation was aiming to be fitter and healthier for an upcoming wedding or holiday which now isn’t going to happen, it might now be about ensuring that when we leave lockdown you’re not feeling frustrated at having let go of the achievements you’ve already made.”
Primary school teacher Natalie laced up her trainers and started jogging to keep her spirits high during lockdown.
Be kind to yourself
“Choosing to eat nourishing, delicious food is one of the best ways of being kind to yourself – it’s like saying a big ‘thank you’ every day to your mind and body for working so hard. If you know you want to eat well and be more active, find positive ways of making it as easy as possible to do that.
Planning meals and having healthy snacks ready for when you feel hungry will make you less likely to reach for something quick and easy that might take you off track. Another great example is to protect yourself when you’re shopping. So, if you know you’ll struggle to resist a particular treat if you have it in the cupboard, don’t buy it in the first place or choose a smaller treat that you’ll be able to enjoy without sabotaging your plans.
And if you do go off track, don’t beat yourself up. Just draw a line underneath it and start again – you’re only human, after all.”
Ilona has kept her weight loss plans firmly on track by having a slice of her brilliant Slimming World banana bread when she fancies a sweet treat.
Set mini targets
“We can unintentionally set ourselves up for failure if our expectations are too big. It might be too much right now to think about an overall goal, so think instead about micro-ambitions – breaking things down into mini-milestone targets. In the same way it might not be realistic for you to learn Latin or redecorate your whole home during lockdown, is it realistic for you to lose 2st or start running marathons? If it is, brilliant! But if not, instead you could say something like, ‘I’ll go for a walk today’.
By being realistic with both your goals and your expectations of yourself, you’re more likely to hit your targets – and feel great about doing so. And that will mean you stay motivated and set yourself up for success in reaching your overall end goal, too.”
When lockdown started, Slimming World member Kim struggled to stay focused on her weight loss goals until, with the encouragement of her virtual group, she set herself a target of trying an online wheelchair workout for the first time. Now she’s got her Bronze Body Magic award, and she’s whizzing towards her Silver award too!
When you’re on your weight loss journey, getting the right support is the best way to keep your motivation high – and that’s exactly what you’ll find in a Slimming World group! With expert advice from your Consultant, and the encouragement and friendship of your fellow members – plus stacks of filling, healthy recipe ideas – we’ll help you reach your weight loss goals. You can find out more about joining Slimming World here.
How are you staying motivated at the moment? We’d love to share your tips on the blog or on social using #theSlimmingWorldblog