No Hand Wringing Allowed When Deciding to Lose Weight!

Weightloss 20

Every year millions of Americans endeavor to lose weight. They invest large sums of money in gym memberships, diet books, and exercise clothes. Yet, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, somehow the obesity rates in America are on the rise.[i] This can only mean that Americans are not staying on their weight loss programs.

If you struggle with maintaining a healthy lifestyle, the most important thing to remember is to never give up. Reaching a healthy weight range is possible. In what follows, we’ll give you an overview of the health and lifestyle benefits of weight loss and teach you how to find the drive to start a weight loss program and stick with it. Here’s what you need to know.

Health and Lifestyle Factors

The first step in finding motivation for weight loss is education. In order to adopt a healthy lifestyle, you need to know why such a lifestyle is important. Over the past 20 years or so, the health and science community has proved time and again that being overweight or obese causes a variety of health risks that can lead to an early death. According to exercise physiologist William McArdle, being overweight or obese can cause stroke, cancer, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, dementia, and heart disease, just to name a few health problems.[ii]

Not only does being overweight affect you health, it also affects your lifestyle. Obese and overweight individuals often suffer from functional disabilities. Excessive weight can significantly decrease one’s mobility, making every day tasks, such as going up stairs, extremely difficult. Because activity becomes harder as you gain weight, those who are overweight tend to easily become obese due to further inactivity from functional disabilities. The good news is scientific studies have shown that losing weight through diet and exercise improves your health as well as your lifestyle.

Self-Esteem and Weight Loss

In addition to health risks and lifestyle limitations, being overweight can also lead to low self-esteem, poor body image, and even eating disorders. According to a study in the North American Journal of Psychology, women tend to be more insecure about their weight than men.[iii] What makes matters worse is that our society has developed an “ideal woman” that is drastically out of touch with the body size of normal women. Almost all of the women in popular magazines, TV shows, and movies are stick thin. This sends an implicit message to women that they have to be unrealistically skinny in order to be beautiful.

But the important thing is not to be pressured into a weight loss program simply because our culture has an unrealistic view of a woman’s figure. Being overly influenced by our society’s unrealistic expectations of women will only lead to guilt and low self-esteem. Needless to say, that is not a healthy way to lose weight. Motivation for weight loss should come from positive incentives that arise from within yourself, not from cultural expectations. Endeavor to lose weight because you want to live a long, healthy life and you want to reach a healthy weight range that suits you.

Finding Motivation

The key to improving your self-esteem is to determine a healthy weight range that suits your body frame, implement a diet and exercise program, and then find ways to keep yourself motivated as you work towards a healthy lifestyle. All women want to feel good about their body image and feel attractive. But being overweight can limit you to the kinds of outfits that you would otherwise love to wear.

That’s why fitting into the clothes you love is a great way to create motivation for weight loss. Keep the clothes that you can no longer fit into in a prominent place in your closet so that it will be a reminder to you that one day you will be able to where the clothes you love by sticking with your weight loss program.

Studies have shown that having a group of people who support your endeavor to reach a healthy weight range can increase your chances of weight loss success.[iv] Self-motivation needs to be combined with social motivation to create an encouraging context for you to lose weight. We recommend getting your friends and family involved as your coaches, motivators, and workout partners, so that you will have the social support you need to remain faithful to your diet and exercise program.

Creating Goals

Along with social support, setting goals is an essential factor to stay motivated for weight loss. Goals give you direction and can provide that spark of impetus for keeping with your fitness plan even when you don’t feel like it. When setting goals, the important thing to remember is to keep them realistic. Weight loss is not something that happens overnight. It happens through small lifestyle changes and daily choices.

Thus, when setting goals, start off with small goals and then as you progress begin to develop goals that will continue to challenge and inspire you. Keep a list of your goals in your purse or in a desk at work and review them daily so that you can remind yourself on a regular basis that you can achieve your goals.

Health risks, lifestyle limitations, and low self-esteem are all reasons for losing weight. These factors play a vital role in your overall wellbeing. With the information you know about the health benefits and quality of life improvements that weight loss can bring, you are now ready to get started on a weight loss program. The next step is to find some sources of motivation so that you will be able to maintain a healthy lifestyle through the long haul. If you create goals, cultivate social support, and find self-motivation, then you will have all the ingredients necessary to reach a weight range that suits you. The only thing left is to get started!


[i] U.S. Obesity Trends (2011, July 21). Retrieved from U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/trends.html

[ii] McArdle, W., Katch, F., & Katch, V. (2007). Exercise Physiology: Energy, Nutrition, and Human Performance. Baltimore, MD: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

 [iii] Phillips, N. & de Man, A. (2010). Weight Status and Body Image Satisfaction in Adult Men and Women. North American Journal of Psychology, 171-184.

 [iv] Hart, J., Einav, C., Weingarten, M., & Stein, M. (1990). The importance of family support in a behavior modification weight loss program. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 1270-1271.


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