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By Health Expert

Monday, September 20, 2010.


As the Autumn evenings get darker and Winter sets in, you might be in need of something to kick-start your motivation again.

When you're lacking that get up and go, our 10 proven tricks will light the weight loss fire beneath you:

1. Get it in black and white: One no-fail way to follow through on your intentions is to put your plans in writing. Everything seems more official when you see it in black and white, and the same goes for a commitment to your health and well-being. Make a contract with yourself. Sit down with a pen and paper and identify your specific goals. Write down how much weight you want to lose, how you plan to accomplish your goals and when you plan to start.

Now, sign on the dotted line and keep the contract where you can’t help but see it every day, like on the fridge or taped to your bedroom mirror.

2. Whet your appetite for healthier food. Who said eating healthy had to be boring or bland? Not us. Visit your nearest bookshop and browse the cookbooks for some new low-fat meal ideas. You'll be surprised at the vast array of great-sounding (and tasting) choices packed with tantalising meal ideas that won't widen your waistline.

3. Think of the children. If your kids are your biggest motivators, do it for them. Imagine how much more energy you'll have to give to them. Considering they learn by watching you, your good eating and exercise habits are bound to rub off, which means a lot for their health.



4. Banish seasonal barriers. Are your favourite healthy foods out of season? Having a hard time finding good fruit? Head to the freezers in your supermarket and try some frozen blueberries, raspberries and strawberries to toss into fruit salads, smoothies or to have on cereals.

5. Put some fun in fitness. The best way to boost your motivation to exercise is to make it an activity you actually enjoy doing. If you have to drag yourself out the door to go for a walk, maybe that's not your thing. Swing by your local sports shop and scan the workout videos or check out your gym's class schedule until you find something that sounds like fun, such as boxing, salsa dancing or tai chi.

Keep trying new activities until you find one that really has you looking forward to breaking a sweat.

6. Take a trip (even a short one). When you know you're going away, do you spend the weeks beforehand picturing how you'll look in the new swimsuit you bought? If that summer holiday is too far off to inspire you, consider a mini-break.

7. Buddy up. Sometimes having someone to share the experience with you is all you need to stay on track. If your spouse, sibling or friend also wants to lose weight, consider working toward your goals together. You can start on the same day and encourage and support each other when the going gets tough. The added responsibility of meeting someone at the gym every day or reporting your meals to that person can be a terrific way to prevent slacking off.

8. Weigh the options. Make a mental list of all the reasons losing weight is a good idea (e.g. looking great, feeling better about yourself, reducing your risk for heart disease, cancer, diabetes or arthritis, having more energy each day, etc.). No matter what's on your list of cons, we bet they're outnumbered by the pros. Just thinking about all the amazing things you’ll be doing for yourself can be motivating.

9. Consider the fringe benefits. You already know about those health and fitness benefits. But how about this one: better sex. A study at Duke University found that even moderate weight loss in men (8 to 20 pounds) resulted in significant improvements in 'sexual functioning and satisfaction'.

Research has also shown that regular exercisers have higher levels of desire and an enhanced ability to be aroused and achieve orgasm. Exercise improves blood flow throughout the body and increased circulation is related to heightened sexual desire in both men and women.

10. Listen up. Pay attention to the response you get from people around you. As you begin to lose weight, the compliments you get from friends (even strangers) and the differences you notice in yourself will keep you going for the duration.


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