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Motivation for Weight Loss

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Motivation: the "key"

While studies show that ~80% of people are not able to keep weight loss for long-term, likely due to lack of motivation over time, a recent study by Virtual Personal Trainer has clinically and scientifically proven that the effective implementation of motivational strategies such as: any choice of food/activity (personal preference vs pre-established diets/routines) and simple rewarding strategies are probably the keys for building up positive-thinking and long-term motivation, as well as successful habit-formation. The animation below summarize in only a few seconds more than 4 years of successful weight loss and maintenance. This study highlight the importance of motivation to achieve to long-lasting weight loss success.

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Stay motivated


  1. You probably need to watch the video a few times and pause/play it to fully understand it
  2. Weight loss changes as time goes by (dotted white line)
  3. Energy Balance (E.B) is adjusted depending on weight progress (expect ups and downs)
  4. "Healthy Weight" successfully implemented and maintained (weight within blue dotted lines) after an efficient "weight presetting" in the hypothalamus

What's next?

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Building your inner motivation

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As our study suggests "Intrinsic motivation", the one coming from inside a person not sustained by external rewards, can lead to long-lasting life-changing improvements. "External motivation", however, like external rewards such as compliments, trying to fit into a smaller size, or winning a karate competition, might be good for a start but long-term motivation rather depends on a person's values and his/her determination for achieving goals. When it comes to weight loss and health, internal motivation involves giving more importance to our current health and happiness instead of giving it to superficial ideas about sort coming future, such as our physical image. A positive thinking about reaching a "healthy weight" is more important in a long run that a simple image of being better good looking in the future, though for sure a better look will end up showing sooner or later once we make of health a life style but it should be seem as a collateral side effect, rather than the major focus of our motivation. Vague thoughts about future looks for example are less motivating than, for example, the truly measurable, post-workout feeling of "Wow! I feel so good. I can't wait to do this again!".


This kind of internal spirit might not come naturally to all of us, but fortunately it can be learned. Here are a few tips to help growing our "inner" motivation:

  1. Train your mind: most of the work should come to train your mind. You have to give your brain the energy and self control to stick to your plan. Here is a quick starting Mindset strategy.
  2. Rational thinking: "If you think you can, you can"; if you think you can not, you are also right." Which one you pick?
  3. Self-determination: make a commitment with yourself. If you say you are gonna do it, just do it. Do not allow any outside influence. 
  4. Avoid self-sabotaging: people who do not work out regularly or worry about health much can easily tell a list of reasons why they are not motivated to exercise or eating healthy. From not really understanding the long-term benefits of being healthy to thoughts like "I am so busy," "Diets do not work," "exercise is useless or boring," and so on so forth. You should avoid or ignore these self-sabotaging beliefs. A person has to believe health (exercise and healthy eating) is of a great value in order to build up internal motivation. Do you want to hear the real reasons why you should really care about health? read "the 50 reasons".
  5. Self-analysis: if you ever fail, maybe it is time to analyse the potential reasons for failing and give a try again.
  6. Efficacy: a person with high efficacy believes in their ability to perform a task properly and achieve goals. Such kind of person usually have positive thinking, such as: "I am sure I can do it", "if I work hard, I will make it", etc. These type of beliefs can even predict future behaviour. For example, a person would not be able to lose 2 pounds or pick up a 35-pound dumbbell, or even less, if they really believe they can't. However, the higher person's efficacy, the more likely they are to stick with a exercise routine, weight loss or health program and make of it a life habit. We can improve our efficacy by, for example, watching others succeeding in the activity you want to try. This is very effective if the person you are watching is similar to you, such as neighbours, friends or co-workers. Witnessing their successes can boost your efficacy level. You can also improve it by finding support. Personal trainers and coaches are skilled in giving appropriate motivation and encouragement, like a good friend.
  7. Ensure success: specially at the beginning, make sure you choose activities you can successfully do. If you are new at weight loss, start by targeting a few pounds/kgs only, and once you got rid of them, set a more stringent weight goal and so on so forth. Do never forget that for long-term weight loss success losing a few kgs/pounds in a short time only, it is not a success. You more likely to go back on weight and even worst than before if you do so. You need to target a "healthy weight" but you need to do that step by step. If you are new at exercise, start by a 15-mins walk, 1 set of strength training with a weight you can comfortably lift 8-10 times, or some gentle stretching. Similarly, if you are looking to take an exercise routine to the next level, start by adding 3 more reps to a lifting routine or a few mins of high intensity interval training to your running routine. Gradually raise up the intensity level as you are certain you can achieve more and more.
  8. Smart goal and strategy selection: eliminate non sense from your weight loss or fitness plan by making smart goals. This means you should pursue goals that are specific, measurable, realistic, and rewarding. For example, waking up in the morning and thinking "I am going to work out" or a vague "I want to lose weight" is less effective than coming up with a specific action plan like "I am gonna prepare a healthy salad now than I am hungry" or "I am going to run at 6:30pm for 45mins". As our study shows, smart goals are more likely to be effective and maintained in a long run. You should also find the right strategy. Read more on how to successfully implement long-term changes.
  9. Make a contract: the field of "Behavioural Economics" teach us some strategies to help us with both internal and external motivation. The logic behind is, if a person commits to a behavioural change and establishes a "contract" (with a partner, friend, or website) then some consequence (usually a monetary one) will result from failing to achieve their goal. The idea is that the desire to avoid the consequence helps people to be committed to success.
  10. Be patient: "patience is a virtue", "Rome was not built in a day", are you familiar with these famous quotations? then, you should apply this to your weight loss or fitness goals as well. Twenty minutes of light running is enough to make you feel comfortable and happy with your workout due to a significant increase of dopamine level. In high-intensity workouts, however, your brain starts to release dopamine just after a few minutes. After training, the level of dopamine decreases while the level of serotonin increases. Serotonin lowers pain sensitivity. It is known as "feel-good hormone" because it helps you to feel inner satisfaction, translating your workout into happiness!. But, most important, if you exercise regularly, these hormones concentrations grow continuously in many areas of the brain, resulting in a notable improvement of concentration, happiness and satisfaction. By the same token, it usually takes around 20 minutes from the time you start eating until your brain begins to register your level of physical fullness. For this reason it is wise to avoid rushing your food so your brain has time to catch up. If you are a fast eater, try to eat what most people consider a normal meal and if you still feel hungry after, instead of jumping to another meal, give your brain the time to receive the signal of satisfaction. The same applies to your overall weight loss or fitness goals. You can not expect to lose any pound/kg or improve your performance unless you start the right plan, wait the right time for the results to show up and make wise decisions if any difficulties come on your way.
  11. Take a cup of coffee: we already know that coffee, the mayor nature source of caffeine, has a lots of physiological and pharmacological properties, and can even help you to lose weight given its lipolytic properties. But more interestingly, coffee is also a wonderful natural energy drink. If you ever lack motivation or energy for a workout, have a coffee, you may get all the inspiration and encouragement to do so.
  12. Go for a walk or run: I am sure you are aware already that walking or running offers numerous benefits, ranging from increased physical fitness to an enhanced sense of well-being. Both activities can help you develop physical strength, ward off disease and enhance wellness. But what if you don't have the motivation or energy to give a try? I challenge you to do this simple experiment. Go for a walk while you are think about all I have mentioned in this page so far and when you go back let me know if you still lack motivation to go for a walk again. Walking or running is not only a perfect anti-stress technique, if you feel you are such a busy person, it is also perfect for brainstorming yourself inside and as a solving-problem or decision-making strategy.
  13. Only 10 minutes: do you feel like the days should be more than 24hours long or you think you have no time? Unfortunately, we have not invented yet a tool that makes our days longer so we have more time to do the things we could not during our routine days. However, you will be amaze of what you can achieve in only a few minutes.
  14. Find inspiration: follow some inspirational blogs or online channels. A simple inspirational quote can motivate you or inspire you throughout the whole day. Virtual Personal Trainer has a specific section in Facebook with daily inspirational quotes. Furthermore, we have created some weight loss apps with motivational pop-ups to keep you focused. For starting, we recommend you ask questions, add your comments or get inspiration out of other people's experiences by joining and participating in our new MotivateMe Channel right at the bottom of this page.

Yes You Can

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With determination, You Can Do it!

Virtual Personal Trainer's study has demonstrated that if an individual fully endorse weight loss-related behavioural goals and feel more competent and autonomous (self- determination theory), his/her effort is more likely to result in long-lasting behaviour change. Now that you already know it is really possible a successful weight loss and long-term maintenance, hopefully forever, let's speak clearly, I am not a super hero, "if I managed to do it, I am sure you can do it also". Do you need more motivation? I believe your best motivation should be that you can really do it, you can be the way you always wanted to be for sure, but to achieve that goal you must be totally into it. If you are easy to quit person, you must first reinforce your inner thinking, go back to the previous section. As shown in the video, even if we go through different trials during weight loss and reaching your healthiest weight, such as metabolic adaptations or some temporary lost control because of some exceptional periods such as holiday, or a business trip, I am sure you can go back on track very soon as long as you never lose your motivation. So now that you know probably the most important secret or the formula for a successful weight loss, and you full of motivation, hopefully, what are you waiting for? Start now! Check your current health status using one of the tools below and start right now losing a few pounds or kgs, little by little, till you reach your healthiest weight (so called ideal weight) to achieve your dreamed long-term weight loss and healthy mind and body forever.

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The whole picture

Now that you are conscious about your current health status it's time to move on. Here is the sequential steps you certainly need for a successful weight loss and posterior long-term maintenance of a healthy body weight.

  1. Get motivation. Now that you know how to boost your motivation, close your eyes. Imagine yourself with a healthy body and happy in a long run. Now open your eyes and move to next step. 
  2. Start an Efficient Plan. Remember, this is important for building a long-lasting inner motivation. Find an efficient plan to target both your weight and your physical activity. Ask your friends or people you trust for references. Remember, Virtual Personal Trainer can help you also. We offer both free or personalized programs (Discontinued).
  3. Smart goals. Reach your final long-term goals by implementing measurable and achievable milestones.
    • Milestone 1. Reach your Normal BMI (if you are already in this category, go to next step)
    • Get motivation. Need motivation? go to previous section. Are you motivated? Keep going, do never quit!
    • Milestone 2. Reach your "healthiest weight" (our "Safe Zone" in our One-Click-to-Health tools shown above).
    • Keep moving. You've gone so far, great job! Need motivation? go to previous section. Are you motivated enough? Keep going, never quit!
    • Milestone 3. You need to secure your healthy weight now. The hypothalamus needs time to memorize your healthy weight for a while (so called "weight presetting"). This required time varies from 4-6 months to 1-2 years depending on the person.. Come on! keep going... you almost there! you can do it!
    • Keep going. You have really gone far, great! Need motivation? go to previous section. Are you motivated enough? Keep moving, do never ever quit! yes you can!
    • Wow! Congrats! Have you reached this step already? congratulations! you  made it! you are likely now the way you always wanted to be! Well done!. But do not relax yet! you are not totally done yet!. Go next step.
    • Keep moving. Need motivation? go to previous section. Are you motivated? Keep going, you almost there!
    • Milestone 4, the last one. Remember! keep moving! do never ever quit! This is the real secret for a successful implementation of long-term weight loss and maintenance.

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Motivate Me channel

Through the "MotivateMe" channel you can make questions or tell us about your weight loss experience hoping that our and your experience can help or motivate others to achieve their weight loss or fitness goals. Join the channel now! (Only the last 200 chat messages are kept)

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