Many people rely on their motivation levels to find the willpower to start or stick to healthy diets. Unfortunately, Dr. Roy F. Baumeister discovered in his research that willpower is a finite resource, which is why plenty of people lose the motivation to eat healthier food over time. Baumeister explains that people lose their will to eat healthier because plenty of weight loss diets impose a set of rules that rely on external cues rather than using internal cues that are more motivating for people.
So if you struggle with maintaining a weight loss diet, try hacking your motivation levels through internal cues. Here’s how you can get started:
Establish your goal for your diet
You will feel more motivated to eat healthy meals every day, especially if you have a good reason for your weight loss journey. A study on the motivations of long-term weight loss maintainers showed that appearance is one of the top factors that urged them to lose excess weight and maintain a healthier body. Aside from appearance, many people also stated that health triggers, like a diagnosis or medical advice, served as a strong motivator for their weight loss journey.
Likewise, you need to find your ‘why’ for your weight loss journey. You can remind yourself of these reasons every day on the days when you want to eat unhealthy snacks or stop dieting, so you can stay focused on your goal.
Simplify the menu planning process
Menu planning can benefit weight loss because it allows you to choose healthier ingredients and control your food intake. However, many people don’t plan meals because they think the process is overwhelming and complicated.
The good news is that you can hack your motivation by making menu planning easier for you. You can keep the process simple by finding recipes that can be made in a single pot or looking for recipes with only a few ingredients. You can also cook big batches of food so that you can just simply reheat the healthy meals throughout the week. By simplifying the process, you will be more motivated to plan your menu beforehand.
Track your food using a food diary
You can also boost your intrinsic motivation for weight loss by tracking the food that you eat. Researchers have found that obese women were able to maintain their long-term motivation for weight loss by consistently and frequently tracking their food intake. This habit can also help you achieve long-term success with your weight loss journey because it allows you to understand your eating patterns and become self-aware about your food choices.
If you think that food tracking will be a lot of work, you can simplify the task by using an app that can help you log your meals and snacks digitally. You can even get creative by using your Instagram account as your own diary for your weight loss diet.
Know what triggers your food cravings
The factors that trigger your food cravings can lower your motivation levels and cause you to stray away from your diet. As such, it’s critical to keep these triggers under control to help you stay focused on your weight loss journey.
One of the factors that can trigger your food cravings and get in the way of your motivation is sleep. Sleep deprivation can cause your body to release ghrelin and leptin, which are neurotransmitters that tell the brain to consume more calories. These neurotransmitters can compel you to break your diet and eat high-calorie food, which is why it’s crucial to manage them by getting enough sleep every day.
Motivation is one of the key factors that can make or break your weight loss diet. Fortunately, you can find ways to increase your internal motivation so that you can maintain your weight loss diet.