How to Keep the Motivation to Lose Weight

Written by
The Manual Team
Medically approved by
Dr Earim Chaudry
Last updated
11th December 2021

In 30 seconds

Losing weight can be tough. Keeping the motivation to lose weight can sometimes be even tougher. Yet, remembering why you want to get in shape in the first place – and finding a way to do it that you enjoy – can make it easier.

Losing Weight: A Question of Motivation?

For so many people, losing weight can be tough. That’s because, as with all lifestyle changes, wanting to do it just often isn’t enough. In many circumstances, conscious, disciplined methods of motivation are sometimes necessary.

So, how do you motivate yourself to lose weight? And how do you maintain that motivation all the way through the process?

That’s exactly what we are looking at here. The secret? Remembering why you’re doing it in the first place, finding a method you enjoy, and working through the setbacks.

Weight Loss Motivations: Why Should I Lose Weight?

Finding the motivation to lose weight often starts with why. Why do we want to start this weight loss journey in the first place? 

For many, the answer might be simple. Losing weight can benefit your physical and mental health, your own body image, and your overall well-being.

  • It will improve your mood. Healthy eating and exercise lead to reductions in body mass index (BMI) and improvements in mood. Research shows that losing weight improves your body image and reduces the risk of depressive symptoms.
  • A healthy weight helps to make you fitter. A healthy body weight reduces the risk of high blood pressure and enables you to enjoy physical activity. However, regular exercise has been shown to be better for you than simply losing weight.
  • It will reduce your chance of serious illness. Maintaining healthy habits and avoiding excessive weight gain reduces the risk of chronic heart disease, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes. A study of two million people found that overweight or underweight people were likely to have a life expectancy four years shorter than people with a healthy body weight.
  • You’ll have healthier joints. People with obesity and unhealthy weight can be at risk of unhealthy joints. When you lose weight, you cut that risk dramatically.
  • You might sleep better. You are more likely to suffer from sleep disruptions – including sleep apnoea – if you are overweight. A weight-loss diet can help you enjoy a good night’s sleep.
  • Your immune system will get stronger. As you achieve a healthy weight, your immune system strengthens, studies show. That means you are less likely to suffer from common coughs and colds.

Keeping the Motivation to Lose Weight: 8 Tips

So, you know that losing weight will be good for you. But how do you keep the motivation to stick to your weight loss plan even when those cravings strike?

Here are some tips to keep in mind.

  1. Remember why you want to lose weight. As we’ve seen, being overweight or underweight can seriously affect your health. Reminding yourself why you want to lose weight will be essential for keeping your motivation high.
  2. Focus on the end result. Imagine how you will feel when you have achieved your goal weight. Will you be proud of your hard work? Will you feel a boost in self-esteem? Keeping an image in mind of who you will be at the end of the diet plan can keep you focused on your goals. Studies show it can help maintain weight loss.
  3. Lose weight with someone. Long-term projects are easier to stick to when you can do it with someone. Does a friend or co-worker have a similar goal? Exercising together, sharing recipes, and celebrating successes have been shown to help keep you motivated.
  4. Set realistic weight loss goals. Many people are tempted to set overambitious goals. It’s a great attitude to have, but it can make things seem unachievable. Instead, start with small changes that you can achieve in the short term and build success upon success from there.
  5. Be kind to yourself. Weight loss can be tough. But it’s so important that you don’t beat yourself up if things don’t go to plan. It’s not the worst thing in the world if you put on weight or don’t lose it immediately. A bit of kindness will help in the long run.
  6. Plan for setbacks. When cravings strike or you feel like you’re going to fall back into bad habits, what are you going to do?
    • It helps to know the main triggers for your cravings, such as stress or a lack of sleep, so you can find ways to avoid them next time.
    • Remember point #5. You’re doing great, and tomorrow is a new day and a new opportunity for success. 
    • Go back to what worked. If you were doing great until now, why was that? Were you better rested? Were you more sociable? Finding what works will be crucial for maintaining motivation.
  7. Do it in a way you enjoy. There’s a simple way to keep up the motivation when losing weight. That’s to find a way to lose weight that you enjoy. Finding a healthy food you like or a form of exercise that you can get excited about will help keep you going.
  8. Celebrate your successes. Every goal you reach is a great achievement. Finding ways to celebrate and share these achievements – particularly with someone else – will help you keep your motivation up. 
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Key Takeaways

If you’re convinced of the reasons why you want to achieve a healthy weight, you are halfway there. But we know it’s easy to struggle to maintain the motivation to lose weight as you go.

Ultimately, there’s no one right way to be healthy. The secret is to find a way to lose weight that you enjoy. This could be doing it with a friend or colleague, focusing on an exercise you love, or visualising the person you want to be at the end of your journey.


What are the Most Common Reasons People Want to Lose Weight?

Studies show that the most common reasons for losing weight relate to your health, the way you look, and your self-esteem. Maintaining a healthy weight reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer – and it can improve your sleep, your immune system, and your mood.

What’s the Biggest Part of Losing Weight?

The two most significant parts of losing weight are finding a way to exercise that you enjoy and making healthier food choices that you can stick to. Both can be difficult. Yet, once you have done these, it will be much easier to stick to your weight loss goals.

Why Do I Not Have the Motivation to Lose Weight?

It’s really common not to have the motivation to lose weight. This can be due to pressure from others, stress, fatigue, or a belief that failure reflects poorly on you. If you want to lose weight but can’t bring yourself to try a full “diet”, aim for smaller changes instead. Every healthier food choice you make is a step in the right direction.


  1. James J. Annesi – Relations of Mood with Body Mass Index Changes in Severely Obese Women Enrolled in a Supported Physical Activity Treatment –

  2. The New York – Why Exercise Is More Important Than Weight Loss for a Longer Life –

  3. Heather K. Vincent, Kendrick Heywood, Jacob Connelley, and Robert W. Hurley (2012). Weight Loss and Obesity in the Treatment and Prevention of Osteoarthritis –

  4. Fadwah M Al-Sharif, Shehab M Abd El-Kader, Ziyad A Neamatallah, and Afnan M AlKhateeb (2020). Weight reduction improves immune system and inflammatory cytokines in obese asthmatic patients –

  5. Dimitrios PoulimeneasCostas A AnastasiouAlexander KokkinosDemosthenes B PanagiotakosMary Yannakoulia (2021). Motives for weight loss and weight loss maintenance: results from the MedWeight study –

  6. Tricia M. Leahey, Rajiv Kumar, Brad M. Weinberg, and Rena R. Wing (2021). Teammates and social influence affect weight loss outcomes in a team-based weight loss competition –

  7. A. Lanoye, A. Grenga, T. M. Leahey, and J. G. LaRose (2019). Motivation for weight loss and association with outcomes in a lifestyle intervention: comparing emerging adults to middle aged adults –

While we've ensured that everything you read on the Health Centre is medically reviewed and approved, information presented here is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. If you have any questions or concerns, please talk to your doctor.

Further reading

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