Research shows people that are self-motivated go further for longer than people who rely on others to motivate them. Interestingly, most people stop losing weight after a formal weight loss intervention and gradually return to their starting weight or more.
When I ask clients, what is the one thing that would make the biggest difference to your weight loss success? They all say exercise more.
A few studies have shown maintaining a regular exercise builds intrinsic motivation – you do it because you want to and it feels good. Extrinsic motivation comes from outside you, from the personal trainer, coach, family and friends. It is helpful too but not as helpful as building your own. Even maintaining increased incidental activity such as taking the stairs and parking further away can influence your motivation to stay on track with healthy eating.
A 2006 study fromMacquarieUniversitybetween an exercising group and a non-exercising control group over an 8 week period showed the exercising participants had increased self-regulation (aka discipline) with
- significantly less perceived stress,
- less smoking, alcohol and caffeine consumption
- an increase in healthy eating,
- better maintenance of household chores
- better attendance to commitments
- less impulsive spending and
- improved study habits.
It did not help in flossing the teeth! The control group showed no change.
A good way to start is to commit to walking 10 minutes every second day. Add 5 minutes per week then add a few more days. If you lose motivation, hold the schedule your on without increasing it. Put your alarm clock outside your door so you have to get up to turn it off or put your sneakers at the front door so you don’t get a chance to go inside before walking first.