What is going to motivate me to lose weight because I am desperate!

Unless you have been overweight, you will not understand. Weight-loss is Freedom. You can wear what you like. You don’t have to buy new clothes all the time as everything in your wardrobe looks good. The doctor will not mention weight when you go in with a complaint. An airline seat is comfortable. Steps are easier. In fact, when weight is not an issue, life is that bit easier.

Motivation is the single most important thing you need in order to go the distance and lose weight. We need to identify a strong motivational reason to keep us going on a weight-loss journey.

What is Motivation

Motivation is a reason. A reason is something that ignites feelings within you. Something that makes you feel very strong emotions. These feelings make you act and give you energy.

Just before you raid a fridge or impulse buy chocolate, ask yourself ‘Why am I feeling like this?’ and then allow the 2 voices in your head to have a discussion. What feeling is driving your behaviour?

Love lust, longing, passion, desire, arousal, passion, infatuation, affection, liking, compassion, sentimentality, caring

Joyhappy, content, proud, enthusiastic, eager, excited, thrilled, pleasure

Surprise – amazement, astonishment

Anger irritated, frustrated, exasperated, annoyed, grumpy, bitter, dislike, resentful, envious, revulsion, jealous, tormented, hate

Sadness – hurt, depressed, disappointed, unhappy, gloomy, guilt, regretful, lonely, neglected, insecure, embarrassed, insulted, sympathy

Fear – anxiety, tense, worried, dreading, alarmed, shocked, horrified, terrified, panic

Name the feeling. People who achieve success in business, in sport, literature and the arts all have strong emotions.

Do you really feel strong enough about your excess weight to go the distance and lose it. Yes you would like weight-loss but do you really want it? Why? Identify the feeling/s.

One test which I frequently ask clients to complete before they start with me is to rate the 6 areas of their life in terms of how happy they are in each area. The 6 areas are

1. Love life

2. Work Life

3. Home Life

4. Friends

5. Social Life

6. Community-sense of belonging

Then I ask for a rating on their weight. This needs to be high. Strong emotions give you energy.

The 7 Greatest Motivators for Weight-Loss

Here are some of the most common motivational reasons I  hear from people who want to lose weight:

1.landmark age approaching – most commonly 40. By the time we reach 40, most of us know what we want and what we don’t want. Fat at 40 appears to be a big no-no. Fear, Pride, Hope are all motivating feelings.

2. Getting married – It is the one day when everyone looks at you, from the back at the ceremony, front at the meal and all sides when you take to the floor for the first dance.. The photos usually end up on the wall for life. Joy, Surprise and Nervousness are motivating feelings.

3. Events – school-reunions, birthdays, friend’s wedding especially if you are bridesmaids, children’s celebrations – christenings, communions, graduations. Never-ending list of events where you don’t want people to think that you have ‘let yourself go’. Price, Envy, Lust, Longing, Bliss are are motivating feelings.

4. new love or bumping into an ex – A new love interest makes us look in the mirror like we did when we were teenagers. A new-look often helps to rekindle a flickering flame and puts the other partner under pressure to ‘get in shape’. Nervousness, Surprise, Joy are motivating feelings.

5. A recent photo – This can be a real shocker for people. They had not realised they had put on so much weight until they look at photos, usually of a recent Summer holiday. This photo tends to be put on the fridge or inside the wardrobe door. The photo may also be a old favourite when you looked your best. Surprise, Disappointment, Shame, Neglect are motivating feelings.

6. Clothes not fitting –  Women tend to use jeans to monitor weight gain and men use belts or shirts. Buying a size-up is a slippery slope. Shame, Neglect, Exasperation, Disgust are motivating feelings.

7. Health – This is a more recent experience for me since starting my nutritional practice. Once a person becomes ill or is diagnosed with a condition such as high cholesterol or pre-diabetes in their 30’s, 40’s, 50’s and even 60’s, your doctor may offer you a choice –  medicate for life or change your lifestyle. Sometimes, a change in lifestyle can make all the difference and you know the answer fairly quickly once you have been re-tested. Shock, Shame, Neglect and Fear are motivating feelings.

If you understand yourself better and recognise what drives you, you have a far greater chance of freeing yourself from weight successfully and keeping it off.

I work with people and help to keep them motivated to achieve weight-loss, often by reminding them of why they came to me initially, encouraging them to try new recipes, gently persuading them to try new forms of exercise and nudging them back on-track when it is a long journey. If you need help, contact me.


  1. Roisin-Reply
    November 9, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    Hi Joan, Do you run a weight loss program or Clinic for Children. These seem to be run by the NHS in England but can find nothing like this in Ireland .

    • Joan-Reply
      November 9, 2012 at 4:57 pm

      Hi Roisin, I don’t work with children (<13yrs) but do work with teenagers. I don't know of anyone who does but I'll make enquiries.

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