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50 Genius Weight-Loss Motivation Tricks

Want to shed some pounds? These hacks can help you meet your goal.

Many of us would love to lose a few pounds. And while we invariably begin attacking our new weight-loss goals with gusto (hello, "new year, new you!"), the bigger problem is sticking to said healthy goals and finding the weight loss motivation to help get you through the tough days.

Too often we find ourselves sliding back into our bad habits and seeing our goals fall by the wayside. To ensure that that doesn't happen to you, follow these time-tested, science-backed strategies to shed pounds and keep them off. Read on and be inspired!

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Eat a protein-heavy breakfast

breakfast pastries and fruit on a table, weight loss motivation

Even if you aren't hungry when you wake up, put down a breakfast focused on lean protein—two or three eggs, piece of toast, and half an avocado—and not one centered on processed, sugary grains drowned in milk. Morning fuel has been shown to tamp down binges later in the day and boost metabolism, which means you won't need as much weight loss motivation throughout the day.

Don't eat in front of the TV

feet up on table watching television with chips, weight loss motivation

Fact: Eating a proper meal in your dining room with a proper place setting—and proper company—will amp up your feelings of responsibility and bring more meaning to the food. Schlepping a bowl of goop to the couch and plopping down in front of the TV? That will psychologically make your food seem inconsequential and meaningless, increasing your chance of abusing it.

Brush your teeth more often

man brushing teeth at the sink, weight loss motivation

To limit any craving or dessert binges after eating your dinner, try loading up the toothbrush and giving your pearly whites a scrub. The minty flavor and clean teeth will shut down your appetite and prevent you from wanting to indulge anymore.

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Know the grocery store layout

woman at grocery store shopping for fruit, weight loss motivation

You know by now that cutting processed foods is a great first step to eating healthier, but a simple trick to avoid being pulled in by their carb-heavy call is to stick to shopping the perimeter of your grocery store. That's where the good, whole food hangs out, not in the middle where frozen foods and processed fare lurks.

Drink water all the time, especially in the morning

woman filling water bottle outside, weight loss motivation

Getting plenty of H2O is essential for efficient organ operation, muscle energy, supple skin, and can even help with weight-loss efforts. More water means you're getting less calories from other beverages like soda and sports drinks. Plus: Downing a glass before a meal can help temper your appetite and make you eat less.

Buy a multicooker

chicken cooking in frying pan, weight loss motivation

If you are scared of the kitchen but want to start creating healthier meals, invest in a slow cooker or one of the new hybrids that combines a slow cooker, pressure cooker, steamer, and even a sauté function, to make whipping up something delicious easy and quick. The simplicity of great food at home is a great weight loss motivation and will help keep you away from fat-laden choices from fast food joints or regular restaurants.

Weigh yourself every day

person standing on a scale, weight loss motivation

If there's one weight loss motivation trick successful doers always do, it's weighing themselves. Along with tracking your fitness goals and counting calories, keeping close tabs on your weight has been shown to assist in losing and, especially once it's gone, keeping off the pounds.

Splurge on one of the new connected smart scales that will report your progress to your smartphone complete with heart rate, bone density, and muscle mass measurements. Or just get a cheap-o from the department store. Just get on it everyday to keep yourself honest.

READ THIS NEXT: Doing This for 10 Minutes Twice a Week Spikes Your Metabolism, Doctors Say.

Drop the fruit juice

assortment of colorful fruit juices on a table, weight loss motivation

Fruit juice has long been thought off as a healthy drink, but it's filled with lots of sugar (about 25–35 grams per serving), and it doesn't include any of fiber's weight-loss benefits that you get from consuming whole fruit. Stick to eating actual fruit, and if you must have some juice, cut it down with seltzer.

Clean out your pantry

woman standing in front of an open pantry, weight loss motivation

Before heading into a weight loss motivation journey, you need to take stock of the current state of your pantry. Toss any of the foods that you find yourself constantly snacking on and turning to in times of stress, which usually are those with processed carbs and refined sugars—sweets, chips, cookies, cakes.

Limit eating out

man and woman eating on a date, weight loss motivation

If you've decided to dedicate more time to cooking food at home, you will naturally resist going out for meals. It will save you money in the long run—save it for a few trips to the beach with your new body—and food typically found in restaurants is higher in calories and fat.

Use smaller plates

woman looking upset at outdoor restaurant, weight loss motivation

Poor portion control is a leading cause of obesity, but an easy way to combat confusing perceptions is to use smaller dishware. Pick the little plate and the small bowl instead of reaching for the large stuff and you'll start to eat less at each sitting.

Buy better leftovers containers

people doing meal prep with healthy foods, weight loss motivation

Making meals at home means you'll have lots of tasty leftovers that work great for lunches at work and quick dinners when you're busy. But invest in some good storage options, like glass containers with click-top lids—or even a vacuum sealer—and you'll get even more mileage out of your healthy meals.

Visualize your portions properly

man eating a healthy bowl of vegetables, weight loss motivation

Using dishes that are smaller can help with portions, but you also need to divide them up by their nutritional content to make sure you are feeding your body what it needs, in the right amount to lose weight. The lean protein portion should be about the size of both of your open palms, two fists for veggies and/or carbs, one to two thumbs for fats, and a fingertip or two for oils.

Use smarter substitutions

man biting into a sandwich, weight loss motivation

Looking for ways to substitute your favorite indulgences with healthier foods is essential to keeping your weight-loss effort consistent. For example, you can make a pizza crust from broccoli and mashed potatoes from cauliflower, and also use Portobello mushrooms or lettuce wraps for buns. And knowing you can still have the foods you love is some of the best weight loss motivation out there!

Keep a strict sleep schedule

man sleeping on white pillow, weight loss motivation

Scientists now know that getting consistent and restorative sleep each night is one of the keys to a healthier life and lower body weight. Tips to make sure you're maximizing snooze time include setting up a dark, cool bedroom; cutting off screen time to an hour before bed, no caffeine or alcohol a few hours before sleeping, and sticking to a solid sleep schedule.

When you fail, simply move on

two women on bikes, weight loss motivation

We all fall off our plans every now and then. The trick isn't to let it derail the entire plan. If your plan means hitting the gym four days a week and avoiding carbs—and you can't help but hit up your friend's pizza party on Wednesday night—don't let feelings of guilt keep you from picking up where you left off on Thursday.

Track your activity

man tracking his eating habits on a tablet, weight loss motivation

We're living in the golden age of fitness trackers—and tech that targets your health and wellbeing—so give yourself an edge by picking up something that will give you reliable data about your progress. You'll be able to set data-based milestones (a few pounds lost, for instance), and you can reward yourself for your effort as you see your progress improve.

Embrace the weight room

man using gym equipment, weight loss motivation

You don't have to transform into Ah-nold to reap the benefits of free weights or machines. The truth is, you need to perform some type of resistance exercise to build muscle. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn at rest and the better you'll fee about your transforming body.

Drink coffee

man reading the newspaper and drinking a coffee, weight loss motivation

No longer thought of as a vice, coffee has been shown recently to help you live longer, protect your liver, and even ward off diabetes. The caffeine is also a great way to make your workouts livelier and enjoyable by providing you with an extra jolt of energy. Just limit any additions of dairy or sugar for maximum benefits.

Get into HIIT

man using rope set at the gym, weight loss motivation

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a must-add workout routine when trying to shed pounds. The protocol pairs burst of intense, all-out effort with more moderate exertion to ramp up calorie burning and torch fat. The modality has also been linked to extending life by rebuilding cells and keeping diabetes away by improving insulin sensitivity.

Stand taller

man sitting back and resting in a chair, weight loss motivation

Hunching over your desk all day, stuck in your chair, has been found to be detrimental to your health and cause weight gain. Standing up regularly throughout the day, even if you aren't actually engaging in sweaty exercise, triggers your brain's internal scale and tamps down appetite. Constantly sitting screws up how your brain interprets your weight, which may lead to overeating.

Know your fiber

bread and other foods with fiber, weight loss motivation
Stephen Cook Photography / Shuuterstock

Fiber is a hard-to-digest carb found in fruits and vegetables and whole grains. Studies have shown that the more fiber you get in your diet, the lower your weight. Aim to get about 38 grams of fiber a day, because it will make you feel fuller more quickly and for longer, staving off hunger pangs.

Move more

man walking his dog at sunrise, weight loss motivation

Standing up at work, taking the stairs, going to the gym, walking the dog an extra mile—these all add up to your daily calorie-burning deficit and, over time, will help you shed weight.

Cut out processed foods

person pushing a shopping cart, weight loss motivation

If you haven't heard by now, processed foods (basically anything that comes in a box or package) aren't good for you in the long run. Compared to whole foods—fruits, veggies, nuts, whole grains, meat, seafood—they are packed with refined sugar and white flour and other additives and preservatives that can contribute to weight gain. Limit consumption and don't buy them.

Dump sugar

soda, sugar, sweetener, weight loss motivation

Sugar has now replaced fat as the number-one reason why Americans are unhealthy and overweight. Fat was wrongly maligned for years, leading to "low-fat" and "reduced-fat" products that had sugar added to make them taste better, but too much sugar has been found to increase risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, obesity, and diabetes.

Cut back on alcohol

saying no to a shot of alcohol, weight loss motivation

If you're serious about weight loss, cut out booze. It's calorie dense, affects fat burning, and can melt away any inhibitions against eating bad food or chowing down late at night. If you would like to drink, stick with two glasses of a clear liquor mixed with seltzer and a twist of lime.

Eat more lean protein

vegetables and healthy foods on a table, weight loss motivation

Protein is key for maintaining muscle, especially as you begin to lose weight. And if you are exercising, you must get in proper protein levels to fuel the processes that lead to building muscle, so go for a protein with less fat like lean cuts of beef (flank, sirloin, tenderloin) and pork (loin chop, tenderloin), plus seafood, fish, and poultry.

Make room for cheating

pastries on a table, weight loss motivation

Some of the best weight loss motivation is a little wriggle room. Totally cutting yourself off from comfort foods or snacks that you crave is not a good move because it increases the chance you will overdo it the next time your will breaks and you load up on chips. Make sure you have one meal a week where you can eat whatever you want as a good psychological break from your weight-loss journey.

Drop fried foods

fried chicken on a table, weight loss motivation

This should be one of the first foods you need to pretty much totally drop from your diet. They are OK for cheat meals, but you'll soon find that fried foods won't agree with your newly healthy constitution. Fried foods are saturated with oils high in calories and trans fats and are known to increase risk of developing heart disease and diabetes, and offer little nutritionally.

Consider going low-carb

potatoes and pasta on a table, weight loss motivation

Yes, low-carb diets are the latest weight-loss fad, but they work. Cutting carbs is a simple and effective way to create a healthier diet that will lead to weight loss. (Though more hardcore versions, like the ketogenic diet, can become unsustainable over time for most people.)

Count your calories

woman writing down what she's eating in a notebook, weight loss motivation

To lose weight, the simplest tip is to take in less calories than you are burning each day—if you do that, you will lose weight (unless you have a medical problem). First you need to get a rough estimate of your Total Daily Energy Expenditure, or TDEE, and your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), or by your activity. Enter your info into an online calculator and once you've got your TDEE figured out, eat about 500 calories under that to lose fat.

Visualize a better you

woman looking in mirror, weight loss motivation

Do you know why professional athletes visualize themselves hoisting the championship trophy before the game? Because it works, and it can for you, too! Create a picture in your mind of the body you want and you'll be able to power through the tough times when your willpower flags.

Make meals ahead of time

meal plan notebook, weight loss motivation

Use your skills in the kitchen to make up a big batch of food you can portion out into lunches or dinners on Sunday. That way you'll always have something good to eat to when you get stressed or run out of time at work, limiting any returns to fast food or other unhealthy fare.

Use spices liberally

chili peppers and chili powder, weight loss motivation

Spices like cayenne, red chili powder, turmeric, and cinnamon have been shown to help rev up your metabolism, which can lead to increased fat burning, and help curtail cravings. They can also help make your food taste better, which is essential when trying to integrate healthier fare into a previously fatty and calorie-rich diet.

Make veggies and fruits a priority

bowl of fruit, weight loss motivation

These foods should move to the top of your grocery list. There aren't many fat people out there that subsist on a diet of only produce. Mainly because all of the fiber makes you feel full quicker, limiting how much you can physically shove into your mouth, and because they are jam-packed with vitamins and minerals that give you energy and vitality.

Consider counseling

woman talking to nutritionist, weight loss motivation

Sometimes the urge to eat is a form of self-medication and becomes a compulsive exercise. If you suspect that's the case for you, it's probably a good idea to talk to a mental health professional and address the issue directly.

No more soda

soda cans, weight loss motivation

Sugar-sweetened beverages like soda are a huge contributor to the global obesity epidemic. If you crave a bubbly beverage, switch to seltzer and save the calories.

Change your outlook

man looking at his phone, weight loss motivation

Don't look at your goal for losing weight as an unending slog or horrible trek, and don't subscribe to any one "diet." Following these tips will help you need to make a lifestyle change revolving around how you see food and how you use food—it's there to nourish and make your life better, not become a literally burdensome weight that ruins your life.

When in doubt, buy whole foods

Vegetable aisle, weight loss motivation

Remember what the great Michael Pollan said about the secret to eating healthy: "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." If it comes in a box with a cartoon character emblazoned on it, steer clear. If it's a whole food sitting out in the open? Buy away!

Cut back on stress

woman holding her head, weight loss motivation

Consistent exercise and meditation will do wonders not only for your brain and your mood, but also your waistline. After all, study after study has showed that stress leads to hormonal cacophony in your body and inexorably to poor eating habits.

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Give yourself daily affirmations

man exercising outside under a bridge, weight loss motivation

The key to losing weight and keeping it off is finding what motivates you, and spouting daily affirmations—no matter how corny you may feel at first—are proven to work. So, remember: You're a winner, and nothing is impossible!

Use an app

man listening to music at the gym, weight loss motivation

There are loads of apps out there that can help you track calories, find healthy recipes, perform effective workouts, and give you good advice on how to stick with your weight-loss goals. Check reviews, try out a few, and then use the ones that work for you since they can offer you info, accountability, and support that's tough to find on your own.

Exercise promiscuously

man kayaking in a lake, weight loss motivation

When you get bored, you'll fall off your routine. So switch it up! Don't be afraid to branch out and explore workouts or movements that you enjoy more than the standard gym slog. Maybe you prefer biking to the elliptical, or rowing to the treadmill. Or perhaps hiking local trails or playing basketball at the Y is more your speed—it doesn't matter, just do it constantly and frequently.

Set realistic goals

man running outside, weight loss motivations

One trap people looking to lose weight often fall into is making goals that can't physically or realistically be met. Losing 20 pounds in a month is not only unhealthy, but it's also impossible unless you are starving yourself. Hard-to-meet goals will only frustrate you and push you away from the ultimate goal of a leaner and healthier body.

Pinpoint barriers

people running on treadmills, weight loss motivation

Before going into a weight-loss program, try to identify any areas where you will probably slip up—this can help prepare you for the mistake and lessen the sense of failure in your motivation to lose weight. Just don't make excuses and blame your weaknesses as the reason why you keep failing to meet your goals.

Be mindful

woman doing yoga outside, weight loss motivation

Take a moment each day or week to sit in silence and meditate on your progress. How have you been feeling? What things triggered binges or bad food choices? You don't have to do it for hours like a Tibetan monk. Just be alone with your thoughts and focus on your progress, or lack of, and try to identify tweaks to make it easier.

Add, don't subtract

man eating a snack at the gym, weight loss motivation

Don't think of the whole point of losing weight as taking stuff out of your life (even though fat subtraction is the final goal). A healthier approach is to remind yourself that you are adding in new and healthy things that will hopefully become healthy habits, so tackling weight gain won't be a big deal. Reframing things is one of the best ways to find the motivation to lose weight.

Don't eat late

woman reaching for a healthy snack in fridge, weight loss motivation

Chowing down on snacks—or even your full dinner—after about 7 p.m. has been shown to lead to increased body weight, high insulin and cholesterol levels, a sluggish metabolism, and even increased biomarkers for heart disease and diabetes. Try to eat a light and healthy dinner as early as you can and limit snacking in the evenings.

Embrace discomfort

woman touching her lower back on a beach, weight loss motivation

Making a drastic change to your daily life is never an easy thing to do, but if you're committed to losing weight then you need to be prepared for some tough choices and uncomfortable decisions. It's best to just try to embrace the discomfort and suck it up, because the rewards at the end of your weight-loss journey will be worth the pain.

Cook more!

man chopping veggies in a beautiful kitchen, weight loss motivation

There's no more need to make up excuses for not cooking at home—kitchen technology has made it easier than ever to create cheap, healthy dishes, meaning you have all the motivation to lose weight right there in your house. You don't even have to learn knife skills (though you should). Just get a food processor, look up some slow cooker recipes, and toss in your ingredients. You'll save money, eat better, and maybe even impress someone.

Best Life offers the most up-to-date information from top experts, new research, and health agencies, but our content is not meant to be a substitute for professional guidance. If you have health questions or concerns, always consult your healthcare provider directly.

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