People may decide to lose weight for a variety of reasons, such as reducing the risk of conditions associated with obesity. People can use a variety of methods to find motivation to lose weight.

According to the National Health Statistics Reports, between 2017 and 2020, the prevalence of obesity in adults aged 20 years and over in the United States was 41.9%. For severe obesity, it was 9.2%.

Experts define overweight and obesity as weight that is higher than what they consider healthy for someone’s height. Body mass index (BMI) is a tool that healthcare professionals use to measure this.

For adults, a BMI of 25 or more falls in the overweight range, and a BMI of 30 or more falls within the obesity range. Healthcare professionals classify a BMI of 40 or higher as severe obesity.

People should aim to maintain a moderate weight, as obesity is associated with chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer. However, sometimes people who wish to lose weight have difficulty finding motivation.

This article offers tips that people can try to get motivated to lose weight. In addition, it discusses when to speak with a doctor.

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Understanding the potential health implications of obesity may help motivate someone to take steps toward losing weight.

Experts advise that people who have overweight or obesity are at an increased risk of many serious health conditions and diseases, including:

However, committing to losing weight may help reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases.

Experts advise that the first step a person can take toward losing weight is making a commitment to themselves.

An individual may have tried a weight loss program before and be hesitant to restart the process, or a lack of time or resources may be stopping them from trying to lose weight.

At this stage, a person may speak with a doctor about their weight to better understand their current overall health, including any conditions they may have. A healthcare professional can offer support and advice for those who want to lose weight.

Making a commitment to losing weight is necessary for someone to move from where they are currently and get started. Thinking about and listing their goals may help someone imagine their future self and motivate them to begin the process.

A 2020 study indicates that setting goals can help people to stick to a weight loss plan. Goal setting is essential for behavior change and may help support people through setbacks and challenges on their weight loss journey.

The study suggests that setting three goals someone wants to achieve rather than has to achieve may be beneficial. Therefore, a person may consider the positive aspects of losing weight and how it may benefit them, for example, improved overall health.

It is important to state the goals positively rather than negatively. For instance, “I want to lose weight to be able to play with my grandchildren more” is preferable to “I want to lose weight so I do not get tired while playing with my grandchildren.”

In addition, experts advise that goals should be specific. For example, rather than saying “I want to lose weight,” a person may wish to set a specific goal, such as “I want to lose X pounds by X date.” However, experts also advise that goals should be realistic and forgiving. And people may want to set smaller short-term goals as well as more ambitious long-term goals.

A person may try writing down their three primary goals and pinning them somewhere they will see them.

Researchers suggest that supportive relationships, both professional and personal, are key to empowering people who want to lose weight and facilitating their ability to make dietary changes.

People may receive support from:

  • family members
  • friends
  • healthcare professionals
  • online weight loss groups
  • in-person weight loss groups

Support may come in the form of advice, accountability to target goals, or shared interest in losing weight. For example, a person attending a training session or gym class with a friend may be more motivated to go in the first place and keep it as a regular practice.

Even a modest weight loss of 5–10% of total body weight is likely to have health benefits for people with overweight or obesity. However, people should make sure to have realistic expectations about how quickly they will lose weight.

Experts advise that gradual weight loss of 1–2 pounds per week is ideal for effectively losing weight.

Following a healthy diet and exercising regularly may help someone gradually lose weight and maintain a moderate weight in the long term. A person should speak with a health professional for more advice about losing weight safely.

A doctor can provide tips on losing weight safely and effectively for people who are overweight or have obesity.

A person should avoid extreme diets that may lead to disordered eating or nutrient deficiency. If someone is preoccupied with losing weight or restricting certain foods in their diet and they are not overweight, they may wish to seek advice from a health professional.

Motivation to lose weight can vary according to each person.

A doctor’s advice to lose weight for health may be all the motivation some people need to make changes to their diet and lifestyle. For others, being more active with their family or having someone to support the weight loss process may be what encourages them.

People should speak with their doctor if they require more advice and support with losing weight or if they think they may be engaging in disordered eating behaviors.