Gary Kirwan’s motivational tips for a healthier you!

Thursday 27th March 2014 by Elena

How to motivate yourself is something that we all think about. Some spend days, some spend weeks and others will spend months thinking about this, and before you know it, another year has gone by and we are in exactly the same place that we were last year!
Here are some things that I have learnt so far on my weight loss journey; hopefully they might help you to get motivated this year. Remember never give up on yourself and you too can start winning your losing battle! Good luck!

1. Have a plan – and write it down! Start by setting out your goals on a short, medium and long term basis – and write them down – to see your goals in black and white makes them more real. Short term goals should be simple and realistic ones, something easy to get you started, medium term goals might be more challenging, for example, maybe a 5k run, and longer term goals would be on a longer time scale and would require a lot of work but will give you something to aim for, which in turn can help keep you motivated. By breaking down your goals like this, you’ll have a more realistic idea of what it is that you want to achieve, and the more realistic your approach, the better chance you have of reaching those goals.

2. Tell your family and friends. I was very lucky to get so much support from Today FM’s The Ray D’Arcy Show – the show provided me with a platform to talk openly about my journey from 41 stone to a new life. I always felt comfortable talking to Ray as I felt like I knew him after years of listening to his show and I’m grateful to Ray and everyone on the show for giving me a chance to talk about my story. I also had the invaluable support of my family and friends. Don’t be shy about telling people what you want to achieve – talking openly can be very liberating and can shed some of the emotional baggage that we all carry, especially about issues such as weight loss, and whether your goal is losing weight, getting fit or quitting smoking, the support of your friends and family can be a huge help in achieving your goals.

3. Start small. You might be tempted to jump right in and try to achieve everything immediately, but when it comes to exercise and diet, this approach may not be the best, healthiest or, indeed, the safest one. Ask for advice if you’re not sure how to get started. When it comes to exercise, start small, but don’t be afraid to try new things, and get your family or friends involved or join a class – it can help keep you motivated when you’re sharing the experience with other people who have similar goals to you. The same applies to changing your diet – don’t go cold turkey (pardon the Christmas pun). Instead, why not aim to make small lasting changes over a longer period of time; it’s easier and you’re more likely to stick to your goals in the long run.

4. Try it on. If weight loss is your goal, watching the scales can be difficult – instead, why not use clothing as a more realistic barometer of how you are doing? Just pick one item of clothing and try it on every now and then – does it fit better, is it getting looser, where is it looser? When you feel the difference in your clothes, you’ll feel more motivated to keep going.

5. Checking in. Always keep your list of goals handy, it’ll remind why you started this and where you are going.

6. Bad days! Probably the most important thing to realise is that we all have bad days. When you have a bad day, just don’t allow it to become a bad week, month or year or you’ll find yourself back at square one next year – instead, just shrug it off and simply start again. Make this a goal in itself, so that when you do have a bad day, you’ll be less likely to throw in the towel, and you’ll find it easier to stay motivated.

7. Give it a chance. As someone once said, ‘it takes 4 weeks for you to notice your body changing, 8 weeks for your friends to notice and 12 weeks for the world to notice, so don’t quit, give it 12 weeks – give it a chance’.

Winning A Losing Battle, the story of how Gary Kirwan went from 41 stone to a new life, is available now.

All opinions stated in this piece are those of the author. If you think you need to lose weight, ask your doctor or local healthcare professional for advice.

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