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The Guide to Staying Motivated About Weight Loss

Weight loss is a lifestyle. You live in a world that tells you to lose weight -- while tempting you to gain more. To maintain successful weight loss, you must address the mental issues, not just the physical.

Weight loss is work. "Get-thin-quick" schemes are as unreliable as "get-rich-quick" schemes. As the old adage goes, "Anything in life worth having is worth working for." You are worth working for.

Weight loss is personal. Although there are many reasons to lose weight, your motivation for weight loss is individual. To help you stay on track, sit down and list all the reasons weight loss is a good idea for you. Here are a few to get you started.

Your health: Because more than 300,000 deaths per year are attributed to obesity, maintaining a healthy weight is key to a healthy life.

  • Losing 5 to 15 percent of your weight decreases your chance of heart attack and stroke, lowers your bad cholesterol levels, and reduces your blood pressure.
  • Losing 10 percent of your weight improves your sleep, especially if you are one of the 18 million who suffer from sleep apnea.
  • Losing 5 to 7 percent of your weight will help prevent type 2 diabetes -- a potential disorder among an estimated 54 million people.
  • Every 20 pounds gained between age 18 and mid-life doubles a woman's risk of premenopausal breast cancer. Excessive weight also increases the risk of colon, prostate, gallbladder, rectum and uterine cancers.
  • Every 2 pounds gained increases your risk of developing arthritis 9 to 13 percent. Conversely, weight loss improves arthritis symptoms.
  • Excess weight increases your risk for gallbladder disease, gout, sleep apnea and congestive heart failure.

Your life: Self-esteem contributes to your perception of life, so maintaining your weight loss will boost your overall well-being.

  • Beat or avoid depression. Depression and obesity feed each other, but weight loss combined with moderate exercise increase your positive feelings.
  • Open closed doors. Get that job promotion. Walk all the way through the mall. Take just one seat on the airplane.
  • Change your self-image. Look at yourself in a full-length mirror without hating what you see.
  • Engage life. Ride a bike. Take a walk. Paint your toenails.

Your family: Those who love you are aware of the health risks related to obesity, so maintaining your weight loss is a gift to them as well as yourself.

  • Relieve their worries. Instead of fearing the worst, your loved ones will celebrate the new you.
  • Revamp your sex life. A few pounds lost, a few curves gained, a bit more energy harnessed"imagine what that could do.
  • Reconnect with your children. Instead of watching the kids play catch, imagine joining in the fun. Not only will you feel better, but you'll also build great memories of doing things together.
  • Raze the excuses. Instead of isolation, imagine yourself part of the group.

Your pocketbook: Obesity not only strips your energy, but it also attacks your resources.

  • Higher life insurance premiums
  • Higher health insurance premiums and increased medical issues
  • Higher medication costs -- both prescription and non-prescription drugs
  • Higher food costs
  • Higher clothing costs
  • Higher incidental costs (such as that extra airplane seat)

Weight loss is a choice for life. It takes time. It takes determination. It takes motivation. Making a weight loss motivation list, posting it on your bathroom mirror and reminding yourself daily why you are doing this can help you beat the weight and change your life forever!