Make Motivation Easy
44. Revisit the pits: When Beth Linden, who'd lost 100 pounds, slipped back to her old habits and regained 15 pounds, she pulled out the audiotape that documented the worst moment of her life. "I could hear my voice quiver as I described meeting my daughter's friend, who said, 'I didn't know your mommy was fat.' I hated putting my daughter in such an awkward situation; I felt lonely and empty. I was embarrassed to shop for clothes. I hated myself back then and didn't want to go back there," recalls Beth, 39. The tape turned her around and has kept her on the weight-loss track for more than five years.
45. Schedule nudges: Bevan Brooks, 22, used a calendar full of motivational "carrots" to shed 20 pounds. "I would remind myself of parties, trips, sporting events, visitors from out of town and weddings in the weeks and months ahead," she says. "Every time I'd consider bagging a workout or eating pepperoni pizza, I'd remind myself of an upcoming event. How I looked meant more to me than any piece of pizza."
46. Take a time-out: "I relaxed my strict dietary rules on weekends, and I stopped feeling deprived," says Helene Gullaksen, 35. "When a craving hits during the week, I tell myself, 'this isn't the last time I can eat this food,' and it helps me walk away from whatever is tempting me." Pounds lost: 50.
47. Be blunt (with yourself): Oprah Winfrey and her personal trainer, Bob Greene, inspired 300-pound Tawni Gomes to start exercising when the 34-year-old met Greene at a book signing. "I heard another woman ask him how she was supposed to find time to exercise with four kids, a house and a full-time job," recalls Tawni. "Bob looked her straight in the eye and said, 'You're not ready to lose weight.' I was shocked, but realized that I was making identical excuses.
Everybody has the same number of hours in a day. If there are people who are busier than I am who can find time to exercise, so can I." The next morning, Tawni got up early to walk. It was the start of what would become a daily ritual. Pounds lost: 125.
48. Cover the clock: Some nights, Mitch Lipka, 34, could barely look at his stationary bike, let alone ride it. Then he developed the diversionary tactic of throwing a towel or T-shirt over the timer to concentrate on something else. He'd get so lost in thought that the time was up before he even knew it. Now he never misses a session. Pounds lost: 200.
49. Do 10, then switch: Whenever Cheryl Allard, 50, goes to the gym, she uses one machine for 10 minutes, then moves on to something else. This boredom-beating strategy worked so well that Cheryl started going to the gym six days a week. Within a year, she took off 100 pounds.
50. Showcase "before" photos: Both Julia Ferraro, 37, and her mother, Adelaide, were 5'2 and weighed 205 pounds. A family picture brought them to tears. "You can know that you're getting bigger, but it doesn't hit you until you look at a picture of yourself," says Julia. Instead of stashing the photo out of sight, they agreed to display it prominently for motivation. Since that shot was taken, the two have lost a combined 90 pounds and five dress sizes—and they've added a new, beaming mother/daughter photo to their tabletop gallery.
51. Be your own coach: Jeanann Pock, 29, had trouble getting up early to walk until she read a quote from legendary football coach Vince Lombardi: "Winning is not a sometime thing; it's an all-the-time thing." Says Jeanann, "I realized that I had to win every little battle along the way—including the skirmishes with my alarm clock. I had to think like a winner to become one." Now, Jeanann throws off the covers every morning. Pounds lost: 85.
52. Celebrate every victory: Susan DeFusco ultimately managed to shed 100 pounds, but day-to-day, she focused on losing just the next five. Each time she accomplished one of those baby steps, she would reward herself with a bubble bath or an exercise tape. "You need to look at each five-pound loss as something worth celebrating," advises the 38-year-old.
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