The best way to keep your weight-loss motivation high

Stop Trying So Hard

“The key to weight-loss motivation is similar to the [amount of] fuel in a car—you don’t need the motivation tank to be full to drive, you just need to prevent it from running empty,” says Joshua C. Klapow, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and author of

Living SMART: 5 Essential Skills to Change Your Health Habits Forever

. “I tell people not to waste precious time and energy on staying highly motivated because it has a natural rhythm. Most people see a drop in motivation as a signal of failure, but it’s not,” he says.

If you notice that your weight-loss motivation is waning, give yourself a break from your diet or exercise plan for one to three days, Klapow says. “The more people try to ‘catch’ it, the more elusive it becomes;

By allowing it to run its natural course and at the same time having a set of habit-changing skills (such as a meal plan for the week), you’ll stay on track and your motivation levels will run their natural course.”