CSIRO expert’s top tip for how to stay motivated when trying to lose weight

Mar 26, 2022
Older women weighing themselves Source: Getty

Story for Starts at 60: Grow your bank balance, not your waistline: financial reward helps you lose more weight

It’s the first week of your new diet and you’re doing everything right – cooking healthy meals, saying no to that second glass of wine, and taking the grandkids out for a walk instead of ice cream.  

Fast forward a few weeks and you feel yourself pressing the snooze button when it’s time to go for your morning walk, and treats are making their way back into the shopping trolley. You are generally just giving in to that urge to slink back to tempting old habits.   

Thanks to new research from Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, we no longer have to succumb to this all too-familiar-fate.  

CSIRO has found what it takes to stay motivated, and in turn, lose more weight.  The research revealed that personal accountability, coupled with incentives and rewards, is a key motivator for achieving weight loss.  

CSIRO Total Wellbeing Dietitian Pennie McCoy said “Finding motivation to lose weight can be tough at the best of times – so it’s not surprising that many Aussies have put their health on the backburner after a particularly rough few months!”

Pennie suggests that people look for financial or incentive-based inspiration to motivate them to keep at it.  

Top tips for staying motivated when losing weight: 

Alongside following a program that is backed by evidence and offers a reward, having realistic expectations and tapping into support are among the many tips and tricks at your disposal to cope when motivation plummets, says Pennie:  

  1. Don’t go it alone – enlisting the support of family, friends or co-workers, can be a source of inspiration – so, don’t be afraid to ask others for help. Making dietary and exercise changes and maintaining them is always easier in company. Another great motivating force is the internet. There’s a variety of forums that allow you to join in discussions, start your own chat groups, share recipes, and generally encourage each other. 
  1. Set realistic expectations – weight loss takes time, but with the right tools and support, realistic goals can be achieved. Find out what a realistic target is for your weight loss journey and be flexible to adjust your expectations as you go. 
  1. Personalise your motivation – tie your motivation to improving your diet, exercise, or weight to something that you love and makes you feel good. For example, reward yourself for losing 1kg with a new outfit.  
  1. Aim for improvement, not perfection – improving your diet will make a dramatic difference to your weight and health but aiming for perfection is a recipe for failure. Unrealistic expectations of dietary perfection can lead to feelings of stress, frustration, and guilt – all things that derail motivation. Step back from the need to be perfect by anticipating setbacks, allowing yourself occasional indulgences, and most of all forgiving yourself if you slip up.  


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