Use your inner motivation to achieve that weight goal 

inner moviation weight loss

Whether you are a night time nibbler or a social snacker, chances are you have thought about your relationship with food at some point in your life. And have asked the question ‘Why can’t I lose this weight?’ but let’s reframe it to ‘How can I make better choices’.

Challenging societal norms

Do not feel you are alone in this quandary, (1) Georgialdis et al states ‘It has been estimated that up to 70% of adults are using some method to lose weight’, and why such a high number? – because as a society we are still struggling to comes to terms with accepting who we are and how we fit in. Society still favours the thin, although this is gradually changing with the likes of Instagram influencers who positively talk about self-care, or flaunt their larger selves. But there are several psychological as well as physical reasons that you can turn to for more tangible help.


Go back to those happy memories

Consider when you last felt on good form; had you had a good night’s sleep? Perhaps the sun was shining? When external factors align, the world can look and feel a better place and as such we feel better about ourselves. Some of these factors we cannot control but there are some that we can, and changing our mind set is the first step in challenging unwanted thoughts around our body image and overall health status.


Inner feelings drive meaning

One way researchers have advised to do just that and take back control is to concentrate on ‘intrinsic motivation’. (2)

This phrase has been used to focus on those inner feelings that drive a meaningful reason to lose weight. Such as wanting to look and feel good for oneself, and because the journey to get to this stage is a fun one. It means that long term weight loss is gained through inner motivation rather than a reliance on external factors such as illness or looking good for someone else’s approval.

This idea is part of ‘self-determination theory’(3) which is becoming increasingly highlighted in the world of weight control. In a report by the Journal of Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity, Teixeira et al discuss long term weight control through ’autonomy’ or perhaps more simply ‘independence’; owning the need to want to be ‘healthy’ through nutritional choices, acceptance of self and other ways to feel good. The report suggests that self-determination separates itself from the precise nature of goal getting and instead focuses on basic human psychological needs, such as connecting socially or personal growth.

Consider this statement as an example; ‘I like going to for a run as it focuses my mind for work and in turn helps me to stay on track with healthy eating’.


The physical plays a powerful role

Moving away from the psychological and onto more physical aspects, we forget that weight gain can be a legitimate cause of imbalance within the body. For example, the way we metabolise food; high blood sugar levels release insulin from the pancreas, but if this is unable to convert into energy it can hang onto the body. (4)

Maisie Hill is an expert and best selling author of Peri Menopause Power, She suggests weight gain can be a side effect of a dysfunctional thyroid gland and studies have showed that there is a link between weight gain and hormonal changes. (5)

Dysbiosis within the gut, where the ‘bad bacteria’ is overtaking the ‘good bacteria,’ also manifests itself in bloating, amongst other common gut complaints. And a lack of the happy neurotransmitter serotonin, which controls appetite, can influence what you eat and when.


Tips for tuning in to your intrinsic motivation

  • Make a diary of triggers as to when you consider yourself over eating or eating those foods which don’t make you feel good about yourself. Finding the root cause will help focus more on addressing lifestyle or other easy to fix factors that may be confusing the real issues at hand.
  • Make a visual diary of those meals and activities which made you happy or were fun. Seeing it visually can be a good reminder of what can be achieved.
  • When setting personal goals, make them realistic. One small change at a time is more sustainable than changing lots of things at once.
  • Pay attention to foods that might make you bloat, cause wind or give you pain. It might be that you are sensitive to certain foods, or having problems metabolising, certain ingredients.
  • Keep going, consistency and even just ‘showing up’ will help to instil and hard-wire long term habits. So, before you pile the pressure on yourself for not looking or being a certain way, remember that there are other factors out there, both psychological and physical that may be playing a part.


Look inwards for true self-determination and consider why, and who you are doing this for, and then take steps to regain responsibility and independence from others to enjoy your own personal journey to wellness.

Written by Vanessa Bostock – Thrive panel of Nutritionists Vanessa holds a Diploma in Nutritional Therapy CNM. She is registered with BANT, CNHC and ANP), having trained through the College of Naturopathic Medicine. She works with women as they appro ach their next life stage through supporting good gut health and positive mindset.


1.Manolis M Georgiadis, Stuart JH Biddle and Nektarios A Stavrou. ‘Motivation for weightloss diets: A clustering, longitudinal field study using self-esteem and self-determination theory perspectives’. Health Education Journal 65(1) 2006 53-72 P54 2.Durayappah-Harrison, Adoree. ‘Weight loss Motivation: Secrets to Staying on Track. Part 1. Psychologies Today, Sussex Publishers, 10 June 2015

3.Teixeira, Pedro J., et al.’Motivation, selfdetermination, and long-term weight control. International Journal of Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity 2012, [9:22] P3 http/www.ijbnpa. org/content/0/1/22

4.Holford, Patrick. The Optimum Nutritional Bible, Piatkus, 2013. P317 5.Hill, Maisie. Peri Menopause Power Green Tree, Bloomsbury Publishing 2021. P171