Thoughts on this post? Share them with me on Facebook, join the SPANily or Tweet me at @angieatkinson. ~Angie

Editor’s Note: Stick with us through the end of the post, then leave your comment below. Everyone who comments will get $5 in cash to spend at the MTM Body Store online, plus a free sample of an MTM Body product–courtesy of our lovely and inspiring fitness guru, Jamie Paretti.

“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” ~Thomas A. Edison

beautiful womenyes i canIt’s easy to get motivated to start a weight loss plan at the beginning of the summer. Many people, motivated by the sunny weather and excitement that summer brings, resolve to get in shape over the summer months. With the summer comes a new beginning and new enthusiasm.

After a while, however, it can be difficult to maintain the same high level of motivation you need to keep going. When the motivation of an upcoming vacation or looking your best in a swimsuit is no longer in front of you, you can easily get discouraged and fall back into old habits.

Instead of giving up, choose success.

Stick to your weight loss and fitness goals even after the swimsuit season with these tips and tricks:

1. Take baby steps. After you’ve been on a diet for a long time, you might feel like giving up if your ideal weight still seems far off. Instead, break your large goal up into tiny pieces. Seek to attain small objectives every few weeks or so. This way, you can reward yourself along the way and stay on track.

2. Work on maintaining weight. Instead of thinking in terms of dieting and weight loss, seek to maintain a healthy lifestyle. If you’ve been dieting for a long time, give yourself a break and try to focus on nutritional changes that you can maintain for the rest of your life.

Weight maintenance is an excellent alternative to “giving up” because you maintain the progress you’ve already made instead of yo-yo dieting. You’ll still feel like a success every day when you look at yourself in the mirror.

3. Splurge. Even when you’re on a strict diet, allow yourself to indulge in a moderate amount of your favorite foods every now and then. You’ll experience fewer cravings and stay on track that way.

4. Control your portions. You can eat healthy, but if you’re eating too much you can sabotage your chances of losing weight. Just watch the amounts you’re eating. If you’re still hungry after a small portion, wait 20 minutes and see if you’re still hungry afterward. Often, you’ll feel full after that time has passed.

5. Watch what you drink. Pay attention to how many calories are in the drinks that you consume. If you’re drinking lots of soda, coffee, or other sugary drinks, these calories can add up quickly. If you drink lots of water, you’ll be less hungry and have more energy. You’ll also avoid the crash that comes from those sugary drinks.

Weekly Weigh In

If you’ve become accustomed to weighing yourself every day, consider stepping on the scale less often. When you shift your focus from the number on the scale to your level of physical fitness, you’ll make wise decisions without the added stress that the scale provides.

(FYI: It’s not too late to join the free Dare-to-Bare Challenge–you can win prizes weekly while you get healthy! Talk about motivation!)

Remember that if you’re working out, muscle weighs more than fat. The scale is only one indicator of how you’re progressing on your fitness journey. Do your clothes fit better? Do you have more energy? Are you receiving compliments about your appearance? Focus on those things and weigh yourself less often.

Above all, be kind to yourself. Set yourself up for success by focusing on the reasons why a fit body brings you joy. A compelling reason will drive you forward, and small steps will keep you moving forward. Small steps and healthy decisions will help you to maintain or regain the motivation you had at the beginning of summer.

HERE’S THE FUN PART: HOW TO GET $5* TO SPEND IN THE MTM BODY STORE, PLUS A FREE SAMPLE PACK OF AN MTM BODY PRODUCT

1. Comment below and tell us how you stay motivated to keep losing weight during the summer months–OR tell us what you plan to do this winter to keep going.

2. Send an email to me at angela.atkinson@blissfiremedia.com with the subject line “COMMENT TO WIN” and I will send you your free $5. Let me know if you’d like the free sample mailed to you as well, and if so, please submit your address as well.

So, what do you say? For $5 to spend in the MTM Body Store and a free sample pack, tell us in the comments section below: How are you going to keep your motivation to get or stay healthy during the winter months?

*Five dollar cash credit expires on Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013–so HURRY!

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