To truly change your body and your weight, you need to have the right mindset. Take a few minutes to consider the following weight loss motivation tips before you even start your body makeover.

Be honest about your weight loss motivation

"More people come to me looking to save their wardrobe rather than their life," says Stephen Gullo, Ph.D., author of The Thin Commandments Diet. So if fitting into a smaller size is what's driving you, embrace it! Hang a picture of the outfit you hope to wear someplace you can see it. If lowering your disease risk and adding years to your life is your goal, post shots of family and friends on your fridge as a reminder of what you're working so hard for.

Deal with distractions and determine if you need some stress relief first

Do you have the emotional resources to take on this challenge right now? If you're coping with a heavy workload or a difficult relationship, you might focus on maintaining your weight and finding some stress relief until the other issues resolve, says Anne M. Fletcher, R.D., author of Thin for Life. But there are exceptions: Sometimes people slim down in the midst of chaos because weight is the one thing they can control.

Take the mood out of your meals to tackle emotional overeating

If you're prone to emotional overeating-and most of us are-come up with a non-food outlet (taking a walk, calling a friend) to help you cope with stress.

Benefit from your mistakes and use them to increase your weight loss motivation

Look at what you've done before to lose weight or get fitter-and vow to do better. Did you plan to hit the gym at 5 a.m. for your workout routines every day and then find yourself hitting the snooze button instead? Unless something has changed, failed strategies won't work this time around either.

Pick a start date for your body makeover

Choose a typical day to initiate a new diet and exercise program - not one when you have to take a business trip or go to a party, for instance. Prepare by making time to buy the groceries you'll need and finding child care during workout routines.

7 ways to jump-start your fitness goals

1. Do something-anything-you're good at. When you perform any skill well, your body releases feel-good chemicals called endorphins. Accomplishing one thing makes you optimistic about your ability to achieve something else.

2. Challenge yourself. Each time you overcome one obstacle or plateau, you become more convinced that you can overcome others. Even considering a challenge can start you on the path.

3. Break your own record. If you've never hiked farther than five miles, go for seven. Your growing competence encourages you to take on new challenges.

4. Help someone else succeed. Whether you coach a friend through a 5k or teach a child to swim, you'll feel needed and knowledgeable, and the experience will add to your sense of self-worth.

5. Hire a pro. A personal trainer or coach can help you break through mental barriers and set higher goals. You'll accomplish more than you ever dreamed.

6. Play rough. Martial arts, boxing and kickboxing make you feel strong and self-reliant.

7. Cultivate cheerleaders. Fitness is not necessarily a team sport, but support and encouragement always help, whatever your goal.

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