Losing weight is a long-term process and requires sustained effort and continual focus on the goal. It also requires daily decisions about food and eating. Days of discouragement, impatience, and frustration are to be anticipated. So how do you handle days when the scale will not budge or when you tire of the effort required? Here are some tricks to keep you on track:

1) Chunk down! The feeling of overwhelm is an immediate sign that you are looking at too much of the big picture. Perhaps you are focusing on all the weight you have to lose or how much time it will take to get to your goal. Instead, chunk down to focus on the immediate future. You can't lose 20 pounds today or even this week. Shift the focus to today and what you can do now to get to your goal. Each day is one step closer to your weight loss success. Each and every healthy meal you eat makes you that much healthier.

Relax and tell yourself that based upon the amount of weight you want to lose and the place you started at you are exactly where you are supposed to be. Losing weight is a big goal and requires extraordinary effort over time. Plenty of people describe the weight loss process as one of the most difficult endeavors they've attempted. Think of it like training for the Olympics. All the daily efforts are important and the rewards will be well worth it.

2) What do you need to hear that is motivating? What would a great coach say to you at a time like this? What would a best friend tell you that could make a difference?

"I know you can do this."
"I believe in you! Be patient."
"You have what it takes to do this!"
"Think about what it will be like when you've lost that weight! It will be great."
"You'll get there. Stick with it. You'll be so glad you did when the weight starts melting away."

Discover what is encouraging to you and write the statements on index cards. Refer to your motivating statements just when you start to feel discouraged. You can even post them where you'll see them regularly.

Feelings are oftentimes the result of what we tell ourselves. If you are feeling discouraged or frustrated chances are you are thinking some pretty discouraging thoughts. Perhaps you are saying something like, "This is taking so long; I'll never get there!" Or, "I can't eat anything I want." Spend some time thinking about the thoughts that get you into the state of discouragement and choose to say something different, something more empowering. Awareness is power which then gives you a choice.

3) Use solution focused questions. Ask yourself, "What can I do to get through today and feel good about myself?" Tomorrow will be another day with its own challenges and successes.

4) Redefine success. Think of success in small terms as well as in the attainment of the big goal of losing a set number of pounds. Getting through one day of discouragement is a big deal. Eating healthier for several days is quite an accomplishment. The loss of 1 - 2 pounds each week adds up to lots of weight after several weeks. Any time that you say "No" to a high calorie, high fat food is clearly success. Celebrate every step of the way because it all adds up.

5) Create leverage. Get clear about the long-term consequences of not losing the weight. What happens if you don't stick with your goals and make the desired changes? What price will you pay in terms of self-esteem and your health? Imagine this possible future in real terms. Ideally, this motivates you away from that future.

Now imagine the future where you reach your goal. How happy will you be in that healthier body? Imagine yourself feeling good. Create a list of all the benefits you get with your goal. Use the negative and the positive to gain leverage and create motivation.

6) Keep a Gratitude Journal. On a daily basis write down ten things you are grateful for in your life, yourself, and your efforts at losing weight. Write down even the smallest things. This will keep your focus on the positive so you don't lose sight of them.

This long-term goal that you have chosen requires persistence and effort over time. Think of it as a metaphor for building the foundation of a beautiful building. The first layers of brick don't seem like much at first. Some days little progress will be made. Sustained effort will eventually tip the scales and you will see results multiplied. You will be glad you kept your focus and stayed on the path to your goal.

Author's Bio: 

Sue Stevenson, Ph.D., is a Weight Loss Coach in Tucson, Arizona, who works with individuals and groups to help them reach their weight loss and fitness goals. She uses innovative techniques such as hypnosis, NLP, and the Emotional Freedom Technique. Her strengths are in identifying the blocks to weight loss and using methods to resolve those blocks. For more articles and her blog visit: http://www.yourtucsonweightlosscoach.com.