Losing weight should be simple; the math tells us that all we have to do is burn more calories than we take in. If it truly were that easy, no one would be struggling the way millions do every single day.

Staying motivated, especially if you have more than 20 or so pounds to lose, is hard. But it`s not impossible, as anyone who has made it to the finish line and the start of a leaner, healthier lifestyle will tell you. Staying motivated is a challenge, but there are five simple things you can do to help stay on track.

One: Set realistic goals.

Losing twenty pounds in a week to fit into your high school prom dress is not even remotely reasonable unless at least sixteen of those pounds are overdue twins. Seeing the scale drop just a little bit every week is far more rewarding and motivating than seeing a huge number the first week and then watching the pounds creep back on because your metabolism is compensating for your starvation diet. Most experts recommend a weight loss of no more than 1 to 2.5 pounds per week. That doesn`t seem like much, but if you are eating well, working out and losing 2.5 pounds every week, that`s 10 pounds gone at the end of every month.

Two: Make it fun.

Exercise doesn`t have to mean sweating in a gym. Swimming, bicycling, dancing, playing tennis and any other activity that moves quickly and involves your whole body enough to get your heart rate up will help to boost your metabolism, relieve stress and shed pounds. Starting from a sedentary lifestyle? That`s okay. Start with walking and gradually increase your distance and speed. Hula-hoop to tighten your core. If it`s not fun, you won`t stay motivated.

Three: Listen to music.

The North American Association for the Study of Obesity found that women who listen to music while they exercise are more likely to stick to it. On days when you can`t face the gym or it`s too nasty out to walk or bike, just dance for 30 minutes to an hour. That doesn`t even feel like exercise, but if you put your heart into it, you`ll get your heart rate up. Instead of feeling guilty for skipping your workout, you`ll be motivated to get right back to it the next day.

Four: Lift your weight

Not your whole body weight but just the weight that you`ve lost. Lifting weights builds lean muscle tissue, which burns more calories at rest than fat does, meaning that you can take in slightly more calories and still lose weight. Also, thinking you`ve lost ten pounds is nice, but it`s kind of abstract. Lifting ten-pound weights is a tangible reminder of how far you`ve come.

Five: Find a coach.

The support and encouragement of loved ones is invaluable, but chances are that the people in your life have been bombarded with the same mixed messages, fad diets and misinformation that you have. When you hit a plateau or you miss a few days of working out, you need more than encouragement and love to get you back in the game. A professional is not going to let you off the hook when you give them that look your partner can`t resist. A professional coach also has the knowledge, resources and experience to present information to you in a new way, a way that will keep you going until those pounds have melted away. They will then teach you how to keep them gone forever.

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Christy is a Certified Wellness Coach and has a passion for empowering and educating individuals. She has over 10 years experience in the Health and Wellness industry and continues to pursue health and wellness activities through weight training, aerobics, and dance. Connect with us on our Google Plus Page Active. Healthy. Well.