Ask Stew: How to Find Motivation to Lose Weight and Recover from Surgery

Weight management program at Fort Carson, Colorado.
Weight management program at Fort Carson, Colorado. (Photo courtesy of the Evans Army Community Hospital)

When it comes to giving advice to those who need a combination of motivation and basic fitness for weight loss and health, it is all easier said than done. But it must be done. To achieve your fitness goals, make a habit of moving every day -- even if that movement is an easy walk. 

Here is an email from a man who injured himself while preparing for the U.S. Marine Corps and has convalesced for the past year as he recovered from surgery related to his injury.

Hi Stew,

I downloaded your "45-Day Beginner" plan. I found it very informative and simple to follow. Thank you for making it!

Right now, I weigh 275 lbs. At 6' 2", I'm considered obese. I know I need to change but can't seem to find the motivation to change and get back in shape. I tore the labrum in my hip and finally needed surgery seven months ago. I am healing up and am almost cleared to run and lift. 

But I've been stuck in a pretty self-destructive pattern since, and was wondering if you had any advice on how to get myself motivated to get going or if any of your other clients had similar obstacles but were able to overcome them. I would appreciate any advice or motivation you could give me. Thanks, Steve 

Steve, this is a common question asked by many people just like you. The good news is that yes, you can overcome this negative place you are stuck in. I know most of what I say is easier said than done, but this is true of almost everything. Moving and doing is the key to any goal you want to accomplish.

I have several articles on motivation and building mental toughness available on The two that will help you the most are:

The free 45-Day Plan is a great place to start. If you follow that daily, use the food plan and drink the recommended water amounts each day, you will lose significant weight in those 45 days. 

I have seen people with weight to lose (like you) drop 20-25 pounds in these first 45 days. But you have to do it daily and stick to it.

Given your weight issues and previous hip injury, I do not recommend starting to run anytime soon. Do non-impact cardio options until you drop at least 50 pounds. You can get some great workouts on a bike, elliptical glider or rowing machine, and by swimming or walking. Running at 275 pounds and recovering from surgery could reinjure your hip or create issues with your feet, shins, knees, hips and back. Drop the weight before trying to run again. Consider the cardio options in these Non-Impact Workouts.

The best cure for getting out of a slump is movement. It is difficult to feel sorry for yourself if you are moving. Even if it is just a 10- to 15-minute walk after every meal of the day, you are moving. Small steps like this help you build good habits to replace the bad ones.

Hope this helps. 

Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Visit his Fitness eBook store if you're looking to start a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle. Send your fitness questions to

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