Let’s Talk about Motivation
One of the hardest things to do when you’re trying to lose weight and get fit is… well… something.
Motivation is hard and easy at the same time. Who doesn’t want to get fit and look better?
But when it comes to putting in the hard work consistently, well, that’s where most of us struggle.
I’ve had so many “A-Ha” moments about weight loss and getting fit, my digital photo albums have 20 different photos of me, in various stages of undress, posing for that one “BEFORE” photo that I was sure to leave behind forever. I’ve taken body measurements many times over the years and could tell you how overweight I was 1, 3, 5, even 8 years ago!
After all these years, I have yet to reach my goal.
It’s enough to make a girl want to just quit trying. But I’m no quitter. I’m just an impatient drone, who fails often and keeps getting up. I haven’t lost ALL my steam yet, although sometimes I sure feel like I have little enthusiasm left.
What is it that makes this all SO HARD? And why do some people make it look to easy?
This past weekend, as I was lazing around the house, I happened upon a TV show Jerome had mentioned to me during one of our workouts: Fit to Fat to Fit. The concept is simple. In order to better empathize with their overweight clients, a handful of personal trainers purposefully gained weight during 4 months, then attempted to take off the weight alongside their clients. Fortunately, it was a 3-day weekend and the channel was running a marathon, so I watched about 6 different trainers do the same thing. Amazingly, there was a pattern. And their pattern opened my eyes to my lack of motivation.
It also gave me hope for the future.
This is what I saw:
The majority of the trainers I saw had been healthy and thin their whole lives. Only one had previously been overweight. So only one of these people knew what it was like to eat crap and feel like it after.
As they began their binges, they shoved their faces with various and sundry fattening foods: doughnuts, pancakes, wings drenched in ranch dressing, pizzas… you name it, they ate it. (This part of the show is very dangerous… I did find myself wanting to join in on their binges!) Some of their friends sat back in amazement, their stomachs beginning to sour as they watched this gluttonous feast. Eventually, so did the stomachs of the trainers. Unused to eating such rich and unhealthy foods, almost every single one of these people got sick to their stomachs after just one meal. Some threw it up. Others were able to hold it back. Not one of them walked away feeling anything less than disgusting.
After the first binge, the trainers continue in this manner for 4 months. Some gained up to 50 lbs. While their feasting always began with smiles and glee, by the end of the four months, each and every one of them felt horrible. They were unable to control their emotions, and often wept. They didn’t want to do anything except watch TV and sleep. One of them lost her boyfriend because she was so miserable. Another was hospitalized with high blood pressure.
One thing that stuck in my head at the beginning of one episode was a smug trainer saying something along the lines of what we’ve heard all our lives:
“Being healthy is a choice. Overweight people just don’t want to make that choice.”
It seems easy, doesn’t it? Of course it’s a choice! Of course, we make a choice every time we choose what to eat.
Why this guy–and so many of us–didn’t realize is that when you’re in that place–overweight and a slave to the foods that are manufactured to make you want more and more of them, that choice is very hard to make.
After 4 months of packing on the pounds and eating horribly unhealthy foods, every single one of these previously healthy and happy people was miserable and felt like crap. Some even noted how they began craving these foods they had previously avoided.
What did that say to me?
THERE IS HOPE.
That lethargy? The lack of desire to do anything except sleep or eat or watch TV? The cravings for Five Guys and doughnuts? It will go away )or at least minimize) once I get out there and get fit.
Just this week, I had a mini-triumph! After losing 2 lbs and moving past a 10-lb marker, I went to buy my husband some sushi. Normally, I would have gotten myself a little something, but not this time!
There are studies after studies all saying the same thing: improved self-esteem is a benefit of regular physical activity. And once you start seeing progress, it’s easy–ok, easier— to want it to keep coming.
I’ve told Jerome many times–when I don’t want to work out, but have to (because I paid for my session), I come in and after 5 minutes, the bad mood goes away.
You’d think I’d learn.
Next week, I’ll discuss how I force myself to overcome the malaise of laziness. For now, I’m gonna go get on that treadmill…