What’s Your Motivation?

Everyone on this road has a unique motivation.  That motivation – and the goals you set as a result – will change and morph over time.  But whatever brings you here to the starting line today, make sure you’re here for YOU.  Not to get back at your mean high school P.E. teacher or the kids who called you Fatty Polatty.  Not to get a date or snag a spouse.

Don’t tie your self-worth and your self-confidence to your weight.  That’s letting a number, society, and other people dictate whether you’re “good enough.”  If you’re mad at yourself for “letting yourself go,” if you’re tired of not going on second dates with people, if you’re embarrassed to shop for clothes in a certain size, then so be it.  Recognize those feelings.  Maybe you can use them, because they may be strong enough to push you to commit, finally, to taking charge of your health.  Ultimately, though, they’re coming from pain, anger, revenge, guilt, self-doubt, self-loathing.  We all have those feelings, of course.  But making lasting, positive changes relies on starting from a positive place.  Don’t start with a single negative thought in your head.  Today is Day One of your commitment to a healthy weight.  How positive!  How exciting!

Some people decide to lose weight for a reunion or event, like a wedding, or because a milestone birthday is approaching.  That’s fine – it’s a set goal to shoot for, so it’ll keep you on track.  As long as you have a plan for what happens next.  Once that goal comes and goes, what are you going to do?  Go back to where you were?  I hope not!  So what’s next?

My story didn’t start in a focused manner.  I just wanted to drop some weight so I’d feel more comfortable, both in my clothes and in my skin.  And in doing so, I got a taste of what it felt like to get a grip on my wild excess, and what it felt like to drop some pounds – something I never, ever thought I’d be able to do.  I liked it, and I got hooked, and my wild obsessive excess shifted gears and I went from the barstool to the bench press.

Other people come at the process from a physiological place.  Your doctor has told you that your cholesterol is high.  You’ve got a family history of diabetes, and your sugar is high, and you need to nip it in the bud.  These are potent reasons to lose excess weight and get in shape, but you’d be surprised how many people who have been told time and time again that they will literally DIE if they don’t make changes, shrug their shoulders and do nothing.  Or start on a program and don’t finish it.  Because they feel powerless – little molecules in their bodies are out of whack, and it’s genetic, and they’ve always been fat, so they’re doomed, and they’ll just take some Plavix or whatever and everything will be fine.  If a medical diagnosis scares you straight, I’ll take that motivation, and we’ll run with it.  But if your entire journey is grounded in fear, then you’re not going to have a very good time, are you?  And sticking with it sure will seem like a drag.

Try thinking instead that to achieve your goal – lowered blood pressure, no longer pre-diabetic, whatever it may be – you’re going to learn new ways to cook (or learn how to cook in the first place).  You’re going to take the opportunity to walk your neighborhood and see your world through new eyes.  You’re going to look forward to buying smaller pants.  You’re going to adopt healthy habits that your family and friends will see and learn from.  You’ll spread health and wellness!

Remember that the past is just that – past.  If you’ve tried before, and it hasn’t worked out for you, take the time to think about why.  And the answer is NOT, “because I’ll never lose weight.”  There’s something else.  You didn’t get the results you wanted.  Okay.  What are you going to learn from that to bring to the starting line here, now, today?

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