Motivation is a tricky thing. A few of my friends have told me they wish they had the motivation and dedication I have when it comes to losing weight, but I have a little secret: I still struggle with motivation. Every. Single. Day. Losing weight is not easy. Sure, I’ve managed to keep at it the last two years, but that doesn’t mean I wake up every morning and say “I want to go workout right now” or “A banana and questionably thick and bland oatmeal sounds so much better than a bowl of cinnamon toast crunch.”
So how does one keep working towards losing weight? To be honest, I’m not sure. I don’t think there is one right way (or one wrong way) to stay motivated and keep working towards any goal. But I do know that I’m in this for life. I know that I want to live a long and healthy life, and I’m not going to do that if I keep eating processed crap that unfortunately tastes oh so good. I know that even when I reach my goal weight I’m not going to be ‘done.’ Our culture of quick-fix diets tells us that we can do a few magic tricks to lose 20 or 30 pounds, but then what? When was the last time you saw a magazine headline that said “A New and Healthier You: A Lifetime of Eating Right and Exercising”? Most of us don’t want a lifetime of health. And I think that when it comes to getting that final boost of motivation you need to actually lose the weight and keep it off, we need to see that it’s a bigger commitment than drinking pond scum smoothies for a few weeks.
So I guess what I’m saying is that losing weight is not easy. Staying motivated is not easy. So is there any hope for those of us who are trying to lose weight? Of course there is! You didn’t think I was writing this just to tell you all hope is lost, did you? I’m writing this because I wish someone would have told me this sooner. I wish someone would have told me that losing weight and completely changing the way you live is not easy, but it is possible. I wish someone would have told me that not every weigh-in was going to be a happy one. I wish someone would have told me that even though it’s hard, it’s more than worth the effort.
I have been stumbling along this crazy journey of weight loss for two years now, and it took me about a year to realize all of this. And what did it do for me? It taught me that it’s okay to forgive myself for eating a little too much at that family picnic. It taught me that sometimes the scale is going to show a number that I’m not too happy with, but that’s ok because I know that I’m trying as hard as I can. And most importantly, it helped me realize that it didn’t take a few months for me to gain all of this weight in the first place, so it’s probably going to take a bit longer than that to lose it.
Realizing that losing weight is going to take a lifetime of commitment is step one of successfully losing weight, or at least it was for me. But that’s just the beginning. Weight-loss looks different for each of us, and there is no shortage of advice in the form of books, magazine, blogs, and online ‘articles’ telling us all how we can be the next big success story. Over the next few posts I’m going to talk about a few things that I’ve tried while losing weight, some of them working wonderfully and some of them failing terribly. I only know what works for me, but I’m hoping that sharing a bit of what I know can help you find what works for you.
Question of the Day: What is the most helpful thing you have found to keep you motivated while losing weight or maintaining a healthy lifestyle? I’m always looking for new ideas and I would love to hear some of yours!