Wednesday, August 12, 2020
Challenge

Motivation

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I truly believe that it does take 3 or so weeks to form a habit.  It’s only my second full week back in the gym.  Habit, please kick in quickly.

I remember feeling this way last year.  I’ve already shared this but, in September 2010, after years of nearly sedentary living and a lot of bad eating, I got myself back in the gym for 5 solid months.  Then, I got a hand injury and used it as a justification excuse to not work out for almost the next 5 months.

In that time, I gained back about 20 of the almost 40 lbs I had lost and was feeling miserable.  I was back to eating garbage as a way to self-medicate, so to speak.  So, twice a week, on my way to therapy, I would be in a McDonald’s drive-through ordering a hamburger, small fry and either a chocolate shake or a strawberry lemonade.  No, this wasn’t dinner.  It was, as I’ve stated before, a junkie getting in his fix.

The funny thing is that,now, these things have become a motivation.  First, there was no way in heck I was going to go back up to my old weight.  I have a ladder in the garage that says “weigh limit: 300 lbs.” and I have some shutters to replace in front of my house.  I didn’t want to test this limit and, to my pain and humiliation, find out that this was a rule and not just a suggestion. Secondly, I’m a grown man and I have been eating like I’m still a guy in college with a higher metabolism and walking miles a day across a campus.  My job has me sitting in front of a computer all day and I have to go out of my way to get activity.  Therefore, knowing that it would take me 35 minutes to burn off just the Whopper I had for lunch doesn’t seem worth it anymore. Finally, I’m too young to feel this way.  I am over 40, true enough.  But, I should still be able to run for two blocks without getting winded.  I should be able play a few games of basketball without having to hobble out of bed the next morning.  I shouldn’t feel aches in my joints from carrying around too much weight.

The fact is that I do have a lot of say in this and I have the ability to effect change in this area in my life so, this is what motivates me.  I guess it helps that I am kind of hard-headed, also.  If anyone else is lacking motivation, here are some some thing I found that helped me:

  1. Motivation can’t just come from others: People can encourage you and lift you up for a while but, they can’t carry your indefinitely.  You have to find something that is personal and meaningful to you to keep you motivated.  Now, granted, a big part of my desire to change comes from my son but, I also have other factors internal to only me that make me want a change.
  2. Let your motivation come from multiples sources:  What I mean is that the scale can’t be the sole factor in your motivation.  Sometimes, it’s your body measurements, other times, it may be how a piece of clothing suddenly fits better or is now too big.  Other times, it could be that you can now push yourself harder when you exercise.  Or, it could simply be that now you can more easily decline the offer of a doughnut or take-out food at work and not feel awkward about it.  The point is that one (or more) of these can fail you but chances are that, by having several sources of motivation, at least one can keep you going at any given time.
  3. Your sources of motivation need to be positive: You shouldn’t want to change just to rub it in someone else’s face or to turn the tables on a situation.  If there is someone or something that is causing you that much grief, that relationship probably needs to be fixed or be dissolved regardless of your weight.
  4. Remember where you’ve been and give yourself credit for getting better: This is a tough one for me.  When you start out, it gets a little overwhelming.  If you need to lose 100 lbs, and you’re just getting started, it’s tough to think about what you have to lose but, what if you just lost your first five pounds, or even one pound?  Aren’t you closer to your goal?  To paraphrase the saying, “I’m not where I want to be but, thank goodness I’m not where I used to be.”   In the gym I go to, they have a table and on it, they have a model you can touch and pick up that shows you what five pounds of fat looks like and and placard that explains some of the benefits of losing just this amount.  So, I know that I am not at my goal by any stretch of the imagination but, I’m on my way.
Honestly, motivation is tough, particularly when, like me, you been used to not stepping out of your comfort zone.  But, when you find it, things seem so much more possible.
JP Smith
the authorJP Smith
I'm taking on the challenge to lose the pounds that take me from a big man to a not-so-big man. Join me.