For most of us, when we start a new diet or program it's because something specific happened that triggered an emotional response and motivated us for change. Often times the trigger is something small like our pants didn't fit for an event, or our face looked a little puffy in a photo or the scale raised a few pounds.
So what do we tend to do then?
"Diet starts tomorrow"
"Time for a cleanse"
"Time to cut out all breads and sugars"
"I heard about fasting.."
"Signing up for Weight watchers again"
"Time to a gym membership...again"
Now you are pumped and motivated. You buy the ingredients, sign those dotted lines, make your goal lists of your "rewards" (treats to yourself when you hit certain goal milestones) and now you are pumped! You step on that scale only slightly disgusted now because you know next week that number will be less!
You burn those calories, eat that brown rice and veggies, drink that water, go on that walk and write down those food items. We tend to have this "all or nothing" mentality where we cut everything out and deprive ourselves from it, fighting temptations because our eye is on the prize, fitting into those pants again.
And then not too long after it happens. Mission accomplished. Phew those pants fit again. You are feeling confident and you deserve to have a nice dinner tonight to celebrate. And you will enjoy the hell out of those carbs, because you burned a LOT. And since we are celebrating, we can have a cocktail and oh my god that caramel dessert thing looks amazing! A few bites is totally fine, I worked really hard for this and I can enjoy it!
Personally for me, I think my issues in the past were that my goals were either way too big or way too small. At one time my main goal was to lose 200 lbs. That was a great long term goal but there was nothing small an attainable to get there so in my head I was fixated on 200lbs and if I only lost 10lbs in a couple months and I was killing myself over it, cutting everything out and depriving myself and not seeing enough results, I threw it the towel because what was the point?
And sometimes, those motivating goals were too small and attainable. I want to fit into my favorite pants. And then you do and you are happy and content and you allow yourself to loosen the reigns again for a bit until one day you wake up and they don't fit again and the cycle continues.
There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to what motivates you or drives you to get where you are going. I noticed in the last year for me, the motivation factors changed greatly and, in some cases, even daily. The important thing to understand is it doesn't matter what the factor is, it's about being consistent in your choices and acknowledge that the factors might change.
Some of my personal motivational reasons in the last year have been:
Driven by gallbladder attacks and being afraid to have surgery
Wanting to be back into ONEderland (weighing in the 100's again)
Wanting a revenge body
Using gym to merely drown out depressing thoughts
Wanting to fit in old jeans again
Wanting to run into someone and make them feel jealous
Wanting to inspire others with my determination and fight
Wanting to wear a bathing suit
Wanting to look good on Television
Wanting to look good when giving a motivational speech
Sometimes I went to the gym out of anger, sadness, determination, hatred, fear, positive vibes, to lift my spirit, feel powerful, strong, and/or unstoppable. The point is I went.
Sometimes I ate less junk because of stress, sadness, depression, motivation, inspiration, Pinterest recipes, and/or positive vibes. The point is I made conscious food choices.
The point is, it doesn't matter what the driving force is, just utilize it to its potential in every moment of it. The mood will change, the variables will change, but learn to change with it. Learn to grow with it. Learn to embrace that nothing in life is guaranteed except for change.
We have to learn to be adaptable in order to be our best versions of ourselves. Some days we are sad. Some days we celebrate. Some days we cry or laugh or feel numb. Some days we feel defeated, exhilarated, blessed and/or insecure. Whatever it is, acknowledge it as a moment, a temporary feeling, good or bad and give into it.
If in a moment you are feeling sad, give in and cry it out. Get it out of your system and your body and mind will adjust and adapt and recharge.
If you are enraged with emotion and amped up, expel that energy at the gym, go for a run, yell out loud. Get the toxic energy out of your body.
If you are celebrating a birthday, don't condemn yourself over a single piece of cake. The first bite tastes just as good as the last. Acknowledge it as a temporary food, enjoy it slowly and savor it and then let it go.
My motivation for today is different than yesterday and will be again tomorrow.
Right now, it's to just do better than yesterday.
What is your motivation today?
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