Thursday, March 24, 2011

Motivation: What works for you?

I've been thinking a lot lately about motivation.  Kim posted on her blog, listing the strategies that are and aren't working for her.  She said she's losing hers and listed some strategies that she said she has tried but that don't work for her:

  1. Self-talk
  2.  – telling myself I have to make a certain weight goal by a certain date makes it worse, and so does telling myself I need to eat healthier so I feel good when I exercise. I know I can still run even if I am following a crappy diet, so that doesn’t do the trick.
  1. Looking at “Skinny” photos 
  2. - having “inspiring” photos around doesn’t help. Even though they are of me when I was feeling my best, health-wise.
  1. Keeping a food journal
  2.  – makes me even more neurotic.
She also posted a photo of herself looking fit, cute, and trim. I posted a comment telling her so: "You look so cute (and fit) in that picture.I think the problem with all your “don’t work” strategies is that they are not coming from a place of self-love, they are coming from a place of 'fixing' yourself."

As I have posted here before, I am really trying to figure out a way to come at this weight-management thing from a place of self-love, from a desire to really take good care of myself instead of from a mentality of fixing what is broken.  I think long-term, weight-management would be a lot easier if it was about self-care instead of self-control.  I know some of you disagree with me that this is a possibility and feel free to post your comments that weight loss is never going to be easy. I don't think it will be easy, necessarily, but it will feel better if the motivation behind what I do is positive instead of negative.

Even Bob Greene, who always seemed like a self-control kind of guy, talked about how natural it was for people to seek pleasure in a podcast interview with Oprah.  He was answering a question from someone who approached weight loss from an all-or-nothing point of view and was not able to find ways to make healthy eating pleasurable.  Of course she was conflicted about losing weight if it meant not living a happy life while she did it! 

I know I could quickly lose weight by buckling down, cutting all distractions out of my life, and rigidly following a diet plan.  I did Weight Watchers that way the first time -- I was even happy that I got a migraine headache on Thanksgiving and couldn't eat.  But that kind of weight loss is short-lived. I outgrew my skinny clothes almost as soon as I bought them.  This time I'm not going to approach things from a "duty cycle" of self-punishment.  I want to focus on the dream of a satisfying, healthy life.

I am going about it a lot more slowly this time and if you look at my weight graphs alone, you would think there is no real movement there at all.  But I feel differently. I'm starting to make healthier food choices because I prefer them. I was at a party last night and had some "treat" foods and they didn't even taste that good to me anymore, and I woke up this morning feeling sort of crummy.  Everything I'm reading and listening to suggests that the kind of diet that the new Weight Watchers plan encourages (a healthy balance of protein and carbs, lots of fruits and vegetables, minimally processed foods) is the same way to eat to manage a whole bunch of my long-range health concerns: healthy aging and hormone balance (I'm 40), long-term cognitive function (my grandmothers both had dementia), weight management, healthy skin, athletic performance.  This isn't just about being skinny to me anymore.

I don't care how long it takes to lose the weight because this is the way I need to live for good.


  1. I need to get to the point where you are. I am usually very happy, eating healthy and taking care of me, but I get to a point where I am just SICK of thinking about it, even though I am not being restrictive.

    Slow movement is the way to go.

    Thanks for the link and inspiration.

  2. This is where I've been coming too as well. It's hard not to beat ourselves up but self-compassion is so important. I'm tired of trying to control everything and being so neurotic about everything. It doesn't do anything for the relationships I have with people in my life either. I just had a baby (7 months ago) and I want to teach him that women can and should love themselves!

  3. Thank you for this post. I needed to read this today. I have been struggling with these same issues for a while now. I had to realize that my life won't "start" when i'm skinny, it starts now...on my road to good health. I'm getting healthier every day, regardless of my size.
    Sometimes we all need to just take a break and do our best.


"Count your calories, work out when you can, and try to be good to yourself. All the rest is bulls**t." -- Jillian Michaels at BlogHer '07