If Motivation were a person, I think he or she would feel highly misunderstood. I have the privilege of working with men and women who are trying to lose weight. Of course, weight loss isn’t just about losing weight and hitting a magic number. Weight gain, and specifically obesity, is complex and highly inter-related to stress, sleep, social and environmental factors, in addition to diet and exercise. One of the things I here so often is a version of, “I need more motivation and more willpower.” But motivation waxes and wanes, and willpower is limited. The problem really isn’t about have MORE, but HOW to harness the power of motivation and use willpower wisely.
Intrinsic motivation is the type of motivation needed to sustain change. Ironically, extrinsic motivation is the type that most health professionals are fluent in using. Extrinsic motivation is driven by external rewards such as accolades or can be fear-based. It could be some version of, “if you don’t follow the advice I give, you will not achieve your desired results.” With weight loss, I believe it’s essential to take a holistic approach where the patient is an active participant in designing and planning their treatment.
DO YOU WANT TO LOSE WEIGHT?
WHY do you want to lose weight? And don’t give a simple answer of “better health,” or to “feel better.” I promise that those answers won’t motivate you to change deeply ingrained habits. Change is hard. Of course, staying the same is also hard. As the saying goes, choose your hard. When you work hard to change behaviors (so that you can be the best, most vibrant version of your true self), then you feel empowered and strong.
Motivation comes from realizing that there is no one else on the planet that lives, breathes, eats, thinks and moves just like you. None of us are the same, and yet all of us are really the same. We struggle with the same basic challenges and insecurities. If you know you need to lose weight, your first step will be to admit that it’s really not just about the weight. It’s about the habits, choices and circumstances that caused you to gain weight. Let me be emphatic: there are bodies that are large, beautiful and healthy, just as there are slender and fit-looking bodies that are unhealthy. If you have let your health take a backseat and you want to reclaim it, then you’ll need to find your motivation. Motivation can come from external sources, but the kind that keeps you going is intrinsic motivation and only you can make it happen. Here’s the thing though, you don’t have to do it alone. You should surround yourself with people and professionals who will challenge you to grow and expand. If you want more motivation, start with doing a thorough self-assessment and be honest with yourself. And then put that bad boy on repeat! And along the way, reach out for support. We’d love to come along side you and help.