Now fast forward a couple weeks. All of sudden, the new wears off and things aren't as bright and shiny as they once were. Maybe you're cranky. Maybe you're sore and tired. Maybe you've already "cheated" or even given up.
When we find ourselves in this situation, I think it's important to ask ourselves two questions:
- Am I doing something that I would be happy sustaining for the rest of my life?
- Why am I motivated to continue doing this?
I've talked a lot recently about the first question. In general, I've started to realize that the BEST (for me) way to approach weight loss is to make subtle changes to your daily routine/habits. Because in the end, what good is it for me to lose X amount of pounds if I'm just going to go back to my old habits after I've lost the weight? Weight in and of itself isn't the REAL problem. We have to correct the underlying behavior/psychology is the changes are going to last.
That's where the WHY comes in.
For a good portion of my life, I was (and still am) motivated by the aesthetic side of weight loss. How will losing weight make me LOOK better? Certainly clothes will fit better, maybe people will think I'm thin or better looking. I don't know. Vanity only takes you so far though and typically it isn't enough to make me go for a run or say "no" to cookie dough when it gets really tough. We need more to motivate us. And as I continue on this journey, my motivation and my "why" have shifted tremendously.
Of course part of my "why" includes wanting to be healthy and free from chronic disease. Being sick is expensive and I'd much rather put the work in now than look back 20 or 30 years from now wishing I had taken better care of myself (while still having a full, happy life!)
I also want to be around for a long time - for my family, my friends, and most of all, my husband and our future children. Being able to keep up with people and do things I enjoy is also important to me. As I lose weight, I also gain more energy, more confidence, and a love for cooking, trying new things, running, etc. So far that all makes sense and probably reflects how a lot of people feel about weight loss.
Now for something a little more controversial.
I realize there is a growing movement to accept or love yourself at any point in your life. I totally support that notion but I also think it can lead to complacency.
I have to be totally honest, a lot of my "Why" comes from the negative feelings I have about myself. It bothers me that I can't just throw on whatever I want and feel good about myself. I don't like that I can't do a pull-up or burst out a ton of solid push ups. I regret that I run pretty slowly and that my idea of a sprint is more of a slow jog for some people. I hate that food has a greater pull or influence in my life that it does for other people. Whatever the things are, I'm not completely comfortable or accepting of who I am TODAY. But isn't that how change happens?
Hold up a second. That's not to say that I hate or loathe myself. I'm just not comfortable with where I am. Am I proud of how far I've come? Yes. Do I see positive changes in my body? Absolutely. But am I 100% happy with who I am right this minute? Nope. And I don't think you have to be! You can love yourself and still want to be BETTER. It's not all sunshine and rainbows. And maybe we shouldn't pretend like it is!?
What I'm suggesting that the next time you look in the mirror and start to think an unkind thought about yourself, harness that negative energy and use it for motivation. Use that thought to push a little harder, eat a little smarter, meditate a little longer, extend kindness to someone else, etc. Accept that you are uncomfortable instead of denying it or trying to put a smile on your face. Don't dwell and use those feelings for "evil" against yourself, just use it to get better.
Last night at Crossfit, we had to do a lot of lifting and sprinting. Sprinting is not my strong suit at all. I wanted so badly to walk mid-way through our workout except there was one girl who kept running past me on every round. Man that pissed me off. I must be more competitive than I thought! You better believe that when I run from now on, I'm going to remember being passed and I will use that feeling to push a little harder. Eventually I will get faster!
I hope what I'm trying to say makes sense. There's nothing wrong with loving yourself for everything you are (or aren't). I just can't, in my own mind, accept that everyone has to think or exist positively 100% of the time. I'd love to know how you all feel about this!
What's your "why"?
What keeps you going when the journey stops being bright and shiny?