Wednesday, October 28, 2009
A question I get asked a lot is "how did you stay motivated?".
I've been thinking a lot about this question lately. To be honest, what motivates me changes daily, as does my level of motivation. Some days I'm a work out machine amped with energy and enthusiasm, and other days I struggle make it to the gym or abstain from that donut in the break room. One thing that has remained consistent through out my journey over the last year is I remained committed, despite what my daily level of motivation was. Motivation comes and goes because it relies so heavily on our emotions. "Ugh I feel fat today", "I'm so drained" or "I'm so stressed from work I can't do it". Commitment is a frame of mind regardless of how we feel at the moment. Commitment allows us to bypass that emotion, that sluggish feeling and say "JUST DO IT". Even though I might feel like just going and sitting on the couch and watching TV all night, I know that going to a class will pick me up, and make me feel better. Even though a nap sounds good, I know if I take the dog for a jog around the neighborhood it will wake me up and I'll be more productive that evening. You can have a bad day, but still be committed to a healthy life. Even when I slipped up, over indulged, or slacked off I never let giving up be an option. I knew that no matter how long it took or how many times I might slip - the goals I had were worth sticking to. Thinking of the alternative which was an unhealthy, fat, miserable me -- sticking with it was a no brainer. I wanted to be the healthiest happiest version of me I could be and nothing was going to stand in my way. Sure I've indulged in a donut here and there, I've taken as much as 10 days off from the gym at one time, I've gone out to eat with my family and ordered dessert, and even skipped a work out or two "just because I didn't feel like it". The bigger picture though is that despite all those things I still worked really hard and that hard work paid off. So many times we think just because we blew it, gave into temptation, or just had a rotten month that its over. That's just so not true, this journey never ends, no matter what happens we just have to stay committed. Most people think to get results its all or nothing, and if we fail then those results will never happen. If that were true I wouldn't have lost 80 pounds.
So what motivates me/ keeps me committed?
I log on to spark people daily finding enormous amounts of support and encouragement, not to mention inspiration from people who have accomplished amazing things.
I log my food and calories burned keeps me on track (even when I don't like what my food log looks like).
I look at my before photos reminding myself how how hard I've worked and reminding me that I don't ever want to go back to that way EVER.
I look for new things to challenge myself with like Hiking the Grand Canyon, training for a tri-athalon, or just simply increasing my weight in ST or intensity of my work outs. Nothing feels greater than accomplishing something you couldn't do before, beating your fastest mile time, doing 100 sit ups, or simply just saying NO to that cookie. Its the little things we achieve that shows us "hey I CAN do this!"
I have a reward system. For ever 5 pounds lost I gave my self a tangible reward - non food related of coarse. A lot of times my rewards were fitness or cooking related which got me even more pumped to get healthy using my new tools.
POSITIVE THINKING: If you tell yourself your going to fail, then you've already failed. Stay positive, stay optimistic, be patient, follow through, and stick with it and you'll get there!
I kept my "fat pants" as a reminder of where I came from. When I have a day where I just don't feel good about myself, I look at my pants and it snaps me back to reality.
Helping others: knowing you've made a difference in some one else's life by just simply a kind word or gesture is incredibly motivating.
Finding a passion in health and having a thirst for knowledge. Having the desire to learn more about nutrition and fitness has put my life on a path I wouldn't have other wise considered. Knowledge is power.
When I want to reach for a cookie or donut, I remind myself how it will effect my day.
Before I go out to eat or indulge I look up the nutritional info and ask myself "is it really worth it", planning ahead what to order and pre-logging it.
Finding things that incorporate health and fun like taking the kids to the zoo, or playing a game at the park.
When I do indulge I plan how I'm going to make up for it.
Stocking my house with healthy foods and realistic treats
Planning ahead my weekly meals and grocery shopping
Acknowledging the bad days, but not letting them derail me.
Exploring new recipes & foods
Weighing in weekly and tracking my weigh ins keeps me accountable
I make monthly goals
I carry with me at all times my pocket calorie king guide to help me make the best choices in unexpected or unplanned situations.
I'm a firm believer in arming myself with tools, and plans to manage my life, my weight, my health all while still enjoying every bit! That's what keeps me going. What do you do to keep yourself going?