About Fogdog's Weight Loss

Don't Focus on the Goal...

If you've followed this blog you know that I've struggled for many years with improving my health. I've finally reached a point where I've managed to maintain a small amount of success. Now it's time to take the next step, but I believe it requires a new way of thinking.

Instead of trying to get healthy, why not shift focus toward learning how to build healthy habits instead. Follow me as I try to teach myself how to Engineer healthy habits that will allow me to take my health to the next level. Let's see where this experiment goes!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Finding Motivation to Lose Weight

You can try to lose all the weight you want, but you won’t get anywhere if you are not properly motivated. Motivation is one of those concepts that are unique for every individual. What motivates me might not motivate you at all. The key then, is to find things that will motivate you specifically to lose the weight. Below are some motivational forces that you might want to consider:

  • Health – You would think this would be everyone’s motivational force for losing weight, but even some people that have underlying health issues still are not motivated to lose weight (even if it meant getting rid of those issues)! The problem with health as a motivator is that it is not guaranteed (people that are not overweight have health issues too). Also, it’s not a quantifiable trait either. You can’t lose 50 pounds and then say those 50 pounds have caused you to have 2 less health issues. Health is a great reason to lose weight, but it’s not much of a motivator. At best, you can tell yourself that if you lose weight, you will have less health issues than you did if you hadn’t lost the weight. That statement is as close to a certainty as you can get here.
  • Vanity – This can be a powerful motivator for some. The idea of looking attractive to others can definitely motivate us to drop the unwanted pounds. Many goals and rewards can be derived from this motivational force. Being able to fit into a certain size outfit is often a strong motivator for some.  For someone who has always been overweight, this can be a very powerful motivational force. 
  • Competition/Challenge – Competition or simply the challenge of accomplishing a certain task is a very strong motivator. Most people love a good challenge. Find some way to compete in something that requires you to be more active and you will have a good chance at staying motivated to drop the pounds. The big watch-out here is to look for competitions or challenges that are not just in your head. If you challenge yourself and you keep it to yourself, it becomes too easy to pretend it never happened. One suggestion would be to find someone else who needs to lose weight and challenge them to see who can lose the most weight in a certain period of time.
  • Greed – What if I told you I would give you $10,000 if you could lose 50 pounds this year? Would that motivate you to do it? Greed is one of the strongest motivators out there. What’s interesting is that most people don’t even realize how much more money they would have if they weighed less. There are studies out there that show overweight people actually make less money than normal weight people. Think about the costs of weight related medical problems or simply the cost of all the extra food you consume. Over the course of your life you would save literally hundreds of thousands of dollars by losing the weight. Not enough of a motivator for you? Then look for ways to capitalize on your weight loss. Combine greed with competition and make a wager on that competition to lose weight.
  • Fear – Fear is probably the strongest motivator out there. Have you ever watched “The Biggest Loser”? I’ve seen almost every season and in all that time, I’ve only seen 1 person show up at the finale without losing a ton of weight. Even those who are voted off in the first weeks manage to lose huge amounts of weight on their own at home when they could never do it before. What changed? They didn’t learn some magic spell while on the show, they just simply became motivated by both fear and greed. If you knew in 6 months you had to get on a scale on national TV, you would be motivated as well. You would be so afraid of failing in front of the world, you would do just about anything to succeed. Add to that a chance to win a bunch of money (greed) and your motivation goes through the roof! 
A Bite at a Time: From the Heart to the Mind, Inspiration and Motivation for Weight Loss

So what can you do about your motivation?
  1. Recognize what motivates you most in life. Do you have to be the best in your job? If so, competition is probably a strong motivator for you. Want to get rid of those Type II Diabetes more than anything?  Health is probably yoour biggest motivational force.  Identify with what motivational force will move you the most so you can identify motivators for your journey.
  2. Identify those key motivators. Come up with some motivators that are in line with your biggest motivational forces. Want some fear? Make a doctor’s appointment 6 months from now and see if that doesn’t motivate you to do a little more. Greed? Make a bet with someone on how much weight you can lose. Competition? Sign up for a 5K run.
  3. Use your motivators often by thinking about them all the time. When you are thinking about eating that dessert, remind yourself that the buddy you’re competing against is behaving himself. When you don’t want to work out, ask yourself how your kids will feel when their father or mother dies of heart disease. The more you keep your motivators in your mind, the more you will be able to resist temptations.
Here are a few ideas on motivators that might help get you started:
  1. Got an underlying health problem? Think about what you life would be like without it (Health). Figure out how much money you would save if you didn’t need the extra medications and doctor visits (Greed). Think about what your life will be like if your condition gets worse (Fear)
  2. Find a picture of someone who you want to look like and post it where you can see it every day (Vanity)
  3. Buy yourself an outfit you really want in a size that you want to get to (Vanity)
  4. Challenge a friend or family member to a weight loss competition (Competition)
  5. Add a wager to the competition (Greed)
  6. Sign up for an event that requires physical activity (Competition, Fear)
  7. If you haven’t been to a doctor in a while, make an appointment 6 months from now (Fear)
  8. Offer yourself a huge goal for meeting a huge target (Competition, Greed)
Be creative when coming up with motivators and as I said before, think of them often. Motivation is a big key to success in losing weight. With proper motivation you can accomplish anything you set out to do. Without it, you will surely have a tough time.


What’s your motivation?


Inside/Outside: Motivational Weight Loss Program

3 comments:

  1. Thanks.
    I find i have a large power to insist to lose weight .

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  2. Nice post, thanks for sharing this wonderful and useful information with us.

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