Staying on the Path to a Healthy Body Weight
Once you have begun a lifestyle of fitness, health and weight management, what is the motivation to keep going? What makes you continue going to the gym everyday and sweating it out? What stops you from picking up a doughnut that your co-worker brought to the office? What prevents you from saying “Is all this really worth it?” The most popular question I get from people is the question,”What motivates you?”
1. Freedom! Experience Life’s Pleasures On Your Own Terms.
Most overweight people lack the fitness and self-confidence to attempt anything that is physically challenging. They become prisoners to the fat, missing out on many of life’s pleasures. They may never experience the exhilaration that comes from people cheering when crossing the finish line of a race. They may never be able to see the breathtaking view at the top of a mountain. They miss out on a chance to socialize with others by playing team sports.
Imagine achieving close to your genetic potential or even half your genetic potential. 99.99% of humans will never realize the true potential of their body. Only Olympic level and professional athletes will ever maximize their genetic potential. It is unrealistic for most people to have this type of experience, as most do not have the time and resources to train 6-8 hours per day and eat properly with sufficient recovery. Even at half your genetic potential, you may not be able to run 100 meters in less than ten seconds, but you will be able to do almost anything life has to offer.
Most people would fight, or even give their lives, for freedom. Strength, endurance and endless energy are liberating feelings. Being able to participate in any activity or adventure without fear is exhilarating. Once someone gets a taste of this freedom, they are usually motivated to keep it at any cost; the alternative becomes unbearable.
2. Get In the Habit of Feeling Good.
Humans are creatures of habit. I am thoroughly convinced that the key to successful long-term weight maintenance is to develop consistent, positive choices and behavior. Food addiction, laziness, and low self-esteem can be overcome by simply making one smart choice. If that smart choice is followed consistently for three months, a habit is formed that will most likely be maintained long term.
Exercise can be addicting. The endorphin release after a hard cardio session makes you feel more relaxed and tension free than a massage would. Arnold Schwarzenegger has compared the pumped full feeling in the muscles after a hard weight training session to the same feeling as an orgasm.
Fit people cannot go more than a couple of days without working out. The feelings they get during and post workout are so pleasurable that many people cannot relax until the next training session is completed. I find that my body can only be in truly relaxed, stress-free state after a hard workout session. This motivates me to exercise daily.
3. Pure Vanity: Looking Good Feels Good
People are obsessed with looking good. Even in times of financial recession, sales of cosmetics and beauty products are not affected. We spend big money on designer clothing, visits to the hair salon, facials, pedicures, botox, and lipo-suction: all low exertion, high cost methods of improving our look.
People love the easy way out. Big money is spent in the fashion and cosmetic industries; significantly less is spent when physical effort is involved. This goes back to the genetically inherited “lazy” trait. Prehistoric man did not waste energy unless something was gained from it. He was designed to conserve fat stores; we inherited this trait, but lost the need for it when everything became easy to get.
How we look places us in a certain social status or level perceived by others. In prehistoric times, the strongest male had his choice among the females. Today, it is the good-looking guy with the ripped abs and confident demeanor that gets all the attention.
Many people who have lost weight describe how great it feels when they receive positive compliments from others who have not seen them in awhile. Getting compliments feels good. It validates efforts and consistency towards taking care of your body. Although many people won’t admit it, vanity is the strongest motivational element that keeps people exercising and eating clean.
I find it interesting that people compliment me as being a great motivator. I don’t consider myself one. I may be able to get you to train harder, set you up on a great eating plan, or convince you to do something you thought was impossible in a workout. This is a temporary fix.
No one can motivate someone long term or make them do something they truly are not ready to do. To be successful, you have to be self-motivated. You have to feel good about the positive changes you have made. You have to believe you are worth the effort.
Staying on the path to a healthy body weight is as simple as finding and remembering what motivates you. Do you look better? Feel better? Have you discovered freedoms in your body that you never thought possible?
Believe in yourself, stick to your fitness and eating plans, and you will be well on your way to a healthy body weight.
Read what Paul had to say in the first article of this series: Motivate Me! Starting on the path to a healthy body weight.
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