Motivation. One of the key ingredients to weight loss. Without it, it’s pretty difficult.
We all know that feeling whether our weight-loss journey has been (or is) long or short – the first few weeks of following a new plan or a ‘fresh start’ after a period of indulgence. You’re fired up, ready to go, everything is precise, strict and you can visualize that sparkly, figure-hugging little dress on your smaller, tighter, more-toned body. The weight comes off quickly and you think you’ve got it in the bag and you CAN do this. Goal weight will happen. Some people even put a timescale on it. Some people achieve it without too many setbacks, although I’ve found those are a rare breed.
I’ve learned the hard way. What I’ve described above I realize is not motivation, it’s intention. I’m full of good intentions. Motivation is the ability to continuously follow through on those intentions and gather the strength to keep moving towards your goal even when you don’t want to.
My intention this year was to lose the weight I put on when I moved house and a little more, so that by the time Christmas rolled round (Yes. There. I said the C-word.) I would be at least a few pounds lighter than I was the previous year. My Christmas weigh-in last year put me just into a new number (12st 13) and no more. I thought that Christmas was my motivation.
Yet the other day with six weeks to go and weighing 13st 1.5, I stood in my kitchen stuffing handfuls of grated mozzarella into my mouth and washing it down with beer. I had no inclination whatsoever to cook, James was working late and I felt so fed up it was unreal. Beer lead to crisps, which then led to more beer. I knew what I was doing – I’m not stupid, and I’ve lost enough weight in my lifetime to know the difference between good and bad eating habits. My poor eating and mood continued for a few days and I’m now dreading the scales this week. My motivation had truly deserted me. Perhaps it was drowning in all the beer.
What’s wrong with me? I’m so close to that not-so-new number again – why would I not be motivated to eat well and get there? That’s the million-dollar question. I fee like answering that would give me the formula for motivation. I’d bottle it, sell it and be a very rich lady.
And that’s the point. I’m human. I’m not going to be 100% motivated one hundred per cent of the time. So what can I do to buoy it? Everything and anything I can. Draw a line. Change it up. Use support networks. I could do any one of those things.
I decided to use my journal and draw up a pretty page as a tracker, and use coloured pens to fill it in. It’s sitting open at my place on the kitchen table. This might sound like an odd course of action, but it works for me because I hate an incomplete page in my journal. On the opposite page I’ve stuck the photo of me last Christmas at weigh-in.
The other thing this whole episode reminded me to do was not beat myself up over it. So I’ve tried not to, I really have. It took some convincing, but I think I’ve managed. I’ve successfully steered my brain into thinking that every day I make better choices means a better chance at not gaining weight. If that’s what motivation looks like right now, then it’s bobbing at the top of the beer glass.