Cactus Freak wrote: "What is your secret to continual motivation?"
I wish I could say I found some secret, some magic technique, that something that eludes most people. I cannot. Heck, I am still severely obese. So who I am to say anything?
However, the question has prompted me to go into some introspection. For whatever it's worth, this is my thinking at this point in my journey.
First of all, I have many motivations for living a fit lifestyle. I have listed those before here. The kicker is that all those motivations were there when I was eating horrible and sitting on my rump all day. They are truly motivations, but they didn't get me started. I like to think they keep me going now that I have started, but I am not sure.
Some times, my wife says that I have a lot of will power. I am not so sure that I do. Instead of using will power, I try to avoid those situation in which I need will power.
For me, it has been a mind game. I had wanted to get back to living a fit lifestyle for a long time. I was waiting for that magic moment when I would feel a strong sense of motivation, but it never came...and it never came...and it still never came. I told myself to just start. Just do it (sorry Nike). At least, I needed to go through the motions. I knew that if I didn't start, something terrible would happen. Much of the stresses I have now, I had then. With my morbid obesity, stress, and lack of exercise, I knew that I was headed for a nervous breakdown at the least.
So I started. Actually, my wife and both started the South Beach Diet. We became extremely moody and irritable, so about 12 days into it, we quit. That is when I started my own program which I had gleaned from various health and nutrition experts. One of my first mind games was tell myself that I wasn't doing this to lose weight, but to get fit. I was going to change my lifestyle forever. My goal can never be reached until I am six foot under because it is a life long goal. My goal is to live fit.
However, this is an ongoing mind game. I love the weight loss. I like to think about how many pounds I have lost. I like to think about how great it will be to reach this weight or that. I have to keep reminding myself that as great as the weight loss is, that is only a side effect of my main goal, living fit.
Along these lines, I do remind myself that living fit is my #1 job. When I live fit I make everything else that is important to me that much more important. When I live unhealthy, I treat all that is important to me like crap. Why? Because I am sacrificing them for pizza and donuts. I can't show how important my wife and kids are to me by eating myself into an early grave.
Another mind game I play is to keep myself from feeling hungry. I eat all day long until about 7 PM. But I eat small meals with healthy snacks in between. I try to never feel ravenous in my hunger. I try to eat slow as well so that my brain get the message before I eat too much.
I am not sure if this is medically possible, but I feel like my stomach capacity has shrunk. I feel full on less food. I think part of this has to do with another mind game. Before this journey, I would eat to get full...I mean stuffed. I could pack away a lot of food. I could pack away enough to make most people sick just thinking about it. Instead of eating to get full, I now try to eat so that I don't feel empty...and no more. Consequently, I find myself unable to finish meals when eating out. I can eat a bowl of soup for dinner and feel satisfied.
One of the greatest mind games is self-respect. This is especially helpful at buffets, family get-togethers, and potlucks. I imagine what I would think if I saw someone who looked like me filling their plate at those things. Did I want to fit the stereotype of a fat slob who had no self-respect? No! In fact, people were looking at what I was eating. They were thinking the things I would have thought. I told myself I needed to eat like someone who respected himself. I still wanted to fill my plate with mash potatoes and gravy and then get a dinner plate filled with deserts. Instead, I limit myself to one plate with nothing touching on the plate and one desert cut in half. I don't always follow through how I should, but I try not to let that get me down either.
Along these lines, if I am going to be out of town, on the road, or on vacation, I plan. I think about what I need to do in order to eat the way I want to eat. Even if I need to adjust my routine, I find I can still eat healthy and get some exercise if I just plan ahead.
One last mind game for the road is what is referred to as falling off the wagon. Since this is my lifestyle and not temporary program, there is not wagon for me to fall off. Part of living a fit lifestyle is accepting that there will be times when I will eat something that is not healthy. There will be times that I will blow off exercising for one reason or another. It's just part of life. But I haven't blown anything. I can't dwell on the past or give up the future. I can live fit right now. If I can learn something from when I have made unhealthy choices then I am the better for it. There is no learning without making mistakes.
So I play a lot of mind games. I am to the point where I don't need to think about these mind games all the time. Most of the time, they come naturally, but not always. I must resolve to live fit with all the mind games that come with it. This is simply the way I live now until the day I die. So I guess if I have a secret, it is to play the mind games. At least that is what has helped me to get to where I am at now. But since this is a lifelong journey who knows what I will say in six months.
Living Fit Is My #1 Job!