Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Motivation vs. Commitment

This is a bit of an extension of yesterday's post, but worth exploring. Many times I hear a dieter asking questions like, "How do you stay motivated to lose weight when it isn't coming off very fast?" or "Where do you get your motivation to stick with your plan day after day?" I touched on this briefly when I posted about my 40 pounds gone, but I think it is important to understand something here.

You do not need to be motivated to lose weight. Okay... maybe you need SOME kind of motivation to start with; otherwise, why would you even consider it? You'd just stay fat and accept it. Lots of people do that every day. But for some reason, you want to lose weight, and that reason becomes your initial motivation. Which leads me to differentiate between a "reason" to lose weight and "motivation." I think often, when people ask how to stay motivated, they are not asking for reasons to lose weight. They are in search of that elusive *feeling* of really wanting to do it, that *drive* that moves you to actually do something about your situation. For example, you may sit in your house alone all day with twenty cats and never change the litter boxes. You may bemoan your terrible plight... the smell is horrible and you miss human interaction. You have lots of *reasons* to clean up the mess, but what do you lack? Energy, perhaps? A plan? It's that feeling which translates into ACTION that everyone is after. And you can sit and think about cleaning the litter boxes, you can complain to high heaven about the smell, you can yell at the walls and blame the cats, but until you actually pry yourself off the couch and do the work of cleaning, your situation is not going to change.

This applies to lots of things in life. But when it comes to weight loss, it is so easy to keep putting it off and waiting for the "motivation" to do something about it. When I was 278+ pounds, I truly wanted to change it. In fact, I used to sit at my computer Googling things like "find energy to lose weight" or "where to get motivation to lose weight." I thought maybe there would be some magic web page that would give me the secret. There had to be a secret, right? Because there are people who actually lose weight, and they must have a secret. I was determined to find it.

I didn't find it online. I found it in myself.

You have to think about losing weight differently. It is not something you have to *feel* like doing. Think of it like your job. Do you get up every morning all excited and happy to go to work? If so, congrats, you're in the rare minority. Most people have days where they'd rather stay in bed, or be home relaxing or having fun. But you get up anyway, and you go to work. Day after day, you go to work, whether you feel like it or not. You do not have to be "motivated" to go to work. The motive is your commitment to working so you can pay your bills and have a roof over your head. You do not get up every morning and base your actions on your FEELINGS. You just go. Like Nike says, Just Do It. (Now you know what that means. Not every runner/biker/basketball player always FEELS like spending time on their sport. They just do it.)

So just do it. Every day, I just do it. Some days I feel like it, and other days I really don't, but I want to lose weight and getting healthy is my job. You have lots of jobs. Think about the things you get up and do every day. If you don't go to work, perhaps you take care of little children at home. Would you consider waking up and thinking, "I just am not feeling it today. I'm going back to sleep. The kids can take care of themselves for today"? No, I don't think so. Treat yourself with the same loving care. Nourish yourself, strengthen yourself. Make the commitment, and then stick with it, emotions aside. You'll have rough days... we all do. But the only magic is in your own hands. You have the magic to transform yourself.

On a personal note, my biopsy results came back today. They said they had "clean borders" which translates to, "the Doctor almost certainly got all the bad cells." So yay for me, no more surgeries for now. Thanks for all your support! And the thing that makes me the happiest is when someone *gets* something I say in my blog, and it helps them on their way to better health.

Make the commitment!


Anonymous said...

Very insightful comments, as always. Thanks.

Woohoo on the clean borders! I'm so happy for you.

And congratulations for getting through these stressful times as successfully as you have.

All the best.


Sunny said...

So true, so true, so true.....

Good news about your dr.appt! Have a great week!

Anonymous said...

Soon you're going to be so fit, so slim, so healthy.... I can just sense it from your posts. You're turning a corner, girl! Well done Lynn!


Hanlie said...

I've been reading your blog for a while and I can definitely see the personal growth that's going on here. I happen to think that the key is commitment to ourselves. Not to a diet plan, our readers, our WW group, but to do the best for ourselves every day. It takes time to get to that point, but I can see that you're getting there! Well done!

Leanna said...

Great post. That is so true (and you made me laugh when I read what you'd been Googling). Thanks for sharing your journey with us.

And good news on the clean biopsy.

BikiniMe said...

So glad about the clean borders!!!

This is a great post -- you are on the money about the reality of losing weight. It's a daily thing, and one has to keep at it even when the mood doesn't strike. Amen! :)

Melanie said...

This was such a great post and I'm so glad to have read it today. I wrote a post the other day when I had my own light bulb moment about what to do when we "fall off the wagon," but reading your "motivation vs. commitment" post clarified things even more for me. I want to get fit and lose weight, but finding the motivation has been hard for me. I now understand that I don't "need" to find motivation I just need to decide that I have to do it for myself and consider it my job. So thank you for the insight and also congrats on the good biopsy news. :)

Anonymous said...


you are such a goooooooo writer; very good. very very good. something i've noticed is that you've grown soooo much as a person, in the way you think about food, etc. i don't know, but there's a difference between your early posts and now (i read through all of them lol, they are so insightful and helpful). thank you for helping me on thinking about food the right way. you've taught me a lot. keep up the good work on your eating and exercising. -cindy

Anonymous said...

You're absolutely right.

Anonymous said...


I haven't commented before, but I read your blog very regularly. I think this post really hit me hard and makes so much sense to me. Congratulations on your weight loss, and on the clean borders.

I know that you probably get a lot of comments about how great your blog is, but I wanted to let you know that it has been very inspirational for me, and that you are doing many people a tremendous favor by continuing to share your story with us.

Heather said...

I think saying that it is like a job is a great analogy. some days I wake up and it would be easy to say screw it, or say, I dont feel like exercising. but if you woke up and felt like not going to work and then didnt, you would have no money. if you dont feel like exercising or eating right and dont, you wont lose weight.

CHelms777 said...

This post helped me so much - reading the blog has given me real clarity in the way I think about losing weight. I can't wait for each next posting to come on - and I vote for it every day in the best of blogs election!

Anonymous said...

I read your post. It is nice and informative. Keep posting.

Chris Anderson