(This is part of the “Ask me Anything” Series.)
Ivie asked: “I would love to know what you do to motivate yourself?”
Bonnie also asked: “I think it’d be interesting to read about how to stay motivated to eat healthy when all you want to do is lie on the sofa and snack on chips (obviously I’m speaking from experience).”
These are great questions and they are questions I get all the time. “Motivation” seems to be a hard one for a lot of people. For me it was an easy decision because I had to lose weight. I was developing diabetes and had a mess of other health problems. There really wasn’t any other decision for me to make than to lose the weight.
The crucial component to maintaining my weight LOSS is twofold:
1. Exercise. Moving my body 5 days a week.
2. A lifestyle change. My lifestyle has changed a great deal. I’m a different person than I was before and I like my life. I want to continue that. Just because I lost the weight doesn’t mean I can sit on my butt and not do anything to keep it off!
It’s All About Balance
I LOVE working out. I grew to love the high and working out FEELS good to me. Swimming is my Zen Time. It relaxes me. It clears my mind. Running was my Aggression Time. I got a Super Runner’s High and whenever I was frustrated or mad about anything, running purged that.
Biking is my Fun time. It’s when I get to explore the city and see new places. Hiking is my Adventure Time. I love exploring the beauty that is the Oregon Wilderness.
Growing to love activities like the ones I listed above have enriched my life AND kept the weight off. Plus it’s all the motivation I need. Since I like doing these things I don’t really think about “motivation.”
Sure there are plenty of nights when I am filled with dread about going to the gym. Driving there. Parking hassles. Crowds. All the treadmills full. Annoying people. Wanting to just go home and watch TV…
Then I remind myself: “I will feel better if I work out!”
And I always do! Working out is also a habit now. It’s part of my daily life, my schedule. In fact if I miss a day my whole schedule and routine feels off.
Now for the food…I think my blog is all about BALANCE. I eat in moderation, I count my calories but I also don’t deny myself anything. If I want a treat, I eat it. I may not eat an entire piece of cheesecake by myself but I still enjoy myself. I give in to cravings all the time. But I try to figure out “healthier” ways to enjoy the things I crave.
If you’re lacking motivation, does money help or hurt? For example, if you pay $300 a year for a gym membership does that motivate you to go so you get your moneys worth? It does for me.
The Great Gym Experiment
One gym took it a step further. I recently read an article about a gym experiment run by a Harvard grad that is very intriguing.
“Groups of exercisers at two different gyms receive a free membership—if they keep to their workout schedule. If they don’t, a $25 fee applies for every week that they slip up.”
I think this is AWESOME. It’s a brilliant idea. If health and happiness don’t motivate people to work out, would this gym model do the trick?
Geniuses! I think it is a fantastic idea. As someone who is a regular gym goer, it would be great for me because I’d save money and get a great workout. On the flipside, the gyms would still make there money because they can count on the percentage of people that quit going. It’s a win-win in my eyes.
QUESTION: What do you think of this Gym Experiment? Would it work? Would it motivate you?
Katie @ Up Fit Creek
I think, as the study shows, it would probably work for most people but certainly not for everyone. It makes me so sad when I see people join Weight Watchers, pay for a pass and then never come back, even when it’s autorenewing on their credit card each month. For me, money would be a huge motivating factor, but I think it totally depends on the person.
Money is such a factor for me too! I was just chatting with my boyfriend about the January Joiners at the gym who drop out. I want to know how they can afford to pay $300+ a year for a gym membership and never go?
Great post! Thanks for the motivation inspiration! 😀
I so agree about exercise and mood. I was so pissy this morning, and then I rode my bike around the neighborhood and the moodiness was gone. Hallelujah! Seriously, no one’s gonna hire me or be my friend if I’m angry all the time. Exercise is the cure!
Erm, I’m the girl who’s gym membership is on auto-pay, and I can’t remember when I went last. When I did cancel it, I panicked and rejoined. Weird that I just need to know it’s there when I need it.
Yes!! Exercise always improves my mood. I definitely notice a dip in my mood if I skip a workout too many days in a row. Glad you got out on the bike today!
I really like the point you made about it being a lifestyle change. I’m really trying to look at my transformation as a lifestyle change, as well. Cheers, Rick
If you think of it as a lifestyle change instead of a diet you will be much more successful. The word “diet” makes people do weird things…
Great post, I really enjoyed it. I think if I had a free gym membership if I did go or I had to pay if I didn’t that might work for me. Reverse psychology.
Bethany @Bridezilla Bakes
Love this post. Honestly, I bet your main motivation is what you said at fist: that you didn’t see it as a choice. I think that is the mental switch that a lot of us struggle to make. Is working out and eating right a choice, or is it just what I do, who I am, a routine?
Well to be honest I DID have a choice. I could have continued the path I was on and developed diabetes at age 25. I would have also had to take blood pressure medication. I decided I didn’t have a choice with those options.
My secret to motivation is vanity. That’s what has the real teeth.
Vanity is a good motivation!
One Healthy Apple
Incentives definitely make me work harder. One is fitting into my clothes- it’s too expensive to go out and buy all new ones!
I think this Gym Experiment can work – who wants to pay more for gym fees when they don’t exercise? Not me 🙂
Great post about how you kept yourself motivated.
for me it is all about the energy
Im aware that makes me sound old 🙂
but Ive so so so much more energy to take on my day after I do cardio in the morning.
and I do not love me some cardio.
I’m the same way. I feel so much better if I work out. I have more energy and just plain feel better!
Thanks for sharing what motivates you! You telling about that experiment is super strange because I was JUST imagining a gym policy like that the other day. I wondered what if you had to commit to a gym schedule and then were rewarded for sticking to it? And how would a gym would keep track of whether people really stuck to it? Some kind of sign out (since we already sign in)? Intriguing…
I like the idea of a gym having incentives and rewards for working out. I wish my gym did that!
I think that part motivation isn’t always there and at the begining of a fitness and healthy eating habit you have to just do it and make it a habit. When the benefits start to kick in (like the good feelings from doing the activity, more energy, etc) then it will make it easier for us to do, crave it even.
Yes! Once I got used to eating healthy and exercising I could tell a difference if I didn’t.