How to stay motivated

How I Stay Motivated

(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?

Challenge Your Mind

(This part of the “Ask Me Anything” Series.)

Becky asked: “I wish you would write about how to get over the mental barrier when running long distances like you did for Hood to Coast. I can manage the physical stuff, but making myself run for such long distances makes my mind either bored/frustrated/lazy.”

What a great question. Now that some time has passed since Hood To Coast, I wonder how in the hell I did it.

Hood to Coast was a unique challenge. The longest race I’d ever run before HTC was an 8k. My total mileage for HTC was 17 miles. I had three legs:

Leg 12: 6.37 miles

Leg 24: 4.92 miles

Leg 36: 5.23 miles

What makes the Relay race unique is the time in between each run. Like 10 hours? 10 hours is just long enough for everything in your body to tighten up, lock up, and become incredibly sore. Just in time for your next turn to run.

I hadn’t anticipated how difficult that aspect of it would be. I took a lot of Advil for the physical pain. I tried to stretch, tried to walk it out. I used a Tiger Tail in the downtime before my last run.

It is still a challenge no one can really prepare for.

I am a very determined person. Once I set my mind to something, I’m going to do it. No matter what. I wanted to finish school. Every road block and obstacle the school put in front of me, I found a way around it and got that degree.

When I wanted to lose weight, there was no other choice. Once that decision had been made, once I had a goal in my mind, I wasn’t going to be happy until I reached it.

No matter what, I was losing that weight. Even when I hit plateaus and got frustrated, I kept at it.

Michael calls it Stubborn.

Okay, I guess I’m stubborn. 🙂

So when Hood to Coast came around, I made the decision before I even packed my bag and grabbed my running shoes: I would not walk. No walking. I was RUNNING Hood to Coast. There was no quitting. I was running it.

This photo was taken right before my final run:

The last leg of the entire race–the one where I cross the finish line with my entire team.

I was exhausted. No sleep for like 2 days. SORE BEYOND WORDS. I could barely walk. How could I run?

I was so deflated by that last leg. I didn’t think  I would be able to do it. I didn’t think I could move my legs enough TO run. But I told myself that I was doing it anyways. Even if I was running at a snail’s pace, I was going to run.

I’m stubborn that way.

Sometimes DETERMINATION takes patience.

Other times, DETERMINATION is that fire inside you that won’t die no matter what.

You can call it:


Positive Thinking

Psyching Yourself Up

Race Day Mentality

Whatever you call it, you focus on the goal. What is your final goal? Is it crossing that finish line in a certain amount of time? Is it crossing that finish line without walking? Whatever your personal goals are, you visualize that and focus on it when things get too hard.

When that hill in Hood to Coast is never ending.

When your legs don’t want to run anymore.

When you’re emotionally and physically exhausted and just can’t do it.

You do it.

So do it!

QUESTION: How do you keep your mind in the game? Whatever the challenge is, how do you make sure you don’t talk yourself out of it?