Poll: Why Do You Really Want to Lose Weight?


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
  :  98 comments   :  21,452 Views

Getting fit. Eating better.  Losing weight. All the hard work and sacrifice that goes into those three "little" things can be overwhelming. It can be difficult to stick with these habits for the long haul. While appearance alone is motivation enough for some, it's not a motivator for me. I need something bigger: a compelling reason to stick with it, and a higher motivator. If I didn't have a "big picture" goal, the TV and tub of ice cream would win way too often.
Do you have a higher calling? A call to action? A reason behind your goals to lose weight and get healthier? Or do you just have goals for no good reason?
Last weekend, I checked something off my bucket list. With 11 other teammates (most of whom were other SparkPeople members!), I completed the 200-mile Hood to Coast relay in Oregon, a feat that took us over 31 hours to complete. With little to no sleep for over 48 hours, I ran between 5 and 6.5 miles three times in that short window (as did my teammates). Now if torturing yourself and making your body hate you sounds like fun, then I'd call this fun (haha). I didn't do it for fun. I did it for the adventure—and simply to prove to myself that I could do it. Completing Hood to Coast was an experience that I wanted to have, one that took planning, training, budgeting, and a lot of willpower to keep going when my body wanted to stop. I did it, and I'm proud of myself. It's an experience that I'll never forget, from the people I met to the views of the countryside as I ran, to the overwhelming emotion and feeling of accomplishment that rushed through me as I approached the finish line. As I reflect with the event still fresh in my mind, it makes me feel grateful and appreciative of my healthy, fit body. Without consistent exercise and healthy habits, I would never have an experience like this. Much like my hike to the bottom of the Grand Canyon last year, it made me reflect on my choices and my lifestyle.
Exercising, eating right and managing my weight—these are not the real goals. Sure, they are "goals" and they take planning and determination to sustain over the long haul. But the REAL goal is something bigger. The real goal is exercising, eating right and managing my weight so that I can… [FILL IN THE BLANK]. These are simply the means to achieving greater things in life, from crazy sleepless running relays to hiking one of the most beautiful places in the world, to even more basic things like getting around easily, traveling, riding a rollercoaster, being able to run around and play with my future kids (and even-more-future) grandkids. Exercising, eating right and managing my weight are not the real goal—they are the tools to living the life I want—one that is fun and long and happy and full of adventures and memories that I'll never forget. These are the "big picture" goals—the real reasons I do what I do.
When you keep your big picture goals in mind, it makes getting off the couch and prioritizing your healthy habits that much easier. Write them down. Think about them. Remember them. Next time you don't feel like exercising, remind yourself "I exercise so that I can [reach your big picture goal]."  When you feel your willpower to make healthy choices lagging, say, "I'm doing this so that I can [reach this bigger goal]."  That is why you do what you do—and that is what will get you through.
What are some of your "big picture" goals? How do you keep them in mind?

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  • 98
    I am losing weight for two reasons: To be able to finally look in a full size mirror and be satisfied with what I see (not perfection) and to do a yoga headstand (aka be strong) - 2/4/2016   1:20:38 PM
  • 97
    I'm losing weight (down 31lbs so far!) so that I won't get diabetes or other obesity-related health issues, I will be more confident and less self-concious, I can fit into all my old clothes (the extra weight piled on just in the last two years), and so that I will reach my goal of wearing a bikini this summer for the first time in my life. - 2/4/2016   8:45:09 AM
  • 96
    I want to lose weight for physical and emotional health reasons. So much has been taken away in the last decades in what I can do, chronic pain of fibromyalgia and arthritis...and now type 2 diabetes.
    I'm 62 and want to be around for my adult children and grandchildren. I hope that by losing weight, I'll be able to move more and more easily and make my disabilities easier to handle. Also to possibly reduce the number of meds I have to take daily. I want to feel more comfortable around other people and to be able to pick clothes that aren't restricted to those made for obese women. It's even tougher when stores have depts. for big and tall, regular and petites but not for petite and broad (58.5 in. tall). Plus clothes in large sizes cost a lot more, esp. good quality ones and I am on a restricted income.
    I'm past the point of worrying about strictly cosmetic reasons, but I would like to stop avoiding mirrors and cameras. It's so bad that my kids may have no photos to remember me by when I'm gone.
    Each day I'm alive is a gift and I want many more of them and more of them with the joy of good health. - 5/26/2014   5:04:13 AM
    A belated congratulations to you, Coach! I've been going through some of the previous Daily Spark entries when I came across this entry.

    Two items: I've run the HTC twice back in the 80's. Bucket lists weren't common then, but it was a race I wanted to run. It sounds like your experiences were as memorable as mine: the camaraderie with your teammates, the excitement at the exchanges, the personal reflection as you run through Portland in the middle of the night, and the fun at the race's conclusion on the Oregon coast.

    Second item: I like your idea of fitness as a means "so that I canů [FILL IN THE BLANK]." That idea has sustained my exercise and diet efforts during the past 4 years. I've created and am working on my bucket list, one of which is to try ocean kayaking. Like many others here, being healthy is also a goal.

    thanks! - 8/4/2012   10:26:01 PM
  • 94
    I want to get in shape and become healthy because I deserve to live my life to the fullest and to be able to be around while my kids grow up and to see my grandchildren born and to be able to grow old with my husband. My list could and would go on and on but these are just a few of my bulletpoints.

    I keep my goals in check by making sure that my family knows they are loved and give them all hugs and kisses everyday. Makes my heart swell every time and keeps me on the right track to a wonderful, long, fulfilled life.

    Sorry this was so sappy :) - 4/27/2012   10:47:20 AM
  • 93
    I want to lose weight to better control my type 2 diabetes, so we can start a family, and to feel better about how I look, though I quite like how I look now, to be honest. - 2/2/2012   7:58:02 PM
  • 92
    I have always been comfortable in my own skin. Obesity has been a part of my life since puberty. Being overweight has never made me feel like less of a person on any level. I've had asthma since childhood, but that was my biggest health concern, until reletively recently. In 2008, I switched insurance companies, and then doctors. I had just gotten over the flu. The blood work showed an A1C of 6.0, an overall cholesterol of 175, but a low "good" of 34 and a high "bad" of 122, and a cardio myopathy. My heart is still not pumping out the blood as it should. If my ejection rate doesn't increase to 35%, then they are talking about implanting a defibulator. So, I've started taking a more active role in improving my health. I'm tracking my food intake and taking baby steps to add some activity, though a workout is not an option yet. I'd like to avoid gastric surgery, if possible. Improving my health is my biggest motivator, especially now that I'm a grandmother! - 11/21/2011   2:21:46 PM
  • 91
    Okay - I "diet" (sort of) and exercise to look better; that's reason #1. BUT there are many things I'd like to be able to do, or at least try, that require good physical conditioning. I ran a 5K last weekend, only the 2nd one in my life. I'd like to be able to run 1.5 miles in 15 minutes - I was in the USAF a long time ago, and that was a requirement that I somehow managed to not ever meet. I think about working up to a half-marathon. I'd also like to try Kayaking. And my local SparkGroup recently tried indoor rock climbing, which was both thrilling and SCARY, and it let me know I need to greatly increase my upper-body strength. I want to do it again! - 11/15/2011   9:53:21 AM
    went to a party and a male family friend kept hanging around me, trying to say something. Normally he never speaks to me. So I finally asked him what he wanted. he said I was beautiful now that I had lost weight. I was furious that he even commented. The upshot is that people evaluate you on your weight. I am held in much higher esteem in various projects. You'd think my IQ had increased. So the up shot is that if, getting thinner is getting smarter and sexier, what am I waiting for? - 11/15/2011   8:47:38 AM
  • 89
    I have Rheumatoid Arthritis and the extra weight really effects my joints. My energy level is low, I am tired a lot of the time, and I know losing the weight will help. Also I want to look and feel better about my self and my body. It is just time for me to get in shape. - 11/9/2011   8:42:15 AM
  • 88
    Great Blog Nicole! I also ran HTC for the adventure factor -- and am not sure that I would do it again!

    I got stuck in my weight loss because I think my "reasons" weren't cutting it anymore -- I looked and felt good, even though I was still 10 pounds from my goal. I could run, but I still wasn't quite "there".

    I think our goals change as we go. Mine are to be healthy, to feel and look good -- and (oh yeah) to be comfortable in my bathing suit when I go on vacation this winter!

    Great to meet ya and congrats on the fitness award! - 10/4/2011   6:19:41 AM
  • ES3255
    Great blog Nicole! At first I wanted to lose weight out of fear - fear of losing my eyesight, having a stroke, or spending all my time in dialysis. Gradually the motivation changed to feeling better, having more energy, wearing smaller clothes. Now I think the motivation is more "big picture" - I want to run, and climb and do and go and not be a spectator in this life anymore. These decisions about exercise and food choices and habits will get me there. Reading blogs like yours keeps me inspired, focused and ready to get out there and succeed! - 9/23/2011   9:30:45 AM
    Short term: I want to get back to my pre-baby weight. Since the "baby" has been in school for a while now, I think the time has come :)
    Long term: I want to be active so I'll have a sunny disposition. I have a very stressful life. Exercise helps to regulate mood with endorphins, adrenaline and serotonin so that I handle stress better. Sure, I want to be active so I'll live longer. More importantly, I want to enjoy getting there. - 9/22/2011   11:09:15 AM
  • 85
    Just an observation: I want to lose weight because I see no fat old people. All of the people I see on my job as a grocery checker are either young and fat, young and thin or old and thin. My conclusion: The fat old people are either dead or ailing so much that they don't do their own grocery shopping. - 9/16/2011   4:53:11 PM
  • 84
    I want to lose weight so I will be able to play with my grandchild and my children. I also want to be able to wear some of the clothes that I already own. I bought one gown on sale when I was losing weight with curves, but I moved and there was not a curves close to where I live so I put some of the weight back on and lost my tone. Since finding Sparkpeople I have lost weight but still have some to go. I would like to lose 20 pounds by February so I can wear the gown to a dinner at a conference I will be attending. - 9/13/2011   10:21:01 AM
    My goal for losing the extra weight is so that I can take my son to Europe for his high school graduation. I want to be able to hike, climb towers (awesome views), and have a ton of energy to last all day without pain. - 9/10/2011   12:57:28 PM
  • 82
    I barely think about weight loss any more. I have lowered Blood sugar and Blood pressure enough to be off any medications. I am happy to be able to walk after a time of walking difficulties caused by an accident. I have not reduced triglycerides as much as I had hoped for. I walk 5 K often and soon I will do another charity 5K.in a few weeks. I am a very happy grandmother, mother of three sons and happy wife for 48 years. It just gets better when you take care of it. Pat in Maine. - 9/7/2011   2:03:09 PM
  • 81
    I have worked out all my life - want to stay fit, sexy, happy, have energy and have a long, healthy life. - 9/7/2011   11:22:06 AM
  • 80
    To feel good and sexy. For my health and longevity. - 9/7/2011   10:46:27 AM
    simple question, simple answer, heck yes I want to lose weight! - 9/7/2011   7:03:40 AM
  • GRISI1107
    I want to lose weight for cosmetic reasons only because fortunately I'm in good health. My biggest motivation is this cellulite I carry ln my thighs and bottom since I can remember, I really really hate it. And also to be toned allover, I'm just 22 so I want to look good ;). And also some day in the future start running, for now I can't because I have little kids and no babysitter and time. - 9/7/2011   12:31:34 AM
    Basically I want to be healthy and energetic. However, I love the idea being fit and wearing beautiful clothes! - 9/6/2011   2:35:45 PM
  • 76
    I want to look and feel better!!!! I know i can do it!!! - 9/6/2011   11:51:49 AM
  • 75
    I've tried to lose weight many times mostly because I hated looking at my fat self in the windows as I walked into work (also true with mirrors which I could usually avoid!) I would say, those windows really distort my body, but I think my brain was the real distortion. Anyway, when my daughter said to me, "I want you to be around for me kids, Mom," I realize that me blood pressure, cholesterol issues, joint pain, etc. are linked to my weight. I do want to be around to enjoy my grandchildren and even their children! - 9/6/2011   11:43:14 AM
  • ZAVA_T
    I want to lose weight because I come from a family of overweight people with big health issues like diabetes and high blood pressure. I see the kinds of trouble they have and I don't want to rely on medications to keep me healthy. - 9/6/2011   11:18:14 AM
  • SUSAN_K2
    I want to lose weight so I don't get breathless doing ordinary activities. I have always been healthy and I want to keep it that way. Also, seeing pictures of me at my daughter's wedding was a real wake-up call...I felt ashamed. - 9/6/2011   11:07:15 AM
  • LOUANN5511
    I had breast cancer so my main reason for excerising vigerously everyday is to (in a huge way) make sure I protect myself from getting it back in another organ. Eating a healthy diet and excerising does it. Looking younger, keeping a healthy weight and feeling good is just a perk for me. I love everyone and I want to be here to love, inspire and help people. - 9/6/2011   7:45:18 AM
  • 71
    I wanted to lose weight to be able to move better, be healthier, feel better about myself, be able to exercise and garden once again. I wanted to be able to enjoy our trips and have more endurance to have fun on them. I wanted to feel and look good for me and my husband.

    I don't need to be a size 4, run a marathon, break records, see my ribs sticking out, or fit into society's view of weight loss! I do however want to be more active, have fun, and be able to hike trails in the mountains. Not to reach a major peak, simply to enjoy the beautiful mtn trails and reach the top of chimney Rock. This will be an amazing photo op! - 9/5/2011   8:00:01 PM
  • 70
    Why do I want to loose weight? That is an excellent question. I started loosing weight to get back to my usual size. I was in between jobs and had extra time. I want to look sexy of course. Feel more youthful. I don't have kids yet. I want to keep my health up if I have them in the future. Being healthy is fun. - 9/5/2011   5:54:10 PM
    Great blog! I don't have any "big picture" goals at the moment - I just started SparkPeople yesterday and I'm focused on the weight. I want to lose to get my blood pressure down, to fit into smaller clothes, to stop avoiding having my picture taken... But I can see why having larger goals would be a key to success, so I'm going to start a list of things to work toward. Thanks for the idea! - 9/5/2011   12:41:52 PM
    I don't want to go blind. In May I was diagnosed with diabetes with an A1C of 12 (It's now 5.9) and rapidly declining eyesight. A return to a normal blood glucose brought back my mostly normal eyesight, thank goodness. My eyesight is essential to my life. I'm determined to make diabetes a non-entity in my life by changing my life - Not just my eating habits. It's more than a diet to me. My long term goal is to spend my 70th birthday reading a good book. - 9/5/2011   12:29:49 PM
    I want to lose weight for health reasons. So much has been taken away in the last six years in what I can do, chronic pain... for the doctors it's pile on some more meds. I joke that after my morning pills I have no room for breakfast, but it's not that funny. I'm 51 and want to be around for my adult children and any grandchildren to come. I want to spend as many years as I can with my husband that I adore. I hope that by losing weight, I'll be able to move more and make my disabilities easier to handle. I'm past the point of worrying about cosmetic reasons. Each day I'm alive is a giftand I want many more. - 9/5/2011   12:59:15 AM
  • 66
    I wanted to lose weight for cosmetic reason to look good and all but a week back I have come to know that to some infection my kidneys are shrinking and the only way to make sure they don't fail is to manage the lifestyle. So now it's a donor die situation. - 9/4/2011   11:55:58 PM
  • 65
    I wanted to lose weight for cosmetic reason to look good and all but a week back I have come to know that to some infection my kidneys are shrinking and the only way to make sure they don't fail is to manage the lifestyle. So now it's a donor die situation. - 9/4/2011   11:55:56 PM
  • CLMCD7
    I am so incredibly tired of being tired, as well as fat, & feeling frumpy! I want to be thin, fit, & have the energy to play with my grandson ( due to come into this world, 9/25/11 ), & any other grandchildren the good Lord may bless me with in the future! - 9/4/2011   9:39:59 PM
  • 63
    to get out of chronic pain
    - 9/4/2011   7:52:52 PM
  • 62
    This may sound selfish, but I want to lose weight because I am simply tired of being FAT and I really don't want to get diabetis. - 9/4/2011   5:14:44 PM
  • 61
    What a great blog. At age 42 and 256 pounds, I had to go on blood presser meds I just knew that if I didn't take care of my body I would not be able to continue doing all the things I loved like hiking and boating and playing with the neices and nephews and teaching. SparkPeople entered my life at about the same time. A year and half later, a series of small, progressive changes in my diet and level of activity level has brought me down to 173 pounds and I'm running my first the Air Force 10K in two weeks. And I'm considering yoga instructor training. I look forward not to creating physical challenges for myself. I love being able to go to the store and buy "regular" sized clothes. But the biggest achivement is having the energy to enjoy all the great friends and family in my life. And that great feeling I have after I finish a long solo run through the neighborhood. This is not something I thought I could ever do but SparkPeople has propped me up and pushed me along the whole way. Thank you!!! p.s. that Grand Canyon hike is on my list and I can't wait to do it. - 9/4/2011   12:41:18 PM
  • 60
    I would love to be thinner.I am so tired of being this big.I feel old,fat,and ugly!!I want to be able to wear nicer looking clothes.With my health.and medicines,and the fact that i have bad female problems.I look like i am pregnant.Stomach bloated all of the time.SUCKS!!!! MINNIERITA - 9/4/2011   12:02:37 PM
  • 59
    Thanks for yet another inspiring blog, Nicole!

    My real goal is exercising, eating right and managing my weight so that I can join a hiking group without all the fears, apprehensions and self-consciousness that have stopped me so far.

    This is one "real goal" - there are lots of others! - 9/4/2011   2:05:10 AM
  • 58
    I want to exercise and lose weight so I can: play tennis again, be free from pain, , swim and not be self conscious, come off medications, pay less for clothes that look better than plus sizes, and be able to get out of the tub with ease.

    You asked - Hope it's not TMI (too much information). LOL. - 9/4/2011   1:25:09 AM
    I want to climb th Inca trail to Machu Pichu. I'm on my way to the goal. I've lost 31 lbs and I'm building muscles and aerobic ability so that I can enjoy it. - 9/3/2011   5:19:36 PM
  • 56
    My goal was to look good. Plain and simple. Before losing over 50 lbs nothing stopped me from living the life I wanted to live. I've walked all over major cities around the world, hiked flat trails and mountain trails, roller bladed, did a zip-line in someone's living room and back yard, played sports, been a cheerleader, danced... NOTHING stopped me just because I was overweight. I don't get the mentality of, "I'm fat, therefore I must not live life." Forget that. I was living life, now I'm living life as a smaller person in smaller clothes. There! Done. It's a mentality thing, not a physical thing. At least it wasn't for me. - 9/3/2011   4:57:03 PM
  • 55
    My bigger goal is too be more active, I have young children and I want to do things with them other than watch their favorite cartoon. I want to go parasailing, hiking, run in a 5k, and sky dive. I want to live a healthy active life, I dont want to look back on my life with regrets. Accomplishing my smaller goals will led to succeeding in my larger ones. - 9/3/2011   12:26:02 PM
  • 54
    Part of it is self-esteem. I've felt battered and bruised by events that were at least partly out of my control - job layoff and the difficult period of trying to find a job in a job market that has completely changed - and some physical issues that were the results of old injuries and a lifetime habit of choosing the sedentary over the active. I have lived a healthy, active, slim and strong life in my daydreams for years but have never been willing to put in the sustained effort to make that life a reality. I am now ready to do whatever it takes to stop living in dreams and start LIVING. And little by little I am getting there thanks to the help and encouragement on SparkPeople. - 9/3/2011   11:46:09 AM
  • 53
    I want to spend as many quality years with my family as I possibly can. Losing weight will help me accomplish this goal. - 9/3/2011   9:25:52 AM
  • 52
    First and most important is ' my health ' second, I want to look good and feel good about myself. Now, you would think those 2 reason would be enough. but it dont seem to be since I'm not getting anywhere. - 9/3/2011   7:31:52 AM
  • 51
    While I've got lots of immediate reasons (look good, feel sexy, set a good example, etc) the one that resonates with me for some strange reason is a long-term one. I'm 54 now, and yet when I waver I remind myself...

    I plan to run the Buffalo Turkey Trot (8K) when I'm 80. - 9/2/2011   4:24:39 PM
    My big picture is not that noble. I just want to be able to do anything i want to do without getting tired in 3 minutes and also to look sexy and turn heads.

    Most of all, I want to be able to look at myself and be happy and content that i am living the best life possible.I can only do this if I'm healthy. - 9/2/2011   3:54:44 PM
  • 49
    Great blog entry. Why am I doing this? I want to feel better so I can do what I want to when I want to. I want to enjoy my life.

    How do I keep my reasons for this at the top of mind? I have them written down and I read them every morning. I made copies which I carry in my purse and have at work so if I feel weak, I can pull out the list and remember what I'm trying to do.

    This wasn't ally my idea. I'm using the Beck Diet Solution workbook which let's me use whatever diet and exercise program I want to. It focuses on behavior modification exercises which I complete each day. It doesn't take much time. Some exercises are repeated day after day after day so they become part of my daily landscape.

    Thanks for sharing a great blog.

    Sparky - 9/2/2011   2:51:12 PM

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