Need Motivation? (a simple experiment in changing perception)

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Every now and again (okay...nearly daily), I beat myself up because I still have so much weight to lose. I've lost 69 lbs in the last 10 months...something that I would have killed for at the start of this journey. It IS a huge amount of weight to lose. But sometimes it just doesn't feel like it, because I still have another 80 to go. 80 more than I've already lost. Huge number. :P

I thought about this months ago when I had "lost" a 4 year old's worth of weight...and just remembered it yesterday...I'm not carrying around 69 extra pounds anymore. (or at that time, it was 42 lbs. down, and my 4 year old weighed 36 at the time.) I was struck on that day months ago by how significant a 42 lb. loss was when I got "stuck" holding my daughter for most of a day while we were at a theme park and she was tired and refused to walk. I was DYING! That extra 36 lbs. was killing me!! On that day, it occurred to me...I had been carrying that extra "4 year old" around 24/7!! No WONDER I was so tired and achy all of the time! It wasn't a mystery tropical disease or some other kind of rare body was TIRED from carrying around and extra 42 lbs. all day!!! So back to my current 69 lb loss...I beat myself up about it...that it should have been more by now, that it's not that big of a deal because I'm not even at the half way mark yet, etc. I know logically, that it IS a big deal, and rock hard evidence of the really positive changes/advances I've made in my personal health and well being...but again, it's really easy to discount sometimes because it's still not "enough". That line of thinking KILLS my motivation...why keep working hard when it's still not good enough, right? So I came up with a "default" experiment for myself to do, daily, if necessary, when I'm being overly hard on myself for not meeting my own unrealistic timetable for weight loss. I guess you would call this more of an adjustment of a perception issue that saps my motivation.

I put on my overcoat (thankfully, it was pretty cold last night) because it has huge pockets, and I put 15 lbs. of dumbbells in each of the side pockets. Then I did some light housework for about an hour. IT KILLED!! By the time I was done, my joints were achy and I was just plain tired aggravated...from 30 lbs. of extra weight. I WAS carrying around twice that! All day long!! That little exercise really flipped a mental switch for me last night...losing 69 lbs. has made a HUGE difference in my quality of life...period. Just because I "know" things, it doesn't mean I always feel them...and that little exercise seems to have bridged that little gap for me (at least for now)...and I've got to tell you that my motivation for "keepin' on" has just tripled. Quadrupled even.

So I'm sharing this (honestly, kind of silly) experiment in a blog because I think (from reading comments and blogs of my sparkfriends) that we ALL feel like this sometimes. We've lost...but it's not enough. We worked out...but it wasn't hard enough. We ate well today...but not well enough. It's human nature to always strive for more...but just because it is in our natures, it doesn't mean that we don't take it to ridiculous extremes sometimes.

The results of this experiment?
Fix your perception of yourself if you want to regain your motivation!!
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    2242 days ago
    What a great way to put things into perspective! I think I'll try that! Great blog. emoticon
    2533 days ago
    Oh yes ....totally relate. Especially when since dDecember I've only been losing about 1kg a month....This week I was thinking 22kg...that's not much...hardly know the drill. BUt you are so right...50lbs is a a LOT of weight and I ought to continue to be proud....not let the stagnation drain me.

    69lbs is excellent. Good for you....that really IS a lot of excess weight that you have shed so amazingly....such dedication. Don't flag now. Keep up the great work that you have done so well.
    2534 days ago
    Congratulations on your loss - be very proud! I love the visual and physical examples to drive things home - don't ever under- estimate what you have accomplished. I have lost "only" 43 pounds at this point and is just a drop in the bucket from the more than 200 pounds that I need to lose but you know what? I have lost 172 sticks of butter!
    2543 days ago
    Enjoyed your blog and your message! Congrats on your weight loss to date! Remember, one day at a time!
    2545 days ago
    So true!! You're doing great BTW - 69 lbs down!!! Awesome!! I've lost 130 and ideally, still have 80 to go, but I don't think I'll ever get there - at most, maybe 55-60 and quite frankly, looking t blogs from others on SP who are around 170...I'm wondering if I'll ever go below that #.
    2546 days ago

    Comment edited on: 3/1/2012 12:12:41 AM
    That is a neat idea to remind you of how far you have come!... Great idea! Will have to remember that one! emoticon
    2546 days ago
  • no profile photo WHATMEDO
    I needed this to help keep me going! You are doing a great job...
    2547 days ago
  • TRESA7
    Terrific experiment! I've heard people suggest carrying around extra weight BEFORE losing it, just to see what that extra 10 - 30 pounds feels like. When you do it AFTER you've lost weight, it shows you just how much difference there really is between now and your starting point!!

    You should be proud of yourself EVERY day! Losing 69 pounds is a VERY big deal. Don't think of it as "I'm only half way to what I want to weigh." Think something more along the lines of, "Go me! I've lost over 6 pounds per month!!"

    2549 days ago
  • EMKO0916
    Definitely something we all needed to read. Thanks for sharing and congrats on your success!
    2550 days ago
    This is a great blog. Thank you so much for putting it all in perspective. I may not have lost any weight in a week and a half, but I'm still 7 lbs lighter than I was 5 weeks ago, and that is GREAT.
    2550 days ago
    Thank you! I don't feel so weird now. Tuesday at work I took a 12 pound bag of flour out of the kitchen and handed it to each of my co-workers and said this is how much weight I've lost since I started Spark People. Then I carried it around for just a few minutes and I felt it. I love your idea! I will do what you did at home now too. Just a mental nudge to remind us of what we left behind. You're awesome! I've only been on spark for 3 weeks. Look forward to more of your blogs.
    2550 days ago

    Comment edited on: 2/25/2012 11:05:33 AM
    motivation is always welcome. thanks
    2551 days ago
    Thank you for your story today. I needed a blog like this to read this morning. I am feeling exactly like this today. I've lost a little but not nearly enough and I feel like it's not coming off fast enough. You have made me stop and really think about what weight I have taken off so far. Thank you!
    2551 days ago
    Awesome idea! Way to bring it home!
    2551 days ago
    Very cool idea! Congrats on most popular post! grinning from ear to ear!!!!! ;-)
    2551 days ago
  • ELSCO55
    Thanks, I needed the motivation.
    2551 days ago
    This is wonderful and I have a back pack that is just waiting for me to throw 60 pounds in it and do some light housework and see where I was and where I am now.

    emoticon every so much and CONGA RATS emoticon on your amazing weight loss so far.
    2551 days ago
    Congratulations on the weight of a 4-year-old toddler loss! That's amazing and so are you. Keep going - the pounds and the stress will come off with your determination!

    2551 days ago
    emoticon I needed this motivation.
    2551 days ago
    Thanks, I needed that! I have heard people say, "I wish you enough" and I completely get it. Everything that I do, is never enough for me. I need to be nicer to me!
    2551 days ago
    This was a great post Jess, I shared it with several people you should be excited! You deserve are an inspiration to us all!

    2551 days ago
  • SHIRE33
    Great idea!

    Every so often at the gym I'll pick up one of the huge dumbbells they have on racks. Well, I'm getting to the point where I DON'T really pick one up, but just test it. The dumbbells range from 5 pounds to 120 pounds. I lifted a 40-pound one when I had lost 40 pounds. Amazing! Now that I've lost over 60, it's getting harder. There is actually one that weights 105, which is what I will have lost when I'm done. I can't even BUDGE that thing. And there I was, carrying it around 24/7.

    You're right. It's just amazing, and such a motivator.
    2551 days ago
    Oh god can I relate to this
    I always feel that way, I did it but not enough or well enough!

    2551 days ago
  • MYRAL85
    I am going to tuck this little nugget into the back of my head for later when I've lost more, but am not at the halfway mark. I know I'll need it. Thank you!!!
    2551 days ago
    I also am one of those who lost, then gained back the weight due to health problems. Now I have to lose it all over again. I feel like ... I did this already! Why do I have to do it again? I felt so much better 40 lbs. lighter, at least that is how I remember it. It is supposed to be a lifestyle change that you do forever, not just till you "lose the excess weight." So what you are doing now IS what you are going to have to do forever. A daunting thought! Keep up the good work, 6-7 lbs. a months is great!
    2551 days ago
    emoticon experiement!
    2551 days ago
    Just what I needed to be reminded of today.....thanks for the eye opener!
    2551 days ago
  • ODDIPA78
    Thank you for sharing this! I've been stuck in a rut lately, feeling like the journey is too long, and I'm too slow... Just reading that other people feel the same way helps. Congratulations on losing 69 pounds--that is a huge, HUGE accomplishment and you are a Spark rockstar!!!! :o)
    2551 days ago
  • BANDMOM2012
    Eye opener - Thank you!
    2551 days ago
    That was well said & something that I needed to hear. Thanks!
    2551 days ago
    Great idea! emoticon for sharing!
    2552 days ago
    Thank you so much for sharing. Sometimes we can't see the forest through the trees!!
    2552 days ago
    Thanks for turning on the emoticon in my head! I was just doing some self-pity whining about my mediocre workout this morning because I was lacking energy and I happened across this blog. What a great way to add intensity to routine daily chores. I have a weighted vest that I'm going to put on and just wear as I move through my day. I work from home, so I won't be looking foolish in public! It may not be a workout, but it will certainly burn a few extra calories without taking up any extra time.
    2552 days ago
  • DONNA088
    Great experiment! Congratulations on your weight loss!
    2552 days ago
  • MOIRA48
    This is great!

    I lost 55 pounds years ago but put it back on after some life-changing events. I do remember how much better felt back then after having lost the weight. (I had almost forgotten before reading your blog.) emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2552 days ago
    Lovely advice, thanks!!!!
    2552 days ago
    thanks for sharing!

    2552 days ago
    thanks for sharing emoticon
    2552 days ago
    I often tried to imagine how much weight I was carrying around by using real-world analogues. In my case the following comparisons applied: A whole extra person, a set of tires(including a spare), a newborn giraffe, three bags of horse food or four 5-gallon water jugs. Yeah, get a 130 pound person to ride piggyback all day, up and down stairs and it becomes crystal clear why I get so flipping tired and sore while the knees and hips are ground down.
    The reverse is also true, as you have said...that realising just how far you have already come is a great motivator and source of hope.
    Thanks for posting!
    2552 days ago

    Comment edited on: 2/24/2012 1:17:27 AM
  • REBECCA180
    I did that with 30lb weights once. (well not housework) I was a little shocked at how heavy 30lbs was. Yah, no wonder my knees hurt.
    This whole trip can really play on your head, in a tricky and ultimately good way.
    I remember once having a bad weekend, food wise and I was sure I gained ALL my weight back. So weird.
    2552 days ago
    Thank you for this blog entry. :)
    2552 days ago
    That is a great idea and just think how many more calories you are burning while toting that extra pounds around.
    2552 days ago
    This is a fantastic blog! And what a great experiment...something to keep in mind when we don't feel like we've done "enough"! Thanks for sharing!!!
    2552 days ago
    I've done that before with a backpack. It's amazing, isn't it?
    2552 days ago
    Great idea! I've lost over 90 (102 last june) with at least 30 more to go and I get mad because I'm stuck (tried everything except going to doctor). I'm going to get a vest w/weights to show myself how far I've come. My 12yo weighs 90ish pounds!
    2552 days ago
    Wonderful experiment, great blog! Thanks for sharing and keep up the great work. I remember someone mentioned that we don't become overweight overnight and shouldn't expect to lose the weight overnight.

    2552 days ago

    Comment edited on: 2/23/2012 8:55:09 PM
    I loved this blog! I really appreciate how you shared that carrying your daughter and later carrying extra weight in your pockets with dumbbells changed your perspective. What a good way to remind yourself of how far you've come. I'm going to keep this in mind and try it myself!
    Congratulations on your success in loosing 69. I'm pulling for you in losing the next 80!
    2552 days ago
    You have done a fantastic job! Don't think about the big number, just concentrate on 1 pound at a time:)
    2552 days ago
    Loved this. Mine is only 30 so far, but so much farther to go so I really can relate. Thank you so much for sharing!
    2552 days ago
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    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.

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