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What Motivates Me

Saturday, February 23, 2013

I've been thinking recently about what motivates me. What really moves me to do something. There's what motivates me to work, clean my house, things like that. I have to do those. There's nothing really telling me that I have to work out or eat right, though. Sure, I know that if I want to fit into my old clothes again I have to lose weight, and I know that to lose weight I have to eat right and exercise, but none of that really seems as pressing as paying bills or doing laundry. I don't know what it is exactly about this whole losing weight thing that just doesn't seem as important. I know that in actuality it IS more important. It's for my health, and my future. But something about it always makes it take a back seat to everything else. So I figured I'd analyze it, see what it is about getting healthy that isn't as motivating as doing homework or taking the garbage out.

Fitness is one of those ongoing things. It's a daily thing that you have to do. Like eating, or breathing. If you want to be fit, you have to do it daily. Consistency is important. I know I'm not a terribly consistent person. But I can do things consistently most of the time, if there's something that says that I need to (like going to work, or doing my homework) so I know being able to do something consistently isn't my problem.

Personal accountability is another thing that is really needed for fitness. You have to hold yourself accountable for your actions (or lack thereof). If I don't go to work, I could lose my job. If I don't do my homework, I get bad grades. If I don't clean the litter boxes, the cats start to use other things as their bathroom. All of these things have something else that holds me accountable for taking care of them. I'm not terribly accountable for taking care of myself. If I eat 2 dozen chicken wings, no one is going to force upon me any adverse consequences. The only adverse consequences I may see are from the numbers on the scale (or the tape measure, or the clothing tag). While that does give me some outside accountability, I've been dealing with increasing numbers in those areas for years now. It doesn't bother me all that much. I'm also really forgiving. No matter the change in those numbers, it's going to stop me from doing anything, so really it must not be that important, right?

Perhaps not..

And why, I ask myself, doesn't it bother me? Confidence. That's why. I have confidence in my appearance. Even with all my weight gain, I still have quite the pretty face (which I had to convince myself that I even did have in the first place over the course of several years). I know that when I dress up and go out, I still look very nice. I still get lots of compliments and I can still hold my husband's attention whenever I want. I've become okay with the fact that I'm over 240 pounds. I've become okay with the fact that I have to spend extra money to get a dress that fits me (this is partially due to the fact that I've always been tall, and spending extra money for things that fit right comes with the territory). I'm REALLY okay with the fact that my weight gain has added extra size to my bust line! There's not anything that I want to do that I can't, at this point. I can still climb stairs, go hiking, spend an evening dancing, reach high and low, sit or stand or lay however I want. I can tie my own shoes, strap myself into a corset, and still touch every square inch of my own back. My life is not effected by my current weight. I'm still quite the happy person despite my size. For most people who have been successful in their weight loss journeys, they have some life-changing moment when their daily activities are hampered by their weight, and they realize that their weight is what is making them unhappy, and then they make the change. My weight isn't making me unhappy.

So what motivates me? What could push me, move me to make the changes that I need in my life?

I love that when I'm feeling down, or having a bad week, day, or hour, I can pop onto SparkPeople and find tons of support from others also having bad weeks, days, or hours. I think that engaging in more here on SparkPeople has kept me with my tracking and my exercise. SparkPeople has become something fun for me now, earning SparkPoints, gaining levels, interacting with other people who share my struggle. It's kept me from quitting so far, which is a really important part of things. But I'm still spending almost every day over my calorie limit. I'm still not doing as well as I know I could with exercising, eating right, and monitoring my progress.

So, what on this Earth could motivate me? What can break my old habits so I can form new ones?

Thinking back to other times in my life when I made major changes there was some event, some catalyst, that pushed me into taking the direction that I took. The life-changing events that others have faced usually involve some traumatic life event (heart attack or the like), or something having to do with their children (not being able to play at the park with them, etc.). I don't have children, and I don't want to wait until I'm diagnosed with diabetes or something to change my life. What's more, the catalysts elsewhere in my past have never been so dramatic, and certainly had nothing to do with my health. And this isn't about my health, not yet. This is about my mind over my body.

(At this point I paused to re-read my analysis, and to ponder on what might work for me...)

After a moment of thought, these are my downfalls:
External forces and Accountability - Nothing on the outside is forcing me to do this, It's not effecting me majorly anyway, and I'm lazy, so why should I bother?
Confidence - I know I can lose weight. I've done it before. And I'm not really that unhappy with my body as it is. Sure, there are things that I'd like to change, but it's not going to have a major effect on my life. With no deadlines (except those set by me) and no accountability (except my own), I can really just lose weight whenever I want. I can do it any time. It's easy. I know how. and since I know how and I know I can do it, I don't have to do it now. Or today. Or next week. I can do it whenever I want.

My cure? Spite.

I'm a very spiteful person. Even from earlier in this post, it's evident ("No matter the change in those numbers, it's going to stop me from doing anything"). The last time I made a major change in my life, It was because my husband (then my boyfriend) said he though I couldn't do it. I have the confidence to do whatever I want. The problem is that right now, I don't have the give-a-damn. Everyone always says "You can do it!" "You're so pretty!" "You look great!" and my internal response is a casual "Yeah, I know." (I don't mean for that to sound arrogant at all. Usually when I get those compliments, I've put hours into making myself look nice, so I damn-well better look great!) What I need is someone to honestly say that they think I can't do it. Because you know what? Forget them! Not only am I positive that I can do it, I'll show them that I can do it! I'll prove it to them! And then won't they feel dumb! HAHAHAHAHA!

Except no one says that. And I'm pretty sure I've got too much confidence to say it to myself. I have to find a way to break this confidence problem in order to turn it into spite. I'm just not sure how...
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