What’s so hard about weight loss? There are about a hundred answers to that question, one of which is pizza.
But, step back and look at the big picture and it gets a little more psychological.
I know…that’s heavy, but just stick with me here and think about one question:
Do you value yourself?
I’m going to define this in my own terms. By value you yourself, what I mean is this:
- Do you take care of yourself because you’re worth it?
- Do you put yourself first so you can take care of everyone else around you?
- Have you stopped reading? Don’t bail on me now. I’m going somewhere with this
I’m thinking about this because I came across a couple of interesting things when I was researching an article.
First was a study that was trying to find out the predictors of successful, long-term weight loss. Now, in this study, they found that people who focused on internal motivators like self-efficacy, interest in what they were doing, and enjoyment of exercise had the most success at long-term weight management.
If you’re interested, this study was published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise and it’s called Exercise Motivation, Eating, and Body Image Variables as Predictors of Weight Control. I know. Easy bedtime reading.
Now the second thing I came across was sort of on the same subject of motivation.
In this study, researchers collected data from a group of women who continued to exercise after completing a structured exercise program. They found that the most important aspect of adherence wasn’t the type of exercise they did or how much weight they lost.
It was self-worth.
As the study authors suggested, “Women must value themselves enough to continue to participate in physical activity once they start.”
That was a study about women, but this applies to everyone, of course.
As I was thinking about these studies, I asked some of my clients and friends this: What’s the number one thing you need in order to exercise?
Here are the answers I got: Money (to hire a personal trainer, personal assistant, etc.), motivation, time, and, from one person, “A crane to haul me out of bed in the morning.”
When I told them about these studies and the fact that the real motivators were one’s ability to succeed as well as one’s self-value, I got some rolled eyes and, I’m pretty sure one of them flipped me a secret bird by rubbing her eye with that finger.
Yeah, I caught that.
Let’s Dig In
I don’t want to get all psychological here, but…well, okay, I kind of do. I think we all have different things that motivate us – External things like
- I want to look good
- I want to fit into those jeans
- I want this fugly cellulite to just go away
And those things can be really motivating.
But, they don’t have much staying power. Sure, the state of your cellulite may get you going today but, eventually, you’ll get busy with real-life issues.
Paying bills and figuring out your purpose in life and cleaning cat barf and, suddenly, the state of your cellulite is the least of your problems.
But internal motivators, now those have some stamina. Knowing that a workout is just going to make you feel good about yourself or that you’re going to get better at something or that you just want to do something healthy for yourself because you’re worth it…now, those are the long-term power sources you can draw on whenever your energy is waning.
That’s a lot to unpack, I know, but what you do with that information is actually very simple.
Here’s what I want you to do. I want you to take some time today, maybe like 10 or so minutes, and I want you to write down what you want for yourself. Think about how you feel, mentally and physically, and then think about how you want to feel. What’s missing and how do you get it?
How can you put yourself first? Because that’s really how you start to value yourself. You deserve a little time to figure out what you need, right?
Once you have a good list of what you need, pick just one thing and do it.
That’s how you really take care of yourself.