Thursday, 23 January 2014

Motivation - Keepin' it Real!

Quite regularly on MFP (MyFitnessPal) you come across people who seem to be failing in their motivation and convinced the world is over because they have fallen off the bandwagon or haven't lost as much weight as they'd expected. I usually tend to reply along the lines of below, but felt it would be useful to set my answer out in more detail.

Images courtesy of stockimages /

Be Honest

Are you really logging everything that you eat and if you are, do you use scales to make sure your food weights are accurate?
Are you forgetting to account for any exercise, or perhaps you have based your total calorie intake on too high an activity level?
The simplified magic formula goes something along the lines of:
Cals consumed < Cals expended (over an extended period of time) = Weight loss. Simples!

Your body knows if you aren't being honest with yourself, so who are you trying to kid? No-one else is accountable for you body other than you, so therefore there's no need to justify or make excuses to (or for) anyone else.

Are you scrupulous in your logging but the scales still haven't moved the right way?

The scales lie!

Okay, well maybe they don't lie, but your weight fluctuates throughout the day, week and particularly if you are female, month, so perhaps expecting a constant loss is unrealistic? Go easy on yourself - so long as the overall trend is in the right direction, does it matter? If you are likely to get disheartened by seeing occasional weight gains, perhaps reduce your weigh-ins to monthly ones so you only see the wider picture?

At the end of the day, weight is only one way of tracking progress and on many occasions, comparing your measurements can show results even if the scales don't. Do your clothes fit better - perhaps a bit looser? Do you have a more defined chin or waistline? Do you feel fitter or have more energy? If so, those are all 'wins' too. Exercise such as weight training, can have a bigger impact on inches than on the scales so remember to take that into account!

Much though you hate them, progress photos can be an invaluable comparison tool when you feel like you're getting nowhere (I deliberately didn't take any when I started my health journey, and really regret it now). No-one else has to see them but you, and the sense of achievement when you compare your initial pictures to your most recent, can be immense.

What is a diet anyway?

Literally speaking, a diet is 'the kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats.' We have just come to associate the word with restricting or otherwise modifying our food intake to achieve a specific goal - most commonly to lose weight, and if that goal isn't achieved then the so-called 'diet' or you, in your inability to stick to it, are a failure.

Instead, try thinking about changing what you eat and how you exercise as a positive mindset and/or lifestyle change. Rather than focusing on a fixed number, break your target into smaller goals that you are more likely to achieve and feel smug when you DO suceed.

Be SMART - are your goals realistic?

I hate using business jargon, but this really does illustrate a point. Your personal mini-goals should be:


Whilst telling yourself that you will lose 14lbs in a month may be specfic, measurable, achievable and time-related, if you are likely to become so miserable sticking to your plan that you do not enjoy it let alone stick to it, it is unrealistic. Instead, perhaps setting yourself a goal to lose 1lb per week or 4lb over a month means that as you are able to consume more calories, you can eat more of what you enjoy and are therefore more likely to stick at it.

My personal mini-goals for 2014 are listed here, and you can see they are not at all weight-related. Rather they are a set of goals that will be challenging yet achievable for me (with some work on my part).

Ultimately, there IS no magic shake, pill or anything else that will make a person lose weight in a healthy way - it all comes down to wider lifestyle changes and only you have the power to make them.

“If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always gotten.” - Anthony Robbins

How do you stay motivated?

Today's Workout:
Rowing (moderate, 30 spm) = 7 minutes
Cycling (Level 5-9, 85-90 rpm) = 20 minutes
Walking (brisk, 3.8 mph) = 8 minutes
Running (slow, 5.0 mph) = 10 minutes

Shoes: New Balance WR00

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