MONDAY MOTIVATION - The Motivation of Gaining Health
Posted May 15 2012 12:23am
I'm having a GREAT day! Hope it's great for all of you as well.
A few weeks ago, I became a Health Coach for a wonderful company that has helped me to lose 48 pounds and 48 inches in the last 14.5 weeks. Not only do I look WAY different, I FEEL wonderful!
Three and a half years ago, when I was diagnosed with cancer, and started treatments, I never thought I'd feel good again. In January, I felt like I was twice my age - it's been 3 years since I finished chemo, and I still felt awful - no energy, lots of fatigue, aching joints, etc. I knew my weight was out of control, too.
(This is me in January of this year, on the left - YIKES! I started this healthy eating program, and here I am, on the right, after about 13 weeks)
I did every single thing I could to get rid of my breast cancer - I had all of the treatments my doctor lined up for me. And now, I feel like I've taken the final step to regaining my health. And, if my cancer ever comes back, it isn't going to be because I'm not healthy.
So, earlier today, I was reading in the Habits of Health book that I got with the program I'm on, and something I read really made a lot of sense to me Most changes we try to adopt (like dieting) are based on solving a problem or trying to get rid of an unwanted situation. This type of motivation almost never leads to lasting changes. You make changes at first, but later you fall back into your old ways of behavior. So, for instance: think about your health problems... you might hate the way you look or feel, and your natural response is to feel terrible about it. In order to end that feeling, you take actions that make you feel better - you go on a diet, or you exercise. But those actions aren't motivated by what you want (just by what you don't want), so they lead you into a predictable cycle... you act, and then because you've acted, you feel better - even if the situation hasn't changed much. Feeling better takes the pressure off, lessening the bad feelings. Less emotional conflict means there's less reason to continue doing the things that reduced the conflict in the first place. Since you feel better, you no longer feel a pressing need to follow through on your actions. And the original behavior returns. That's what we call a "yo-yo pattern". Conflict-driven motivation in one of the major reasons people yo-yo. So, we need to change the way we're motivated...
We need to motivate ourselves by focusing on what we want - not what we don't want! This is the difference between a problem-oriented motivation and an outcome-oriented motivation. Changing our emphasis from what we're against to what we're for has a dramatic impact.
I found this fascinating. If I'm understanding this right - what I need to do is change my motivation from thinking that I don't want to be unhealthy, to thinking that I want optimal health. Instead of trying to lose weight, I need to focus on gaining health! I love this idea! If I focus on losing weight, then at some point, I'll lose all the weight, and then what? Most likely I'll stop doing what I'm supposed to do, because I've reached that goal. But, if I focus on gaining health - well, that never ends. It's a life-long pursuit. And that means, I'll be working constantly on that. No more yo-yoing!
On the front of the Habits of Health book, it says "The path to permanent weight control and optimal health". I'm now well on my way down that path, and I've got the goal of optimal health in mind. It makes me happy just to think about where I'll be in 2 months, in 6 months, in a year - or even 2 or 5 years.
I've learned in just a short time that it is possible to overcome cancer - completely. And even to feel better than ever - I've taken that final step, and I feel amazing!
I just went through a box of clothes that I've kept stashed downstairs - these are my favorite clothes, but I haven't been able to wear any of them for years! I got into every one of them. My son took my picture in a few items...