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What Motivates Me... Yes, it is Vanity

Posted Nov 17 2012 1:10am
At my Weight Watchers meeting on Friday morning we talked about motivation... what keeps us moving toward our weight loss goals... what keeps us maintaining our healthy weight once we get there?

I don't think that any one of us was surprised to learn that VANITY was the main motivator... and HEALTH was the second.

And we also talked about 'aha moments'  - when did we realize that we needed to so something about our weight?

So taking these ideas and this discussion one step further... into the FITNESS ZONE...  what motivates you to to keep working out?  What was your 'aha moment'  to kick you into getting your butt into a better place?

I was a chubby kid, active enough, but never the first one to get picked for the softball team, if you get my meaning. I loved to be outside playing ball or tag, skating in the winter, splashing around the pool in the summer.  But I had no skills; I was not very coordinated, and definitely not athletic. I was the bookworm, the SMART one, and I was okay with that.  Outwardly at least... very confident in my mental and verbal abilities with no confidence at all in my body or my physical abilities.

Fast forward a few decades and I found myself in the same place.  I recall seeing pictures of myself after family outings and was quite disgusted!

I read a book about JOGGING (jimminy how I hate that word!) and started doing rounds of the nearby schoolyard with our dog.  She loved it.  I hacked and coughed, still a smoker, but stayed with it. I  joined Weight Watchers, and over the next several years I lost and regained some weight... I turned our basement into a home gym and had a library of workout video tapes and really worked hard at learning what I could to whip myself into decent shape.

I joined the multitudes of the 'low fat' brainwashed.... and dieted with Scarsdale, Atkins, Susan Powter, and Dr Pritikin.  When I think back now of what I put my body through, I am amazed that I have survived it all!  But I grew some pretty awesome arms and shoulders and my butt almost disappeared.

So, here I am, all this time later, at a relatively low body weight and body mass and low body fat ratio for my height, and finding myself still not quite content.  I am about as thin as I have ever been.  But I need some mass. MUSCLE MASS.  And I am working hard to get it.

I keep reading, and I keep learning.

I recently read in Abs For Women, that during cardio exercise our bodies burn lots of calories while we are doing it, but not many extra after we stop, while resistance/strength training doesn't make us burn a whole lot while we are doing it, but it causes us to KEEP burning calories afterward to repair the muscles that we challenged during the workout.  The 'after-burn' it is called.  It has given me a whole new respect for strength training.

I also have learned that I need time between my hard workouts to let my muscles repair and that is when they grow and get stronger.  Aha, rest is good.

I have also learned that while losing weight we not only lose fat, we lose also lose muscle.  And we lose muscle as we age.  I need to build muscle. 

That is my new mantra. I NEED TO BUILD MUSCLE.... and guess what? I find that I LOVE TO BUILD MUSCLE.  I really enjoy my workouts.  And I love the way I feel when my muscles are working hard and getting fatigued.  And I love the way they feel weak like jelly when I am done and I love stretching them after I am done.  Stretching feels so good.

Cripes, I wish I had discovered this joy this a hundred years ago!  But better now than never.

I have been working my shoulders, back and arms HARD consistently for the past few weeks.  And I am seeing really startling results.  Happy, happy results.  The looseness in the skin on my biceps is disappearing with growing muscle and my triceps are firm and strong and my delts and shoulder caps are looking pretty good to me.  I almost have the arms I did when I was 25 and I am so excited about it.

And my core is not only getting and feeling stronger, it is LOOKING sleeker and stronger.

So if you ask me what is my motivation, I am definitely on the VANITY bandwagon.

I see pictures of people like Ernestine Shepherd, at age 77, who is a world class body builder....

and Tosca Reno at 53 still on stage competing...

And I have to admit, I am in awe!

And they inspire me to work a bit harder and to eat a bit cleaner, to see if I can't get a bit better myself.  I love the ideas of getting better and stronger with age!

At the Weight Watchers meeting, we talked about whether or not writing down our goals would help us reach them.  The leader encouraged us to make lists and to update them regularly as we are inspired by new motivations and seek new goals.

And we also talked about keeping these lists as a way of tracking our own journey - to help us move forward as we look back on our successes. 

I think over the weekend I am going to work on a new Pinterest Board... all about my body/fitness goals and motivators.

What motivates you? 

Do you write down your goals?  Or keep a Vision Board? 

If you have a Fitness Board on Pinterest, I would love to follow it.

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