"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced." - Vincent Van Gogh

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Step 1 - Motivation

Continuing on my "getting healthy" series, let's talk about ... motivation. Motivation is the energy that catapults you to your goal.

To make a significant change in one's life, a person must desire to do so. How many of us don't hear our friends or ourselves say, "I really need to eat right" or "I really should get to the gym" or "I need to change 'this' about myself"? It happens all the time but usually we give more lip service to it and we never take action.

Years ago when I was lying in bed for days and months on end I was willing to do ANYTHING to get healthy. I was in my late 20's, early 30's and I did not want to waste my life languishing in bed. I did pretty much anything anyone would tell me to do to get better from sucking on nasty vitamins, to eating "yucky" foods that I never ate before to doing things that I won't even tell you about because it would just be too graphic. I drove 60 miles to go to doctors that had unconventional treatment. I spent hours with IV's in my arm pumping in Vitamin C and an Hydrogen Peroxide while my veins blew.

My initial decision to eat right was for my health. Because I left no stone unturned this was the next natural course. I ate nothing that wasn't organic or didn't come from the health food store. I read labels and had myself tested for food intolerances. I even put myself on a rotation diet. The result was huge weight loss but the GOAL was health. I wanted healthy because I was young and wanted children and I BELIEVED that this would get me to my goal --- and it did!

For years, if I put on a little weight, I would go right back to that way of eating because I still BELIEVED in the goal and the method. I was MOTIVATED to be healthy for my young girls. I wanted it worse than I wanted a hot fudge sundae.

As the years went on my motivation started to wane because I regained more health. I could eat things that weren't good for me without seeing an immediate health decrease. When I had my cholesterol checked a few years ago and it was way too high, I thought that might motivate me to change my eating habits - but it didn't because it was rather intangible. What I mean is that it was easy to forget about and put on the back burner. Once in a while I'd get a panicky feeling that I was heading for a heart attack but I'd talk myself out of it and go right back to my old habits. At this point many people start taking medication to lower their cholesterol or blood pressure but I steer clear of medication in as much as is possible for I don't want to experience the long term health consequences of that either. If my health issue can be improved by diet, then I'm determined to do it, however since I wasn't addressing my diet, I just avoided going to the doctor and having my blood drawn (yes, it's true).

Being heavy wasn't enough motivation either. I'd just put on stretchy clothing and go on with my day. After all, I am still the SAME person I was then, just sporting a few extra pounds as is most of the rest of america. We are the fattest nation in the country! We might be the first generation of people that die before their parents. Our children are getting heavy at an alarming rate and type 2 diabetes is prevalent. We hear these statistics on the news all the time, and yet still very few people do anything to change this either personally, or in the schools. Knowing all this still doesn't provide enough MOTIVATION.

Many people who have heart attacks change their eating for a time and then go back to old habits. For some it sticks, for others it doesn't. We all know smoking causes cancer and yet people still smoke. Nurses are the worst, smoking on their work breaks! Why do we do this? What does it take to motivate us? What does it take to motivate you?

My little black dress was just a part of my motivation. It was the beginning step. We all need one beginning step and then we have to work up more motivation from there. One day, one step and then work it. That's my formula.

Working it is like climbing up rungs of a ladder. Each rung gets you higher on your motivation level. Start on the bottom rung and then look for another rung that you can reach for that will get you closer to your goal. If you stay on the same rung, it's too easy to go back to old habits. You have to keep yourself motivated by building your conviction. You must focus on your goal and train your body and mind to support you in the race. Most of us aren't born with sheer grit and determination, we have to build it into our character. This goes for every area of our lives, not just weight loss.

To be successful at changing your diet, your relationship with food has to change. Food has to be thought of as fuel for the body and not as your soul source of enjoyment or as your friend when others let you down.

If any of you have decided to join me on this new way of life I'm going to be sharing some of the resources that are helping me get to my goal. Everyone is different and what helps me might not help you. You can adapt it to your needs and life or find an alternative route, whatever suits you.

Okay, are you ready for tip number one..... Permanent weight loss with self-hypnosis. Here's a course that you can take and pay what you can. Their suggested payment is $25 but they will allow you to pay as little as $1 to take this course. This is an internet eight week course. Every day I listen to their 20 minute recording that leads me through a relaxation activity and then helps me reprogram my mind to healthy eating. For the skeptics out there.. it's not magic, it's just readjusting your thinking and it really does work! What do you have to lose by trying it? Maybe a lot of weight!

Stay tuned tomorrow I will come back with another tip for weight loss. Until then, have a great Saturday!

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