Back in February I had my annual appointment with my physician. This appointment ended with “your cholesterol is too high and you’re almost-but-not-quite obese.” The verdict? Stop eating sugar. Remove 200 calories from your diet and/or exercise enough to burn 200 calories. I’ll see you in six months to check your progress.
Well, here’s how this went. After a day of contemplating her plan, I decided to try the no sugar thing. That lasted about a week, which is technically how long we had talked about me trying it for. Right about this time my place of employment was gearing up for Move & Improve 2014. M&I, for those who don’t know, is a 12-Week program meant to motivate participants to exercise and improve their overall health.
Well, it did certainly motivate me. Much like having a workout buddy, knowing that I had a spreadsheet to answer to really helped keep me on track. I completed the mandatory 8 of 12 weeks of my goal to be entered into the random prize drawing. For me, this meant 30 minutes a day for 5 days a week.
I gotta tell you, this is the most exercise I’ve done in years. The best part? I was kind of enjoying it, and I can honestly say I felt better. Climbing my basement stairs got easier. I felt healthier and happier and I slept much better at night. Just before the end of the 12-Week program, I had lost five pounds: half of what my doctor expected me to lose in six months. And all this without much conscious change to my diet! Actually, I found myself eating (and craving) less, but still had my treat/dessert each night (because deprivation is the fastest way to ending a healthy lifestyle change, IMO).
Now it’s been three weeks since the M&I program ended and I have done a single (yes, one) day of exercise, my weight is creeping back up, and I feel like I’m eating junk food by the boatload. My biggest fear occurred; I fell off the wagon. As soon as my “accountability” disappeared, my motivation fluttered away.
Here’s my problem. Most nights I come home and the “I should exercise” thought crosses my mind. Then that thought leaves my mind to be replaced by every possible other thing I could be doing.
Between that and my extreme love of sweet things and pastries, I have often found it difficult to lose weight. A couple years back I successfully tried Weight Watchers for three months, losing over 20 pounds. I then stagnated, neither gaining or losing, and decided WW was no longer worth the monthly subscription fee. I gained the weight back within 6-8 months.
I tend not to berate myself too much for these lapses. I don’t make excuses. I like food, plain and simple. If I’m happy, what difference does it make?
Therein may lie the problem. While I’m not making excuses, I am deciding my behavior is normal and therefore perfectly acceptable, rather than continuing the push for a healthier lifestyle.
Thus, the question remains: how does one continually motivate oneself? Without gimmicks and tricks and playing the shame game, of course.