Last time I mentioned that some of my friends had attempted to lose weight and failed because they did it for the wrong reasons. What are those reasons?
The difference between a good reason and a bad reason is your motivation. If your motivation to lose weight is “I want to look good in a wedding dress”, then you have some serious issues to sort out that have nothing to do with weight. A goal like that is superficial. It’s shallow. And once you get married, then what? Your goal doesn’t extend beyond fitting into that one dress on that one day. And who says you won’t look good in the dress at your current weight? Is there some new law that I missed that states that only skinny women are beautiful in their wedding dress?
But if your motivation stems from a deeper, more meaningful place, then you have a much better chance at succeeding. If your motivation is to get healthier (not just skinnier, which is not the same thing) then you have everything you need to do well.
Of course, I’m not an expert. I’m a blogger. Don’t take advice from blogs as being the end-all-be-all authority on any subject. But this is what I have come to understand from personal observation and from doing a bit of my own reading on the subject.
- “I want to lose weight so I can fit into this or that piece of clothing.” This is bad on so many levels. First, choosing a subjective piece of clothing to measure your weight loss is a bad idea. Not all clothing is made the same size, even if the label says it is. A small shirt from one brand may be a medium in another. You’re setting yourself up for disappointment, which is the bane of weight loss. Second, you have set no goals beyond fitting into that shirt/skirt/dress/potato sack. What happens after? Set goals that keep you moving forward, not goals that stop you in your tracks.
- “I want to lose weight so I look good for such and such an event.” This is a bad idea. Losing weight in order to feel comfortable at an event with your peers says a lot about your self esteem. Work on that first, not your weight.
- “I want to lose weight so that I can wear a bikini this summer.” Ugh. Really? And what about after this summer? Are you going to gain all that weight back? A bikini is not a magical piece of swimwear that only the thin can wear. Wear it anyway. Learn to love your body even if it doesn’t look like it should be on the cover of Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit edition.
- “I want to lose weight so that my husband/wife will find me sexy again.” Woah. Woah. If your husband/wife finds your weight off-putting, then you have some marital issues that you need to work on. Don’t ever change yourself to please your spouse.
- “My doctor said I should lose weight, so I probably should.” Losing weight needs to be a personal journey that you undertake for yourself. Doctors are good sources of information when it comes to the how-to of weight loss, but no so much when it comes to the why. Yes, being overweight comes with certain health risks. And yes, losing weight can help to combat those issues. But if your sole purpose is to get your doctor off your back, then your weight loss is going to reverse its self as soon as he or she stops nagging you.
- “I want to lose weight because I want to be healthier for myself.” This is an excellent reason to lose weight. Do it for you and not for anyone else. Do it because it makes you feel good. Do it because your goal is to be healthier, not skinnier. Do it because you want to.
Why is there only one good reason? Because no matter how you reword it, it always comes out the same: “I want to lose weight for me.”
Your motivation should come from within. When you fall off the healthy-living bandwagon (and you will, but that’s okay, because everyone does and you can fix it) you have the ability to motivate yourself to jump back on. You and no one else. You don’t need the support, approval, or validation of anyone else.
If you start your journey with a deeply personal motivation, you will be surprised what happens along the way. Suddenly you fit into clothing you couldn’t before (and you look good in it too). Suddenly that bikini you always thought would make you look like a sausage escaping its casing looks damn fine when you put it on. Suddenly, you feel better about yourself, which in turn keeps you motivated to lose more weight, which makes you feel even better, which helps you stay motivated, which…
You get the idea. Do it for you, and everything else will fall into place.