I have a ton of friends who are big time into fitness. They run, hike, participate in group cycling activities and plan many of their weekends around physical activity. I find they're easily motivated to stay fit and weave in physical activities into their life pretty easily!
But if some days they aren't able to work out, or if for some periods they can't be active because they're ill, they worry themselves sick. They feel guilty, uncomfortable and very anxious! Simply because their motivation to stay fit comes from a fear of what they will look like without physical activity. And since their self esteem so highly dependent on how they look, it becomes a natural motivation for them to stay active.
Unfortunately though, this kind of motivation never gets us what we really want - good health and happiness! (that's what I want and for the sake of this post we'll assume you want too)
Here's a little story from my life that explains what I mean:
When I was a vulnerable 14 year old I went to a dermatologist after having visited 4 others, to find a solution to my skin woes. I was majorly needy and impressionable and she was a brilliant brainwasher. The two factors resulted in an unending cycle of guilt and fear that was meant to keep me away from 'sinning'!
Yes, you heard me right.
If I didn't sin, my skin would heal and my acne would disappear. That was the premise on which we built the future health of my skin (and unknowingly my self-esteem!).
And so I stayed away from chocolates, never even turned around to look longingly at the pani puri corner and carried a water bottle to sip on even if I had to to the washroom (okay I am kidding, but you get the drift).
Every time I eyed the model who was also a client of my brainwasher dermatologist, I was reassured that I was in good hands. If she had skin that glowed then definitely I was in the right place.
And my skin did get better with all that restriction and it stayed better for a while!
And then slowly as I stopped going to her and got into a normal every day routine I realized that my acne was beginning to resurface. I panicked, made sure I didn't sin at all, drank all the water I could possibly gulp down in a day and STILL.......
My skin refused to heal. My acne refused to disappear. It wasn't a HUGE issue by most standards. But to me, it felt immense.
Fast forward 2 years and two more dermatologists, I managed to overcome my skin issue and find my peace. The costs of chemical treatments and steroids in my medication was something I was completely unaware of then, but that's a story for another day!
Years later I was still scared of pani puris, terrified and guilty of eating chocolate or cake and worried sick if I didn't drink enough water on a given day.
Looking back, I know that her focus on healing was probably right in going the natural way of healing my skin by looking at my nutrition and water intake, but her approach was totally ineffective.
By using negative reinforcement, shaming (you're sinning if you're eating wrong!) and using deprivation as a route to health, I was constantly stressed and conscious of myself. As a result of that my issue never resolved on a permanent basis.
I think the same thing applies to losing weight!
Take a look at this:
Dieting and other weight-loss efforts may unintentionally lead to weight gain and diminished health status, according to two researchers, including a UC Davis nutritionist, whose new study appears in the Jan. 24 issue of the Nutrition Journal, an online scientific journal.
Rather than focusing on weight loss, the researchers recommend that people focus on improving their health status. (Read More)
The only way you'll be able to have unending passionate motivation to work out, be fit and look great (in short all the lovely things you desire for yourself) is to work hard at actually feeling healthy. And once you've tasted that beautiful level of well-being, you will automatically be able to positively motivate yourself to sustain it!