---- — Usually, the first question that people ask someone who has lost weight is, “How did you do it?”
What they really want to know is whether you have discovered a new and pain-free way to getting trim and fit. Was it a pill? A special diet? Or how about a new type of surgery?
Often, when they find out that the key to success was clean eating and exercise, they are disappointed and say to themselves dejectedly, “That will never be me, I could never do that.”
And I ask, why not? Why is it that so many of us resign to a less than optimal lifestyle? And, more importantly, what is it that motivates the people who have succeeded in undergoing such a lifestyle transformation?
When I ask my clients who have been successful in attaining their fitness and lifestyle goals what motivated them to take the plunge and make the changes necessary to live their lives to the fullest, they will often describe a gradual internal shift that expanded their sense of possibility in themselves.
Wouldn’t it be great if we could “just do it,” as Nike proclaims? Understanding what motivates people to get fit and lose weight often times precludes the “just do it” mentality. People are motivated by all kinds of things: looking more attractive, fitting in their wedding dresses, impressing their peers, proving to their families that they have the willpower to succeed, etc.
What do all these things have in common? These are all extrinsic or external motivators, which affect how other people perceive us. And guess what? These external motivators are much less likely to stick because it is not enough to make the shift for someone else — we need to want it for ourselves.
Intrinsic or internal motivators are driven by our desire to live more in line with our own values, the essential nature of who we are. I continually ask my clients about their own personal vision — what it is that drives them on a daily basis. Everyone has a unique plan, and my job as a fitness coach is to help foster and encourage my clients’ dreams. I then get the pleasure of watching it unfold.
What about you? What is it that you want for yourself? How will your life be different when you are living your life more in line with your own values? How will you feel when you achieve your fitness and weight loss goals? Who are you with? What are you doing? What season is it? What are you wearing? The more you can fill in the blanks, the clearer the vision, and the closer you will be to living the life you deserve.
There is no magic bullet (yet) to getting fit and losing weight. However, spending a few moments to think of what will internally motivate you to embrace positive change will be worth its weight in gold. Make a small step today toward a more fit lifestyle. Share your hopes and dreams with someone who will support you on your journey, and, most importantly, enjoy the ride.
Make it a great day!
Kate McKay, an American Council on Exercise-certified personal trainer and business consultant, resides in Newburyport. For more fitness tips, visit her website at www.kate-mckay.com. Please feel free to submit any fitness and health questions to Kate at email@example.com.