Motivating yourself isn’t the easiest thing in the world. Even the most confident among us sometimes need a little help, a little push. This goes for everything, not just weight loss. It goes for the athletes, the recovering addicts, the student – those essay won’t write themselves, you know! – and just about every walk of life out there. Without motivation we fall into a lazy lump and often refuse to get out and do anything.
I often need to give myself a reason to get out of bed, especially in winter when there’s a temperature difference between my snugly, warm bed and the real world. I remember when I was a kid I’d remind myself of at least one fun subject at school that day – “Oh it’s Friday, that means library time after recess!” or “Oooh, Thursday, history class!” – which would be enough to get me out of bed before my poor mother had to come and drag me out again. Nowadays it’s not that easy, but I still get out of bed, motivation or no, because well, I believe in getting in to work. It’s an ethics thing. Mind you, I will get out of bed if it’s baking day – Wednesdays – because baking is one of the most relaxing things I do now. Other days, I don’t need to psyche myself into anything, I’m just so ‘up’ that it all just happens! Like today, I thought today was going to suck, but I feel great, I’m doing things, I’m keeping up with the dishes at the Cafe and I’m not having to work at being friendly to my customers – it’s just happening.
Days like this are awesome and I find that they come when I’m settling into a proper ketosis. The brain fog has lifted and I’m thinking clear as a bell, I’m feeling more active and there’s no need to push. Sure, I’m tired – I’ve been working all week – but it’s a tired I can deal with because I’m happy.
What do we do on days when we’re not feeling up to anything? Days when it all just seems too much and the diet can go #$%@ itself? I had one of those last week. I’d just had it. It wasn’t anyone’s fault, I just didn’t want to be doing this anymore: I wanted to be at the weight I need to be and just be done with it. I wanted to eat that damned piece of bread sitting on the table, and I wanted to stuff my face full of chocolate without bothering to keep track of it. Above all, I wanted a real coffee, with real milk. But no, I couldn’t do that. It was a day where everything I put in my mouth was not what I wanted. I was depressingly sick of eggs, and even the organic smoked ham we get for the Cafe wasn’t at all enticing. I wanted to eat cake, and cookies, and drink a creamy glass of the Jersey milk we have at the Cafe.
But I didn’t.
It takes some serious willpower to not give into days like that, and there have been days when I have just thrown it all in the air and gone for broke. Some days there’s a good reason for it, most of the time there’s not. That last one was a doozy, but I survived it with minimal damage.
“But…how?” you ask, desperately stuck in the same problem, “I really want to give in and just eat whatever I want! It’s not fair!”
Honestly? I took a break. I went to the bathroom, washed my face and glared at my grumpy self in the mirror. We had a serious discussion, my reflection and I that went something like this:
“I want the damned cake we just baked. It’s fruity and chocolatey, and we’ve got our period. Can’t we cheat just a little today?”
“We can’t, because if we do we’re going to cheat more and more and more.”
“So? We’ve been doing this since November. That’s too long!”
“We’re making such awesome progress though! Just look at yourself! Seriously, three months ago, did you have this gorgeous hour-glass shape that other women desperately want? NO! We worked really hard for that and we’re going to keep working hard at it until our arms are beautiful, and our hips sit right. We’re also going to keep working at it until our thighs slim down. We are going to spectacular and don’t you dare wreck it now!”
After this talking to, the grumpy reflection subsided somewhat and I was able to face the rest of the day without doing anything to sabotage my progress. Sometimes I find you’ve got to work yourself through the stage of weight loss, kind of like the stages of grief: first you feel loss, then denial, then anger, etc. It’s kind of like it is grief in a way: you’ve cut out something you’ve relied on for so long it’s a little bit like losing a loved one. Don’t fool yourself, though, it isn’t like losing a loved one. You’re regaining yourself! Keep that in mind.
My motivation comes from seeing the great affects from the lifestyle: every week there’s something new, something better. I take courage from people’s compliments, however small or large they are. I comfort myself with the knowledge that my husband can now pick me up without straining his back. And I find motivation in the fact that my sex life has improved. Oh yes, ladies and gents, your libido will sort itself out, you’ll be way more flexible, and your stamina will shock your partner. There’s nothing quite as motivating as sex.
Having now shocked your sensibilities – or not, and oh, dear I just remembered my parents read this…um. Hi parentals! – other things I use to motivate myself with are the promise of dark chocolate. I try to have one day when I can build in some 90% dark chocolate treat. No more than two or three squares because I really can’t stuff my face with it, but just enough of a treat that it makes me feel good. Extra special treat motivations include a single cheat meal a month of ice cream or frozen yoghurt. I know that it’s not strictly in line with the diet, but sometimes you’ve gotta lose the belt a little bit in order to keep going.
Motivation is a funny thing. We need it for a lot of things. Including keeping up the exercise regime – and for that I take another long look in the mirror. Those flabby arms I now have because I’ve lost the majority of my arm fat? Gotta work those weights to get rid of those! Do you want to look smashing or don’t you? Beauty is pain, people, beauty is pain. Okay, well, maybe not pain, but it’s certainly long-winded and hard-work. We’re here for the long haul, not just for right now, so let’s work towards that big picture, the light at the end of the tunnel: the body we’ve always dreamed of.