Tuesday, 7 September 2010

"I want to but I can't"

Motivation is very important when you decide to live a healthier lifestyle, as in any decision you make in life.
If you're not a regular exerciser or someone with healthy eating habits, a lot of effort has to be made to start making the right steps towards this and also keeping it up.

A few people have told me that they want to lose weight but they just cannot find the motivation to do so. Someone said, "I know exactly what to do but I just can't find the motivation to do it." She knows what she needs to cut out of her diet, she knows she should start exercising but... she doesn't do it! I can totally relate to her because that's exactly where I was when I was overweight - I looked at myself in the mirror, saw pictures of myself and felt fat (which I was). I tried to eat healthy but after struggling for a couple of days, I would give up and return to my bad eating habits.

When I was overweight, there were many occasions when people told me I was fat and needed to lose weight. I got really irritated with people constantly telling me the same thing and usually got defensive saying I loved the way I looked.. I did *not*

In 2001, a pastor from our Church in Lagos came to visit my Mummy (in London) and the first thing he said to me was, "Ha Adura! You've bohgad up!". I honestly didn't understand what he meant so my response was an irritated, "What?". He proceeded to say, "You've eaten so many bohgas, you've bohgad up". That's when I realised what he meant... Burgers! Burgered (WTH!) up! That was his way off telling me I was bigger than I was before I left Lagos in 1998. I was sad that day but as always... I got over it.

I made the decision to lose weight when I made the decision. Yes people telling me I was fat was a factor but that wasn't enough to make do anything about it until I was ready.

If you think you lack the motivation to start living a healthier lifestyle, don't beat yourself up about it, don't feel you'll never lose weight... you will do it :) You're thinking about it already so you're going in the right direction :)

Things that helped me get and stay motivated include:
  1. Setting a Goal
    After I joined Weight Watchers, I was set an initial weight loss goal - 10% of my weight. I had more than that to lose but having a short term goal made it an attainable one.
    Set yourself realistic short term goals... Maybe a pair of jeans that can almost button up if you suck in your stomach ;-) Your goal - to be able to slide them on like a glove, button them up and be really comfortable. Then on to a size below :)
    Or you could try out what Weight Watchers did with me - 10% of your weight. e.g. if you weigh 90kg, your inital goal will be to lose 9kg. When you achieve your 1st goal, you set another short term goal.

  2. Success Stories
    I read a lot of articles about people who started out much bigger than I did, lost so much weight and were happy and healthy. Their before and after pictures were so inspiring. It helped that some of them were members of Weight Watchers so I believed I could do the same... and I did!
    I'm an example of a Success Story, and I'm sure you know people who have successfully lost weight. If you don't know anyone personally, you will find loads online. Keep reminding yourself, "If they did it, I can"... you will :)

  3. Focusing on the Benefits of Being Healthier
    I wasn't obese but I was big enough to suffer some side effects of being overweight. I had very irregular periods (my Dr diagnosed me with PCOS because of this, it was a false alarm), backache (I wasn't aware of this but I was self conscious about my size and the size of my breasts that I was hunching my shoulders forward to hide myself), my breathing was shallow and rapid (this I had no idea about until my Mummy pointed it out).
    Being healthy increases your life expectancy, reduces the risk of heart disease, cancer (in some cases), relieves stress, makes you happier and more comfortable in your own skin. There are a lot more benefits to exercise and healthy eating.

  4. Progress Tracking
    This really helped me - Weekly weigh ins at Weight Watchers were really motivating. Losing 3-5lbs per week was proof that my hard work was paying off!
    Keep a log of your progress - a blog is a great idea. I've read weight loss blogs and seen encouraging comments from readers, this gives the blogger even more motivation to keep going. Also start a food diary - this is more useful than you can imagine.

  5. Friends and Family
    I'll admit, at one point my Mummy complained that I was too skinny. This made me roll my eyes and laugh because my Mummy was the same person who told my sister to talk to me when I was overweight!! She was a beautiful and funny woman :) When my Mummy initially saw how much weight I'd lost since the last time she saw me at University, she was happy for me :) When friends saw me during my weight loss, I loved their reaction - they had nothing but good and encouraging things to say.
    If you have a friend who has similar goals to you, you can start your healthy journey together. If you don't, just keep working hard and enjoy the praise you'll get once you start to see results. This will spur you on, will make you keep working harder and you WILL reach your goal.
You can do it!


Vickii said...

Ha ha @ you've bohgad up! Sorry, I know it probably wasn't funny at the time but it's just funny because that's such a Nigerian thing to say!

You're tips are great and oh so useful! Definitely what works for me - especially hearing about other people's success stories and seeing before and after pictures!

Adura said...

Yep very Nigerian! It's very funny now but he's lucky my Mummy raised me to respect my elders...!

Yes I love seeing progress pictures :)