• Name Your Motivation

    Date: 2010.07.22 | Category: fitness, reflection | Tags: ,

    I read a lot of fitness magazines.  It’s kind of an addiction.  I love the motivation I get from them – from the tips to the success stories, I usually feel good when I’m done.  About every month, I read Shape, Self, Body + Soul, and Runners World.  Every now and then, I take a look at the women’s “muscle” magazines.  I know that women and muscle is still taboo – which is sad – but I think these magazines have a lot of great healthy living advice (and weight lifting workouts of course) too.

    Recently, I was poking around on the Self magazine website and found myself inspired by the Editor in Chief, Lucy Danziger.  I’ve been reading Self for a long time, but I don’t think the editor was always this ripped.  Well, anyway, she is now.  She’s training for an Ironman and in a video talks about how normally she works out for two hours a day.  Then, her editor’s letter in this month’s issue explained that I wasn’t imagining things.  She has lost 25 pounds, and was spurred into action by a realization when her father was hospitalized with a heart problem.  She realized that her father’s father had heart problems and was treated in that same hospital.  She realized that she did not want to be part of that family “legacy”. 

    One of the things she wrote that made me wonder was that it wasn’t about vanity; it couldn’t be.  It wasn’t a strong enough reason to kick off and stick to her health goals.   I found this interesting.  Vanity—looking better, is a popular reason to want to get fit.  They call it “getting in shape” not “getting in health,” right?  Tangible results (losing pounds, inches, feeling firmer) are also powerful motivators, but are they short-term in nature? 

    I don’t think I’m going to be able to answer those questions – the diet and fitness industry is a billion-dollar one for a reason – but it’s interesting to think about.  I, for one, find vanity to be motivating, and for tangible results to be hugely motivating.  I also find eating cupcakes motivating.  nom nom nom nom

    That’s the thing with health goals – it’s difficult to say no to the cookie and yes to the treadmill.  The positive reinforcement is further removed from the healthy activity than it is from the unhealthy one.  It’s why binge drinkers continue to over-imbibe and suffer hangovers – the punishment is too far removed from the immediate pleasure in order to be a deterrent.  No one said getting fit and staying fit was easy.

    Jillian Michaels’ answer to the “How do I stay motivated?” question is: ask yourself why you want this goal (weight loss, fitness achievement). [Is it weird that I know this without looking it up?  I have her advice memorized, I think…]Your reasons are your motivation.  She makes no judgment about your reasons – just that they motivate you.

    What motivates you?