I saw it fitting to post this here, since it's posts on this board that inspired me to write it.
Copyright 2006 Patrick Avella
Motivation to lose fat
You're overweight, you hate what you see in the mirror, but you can't seem to stop shoving food down your pie hole. What you lack is motivation. Motivation is that little voice in your subconscious mind that helps you stay the course of what ever you are dedicated to. Dedication is that little voice in your subconscious mind that makes you keep doing it. It's one thing to say out loud that you'd like to whip your ass into shape, but it's something entirely different to actually do it.
There's a lot of ways to get and stay motivated. Some are good, but some are bad. Some people may argue that whatever works is best, but this is not always the case. Many times I have come across people on the Internet who are sick of their bodies and are desperate for some type of motivation to get them to stay the course. Unfortunately many of them are looking for negative motivation. They think that if people call them fat, or make fun of their physique, they will be able to draw on motivation. Not only is this not the case, but this is a counter productive measure that will only serve to further pummel your mind into the submission of a negative self view.
Good motivation comes from within. It is not something that some one can give you, it is not something that will come as a pill, and it's not something you're going to get out of an article. No, not even this one. Motivation has to be of your own free will. It needs to be a burning desire deep within your stomach. It's a frame of mind that alters your course of life forever. A self provoked epiphany.
Here's the difference between good motivation, and bad motivation. A bad attempt at motivation is saying how much you hate yourself. This is bad for an incredible amount of reasons. First of all, you can not rectify the situation of hating yourself, because you can not change who you are. If you do not like yourself, then how can you expect anyone else to? What does this attitude say about your general take on life? It's all very negative. Here's the same grain but with a different and much better perspective. I hate my situation. Why is this so much better? Because you can change your situation. It's something that can be accomplished that is not hopeless.
Some people find their long term motivation in different things. I know for a lot of us guys the motivation is girls girls girls and more girls. Some of us find a desire in athletic accomplishments, while some of us find the motivation in being able to play sports with our children. Unfortunately finding this motivation is not as simple as saying you want to get laid, win a race, or play catch with junior.
Here's an analogy that deals with smokers. You can tell a smoker that they should really lay off the tobacco and they probably aren't going to pay much heed. Yet when a doctor tells that same person that they have lung cancer, an epiphany occurs. Suddenly they realize the evils of smoking, and will most likely never touch another cigarette for as long as they live. Your desire to lose weight is the same way. When talking to people who have made amazing body transformations you will find that the majority of them can trace what started it all to one epiphany invoking event or series of events in their lives. A time when they felt a cold dose of reality smacking them upside the head.
So then how do you realize such a life changing event? Chances are that you haven't yet, otherwise you wouldn't be in such short supply of motivation. Here's the deal. If you want the women, go hit on some women. If you want to win a race, go sign up for a race. Go for it, try your hardest. One of three things will happen. Either you'll do great and realize you were looking for motivation in the wrong area (remember your motivation will come from a situation you feel the need to change,) you'll do moderately well, feel a sense of accomplishment, and realize you're looking for motivation in the wrong area, or ... you will get your ass kicked, feel moderately embarrassed, and find a burning seed of flame in your stomach that tells you to rectify the situation.
That's just one attempt to grow some burning desire. It's not guaranteed to work, but attempting something is better than doing nothing. What your life of fitness really comes down to is that you either have the balls to change your life permanently or you are stuck in the unhappy life you are currently living forever. For such a black and white question it's amazing how hard it is to answer through your actions. Other things you may want to try are different forms of NLP (Neurological Link Programming.) There are 3 types of very popular NLP that can be a powerhouse when combined: Visualization, Negative Thought Diets / Reframing, and Goal Sheets.
Visualization is possibly the easiest and most popular form of NLP. Every day find a quiet location. Take a few deep breaths, and visualize yourself the way you'd like to be in great detail. Visualize how you look, how you eat, the people you are surrounded by. Visualize your perfect self, surrounded by your perfect life. We become what we think about. Think about it long enough and frequently enough and it will be permanently burned into your subconscious mind. Once there the theory is that you will naturally progress towards those goals and situation.
Negative Thought Diets are great fun and can do wonders for your self image. The idea is simple... you are not allowed to have any negative thoughts. None! If at any time you catch yourself thinking something negative, it is your task to reframe the thought into something positive. For example, if you find yourself saying to yourself that you're fat you immediately stop the thought and replace it by telling yourself something positive like how fortunate you are that you carry your weight well or how great you look in your favorite outfit. Even if it's a lie per'se, that's okay, because the theory is that we become what we think about. With time the hope is that you will cease having negative thoughts, and only have positive ones. This doesn't relate to bodybuilding directly, but changing your self image can have a large impact on how you conduct your life.
Goal Sheets are great for bodybuilding goals. Take a piece of notebook paper, and write down all of the things you'd like to accomplish in present tense. For example you may want to write something similar to:
I have a great physique.
I'm the most valuable employee at my job.
My abs look like a washboard.
I love doing cardio.
I can bench press more than anyone else at my gym.
My diet is flawless.
You can literally go on for as long as you like when writing this list. It's very important to write it by hand and in present tense. Once you're done, great! Read it to yourself. In fact, take the time to read it to yourself 3-4 times evenly distributed throughout the day. Fold it up, and keep it with you at all times. It will be your burden to carry this goal sheet with you, the very notion of having it on you will have a psychological impact on your behavior. Rewrite this list once a week, adding or changing the list however you feel is best. The theory behind the goal sheet is that you will burn these commands into your subconscious mind in the same manner as visualization.
You can not expect immediate results with NLP, nor is it guaranteed to work at all, but if you give it a serious effort for 6 weeks you just may find that this psychological hocus pocus actually works. If it doesn't, then here's the mantra: Doing SOMETHING is better than doing NOTHING.
If you still haven't found your motivation, there's still things you can try. Here's some ideas. Find a training or diet partner, hire a personal trainer, join a support group, look at other people's progress pictures, or anything else that may have a focal point of keeping you inline.
Once you've found your burning seed of desire, hold onto it, cherish it, embrace it. With time your burning seed will sprout into a flame that will eventually consume you, and dictate your permanent life style. If the spark ever goes out, try to find that motivation again, reclaim the flame. If you truly want to live the life you want to live, then you will do it without regrets. You don't die until you give up and let it happen. You can attain anything within reason that you work for. Embrace that burning flame, hold it close, and take a long consistent ride into the future. The future looks good, because you're going to make it that way.
Thread: Some words on Motivation