The Un-Motivator

Every year, around this time, I see the same thing happening. People get really motivated and make promises such as along the lines of “this year I’m definately going to lose the weight, exercise more get healthy” etc

Then as January comes to a close this motivation starts to waiver and gradually disappear. Sure some people can use will power to get through into Feb but for most, 2011 will end up the exact same as 2010 filled with frustration and being unhappy with their health and body shape.

I see 2 main causes of this.

1. Fad diets/programmes/gimmicks

2. Your Un-Motivation!

Lets take a quick look at number 1. If we use Irelands most popular weight loss programme on TV, Operation Transformation, we can see a whole host of flaws. While the idea of getting the nation fit and healthy is great, the methods they use are INSANE!

I checked out one of the girls diets – 200kcal breakfast, 250-300kcal lunch – no mention of what is for dinner but I am presuming it would be no greater than 500-700kcals (if it is more, then the programme is even more insane!)

So total calorie intake is around 1000-1200 kcals a day. That is a starvation diet. Especially for these people who are probably consuming 3000 kcals a day starting off. There is no other discription for it. Their calorie needs just to keep their organs etc working properly are higher than the number they are taking in. Plus they are meant to exercise on top of this so they are in an even greater energy deficit.

At the start they will lose weight, they are starving themselves after all. But losing weight and more importantly living a normal life will become increasingly difficult.

They will be getting emotional, finding it harder to stay focused, they will crave more foods and they won’t be learning how to live a ‘normal’ life after the show. This type of calorie restriction is not healthy short term or long term, nor is it necessary! The average female who exercises can eat about 2000 kcals a day and mantain her weight provided she is healthy and is eating natural foods. There is no need for this amount of caloric restriction and I personally believe that it will harm their long term success.

There is so much bad info on Dieting when all you need to do is use common sense. Eat the foods we have lived off of for centuries – Natural Food. You don’t need to do this 100% of the time but 80-90% will work. If you want to be in great shape then you gotta be closer to the 90%-95% mark. You must realise that you can’t have your cake and eat it too!

There was a TV programme on recently that analysed a host of different diets and interviwed serial dieters. One of the girls said she woke up every day saying she was starting her diet today but by the end of it she had eaten the wrong foods etc and so she would start again tomorrow.

The main problem with these diets is the mentality. They are only focused on the short term. Lose 7lbs in 7days, then what?

They key is to make changes consistently, get a healthy plan and follow it. If you mess up then so what? learn from it and move on. Make a few changes this week then next week make some more and soon enough your lifestyle will be that of a healthy person who is in shape. Health is an ongoing thing not some fad diet you do for 7 days.

Ok so on to number 2 Your UN-Motivation. I know Un-Motivation isn’t a real world but it is very apt for this.

Most people say they need more motivation. They see it like its something you can bottle and buy. It’s not, it’s something you do!

The majority of people are great Un-Motivators. They constantly Un-Motivate themselves to do they things they really ‘should do’ and then they are great a motivating themselves to do the things they know they shouldn’t do.

Here’s an example.

One of my favourite past times is to play computer games. I was actually going to do computer games programming in college before I discovered my passion for health & fitness.

Now It’s really tempting for me to turn on the computer instead of doing work that I need/should do. I’m also really good at convincing myself to do it. Here’s a typical conversation I can have with myself:

“Ok got work to do”

“Play X-box”

“No gotta answer emails, make calls, write an article etc”

“You can do that later, play now just for an hour”

“No, I’ll write this article first”

“But think about the fun you will have playing, shooting bad guys, playing football etc” – This is always accompanied by bright colourful images of the specific game and memories of playing it etc

Now I can keep thinking about all the good things the computer will offer me and soon enough I will turn it on and start to play it. It’s impossible to resist when you think about it like this.

However what I have gotten very good at is rewarding myself at the end of the day with it or simply associating the computer with bad feelings about not getting enough work done, having work pile up etc.

I simply use a similar conversation and lead it so I end up doing my work instead of playing.

“Ok got work to do”

“Play X-box”

“No gotta answer emails, make calls, write an article etc”

“You can do that later, play now just for an hour”

“No, I’ll write this article first”

“Think about how getting all your work done will make you feel, having a clean slate for tomorrow, being able to go to bed with a fresh mind, not worrying about what I should have done today. The more work I get done on my business the easier it is for me to run it and then I can go on Holidays and enjoy them fully without having to think about work all the time”

Notice the difference! It’s the same method just done with a different approach.

I’m sure you can see how this fits in with your life. It doesn’t matter what your temptation is, chocolate, lying on the couch, take away dinners, bread etc. You can easily convince yourself to be tempted by doing what you always do, you are an expert at it.

However you now know that you can simply reframe those thoughts into more productive ones that will help you make better food choices, get to the gym or exercise more often.

This is perfect for when you are actually exercising. What would happen if I was training you and I constantly said things like this: (In a really whiney and moany, annoying voice)

“You’re too weak, you can’t do that, give up. This exercise is too painful for you, may as well stop now…” and so on. I can guess I wouldn’t be your trainer for too long!!

But this is what people constantly do to themselves. I see it in their body language. They give up too easily when training. Put it this way: the next time you feel like stopping or that you can’t do an exercise ask yourself this one question.

If someone held a gun to your head and said do it – Could you?

Now I’m not saying you need to make youself ill or anything like that, I am simply suggesting that you may possibly be able to push yourself a little bit more, and as you start to do that your results will start to grow and grow!!

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