Motivation is one of the stumbling blocks in any kind of
diet healthy living resolution. I have found that I will not get anywhere with my plans unless I am *intrinsically* motivated. I.e. I need to be driven by my own internal rewards. In context of a diet, intrinsic motivation means changing my lifestyle *not* because the doctor tells me so, or because the fashion industry dictates the current beauty ideal, but because *I* get satisfaction from it. That could mean being pleased with oneself for being able to adhere to a new eating regime, or being satisfied with improved well-being. Extrinsic motivation, OTOH, is motivated from the outside – by praise from others, fame, or monetary and other rewards.
Three weeks into the journey I am pretty much intrinsically motivated. There are the first, small signs of improved well-being even though I can’t feel the weight-loss yet. The clothes still feel the same on my hips as they did three weeks ago, and I am still huffing and puffing when I run up the stairs, but I suddenly find myself more energetic and less sluggish than before. It’s down to eating more fruit and cutting the carbs. Knowing that, adds to my intrinsic motivation to continue on this path.
To visualise my intrinsic motivation, I have drawn up a little chart for myself. In it, I have marked my starting weight and the subsequent weekly weight by date/week. For motivation, I have marked the purely ideal/fictitious weight loss curves if I lost 1kg or 0.5kg per week. I want to see my progress on paper and take intrinsic motivation from that. Here’s my chart:
BUT… who says that extrinsic motivation is completely useless? Especially when embarking on a long weight-loss journey! Cards on the table – my goal is to lose 20kg/44lbs. Even at the best of behaviour, with all the exercise I can get and all other bells and whistles, it will take me the best part of six months to get there. If I put my goal on a timeline, I would need binoculars to see it in the distance. Disheartening! Instead, I am going to bolster my intrinsic motivation with a few extrinsic carrots dangling in front of me along the way. Rewards for achievable targets!
WW, for instance, recommends that your first weight loss target is 10% of your starting weight. In my case that is 9.4kg/20lbs. At this stage, I am only half way there. 😞 To keep me going, I have designated a few milestones for myself which I can work towards even if the final goal is still not in sight. The milestones are marked in bright colours on my chart, so I can see myself inching towards them. Sure, these are arbitrary, they don’t mean a lot. They are symbolic numbers, like “90kg threshold” or “85kg threshold”, or the aforementioned 10% goals. But there are also meaningful milestones in it, for instance the weight where I will finally reach a BMI that is merely “overweight” but not “obese” anymore.
I intend to celebrate the little successes – because if I don’t, no one else will. And with Zee’s sermon on pampering in mind, that is where the extrinsic motivation will come into full force. Yes, I will treat myself to rewards. You may have wondered what the weird round shapes in my chart are. Well, they are the rewards that I have chosen for myself. They are five pieces of jewelry that I have set my heart on, and if all goes to plan, I hope to have a nice set of rings and earrings by the end of this journey.
These extrinsic rewards are only a gimmick, so to speak. And they do not have to have a huge or any monetary value. Rewarding oneself with a ticket to the cinema or a candle-lit bath, anything special really, is just as good. Personally, my favourite would be a date with Mr A, but unfortunately such is not to be had.
Mind you, I haven’t run the proposition past him or his agents.
So, the precious jewelry it is. In case you are interested – the jewelry is actually quite special and might interest you, as you are frequent users of computers yourselves. You may already know that gold is used in the manufacturing of computer motherboards. A precious resource that most often is lost when computers are thrown away. According to estimates, US consumers are actually throwing away US$60 million worth of gold and silver *every year* through unwanted phones alone! Computer manufacturer Dell recycles computers and extracts the gold from old motherboards to reuse in new parts. And they are collaborating with a designer to turn the recycled gold into pieces of jewelry. For my first milestone I have chosen this delicate little ring (above right), and there are several more pieces in the collection for the other milestones on my journey. You can see the whole collection HERE.
My next weighing day is tomorrow and I am currently 200g away from my first milestone. I hope I can click “buy” on that ring tomorrow…
Are you also keeping a weight loss chart? And how do you keep yourself motivated, especially on a long weight loss journey? Have you scheduled yourself some rewards along the way? How are you planning to pamper yourself? I would love to know!