Motivation Monday

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.

Yes, please look at me like that, again!

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!


9 thoughts on “Motivation Monday

  1. Excellent thoughts on motivation. I think my motivation is I don’t want to be buried in a grand piano crate.

    I love your reward system – the jewelry is gorgeous. I”m NOT a huge jewelry fanatic. I have some VERY pretty pieces and I do wear them when the occasion warrants. I’ve been trying to think of a reasonable reward system. The spring catalogs came in and by the time the tagging was done, I was 800.00 down in the fantasy wishlist hole. Of course, this isn’t going to happen! I have decided that it is time to clean out my closet – if I”ve not worn it in 2 years or more and yes, there are a few things I’ve not worn in that long. Okay, there are a lot of things I’ve not worn in more than 2 years and my excuse was – well, I’m going to lose weight and then I can wear them! Those suckers are so far out of fashion! LOL! So yeah, Spring break, I will be chucking clothes and making room for a potentially 800.00 more in clothes.

    (Not really.)

    I’ve considered pampering myself with books. Of course, then I remembered that I have a library of books here at the house, more still packed in the garage and 38000+ on my PC kindle and a full 3 terrabytes of books on an external. It’s full and I have books in other places, included burned to cds. I have a problem and it’s I don’t know what I have.

    What I really adore and don’t get much of is time. personal time. A long bubble bath with a book and soft music or downtime listening to my favorite actor read Love Poems – oooooh valentines Day is coming up. Hmmm mmmm. Oh and it needs to be guilt free. Why am I taking a bubble bath when the dishwasher needs to be loaded or unloaded? It’s been a month since I’ve done laundry. When was the last time the air filter was changed? The breeze pad changed? I try to go knit once or twice a month. I’m tired of the cardigan I started 3 years ago. It’s 1/3rd of the way done, not including sleeves. Every time I sit down to write, Spawn has an essay, he’s found a new recipe, Mom, mom, mom, come look… and I try not to fuss because he’s going to go rogue in a few years and be unleashed on the world…

    I think I’m going to book a date with my favorite actor on Valentine’s Day with a bubbly bath and fizzy balls and Love Poems. Yep. That will be my reward for loosing ANY weight.


    1. A bubbly bath with love poems sounds like an excellent reward. Time is such a luxury. I totally think that it is a worth-while reward. Give yourself the gift of not-thinking-of-the-chores as a reward for being good and losing weight. Much cheaper than 800 $$ worth of clothes.
      I went through my closet a few months ago – at a point when I could no longer ignore the fact that I did not fit into at least 75% of my clothes anymore. I gave most of them away, only held on to those items that were big enough or that are old favourites. I’m not really a fashionista – I’d describe myself as fashion illiterate, actually – but I *am* looking forward to being slimmer and eventually buying some nice new clothes for myself. Currently, I have three jumpers (black, grey and rusty red) and 2 pairs of trousers (jeans and black) on rotation and I am sick and tired of them. Also, I don’t want to wear clothes shaped like tents anymore, or hide my belly behind a scarf. That’s another intrinsic motivation for me. But I’ll wait until I hit the 85kg mark.


  2. Good post! I love your chart! Maybe I need something visual like that. I’m having trouble just getting through the first week right now. I’m grumpy and annoyed that I can’t just eat what I want. I feel like it’s adding to my stress levels. My weigh in is tomorrow too… hopefully I’ll get a good result and that will be some good motivation to keep going.


    1. Give the chart a try, Sue. As I said, it’s just a game, really, but you can keep it in your WW folder and update it every week. When the going gets tough, it is nice to look at the chart and see previous successes.
      Also, I very much sympathise with you and your week 1 woes. In many respects, the first week is the hardest. Establishing a new regime and showing the discipline to resist old habits, is so hard. And then it all seems to hinge on the first weigh-in. In week 1, my worst fear was not losing enough weight. Because I knew it would discourage me really badly. Luckily, my first week was a massive success (as they usually are – at least when you go at it from the kind of starting weight that I have. Any change to a healthier eating regime has a big impact, so in that sense my worries were unfounded.) So I am keeping my fingers crossed for your weigh-in tomorrow. Any weight loss counts, even if it is half a pound! If you want to visualise it, just think of your weight loss amount in sticks of butter. Half a pound is two sticks of butter. And then envision that you have just lost the same amount in your own body fat! Gross but great!

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s