Rethink your thinkingWORTHINGTON — Three months ago, I threw away all of the lists, took out a new piece of paper and wrote at the top “I will make health and wellness a fundamental value in my life!” With that statement, away went the worries of a diet, and I began to focus on being well.
By: Troy Von Orman, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — Three months ago, I threw away all of the lists, took out a new piece of paper and wrote at the top “I will make health and wellness a fundamental value in my life!” With that statement, away went the worries of a diet, and I began to focus on being well.
Losing weight is complicated by many things. Most people will not stick with whatever tools they have chosen to assist with their weight loss and never reach their goal. Those that are successful with reaching their targeted goal weight are then faced with the reality that only 10 percent of them will maintain that weight for any period of time. So what is wrong with this picture? We are well aware of the process, yet we continue to repeat the cycle.
In order to understand why making health and wellness a fundamental value in your life is the correct path to long term success, we first need to understand where our motivation is coming from to make this change. The underlying reasons why we want to make a change to lose weight is something to become aware of. Where the foundation is coming from is a huge predictor of long term success and helps you follow through with your commitment.
First we have Conflict Based Motivation. This is usually the primary start to any change in our lives. We don’t like what is going on, so we are driven to make a change to remove the problem. Your boss is not happy with your performance, so you make the appropriate changes to avoid getting pulled in the office and corrected. Your wife is not happy with you leaving diet mountain dew cans all over the house, so you do your best to get them to the sink so you can avoid the evil eye! You are not happy with your weight so you make choices to improve. Conflict causes a modification in behavior to avoid and remove the issue at hand.
Being overweight comes with huge amount of emotional conflict. When the emotional conflict becomes more then we can bare, we decide to make changes. Because we have made changes we start to feel better. Feeling better takes the pressure off. Less pressure results in a decrease in emotional conflict. When the emotional conflict goes away, there are fewer reasons to continue with the changes we made. Since we feel better, we no longer have a strong emotional drive to press us to follow through with the changes we have made, and the original behavior returns. We end up in the boss’s office again, the diet mountain dew cans are found everywhere, and the buttons on the jeans again don’t fit.
Conflict motivation is problem based and will not work long term when making consistent choices that support health and wellness. Ninety percent of those that lose weight due to conflict motivation yo-yo back to their start position, and often add more weight in the end.
The second type of motivation shifts its focus from the problem/conflict based motivation, to a value based outcome approach. With this motivation, we will stop thinking in terms of trying to fix bad health and the things we don’t like about ourselves. Instead, we will shift our focus to creating health. This motivation to change is not based on conflict with consequences of your bad health. Goals include wanting to avoid long-term disease, setting an example for my children to succeed in the obesogenic society in which they live, wanting to maintain independence as long as possible, decreasing my risk for adult onset diabetes, play golf into my 80s, avoid knee and hip replacement surgeries, learn and create an action plan for optimal health.
Motivation for change is the first thing you need to focus on when making a change in your life. You can be a member at the most famous health club, you could be on the new celebrity recommended diet or you could have the best trainer in the world. None of these tools determine your success long term. You may be more likely to get to your desired weight, but without the correct vision and drive your long-term success will be unlikely.
So, why does type of motivation work while the other fails? To understand this let’s take a look at two people. We will randomly call them Troy No. 1 and Troy No. 2. Both of these individuals are identical in size, height, age, weight, eating history, emotional issues and have been stuck in the same yo-yo cycle of destruction for most of their lives. They both decide that this year the change will happen!
Troy No. 1 has a strong motivation that he is tired of being fat, doesn’t like it and wants it to stop. Troy No. 2’s motivation centers around being a better example of health for his son, playing golf for a long time to come, setting an example of wellness for patients that he works with.
They both do the identical exercise, same change in eating habits, and both make it to their healthy weight. Now is where the type of motivation to get to a healthier weight shows its importance. Six months after achieving their ideal body weight, both Troys are faced with many choices each day regarding their health and wellness. Do I exercise today? Do I eat those doughnuts? Do I sit in the chair and watch TV? Both were successful with these daily choices in the beginning, but who is going to be more likely to continue with making better choices in regards to their health?
Troy No. 1 in going to struggle, his motivation was strongly based on not wanting to be fat, now he is normal weight, feels better about himself and the conflict based purpose for making the hard choices is gone. When faced with the same day-to-day choices, he will regress because the power of his motivation is no longer is there. Not wanting to be fat doesn’t hold water since that is no longer him. As a result, consistency with healthy choices will decrease since the conflict that provided the power is absent.
Troy No. 2 sees the change to a healthier weight as an opportunity to continue towards his long-term wants in the future. Being a healthier weight allows him to do more activity and move farther down the health and wellness path. His motivation is still there, in essence it never truly ends. Each choice to be well or not well that presents in the day, continues to be held up to what he wants as a long term outcome. Does it support or not support being well.
Starting today, if you have been struggling with weight and your perception of yourself, and iIf you feel helpless to change because all the things you have tried have not worked, stop and take a second to pause. The key to success starts with attaching value to being well. Shift your focus to the future and start creating a healthier you.
Troy Van Orman is an MSPT/health coach. His email address is email@example.com, and would enjoy hearing readers’ questions or stories.