So how are you doing with that New Year's Resolution to lose weight? It is now February and about the time that the January 1st surge of motivation begins to wear off. It's a good time to think about what motivates you in general. Are you more motivated by the positive, i.e. the good things you will get when you lose weight? Or are you more motivated by the negative, i.e. getting rid of the bad things you experience by being heavy?
I used to be heavy. There are many reasons why I was and many reasons why I decided to change. Mainly, I was sick of being fat. I was young and felt like I was missing out on the best years of my life by carrying around a lot of extra weight. To help me when I felt my motivation lagging, I would sometimes use negative motivation. I wrote down all of the things I hated about being fat. It involves looking at what you don't want vs. what you do. Here are some of the reasons I was sick of being fat:
I didn't feel healthy. By that I mean, I was heavy enough to turn down invites to go hiking, biking, skating, and skiing because I was too heavy to move around comfortably. My feet often hurt and my knees hurt from carrying around the extra weight. I moved slowly and felt sluggish.
I couldn't buy clothes in boutiques or department stores. When I was heavy there was no Macy's Woman. There was no internet, and the day I could no longer fit into a size fourteen, there was only Lane Bryant. No more cute clothes for you fatty.
I couldn't just throw anything on. Nothing looked good on me when I was heavy. I had to spend time hiding what I could. Boots, tights, big baggy sweaters. It was really about which baggy sweater to wear. That was the extent to which I concerned myself with fashion. Some of my heavy clients have said, "Jewelry, hair and shoes. That's all you have when you are heavy."
I couldn't put a bathing suit on with confidence. This was a problem when invited to pool parties, the beach, etc... In Los Angeles this was a regular issue in the summer.
I couldn't get work as an actress or model. Being 40 to 60 lbs. overweight, at least as recently as l8 years ago, was too heavy to be a plus size model. Forget about trying to work as an actress or singer. Never mind the fact that you have ample talent, training and experience. Extra weight, no work. No work for you, fatty.
I didn't date much. There was definitely less male attention at a higher weight. This was a mixed bag for me at the time. I didn't like dating but I didn't want to be alone either. The weight helped keep the dating to a minimum and the food filled the empty space.
I couldn't sit in a movie seat and put my purse next to me. There wasn't enough room for my big butt and my little purse. This meant sitting through movies with my purse on my lap. Try that with popcorn and a drink.
I couldn't run very well. If you are not heavy, try picking up something that weighs a lot. Good. Now run while holding it. See. Not easy. (Don't really try this as you might really hurt yourself.)
I couldn't eat certain foods in public without extreme self consciousness. When you are heavy, you feel everyone is judging you when you eat. My clients who have lost and gained 150 lbs. have told me that at 300 lbs., when you buy ice cream at the market, you get glared at. Same person at 150 lbs. buying ice cream, no one looks twice.
I couldn't keep pants for years like I can now, because they would wear out where my thighs were rubbing together. When I was heavy my thighs would rub together at the top and wear holes in pants. It's one thing to have a hole in the knee of your jeans. It's quite another to have holes where your thighs rub. Embarrassing.
I couldn't cross my legs. I could sort of, but because my thighs were heavy, my top leg wouldn't go very far over my bottom leg. As a result, my foot would stick out and people walking by would hit it. This hurts your ankle by the way. Try it at home. Cross your legs, let your top leg stick out a bit and ask a loved one to walk by, pretend not to notice your foot, and hit it as they pass. Ouch! This used to happen to me often. (Again, don't really try this as you might really get hurt.)
I couldn't bend down very far without risking not being able to get back up without help. Being in your early thirties and this disabled by weight, was not fun.
I didn't feel good about myself.
For all those reasons and more, I was sick of being fat. If you are anything like me, and have been (or are currently) walking around overweight, then perhaps you can relate to what I have just shared. There was nothing fun about it. Keeping all the reasons why I wanted to change at the forefront of my mind, while I was losing weight, was very helpful. Though change is very difficult it is indeed possible. Take in less calories then you burn and you too can lose weight. If you are motivated by what you don't want, then make a list of what you hate about being overweight.
More on the benefits of being thinner, and how to work with your motivational style on the positive side, coming up soon.
That's it for now. Good luck, and let me know how you're doing.
Follow Irene Rubaum-Keller on Twitter: www.twitter.com/irenekeller