What keeps you going when the going gets tough? What makes you lace up your sneakers, grab your earphones, and head to the gym/road/track? What are you fighting to overcome? What are you hoping to gain by losing? What motivates you?
Is it a health concern? A family gene that could rear it’s ugly head in just a decade or two? Is it for a loved one you lost, or fear you will lose in the not so distant future? Is it for all the names you were called in high school? All the depressing thoughts you had in college? Is it the one thing you CAN control? What is it?
My motivation has been years in the making. All through high school and college I was overweight and unhappy. It wasn’t until the summer after I graduated from college that I finally decided enough was enough. I needed to take my life in my own hands, and try to become who I always wanted to be. My diet came first. After a year and half focusing solely on that, learning how to handle cravings/how to cheat & maintain, I’ve now been able to move on to the physical side of things.
For me, my motivation to change my physical self comes from a deep-rooted desire to succeed. I have an overwhelming need to do the best I possibly can at everything I set out to do. It’s something my mom instilled in me at a very young age–she always said she wouldn’t yell at me for failing if it was the best I could do. By setting goals of races throughout this year, I am forcing myself to get my ass moving because I am so determined to not make a fool of myself. Sure, I procrastinated the hell out of the Rock ‘n’ Roll half. But I still finished, which was my ultimate goal for that race. My next two races though, I absolutely cannot do that. Other people are counting on me for one race, and the other I wouldn’t make it through the first .1 of a mile if I don’t get in shape. These things are serving as my motivation, my reason to put my running shoes on and head to the gym.
We all have different reasons for becoming physically fit. We all have different reasons for not getting physically fit too. For 11 years, (I’m 23 now, but I’d say my weight issues/identity issues/self consciousness hit at 12) I’ve battled nothing other than myself. Some undo belief that there was something wrong with me. Some thing that needed to change for me to be acceptable, lovable, want-able. So I bent and molded myself into everything everyone ever wanted, hoping one day it would be the right combination to stick. I was the best listener. The empathetic therapist. The mediator. The wing-man. The fixer. The reliable one. The event coordinator. The chauffeur. I did everything I could to be thought of as a perfect friend, someone that people could love. I wanted so desperately to fit in, because all the happy-together people fit in, that I lost sight of what was really important: being happy.
Food was my comfort when I perceived that I had nothing else. Trying to be everything for everyone else left me feeling empty inside, and feeding my soul with tasty food was what got me through the hard times. It became my friend; my confidant; my supportive shoulder to cry on. I thought having a “good” meal when I was upset would help me feel better–and it would for about 5 minutes. After that guilt and shame set in, restarting the cycle once again.
My best friend in college told me once, “The only thing wrong with you is that you think something’s wrong with you.” She’s never been more right. Breaking that cycle of trying to please everyone, and removing food as a comfort (thinking of it as just what it is, a fuel source), helped me to figure out what makes me tick. Inspiring others, motivating them to change their lives, and encouraging them when the going gets tough has become something that’s really important to me. It all happened by accident, and it’s honestly something I never thought I could do. Physical fitness and helping others achieve their goals has become my “thing”, what I am starting to believe is my purpose in life.
So stop to think about it for a second. I mean, really think about it. What makes you tick? What makes you get out from underneath the covers in the morning? What puts purpose in your step, and hope in your heart? Are you using food as an escape? Are you using your blanket of fat to hide behind what you could become? You don’t have to tell me any of these things that you discover; but just think about it. Be honest with yourself, and decide what it is that you want and never stop chasing it.