Day 199 Question 199:
What motivates you? How do you regain motivation when you feel like you have lost it?
Yesterday I was surfing around Facebook (surprise surprise) and one of my pictures posted the picture above with the headline: Say what you want but she’s DOING IT! What are you doing? This picture hit close to home because I have struggled with my weight all of my life and I finally hit rock bottom and decided to make a change. I have been in that place where you feel absolutely huge and repulsive and detest the idea of other people seeing you exercise BUT you do it anyway. You know that it takes one foot in front of the other. 65+ pounds down and still going. Many people are judgmental and point fingers saying things like “Well she should have been eating healthy and exercising all along”, “It is her fault for getting so fat!” Trust me, I KNOW THAT and so does every overweight person out there…even if they are in the state of denial. Every overweight person struggles with that inside voice….it continually taunts them. Some people are able to fight that inner voice and make healthy changes while others still struggle. It is easy for a healthy, fit person to judge and make assumptions (not implying that all do) but as a former obese woman I will tell everyone that the mental struggle an overweight person goes through is not only maddening but severely depressing. This is not a story of woe is me and I am not asking for anyone’s sympathy….I got myself in the situation and I worked my way out. I am also empathetic to those that go through the same struggles though because there is nothing easy about changing your lifestyle and becoming healthy….yes it should be a natural thing but in these times (with technology making us lazy and fast food joints on every corner and people working anywhere between 40-80 hours and a week and potentially juggling a family too) it is not unfortunately. I still don’t eat as healthy as I should…I have a major sweet tooth and sometimes I just have no desire to eat rabbit food (sometimes I do).
Being labeled as obese is what sent me over the edge. Looking in the mirror and breaking down into tears drove me to change. People’s mean and spiteful words gave me that extra push to say “FUCK YOU, I AM GOING TO DO THIS!!!” No, my intention was not to do it for them….I needed to bring my mental state back to a healthier place and I knew it would not get there if I kept going down this same road. I knew changes were necessary…but I also knew it would be nice to flaunt my now thinner body in front of those people with poor attitudes that told me I was fat or what have you and salute them with my two middle fingers. I have met plenty of thin/fit people with poor attitudes that just ooze negativity….I would rather be striving for healthy in this “imperfect” body with a little extra padding and be happy and treat people with kindness. People’s harsh words can sting and in the moment I may feel sad or angry but once those emotions pass I ALWAYS feel driven….driven to better myself and go that extra mile…to be the person that would never treat others that way. I am motivated by the world around me. I am motivated by the courage of others. It would be easy for the woman above to shut herself in her house and just eat and flip through the channels on the TV but she has decided to do something to change her lifestyle…it is obvious that she is challenging herself…that is motivating. People can make a million excuses and that is all that they are…excuses. I truly believe that if you want something bad enough, you can have it….but it may take a ridiculous amount of work to get there….it may take a helping hand or a swift kick in the ass by someone that will encourage you every step of the way.
People throughout life are going to throw out ugly words and will tell you that you are wrong or that you are incapable of some things. I am ok with this….it just adds fuel to my fire. Instead of holding onto their words and their disbeliefs, I remember that they are probably struggling on the inside too. When people are ugly and hateful (I truly believe) that it is because they are loathing themselves in that moment and they are trying to make others feel bad in order to make themselves feel better. It happens to the best of us…we all have moments of weakness when we don’t make the best decisions.
In life I am motivated by so many things. I am always pushing myself just a little bit more every day to test my limits and to make myself stronger….not always physically….I am talking mentally. I believe you cannot strengthen yourself physically if you don’t first strengthen yourself mentally. Once your mind is strong, you will be able to realize and appreciate the strength in your body….and once your body strengthens…your emotional state strengthens. It is this beautiful cycle. That, in and of itself, is motivating.
It is not an easy thing to explain but when we fall into these unhealthy ways or have periods of depression or anger or despair, we are letting our ego get the best of us. We are allowing that little voice inside of us control us like we are puppets in the show called life. The ego can do very ugly things to people…for many there is a loss of complete control. Although I knew that my habits were not healthy, I was allowing my ego to control my horrible eating habits and my laziness. I was allowing my ego to tell me that I was not worthy or good enough so what was the point of even trying. One day it all came crashing down and I decided I was no longer going to allow my ego to get the best of me. There is a little saying that: Life Happens Outside of Your Comfort Zone. Once I started my journey into better health, I found truth beyond truth in this little statement. I conquered fears and anxieties by pushing myself to do things that I was uncomfortable with. I started working out among men and women that I didn’t know, even though I was worried about being judged or stared at (which I actually found amusement in later…because I found that most people that are working out are so focused on themselves that they don’t even take the time to pay attention to what anyone else looks like or what they are doing). I stepped on the scale for the first time in years knowing I would dread the number that would flash before my eyes and that day I set goals…reasonable goals! I said to myself that from that day forward that I would love myself more and more every single day and stop the internal bashing of myself. It sometimes takes hitting rock bottom to motivate us to change…I may not have been at rock bottom but I was surely close. I knew that if I continued down the same path that major health issues (both physically and psychologically) would be inevitable. I knew that the journey would have moments of high stress and moments of wanting to quit but I refused to do so. I asked for help by those around me….I asked strictly for encouragement and that was what was given to me. People cannot know what is going on inside of your head unless you tell them. It took me until I was about 30 years old to finally talk about the internal and external struggles I was having. Instead of being judged, I was accepted and had more support than I could have imagined. Motivation came once I was honest with myself and honest with those around me. My body is not who I am, it is what I am….although it does not define me, it is important to keep this body healthy so I have many more years to spend with those people that pushed me into this life of better health. For me it has never been about being skinny…it is about being healthy. I do not feel great about my body every single day but I have far more days of feeling proud of my accomplishments than not. It all started with one step forward…it has been nothing completely drastic…just changes I knew I needed to make along the way. This motivation to better my life makes me want to help others better their lives. I see and hear and read about young kids and their struggles with self-image and it just shouldn’t be that way. I want to encourage kids in ways that allow themselves to see themselves as being beautiful both mentally and physically….to teach them that the body is not who we are…..to show them that being different is not a bad thing.
For those that need encouragement and motivation please just reach one hand out and ask for help…whether it be to me or a loved on close to you. Trust me, you will be amazed at how much motivation you will feel once you allow the weight to be lifted off your shoulders (literally and figuratively).