Fitness Motivation and Dedication for Weight Loss & Good HealthNovember 13, 2019
WLS isn’t an easy choice. It can come at a high price, and there is a 50/50 chance of whether or not you’ll even be able to keep the weight off, which is a huge risk. The first year is so simple, you can barely eat, and therefore weight just falls off. But what you do after that is truly the key, which is why WLS and fitness must come hand in hand. There is really no way around it. Not only will it help you to keep the weight off, but it makes you healthier, happy, and in some cases, can even help minimalize the loose skin issues.
Motivation is the First Key to Success
It seems easy, right! I became a fitness instructor after having surgery over seven years ago, but it didn’t happen right away. First, I had to actually start working out. Starting with walking and then eventually running and hiking. It wasn’t easy to find something fitness related that I truly enjoyed. It is so easy for anyone to get into a fitness regimen, but following through and maintaining it is the difficult part. It gets boring or mundane. The couch starts looking better, and excuses are easy to come by. Motivation is the first key to success, but it doesn’t stop there.
What keeps me motivated? That is a huge and complicated question and the truth is, I don’t know. I wish I had a magic answer. And there it is, out of the complication of the question, a very simple yet not so simple answer, I HAVE NO CHOICE.
Now, let's examine what I mean by that. My motivations lie simply on the fact that I have become a bit vain, and don’t want to be fat again and I like building muscles and being healthy. So, in order to have all those things, I have no choice. I mean I guess I do, I can sit on the couch and not go to the gym and lift weights or go take a cycle class cause I’m too tired and worked all day, but by doing that I make it that much easier to make the same bad choice the next day, and the day after and on and on and on. I push myself hard and am hard on myself because I feel if I am not who is going to be. No one is going to make me go workout even when I don’t want to or when I hate the workout I’m doing. I have all the power in this relationship. Do I love it? Sometimes I do, but it doesn’t matter, it’s a necessity.
Fitness, also I have found, is an addiction, but a much better one to have than food. It’s just like with eating, we have choices, and sometimes those choices are bad, hey some of us wouldn’t be here if we always made the right choices. Even now, sometimes, I still don’t make the right choices, but what comes after is what can define the slips, whether it be food or working out. You can beat yourself up and give up or you can decide to allow yourself to slip occasionally but push through to the next day and get back on your path.
The truth is, it doesn’t matter which fitness path you choose, maybe try several things, you just have to do something and make sure you continue to do something. DON’T STOP!
I believe that fitness is a MUST for long term health and success. I see so many people who have surgery and lose weight but don’t work out. It is none of my business of course, but I shake my head because we have these surgeries to help us lose weight. It is a tool, not a cure. On top of that, we do it to be healthy, ummm HELLO, fitness is part of being healthy!
It is super hard to work out, I get it. Especially if you haven’t found what you can stand doing more than a couple of days a week or if you don’t think you’re getting results, but you have to do it and keep trying, trust me, you will find and see it if you push through. And once you get there, the gratification with be well worth it. We have the power and we chose how to live, but if you start thinking you have no choice in order to be healthy maybe it will make it that much easier to get off your butt and go. Don’t depend on others either, you have to learn to do this on your own cause sometimes you are all you got.
Key Factors to my Fitness Motivation & Success
Other than the fact I stated, I have no choice… here are some key factors that I believe contribute to my fitness success. My regimen consists of, Pilates, Cycle, heavy weighted workouts at the gym. These are the workouts that work for me and all for different reasons. The cycle is easy on my knees and gives me a good cardio and calorie burn. Pilates helps me fine-tune my small muscles and work on my core strength and lifting, especially the upper body. I like having muscles even if my son says I have some that look like a man, I love it. So how do I keep it going daily?
- Routine, routine, routine. So important. I don’t always do the same thing on the same days, that differs depending on my schedule but I find if I have a specific routine and what days I am working out and what workouts I’m doing on those days, it is so much easier to go and get it done. It's like going to work, it just becomes a habit. If you fall too much out of the routine, it makes it a million times harder to get back into it, therefore, just don't quit.
- Find something you love. Try to find something you like or at least don’t dislike doing during your workouts. It can be anything, but if you absolutely hate it all the time, you won’t keep going. You can hate it some of the time, we all do but find something you like more than hate.
- Get a buddy. Now, this isn’t always available but I can’t tell you how many gym workouts I’ve done or cycle classes I’ve attended where I went with someone else that made a huge difference. Struggling through a workout together makes it easier. Especially when it’s a gym workout you hate because you can push each other to finish. And sometimes, just knowing your friend or family/spouse is going with you makes it easier to leave the house as well.
- Push! Push through, its worth it.
- Watch for Results. Look at yourself in the mirror, once you start seeing the results of all your hard work (fitness changes the body, not weight loss) it will make it that much easier to continue.
Now that you have the motivation, is that all you need? Unfortunately, no! Motivation isn’t enough in the long term. My couch or bed and binge-watching Netflix on days starts looking better and better, especially if you are going through emotional drama or stress. So what happens then when motivation no longer drives you? This is where you need to learn dedication and commitment, not just motivation.
Dedication & Commitment vs. Motivation
You might say, isn’t dedication and commitment the same as motivation, but the answer is no. The biggest difference between the two is ACTION! Motivation is just there to get you started, but dedication and commitment is the desire and drive to keep you going and help push you to your fitness goals.
Anyone can be motivated by someone or something to go out for a walk or hit the gym. But once you move beyond that initial phase of motivation, committing to take action, that is where dedication comes in. Does that mean once you have found yourself dedicated to your health and fitness that now the motivation is not needed? NO! Dedication is fueled by motivation, the two must go hand in hand. Dedication is hard work as well. It may require you to wake up early, do things that make you uncomfortable, may even cause pain like soreness or exhaustion. It means opening yourself up once again to the possibility of failure and requires you at times to takes risks. And let’s say you go to a class or see a trainer and you can’t seem to finish or find it too hard and leave, does that really mean you failed? Only if you don’t go back and keep trying.
Fitness isn’t easy, especially in the beginning but as long as you commit to it and keep working at it, it becomes routine which makes it easier.
So what are some key factors to help you stay dedicated and committed? For me, it’s a lot about schedule and routine. Most, if not all of us, get up day to day to go to work. And it doesn’t mean we like it, and sometimes don’t even want to go. But we do it, why? Because we have to. To pay bills and take care of our families. The same applies to working out. Having a work schedule or routine is very similar to having a fitness schedule or routine, except it’s not about anyone else, this is about and for you. If you make time to plan out your workout days and which workouts you do on those days, it makes it that much easier to make it happen. That is not to say you won’t have days where you’re so tired you just don’t want to. Those, for me, are the days that it is even more important to push myself to go, so I don’t fall into my own excuses. It may suck while I’m there but I feel, and you will too, so much better and more accomplished and proud that you pushed past the excuses and got it done.
Other Keys to Success to Maintain Motivation and Dedication...
- Make the decision to commit and don’t give up even when you want to.
- Find a deeper reason. It doesn’t matter what it is. Maybe it’s a pair of jeans or how you look or feel in your clothes or in the mirror. Maybe it’s just the simple fact that you are putting yourself first and taking care of yourself. Whether it’s superficial or a stress reliever, find what works for you other than it really is a necessity.
- Plan out your goals. Look for what you are trying to achieve in any fitness platform you chose. Maybe you want to tone up or build muscle. Maybe, like me, you just want to finally run a mile without having to stop. Having goals to achieve will help you continue on. And once you have achieved your initial goals, then set new and higher ones. You can achieve anything you work hard for.
- Hold yourself accountable. If you need to use a diary for tracking, as we might with food, do it. This is about you and your health. No one else will hold you accountable so you have to do it yourself.
- Finally, and maybe most importantly, hang out with like-minded people. This doesn’t mean you have to give up friends who are not, but being around others who are fitness driven will help you stay committed and focused. They can help push you and drive you, especially when you are not feeling up to it. They won’t allow you to feed off your excuses and sometimes will even drag you to the gym if needed. Having others around you on their own weight loss or fitness journey helps us find strength and inspiration.
ABOUT THE AUTHORBefore bariatric surgery and weighing 300 pounds, Gina Giarratano-Gilland had no interest in fitness. After losing over 150 pounds with her RNY surgery, that has completely changed for her. She left behind the world of office administration and is now a Pilates, Pound, and Cycle instructor. Gina also remains active with local support groups and her social media to help others that are struggling with their weight.
Read more articles by Gina!