Weight loss motivation is important to get aligned before you make any attempts to lose weight whatsoever.
I believe there are unhelpful and helpful reasons to want to lose weight, says Food Psychology & Weight Loss Life Coach Laura Lloyd.
Weight loss motivation #1
I believe that there are terrible, sad, desperate desires to lose weight that come from believing we’re unworthy unless we do, and believing that we’ll be vilified and held in contempt by society until we do.
Believe me, I have had this yearning, and it was behind so much of my late-teen binge eating.
These motives are about people-pleasing, and trying to be released from the purgatory of feeling a failure and disappointment by slimming.
They are also about beliefs that run deep, conditioned by society, patriarchy, and weight bias all around us.
But fitting into blue jeans can only make us feel ‘good enough’ for the two weeks after we have made the weight loss, when everyone is congratulating us. And it’s not the weight that changed, it’s that we dared to think thoughts of worthiness for the first time.
We have to change our thoughts and self-image independently of our body shape.
(Solution: Get body positive, meet yourself where you are at, get coaching to stop people-pleasing and increase your self-assertion, and learn to value your self-opinion above others’.)
Weight loss motivation #2
I believe there are also miserable, completely mistaken desires to lose weight, that come from believing that we can change our opinion of ourselves when our body finally meets our own standards.
Oh, Girl. I have had these beliefs too. Such self-expectations.
But these reasons reflect a total error of thinking.
There is not a dress size on this spinning, green-and-blue miraculous planet that can MAKE you feel anything about yourself. That’s just not how feelings work.
Situations don’t create feelings. The truth is, it’s your THOUGHTS that create a feeling of ‘good enough’, and with this line of thinking, you deny yourself these thoughts until you don’t need to use the widest extra notch on your belt you pierced yourself with a kitchen skewer.
Then, you think the nice thoughts. When you have decided to approve of yourself.
But with coaching, changing your thoughts is always an option. Now, not later.
(Solution: Work on your body image and self-esteem completely independently and prior to any weight loss attempt).
Weight loss motivation #3
I believe there are also legitimate, personally-empowering desires to lose weight.
Our knees hurt and joints have extra strain on them.
We have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes and need to take control of our food decisions.
We’d personally feel better in our relationships with ourselves not overeating, and KNOW that our extra weight reflects the inner drama that overeating and then regretting it creates.
We know we’re more nimble and dynamic in our lives with a body that’s able to move through the world easily.
Because I’m OK with my body as I am, I love myself, and I still want to lose weight because it feels right to me, and I know my body best.
Want to do some self-coaching around your motives to lose weight?
Why do you want to lose weight?
Grab a journal, set a timer for 3 minutes, and write down all the reasons.
Don’t censor yourself, just see what comes up.
Take a colour that signifies FEAR to you. Highlight all the reasons you wrote that are based on fear. What are the fears?
Working on disproving these fears individually will give you journaling prompts for the next week or so!
Fear isn’t a useful motive. It feels awful, it makes us rush and panic and self-reproach.
Our actions, when we come from fear, usually end up creating more and more evidence that the fear is ‘real’.
OK, now take another colour that signifies DESIRE. Have you written down any motives based on desire? Highlight them.
Could you TURN any of your fear motives into desire?
eg. You might want to lose weight because a doctor has frightened you about your blood sugars. You could turn that into desire to take care of your own health so you get to do all the lovely things you’re planning in the next 20 years.
NB. Desire to please others usually comes from fear of their negative opinions, so it shows up as eagerness but fear belies it.
Desire is a powerful motive. Some desire comes from our deep inner self and can guide us. It can help us imagine outside of our current box.
Bonus exercise: Spend some time daydreaming about your desires. Imagine what you’d do to make them happen. Who you’d become. Make it realistic, imperfect, human, but oh so lovely.