Sunday, April 9, 2017
Oh Where, Oh Where Did my Motivation Go? Oh Where, Oh Where Can it Be?
When we start down the path to living an optimally healthy life, it is usually directly preceded by an event or a moment of clarity where we just KNOW we want to do it! We are motivated to get started, and even change our ways - temporarily. But motivation is a limited resource, and soon runs out. This is why we stress learning HABITS of HEALTH. The biggest question I get is "will I gain IT back?" Well, if your emphasis is on simply LOSING WEIGHT and you stay in a "Diet Mentality" then your focus is always on losing weight. You define success as how much weight you lost this week, last week, in the last 4 hours (LOL), and what happens when you are at your goal and aren't losing weight anymore? I've been there and done that with that mindset, and I have to tell you it's almost anticlimactic, because since I have no more weight to "lose" how am I going to feel successful anymore? Well, if that is my only measure of success, if that is what I have pinned my emotions to, then the only alternative is to gain weight BACK so I can LOSE it again in order to feel successful! It sounds nuts, I know! Habits can be UNHEALTHY too, and if you are finding it hard to stay on program during the weekend, for example, It is simply because you are in the HABIT of going off program every weekend, and that is what compels you to continue doing it. It isn't BECAUSE you lack motivation, which you very well might since, in my experience, it usually disappears on Friday, around 3pm, and returns Monday morning when the alarm goes off (and is usually accompanied by other emotions like guilt, shame, regret, and a sense of hopelessness).
Break the habit loop. It will be hard the first weekend you determine to break that habit, but truly, it is also SIMPLE. There is no circumstance in the normal course of our daily lives which is KEEPING you from remaining on program during the weekend. Any circumstance that you can think of is simply a concept. The exceptions would be if you are in jail, in the hospital, or have been duct-taped to a chair by captors and force-fed by gunpoint, so if you find yourself in any of THESE situations then yes, it's likely any of those three circumstances could prevent you from controlling what and when you eat.The focus of OUR program, the program that has the potential to bring an INCREDIBLE and STUNNING transformation of your health and, in the process help you develop a healthy mind as well, is to begin living an "Optimally Healthy" life. One of the ways we move into an optimally healthy life is that we learn and master the Habits of Health (Dr. A's book) and internalize them, truly develop the healthy habits that will carry us forward. Believe me, MOTIVATION is not one of those habits. Motivation is simply an EMOTION and can COME and GO! It always will! There is nothing wrong with you when you lose steam and think "Where did my motivation go? How can I get motivated again? I'm just not motivated anymore!" Of COURSE it disappeared! You are chasing an emotion, you a chasing a feeling that is elusive, by nature! The solution is not to put yourself in a position where you are always just looking for "more motivation" to prop yourself up. Believe me, motivation is hard to find on a Friday or Saturday night, especially when you might not even be LOOKING for it by then. The solution is to make a fundamental decision that you will begin learning and practicing habits of health (which do NOT rely on motivation). Developing a healthy mind is not about "really really really wanting to lose weight", which can lead to "really, really FEELING like losing weight". It may START there, but it cannot END there, because even if you can "hold your breath" all the way to your "Goal weight" you will then find you will need to come up for air. What does coming up for air look like? It isn't pretty. In this scenario it means you will likely be back to your old unhealthy habits from BEFORE you started the program, which usually results in regaining the weight. Since you viewed the entire process as a process of "deprivation" (which is, again, indicative of a "diet mentality"), you will be DONE with "depriving" yourself. After all, you've "reached your target," right? You may even skip the all-important "Transition" phase (step 3) of our program because, hey, you made it! You did it! Well, if your goal was "to lose weight" then yes, technically, you reached your goal, if this was always a diet to you. But, did you know that "losing weight" is not even one of the phases of our optimal health program?
Here are the (verbatim) phases of our program (see the Optavia Guide):
1) Preparing for your journey
2) Getting to a healthy weight
3) Transition to healthy eating
4) Living the habits of health
5) Optimizing health for your age
6) The potential for living a longer, healthier life
The purpose of OUR program is truly to LIVE an optimally healthy life. If you determine to switch your focus from a "diet mentality" to a mindset of "Living an Optimally Healthy Life" then you find yourself on a JOYFUL journey (because you are seeing real results, weekly, sometimes daily, from your dedication and action), instead of a FRUSTRATED journey (pining over all those yummy things you tell yourself you can't have, daily) that has nothing to DO with deprivation, or even your up-and-down levels of motivation! If you began to master the skill of daily practicing the Habits of Health in phase 2 (getting to a healthy weight) then you HAVEN'T arrived at your "goal" because we will ALWAYS be moving towards optimal health! Sure you are now out of the "Getting to a healthy weight" but you will joyfully move in to the "Transition to healthy eating" phase confidently! And, six weeks later you will then move into the "Living the habits of health" phase, which then include optimizing health for your age and in sum total these phases will give you the potential for living a longer, healthier life.This doesn't happen on it's own, automatically, it takes utilizing the four components of our program, which are the following:
2) HABITS OF HEALTH SYSTEM: Actively engaging with the Habits of Health System - reading Dr. A's Habits of Health systematically and regularly, and working through the "Living a Longer, Healthier Life" workbook. Habits of Health are not some nebulous concept, they are clearly defined in Dr. A's Habits of Health. They are simple to understand, and we can get you on the path to truly embracing and living them.
3) COMMUNITY: This means living your own journey out loud to the degree that is comfortable (and sometimes uncomfortable) for you, which creates a support systems from the people around you in your daily life. It also means, in many cases, bringing people along with you into optimal health, people you care about and want to do life with. Basically, engaging with and becoming part of a community of like-minded people pursuing health.
4) FUELINGS: Utilizing the fuelings as are appropriate to the phase you are in. If you are still getting to a healthy weight, this means you are on the Optimal Weight 5&1 Program. If you are transitioning to a healthy weight, it means you are following the transition guide and over 6 weeks are moving to a 3:3 program. If you are in the last 3 phases you are eating 6 times a day, in a structured way and with healthy nutritious foods, with 3 meals and 3 healthy fuelings (not product dependent, but many people do continue to use the fuelings due to convenience).
So my advice today?
First, do a "mindset check". Is this a joyful journey because you have set you mind on living an optimally healthy life? Are you moving through the phases of the program in a way that can ensure predictable transformation? If so, keep doing what you are doing, continue learning and mastering the habits of health, continue building community and engaging in community of healthy-minded people.
Is this a frustrating journey because you can't seem to make your actions align on a consistent basis with what you have SAID that you want? Well, if you are simply wanting to "lose weight" and this is a "diet" for you, then let's talk because you CAN work towards shifting from a diet mindset to a mindset of attaining and living in optimal health. If you view this as a health journey already (not a diet) and are struggling, then let's talk, because you CAN reduce your frustration by taking the actions that will take you where you want to go!
How DO you do that?
1. Make a fundamental decision that you want to create optimal health in your life. This is a decision, a commitment, and isn't swayed by emotions or circumstances.
2. Put all of your goals and dreams regarding your health goals at the TOP of a piece of paper. This is where you are headed, where have decided to go. It may look different for everyone, because our goals and dreams regarding our health are always individual. But they are YOURS. And you have DECIDED you will go there. These are measurable goals, not one's like "I want to feel better and have more energy". That will happen on day 4 of our program, so that isn't a measurable goal.
3. Write an OBJECTIVE ASSESSMENT of your CURRENT HEALTH REALITY (where you are now) at the BOTTOM of a piece of paper. Don't be harsh, but be accurate. Remember, this is NOT subjective, it is objective.
4. Starting from the bottom (current reality), and moving UPWARDS towards your goal write down the ACTION STEPS you are going to take to move from your current reality to your health goals. Be detailed in these steps, and make them action-oriented. We can do all the studying, preparing, learning, wishing, praying, dreaming, and hoping that we want to do, but if we do not STEP into ACTION then nothing will move forward.
If you would like some help with this step, please let me know! Sometimes it's hard to talk nuts and bolts with action because we've lived in the hoping and dreaming arena for so long it can be hard to quantify these steps into actual action.
And most importantly of all, WHY are you doing this, anyway? Why did you begin the program? Do those reasons still exist? Are they still important to you? Reconnect with your WHY, and then learn and master (practicing daily) your Habits of Health, and utilize ALL the components of our program.