One of my favorite patients came in for a visit yesterday. Yes I am admitting it…like every nurse, doctor, teacher, esthetician, hairdresser, mechanic, escort (I didn’t say that) we all have our ‘favorites’. This woman is bright, interesting, engaging, caring, successful, introspective, thoughtful…everything we all would like to be described as. She has been coming to see me every 6-8 weeks for around 6 years. I always book extra time as we end up doing lots of talking and conclude the visit with good feelings (at least on my part) and I think having learned something from each other.
Yesterday, she came in apologizing. She said she had nearly cancelled her appointment as she felt that she was letting me down. I had no idea what she was talking about. She expanded to say that she felt she was wasting my time as she really hasn’t, in the last little while, been making much progress with her weight loss journey. I was literally gob-smacked. She was letting ME down?? So I asked her…who exactly are you doing this for?As you can imagine, this lead to quite a discussion that veered off into a great many directions.
It got me thinking though (which is a good thing, because as you can see from my lack of blogs lately I have been in a bit of a hibernation mode)…I wonder how many patients out there are trying to achieve weight loss goals to make someone else happy. To make a spouse love them more say, or a partner be more attracted to them. To make their parents who paid for the band proud of them. To make their boss or colleagues show more respect.
I think we are all motivated to do things for a wide variety of reasons. Sometimes the reasons are altruistic, other times self-serving. Sometimes it’s to gain love, respect or recognition. I don’t think there is anything wrong with this, this keeps us learning, contributing, achieving…living. When it comes to ones own health however, your primary motivation to succeed must be for yourself. YOU have to want this for yourself more than anyone else does. Doing this, and by ‘this’ I mean improving your life by way of living a healthy lifestyle…eating well, moving more, losing weight…for someone else, from what I have witnessed results in limited, temporary success. It doesn’t last. This has to be for you. If you are feeling unmotivated…suffering from the mid-winter ‘blahs’ (and who isn’t) think of…no …write down… all the reasons why you want to make a lifestyle change. Not ‘I want to get down to xxx lbs.’ but REAL, TANGIBLE things that you want to achieve. Think of what is important to YOU and not anyone else. Here are some of the goals my patients have shared with me:
“I am doing this because” :
- I don’t want to remain/become diabetic
- I want to lower my cholesterol and get off my medications
- I don’t want to hurt anymore
- I want to be able to ride in amusement park rides with my kids
- I want to be able to fly in an airplane without having to ask for the seat belt extender
- I want to be able to sit cross-legged on the grass with my children
- I want to be able to go to the theatre and sit comfortably in the seats
- I want to be able to do up my bra
- I want to fit into those clothes at the back of my closet
- I want to hold my grandchildren on my lap
THESE are reasons to work everyday at getting healthy (and it is work). These are reasons to STICK WITH IT and not give up!! Who gives a @#!! about everyone else???? You are doing this for YOU.
We only go around this life once and as I get older I realize that this ride goes really, really quickly. I can’t write this blog tonight without mentioning my father. My Dad was a really wonderful fellow who passed away quite recently (another reason for my hibernation). He is on my mind 24/7. I think just as you can’t really know what it is like to BE a parent until you become one…you can’t really understand what it is like to lose a parent until you have lost one. Even though the time may be ‘right’ for them, if you were blessed with wonderful parents it will never be ‘right’ for you. My Dad was a man who lived life to the fullest and encouraged his three daughters to do the same. He didn’t sit back and wait for life to happen to him. While being a great Dad (most of the time…I blame him completely for my spider phobia) he lived his life both for his family but also for himself. And he didn’t wait for life to happen TO him. One of his pearls of wisdom?… “sh*t or get off the pot” :). That’s an oldie but a goldie isn’t it?…
IF YOU WANT SOMETHING MAKE IT HAPPEN. I firmly believe we can do anything we put our minds to if we are doing it for the right reasons. And I can’t think of a better reason than good health, because we have nothing if we don’t have this.
Yours in health and fitness,