Q: hi Erika! What advice do you have for those who’ve started gaining weight back? Do you find the same old motivation that you started with or do you find a new goal?
Short answer—and, really, short is all I’ve really got before Baby Sprout wakes up and goes HAM—is yes.
Long-ish answer: We can’t ignore the fact that we do grow and change, and as we’re hit with new circumstances and challenges, they mold us and shape us… and our lives adjust accordingly.
Lots of people are able to make adequate enough lifestyle changes that result in success, but ultimately what trips them up is a wrench thrown in the plan. Maybe it’s something as innocent as one of the kids taking on an additional sport or extra practices after school, delaying how much time you want to spend cooking dinner. Maybe it’s a series of late nights at the office. Maybe it’s a commute that got longer because you take transit, and the construction has the buses running behind.
Either way, there was a reason why you began regaining the weight you once successfully lost. Your new goal needs to be figuring out what it was that got you off track, because your ultimate goal needs to not only address that issue but also help you pro-actively future-proof your understanding of healthy living and weight loss maintenance.
You’ll want to start by taking a look at how active you are, and whether or not you kept up your active lifestyle. If the answer is no—which, sometimes, it will be—then look at your life now, and figure out what happened. Did the job become too demanding? Did you try to commit to an activity that you don’t truly enjoy? Did you fall out of love with what it is you thought you could stick to forever? Did your favorite instructor quit, and the new one just doesn’t do it for you? These are things that seem small, but they chip away at your desire and eagerness to commit to an activity, so much so that you ultimately hang it up.
Sometimes, it’s something like an intensified social life. If you’re still active, but you’re going on a few extra dates each week, you might need to reassess what you’re eating, how much, and whether you’d rather simply run an extra mile or two to stave off the gain.
Maybe it’s stress, and it’s pulling you back into favored old habits. Maybe you just got a little comfortable and don’t realize your portion sizes were getting larger.
You’ll know, after you spend a little time taking a look at how you live and where things changed. With this information, you can set better, more applicable and appropriate goals to help you get back to where you were.
To speak directly to motivation for a second, look at it like this: motivation is the counterweight to your natural habit. It’s your reason for choosing to not do what is most comfortable to you at a given time. The motivation you had to achieve your goal the first time has worn off, since you’re gaining weight now. Find a new reason for why you make the choices you do, willfully and actively, and that will give you a renewed vigor with which to go after your goals.
Trust me – your body will thank you for it!