If you have or know children, you know they long the question"why?" Usually it is an unanswerable question, like "why is the sky blue?" or "why do dogs bark and cats meow?" or "why do I have to have a baby brother?" About the only more annoying question is "are we they yet?" which can be rephrased as "why are we not there yet?"
"Why" is an important question to answer. We have all seen the police TV show, where they find fingerprints, and DNA evidence, but still can't solve the case until the detective uncovers the motive. The "why". Other questions (who, what, when, where, and how) can be answered with a picture or two. But can you find any pictures to answer the questions above?
I started this blog as a way to keep my focus on my weight management goal. I wanted to lose weight. Many people on LoseIt and followers of the blog can claim the same goal. But wanting to lose weight is only the first step, and is not the most important step. Like the TV detective, you need to answer the "why".
Why do you want to lose weight (or gain muscle, or reduce body fat, whatever your goal.) The reason is going to be primarily external or internal. An external reason, and one that I see on LoseIt frequently it so look good at an upcoming wedding, reunion, or vacation. He/she wants to look good on that beach in that new swim suit. This person wants to look good for others. Sure, ego is involved, but it is other people that are the focus.
An internal factor could be that your health is diminished, or is at risk of developing a condition. Personally, my blood pressure was greatly elevated, and my back and knees were in constant pain. I didn't like how I looked, but my motivation was more about being rejected for platelet donation because my blood pressure was VERY high (168/108). I really didn't care what the Red Cross worker thought, I just didn't want to think about a stroke or heart attack in my future.
Until you know why you are choosing to change your body, success will be difficult. Obstacles will be presented and will seem insurmountable. Or the goal will seem to be more effort than it is worth. And if your reasons are external, I believe long term success will elude you. Even if you lose the weight, and look spectacular in that new swim suit as you walk the Bahamanian beaches, as soon as the vacation is done and you have returned to the frozen winter, your reason for the workouts and logging will be gone. This is especially true for those of you who are following significantly restrictive plans to lose weight (extreme low carb, or extreme low calorie, or even extreme workout regimens.) Anything that requires a major paradigm shift from your "average day" will be challenging, (although not impossible) to maintain that change forever.
But if you have a strong internal motivator, do not have a rigid deadline for success, and use a plan that is only a variant of your usual life, you are more likely to reach your goal--eventually--and then stay there. In other words, use portion control for your meals, and add exercise in a natural fashion. Rather than buy exercise DVDs and rigorously exercise for 60 minutes a day, simply walk more in your daily life. Ignore elevators. Look for parking spots distant from your destination. Walk your dog a little longer or twice a day. Ozzy loves my new life. If you have a home and have a lawn that is 1/3 acre or less, get rid of the lawn service or self-propelled mower and buy a reel mower. You become the motor. You'll buy no gasoline and add no extra carbon to the atmosphere. You'll burn a lot of calories--quietly. And you'll be the envy of the neighborhood, because you will probably mow twice a week.
I'm not telling anyone that their choices are wrong. These are my opinions, based on a sample size of one (me.) Your plan may work for you. But I truly believe that if you don't have a solid and significantly personal reason for changing your life, you won't be ultimately successful.
I hope you identify your "why."
Later I will post tonight's recipe, Moo Shu Vegetable with Shirataki Noodles.