I pondered these questions not so long ago when I happened to read a blog post written by a Finnish fitness and weight loss blogger Katri Manninen.
Katri’s questions re your motivation for losing weight were so good I felt compelled to answer them myself. I translated the questions into English and posted them on my blog so you can answer them yourself if you want.
Question 1: What are your expectations regarding weight loss?
Imagine you wake up tomorrow morning and realize you’ve magically lost your extra weight and are now your ideal size and shape. What’s different from today? Imagine living one day in your ideal body. How do you feel? What do you think? How do you act?
Take a good look at the mental image you created. Did you find out that your weight loss changed other aspects of your life than your weight and your body? Perhaps your career, relationships or financial situation?
Ok. I imagined that for one day I was the strong, slim and energetic person I want to be. And yes, in my imagination I was some kind of ideal version of myself living a dream life that is quite different from what my life is right now.
When I pondered my experience further, I realized that in my imagination I was happy and comfortable with myself and didn’t waste any time thinking about my weight, size and daily eats. That differs considerably from my current, self-conscious self that is constantly aware of her (assumed) imperfections like double chin, muffin top, flabby underarms etc.
My ideal self also wore pretty, colorful clothes that flattered her figure, not the baggy jeans and ill-fitting tops that I use to cover myself with these days. And yes, my dream self also approached men with courage, unlike my current self that freezes like a deer in headlights if a suitable male happens to step inside her territory.
Question 2: What would you do differently, if you knew you can’t lose weight?
Imagine that you find out that for some reason, you’ll never be slimmer or in better shape than you’re right now. Whatever you do, you’ll be forced to live with your current body for the rest of your life.
How would that change your attitude toward you body? Would you learn to love your body as it is? How would that change your relationship to exercise and nutrition? How would you use all the energy that was liberated from your weight loss efforts? Would you be more inclined to put your energy in solving problems in other areas of your life, like your relationships, work or financial situation?
I think this is a really nasty question! It really forced me to think about things differently.
The absolute first thought that crossed my mind was “Can’t I at least have some liposuction to get rid of my double chin and flabby underarms so that I don’t have to see them for the rest of my life?”
Well, if nothing could be done about my weight, chins etc, I guess I would put more effort in acquiring the kind of wardrobe I really yearn fore want – one that has outfits for every conceivable situation and reflects my individual style and preferences.
Like Trinny and Susannah, I would find a perfect wardrobe for my figure. (I *love* Trinny and Susannah!).
When it comes to the extra energy, I would use it to create my dream life. And I would definitely have more fun and I would make sure that my body is in a top condition – meaning I can salsa all night and do 10 military push ups when I turn 50…
Question 3: Why lose weight?
How and why would you lose weight if you knew you could be perfectly happy, perfectly loved and perfectly content with yourself as you’re right now? Would you give up dieting altogether?
I think I would still want to lose weight, but there would be no hurry (I’m not in a hurry right now). I would “diet” for the same reason I want to lose weight now: I want to look better and be able to find clothes that are to my liking when I shop.
I’m a short, big-busted (i.e. top heavy!) woman with short limbs, and it’s often difficult for me to find clothes that both fit and please me.
Also, I’d rather that I would be able to fit in those nice outfits that I already have in my closet and that fit me 20 lbs ago than try replacing my whole wardrobe. Besides, I’m a bit financially challenged right now!
Health is one reason I’d also like to lose weight, even though it’s not the most important reason. Both my maternal grandmother and my mother were diagnosed with a coronary artery disease before they turned 60, and I want to avoid that.
I had a comprehensive set of blood tests taken when I turned 40 and there was nothing alarming, but I want to at least delay the onset of heart disease as long as possible.
I think that my motivation for losing weight is mostly realistic. I don’t expect to become happy, rich, hot and successful as a consequence of losing 30 pounds. I’m too old for that. 🙂
On the other hand, my dream life was very different from what my life is now. I think it’s a good reason to focus more on creating the kind of life I want than concentrate on some narrow weight loss goal…
If you answer the questions for yourself on your blog, leave me a message below!