20 Oct WHY WANTING TO LOSE WEIGHT WILL NOT GET YOU THERE
On our registration form, we ask a simple question. Why would you like to workout with us? You thought we asked you that for fun but it is there for a good reason. We actually want to know. Why? Because this WHY will determine if you will achieve your goals or not.
Guess what 70% of our Riders have answered? “to lose weight”. That answer makes me sad because I know if the only reason why you want to exercise is to lose weight, you might lose it, but most cases will not achieve a sustainable healthy lifestyle – and let’s be honest that’s what we want for you!!
We also get a lot of negative answers like “fix my body” and that’s not good either: your body is a valuable thing, you should take care of it, there is nothing wrong about it so it doesn’t need “fixing!”
A little disclaimer, most of the theories I will talk about in this post are from an amazing book that I encourage you to read : No Sweat from Michelle Segar.
Studies show that logical rewards like better health, or weight loss do not motivate people enough to change their lifestyle and get active no matter what. Why?
Because these goals are too abstract to overcome people’s busy schedules. We all have a million things to do and sometimes there is just “no time” for fitness, right? That’s why most of the people who start a healthy behavior are most likely to drop it within six months. We are we all guilty of it: buying a yearly membership at a gym and after a month, finding every excuse under the sun to skip gym time. Is it because you are lazy? NO. Is it because you had the wrong WHY to exercise? YES.
You want to like exercise? Change your WHY: The wrong reason WHY you start exercising will most likely set you up for failure, and we don’t want that!
Michelle Segar explains that the wrong WHY (lose weight, look good, follow your doctor’s prescription…) is outside ourselves, it feels like a blurry, long term goal to meet societal standards or to please someone. You HAVE to do it, then you see it as a chore and your brain will do everything in its power to avoid the “chore” of exercise, and trust me our brains are quite powerful! Then you will blame yourself in 6 months, thinking: “’I’m just too lazy”. This is what the author calls the Vicious circle of failure. I’m not saying you shouldn’t want to lose weight, it is a good goal but it is just not compelling enough for you to exercise regularly.
What’s the right WHY then?
A good why should come from YOU. It should be relevant to your daily life and personally meaningful and compelling. Choose a good WHY with immediate and emotional rewards because that’s what your brain craves. Make exercise something essential in your daily life with immediate and noticeable consequences. Just like coffee! I always hear: “I need coffee in the morning to feel awake and focused” Make exercise your new coffee. A good why is: I exercise as a tool to focus more at work / to feel good in my skin / get more energy / be in a good mood/ to reduce anxiety…find your WHY and you already have done 50% of the work.
Once you found your WHY, the best way to be physically active for the rest of your life relies on 4 letters according to Michelle Segar: M.A.P.S. :
What does exercise mean to you? Think about it for a second. Is it a good thing? Is it enjoyable? Is it something you have to do? (most likely you went for the 3rd option). Most of us think exercise is good for us and it is something we SHOULD do to be healthier. It sounds like a prescription. However, do you know someone looks forward to taking their prescribed medicine? NO ONE! For most of us, exercise is something we know we HAVE to do, even though we don’t really like to sweat like a crazy person. That’s the reason why we fail to be active everyday.
Let me stop you there: What counts as exercise for you? Is walking the dog exercising? Is cleaning the house exercising? YES and YES. You do not need to be sweating and out of breath to be exercising. Every move counts! Suddenly it sounds so much easier to exercise everyday right?
To get moving for good you need to change the way you perceive exercise from a chore, to a gift you are looking forward to get. Sounds amazing, right? We started with the right WHY then we need to take the next step:
Change the meaning you have for exercise. You think you hate exercising? Then you are doing the wrong kind of exercise. Exercise should make you feel good it shouldn’t feel like a punishment! You know why? Because our brain is wired to look for what makes us feel good and avoid what makes us feel bad. No wonder why if you tell yourself I hate running you will find every excuse possible not to go running!
Find something you like. Anything. Walking the dog, parkour, cleaning the house, running ultra marathons, riding an aquabike with us…any movement is better than nothing!
Once you have found your thing, stick with it. Slowly but surely you will feel amazing and you will change your meaning of exercise. The right WHY and the right activity for you will definitely change the way you see exercise from a chore to a gift making you WANTING to workout! This is what Michele Segar calls the “successful cycle of motivation” Once you are in there, you do not want to stop exercising – sounds like wonderland!
Be very frank with yourself here: What is really keeping you from being motivated? Is it because you feel you can’t do it? Michelle Segar says it well: you should “exorcise, exercise: Get rid of all the beliefs expectations and wrong whys that have been undermining your relationship with movement” Write them down on a piece of paper and once you are done with your list… shred it! I’ve tried it, it feels great too You can do anything. Choose to move for yourself, choose exercise as your fuel. Put your mind to it and stay positive – don’t forget to celebrate the small victories along the way!
In this day and age, time is precious. Our lives are getting busier and busier and it seems that there is no time to exercise. Guess what? You need to MAKE time. Allow yourself to prioritize (without guilt) self-care in your daily life. A lot of mums out there must be screaming at their screens: “but I feel like everyone needs me all the time! It would be really selfish to just take time for myself and neglect my kids / husband / friends!”
All day long you give energy to others, but how do you recharge? You need some balance. Exercising has been proven to reduce anxiety, boost energy, increase focus and produce endorphins (the feel-good hormones). Explain to others that you need to put self-care in your to-do list to be a better mother, wife or employee. It really works!
Even with all the goodwill in the world there will always be days where it just seems impossible to get your “me time” working out. There are a few “strategies”, tricks to get you exercising even when all odds seem against you.
– Plan: schedule your workouts and stick to it
– Be socially accountable: tell your friends and family about this new activity
– Preview: Already think of what you will get from your workouts: give it a purpose
– Bring your family and friends into your new healthy lifestyle: walk with your kids to school or ask your friend for a walk instead of coffee.
– Create an “if-then”: having a plan B when things go south is the best way not to skip exercise all together. “If I finish work too late for my 1 hour run then I can still do a 20min HIIT routine at home”
– Listen to your body: there will be days where you can’t move as much. Instead of forcing you to move (chore) find an “easier” way to be active, a way that makes you want to move anyway. You are too tired for a run? Go for a walk in the park instead!
– Review your week: have a look at what you did last week and without judging, look at what you can improve next week to get more active!
Being active for the rest of your life is paramount. To achieve that goal, you will need to start with the right WHY, find activities that you enjoy doing, see exercise as a gift, allow yourself to put self-care in your to do list and find tricks to get you moving even when life gets tough.
If you follow this path I can ensure you will lose weight without even realizing it!
Alicia is the Co-Founder of Aquaspin Pte Ltd, addicted to aqua biking since 2010!
#motivation #fitspo #aquaspin #aquabiking #aquabike #aquaspinsg #nosweat