Motivation-Part I (or happiness=eating)
What motivates a person to stay committed to their diet plan? I have been thinking about this a lot the last few days. It has definitely been a touchy issue during my weekly weigh in appointments at Jenny Craig. I know what I want and what I want is to hit 126 pounds. Right now I am hovering at 136. At the same time, even though I know I want it, I can’t seem to maintain the level of fierce determination necessary to achieve this. Bottom line, I cheat or have cheated every two weeks on pretty much any diet I am on. I guess my JC counselor has noticed that as soon as I approach 136/137 I seem to bounce back up a few pounds. She has confronted me about this and admitted to me that she felt my determination was lacking. I realize this and it frustrates me to no end.
Here is the pattern. As soon as I start to feel better about myself (because I’ve lost weight) or my life in general is going well and I’m happy, I celebrate this newfound joy with food. Then, of course, I am mad at myself and thoroughly disappointed which remotivates me. The cycle repeats itself. It’s a contradiction that my mind can grasp but my body disregards. My counselor seems exasperated by my fluctuating motivation and we can’t find anything to keep me on track and unwavering.
This question of motivation lead me to think about eating habits and patterns. I spoke to a few of my other friends about their eating habits and found that many of them eat more volume and more often when they are depressed, anxious or angry. At my most anxious or depressed, I can hardly look at food. My stomach responds like I’m on a carnival ride and I am plunging hundreds of feet per second. I’ve hears this state is often referred to as the body’s “fight or flight” response, one typically reserved for emergencies where a high adrenaline response is required. A sustained state like this over many years is highly correlated with hypertension and any number of other health problems. This constant state of hyper-arousal, while a disaster for my own immune system, sleep cycle, blood pressure, nervous system, etc, is great for my waistline. Isn’t that sick? If I am in a state of panic all the time, I have no problem with weight loss. If I’m happy and stress free, I guarantee I will be lugging around an extra 10-15 pounds. Does this mean I will always have to struggle with food when I am happy? Does this mean I will have to struggle with food forever? What can I find to keep me motivated FOREVER even when I’m happy and unconcerned about my weight?