To Live and Be healthy
#3 Your Motivation
When I first started practice I spent some of my time volunteering with a local addiction recovery program providing input on health decisions, diet decisions, and how to use our knowledge of neurotransmitter deficiencies to assist with the recovery process. For a few months I was blessed to be a part of their lives and see their struggles and difficulties and their achievements and successes. After talking with many during different stages of their recovery the largest factor for success that I witnessed was that of motivation. Those focused simply on stopping would have the most difficult time, and they would often regress and sometimes go long periods of time before making the decision to stop again. But, those that thought through their life and found deeper motivations such as children, life achievements, or God, would more likely find inner strength to stay clean longer, jump back after they faltered, and sometimes stop entirely. Our habits are not easy to give up; it doesn’t matter if it’s something simple like your daily soda or something more difficult like addictions. The truth is we all have habits and in some cases they are addictions especially when it comes to our health. We must find our motivations to break our own habits and addictions
Unfortunately we live in a world where we are often told what should be important to us. It often comes as marketing schemes and ways to sell more products, but the sad truth is we hear it, it soaks in, and we tend to live life accordingly. In the world of health this is particularly potent as those trying to present or sell a product can easily hit one particularly strong heart string: how we look. The weight lose industry alone is a $20 billion a year industry and yet the numbers of those overweight and obese continue to go up. My firm belief is one reason why this industry isn’t successful in helping more people lose weight is because the very focus of “wanting to lose weight” isn’t a good form of motivation. It is superficial. It focuses on how one appears or looks and sets that at the center of “why” actions should or not be taken. The truth is weight loss does not equal health nor does it equal function nor does it equal so many of the other worthy goals that many have in mind when they embark on their journey of changing their lives. These worthy goals all too often get lost to this one concept, focus, and obsession of “weight loss.”
One of the harder conditions I have seen individuals struggle through when it comes to this area is the different forms of hypothyroidism. Typically by the time a doctor realizes that someone has thyroid problems they are already feeling tired, fatigued, sluggish and often have been retaining weight for years. While it is true that on the surface this is just a hormone imbalance, the causes go much deeper. The typical solution is to give thyroid hormones which often help people feel better for awhile but few don’t need to continually up the amount to still feel “normal.” I had one client in this particular situation, and the worst part was the hormones never helped her lose weight like she wanted. There was a need to change her focus. She had become consumed by the “condition” and the weight and had really given up on looking the way she wanted. Our focus became on her life and her as a person. What things did she want to do, who did she want to become, and what was she willing to give up to get there. The dietary changes were simple no dairy and no gluten. Her goal became to eat as much good, real food as she could in her day and her desire was focused on being happy. She is now the mom of two kids, is very active with those kids, has taken up running, is starting a new business and loving life. And while it took time, her thyroid levels now check fine. She still hasn’t lost all the weight she probably wants to, but it doesn’t matter anymore.
At the center of change needs to be motivating factors that are strong enough to drive us on our journey. Long before the “how” is considered we must lay the right foundation of “why.” If this is not established first then it is too easy to lose our way during the times that are most difficult, or it becomes near impossible to start again if we have temporarily stepped off our path. When it comes to health, my experience has been that true motivators are: feeling good and happy inside, being able to continue your activities like sports, dancing, playing with children, travel, having enough energy to enjoy the day as oppose to wanting to sleep, being active in retirement, being active right now, playing with grandkids, loving life, accomplishing more at work, or accomplishing more at home.
The solution to all of these is being invested in your health. It is a state of mind of wanting to take care of yourself and the body that you have because we can’t replace it. It comes from accepting that being young and active or older and active isn’t a lottery, and that it comes from taking proper care of one ’s self. We have all heard the stories of the individual that lived to 90 who smoked everyday of their life, and while that may have occurred in the past, enough has changed that we won’t see this in the future. My experience has been that of those I work on who are over 60, if they are in good health and are actively pursuing their lives, it is because they are health conscious people.
There is a need to analyze your motivations, strip them down and admit what is driving you. It is just as important to have the right motivations as to lose the wrong ones. Wrong motivations will lead you to make decisions that will not help you achieve your real goal. So what drives you? What do you want to motivate you? Who is the person you want to become? Have this firmly set in your mind and being healthy will start to come.
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