Question about healthy/non-healthy motivation

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    • #9823

      Hi Gillian and all others on this journey,

      I had already given up on weight loss as a motivation because I’d already discovered that the more I wanted weight loss the less I seemed capable of actually achieving it. So over the years I have developed other reasons to try and eat less. But after Sunday’s webinar I’m not sure that those reasons are helping me, but I’m not quite sure why. I’m equally obsessed with these reasons as I was with weight loss.

      For the time being I’m ditching my old reasons and am just going to focus on the immediate and long term health benefits, and also the emotional health benefits.

      But I’m a little irked by why my original reasons weren’t necessarily good for me – and I’d welcome any insights from other people. They seem innocent enough. Here are some examples of them:

      I want to be in control/I want to have control
      I want to overcome and beat this problem that has plagued me around for 35+ years

      Here’s the ones that I can see are red flags, I want the above so that I can feel more:

      Equal to other people

      I’m not proud to write this stuff down – I know it looks a little stupid – but best get this out there!

      I feel like I have turned eating less into a battle where I prove my self worth. And naturally because I don’t really believe in my ability to do this I set myself up for failure from the get-go.

      So I am thinking I need to change the conversation entirely from one that it is a battle to just one that asks how I can be a bit happier and live with a little more peace.

      Any insights gratefully accepted!


    • #9827


      First, I’m curious about “over the years I have developed other reasons to try and eat less” and wonder why you think of it as developing reasons. Surely the non-weight benefits that come from eating less are either there or not there? You could observe, describe, become more aware of, yes?

      I wonder if a part of this is the word ‘control’ which is likely to mean 20 different things to 20 different people. Does it imply a rigidity or perfection to you? I ask because if so, that would certainly create problems.

      And perhaps this from Nathaniel Branden (a favourite of mine) speaks to you:
      “If you aim to prove I am “enough” the project goes on until infinity – because the battle was already lost on the day you conceded the issue was debatable.”

    • #9828
      Julie Mann


    • #9829


      I guess I say develop because originally I did start out trying to eat less to lose weight – a whole 2 lbs on the urging of a running coach – in the days when runners were deemed too fat if they had periods.

      And that started a whole cycle of trying to lose weight, regaining etc etc. I’ve let go of the whole weight thing because I know it is a losing strategy for me. But even when I walked away from it by then I was disturbed by my eating – binging, overeating, picking etc etc.

      So I haven’t developed reasons as you say, I’ve become more aware from them.

      No control doesn’t mean rigidity or perfection. But your second comment hits disturbingly home. That’s what I think I started to realize when I was doing the exercise of trying to find reasons why. My old reasons felt weighty and a little depressing and it all came down to wanting to get them because I wanted to feel good enough.

      My new reasons I have come up with are around feeling better physically and feeling a little happier in the moment – not grandiose aims as I don’t want to set myself up. I think I have to be aware that those too could easily be turned into an “am I good enough or not” question.


    • #9834


      Your “Exploring Motivation” exercise includes good non-weight benefits, and you may well see more as you go on. The main thing is that you’ve already taken a step back from this “just” being about weight and clearly see there are other things at stake.

      I suspect that your biggest breakthrough(s) will come from other parts of the course.

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