Manipulating motivation towards successful weight management


If there’s something that I would consider that I’m really good at, that is creating both my intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. In fact, if I could only sell my motivation, I probably don’t have to work double jobs right now. The most common question many people asks me is how do I do it and of simply say, through motivation. I wrote my own diet story here. Motivation, in the context of successful weight management is very important because if passion would be the cause of igniting fire in a fireplace, it’s the motivation that keeps the intensity of the flame. In weight management, I was talking about consistency. Consistency is very important because fitness is a marathon, not a sprint. I can probably post several motivational and inspirational quotes here just like what most fitness gurus/ fitness websites does, not that there’s anything wrong with that because while it’s true that such quotes can be really beneficial if we can interpret it’s message/ meaning in real life scenario but most people simply just read such quotes without applying/ without knowing how to apply it in their pursuit of personal weight management.

Motivation is defined as the process that initiates, guides and maintains goal-oriented behaviors. Motivation is what causes us to act, whether it is turning a tv on if we want to watch a tv to entertain ourselves or to watch our favorite tv shows or by reading a book to gain knowledge. There are three major components to motivation: activation, persistence and intensity. Activation involves the decision to initiate a behavior, such as the desire to lose weight/body fat, increase muscle size or whatever fitness goal we have. Persistence is the continued effort toward a goal even though obstacles may exist, such as reading/ researching more informations about fitness stuff in order to earn adequate knowledge and understanding about fitness rationale although it requires a significant investment of time, energy and resources. Finally, intensity can be seen in the concentration and vigor that goes into pursuing a goal. The final part is where the majority of people fail to put into practice because the intensity part of their motivation is already gone.

The two types of motivation are frequently described as being either extrinsic or intrinsic. Extrinsic motivations are those that arise from outside of the individual and often involve rewards such as trophies, money, social recognition or praise. In the context of weight management, it can be our external feedback or flattering comments we get from people once we succeeded in our weight/ fat loss plan. Intrinsic motivations are those that arise from within the individual, such as myself writing this blog to fulfill my intrinsic motivation to help other people succeed in their weight management goal. By creating this blog itself motivates me to set myself as a good example to many people that despite of my hectic lifestyle, through my organizational skills, proper time management and of course motivation, I can successfully maintain my body weight & body composition regardless of any changes life has to offer. Just like what I always say, I taught myself how to become aware of my environment and I learned(still learning) to adapt to it.

Just like diet and exercise variables which are the highly manipulatable elements in order to achieve desirable fitness results because those two are in our control, manipulating motivation to our disposal is also in our control. Having an adequate and consistent motivation itself is already achieving 50% of the whole weight management success because it’s the drive that dictates our behavior. For example, if you are tempted to eat something that is not included in your diet, by thinking of something that highly motivates you, let’s say, you’ve been dieting for months to have a flat stomach, you can divert your attention towards the amount of effort you already put into instead of thinking about the tantalizing food in front of you. If we start thinking of the things that we have already accomplished versus thinking of the things that we may get in the future, it molds our future behavior towards dieting success because it becomes a habit. A habit is hard to break so make it a good habit to constantly remind ourselves of the things that motivates us. That is the key to consistency. While the source of motivation highly varies from person to person, the best source of intrinsic motivation is happiness. I would define happiness as an intense feeling of excitement or peace, or both. Try to recall an event where you are going to buy something that you really like(new shoes, new bag, new gadget or what have you). It gives you the feeling of enthusiasm and optimism; therefore, it motivates you to go to the store right away. It is the same feeling that we need to make ourselves feel to stay highly motivated in our fitness goal. When an activity becomes an accomplishment, it gives you the feeling of peace afterwards. Peace in a way of having a peace of mind and fulfillment that you accomplished your given exercise plan despite of being busy with everyday demands. Motivation is everywhere. We just need to find it consistently. Being creative helps too!

Personally, some may consider it as vanity but I enjoy looking at myself in the mirror; staring at my hard-earned lean physique that I maintain year-round yet it gives me a rewarding feeling of that I can now wear whatever clothes I want. This may be anecdotal but even an inexpensive unbranded shirt can look fancy if worn by fit people. That’s a motivation itself to stick to your diet/ training plan! I also have 3 kids myself and I want to stay fit so I can keep up with their high energy levels thus I will serve as a good role model to them on how to eat a balanced diet along with a physically active lifestyle. Those two were examples of my intrinsic motivation source. It’s quite normal for married people to gain weight after marriage. Staying lean and fit after marriage while my batch mates are all growing their beer bellies, it creates an extrinsic motivation of having the trophy of maintaining leanness. People are creatures of emotions. Sometimes, when I’m pissed off, I just spend those negative energy in my workout; in return, it makes my workout even more productive by motivating myself to conquer that negative feeling. It also helps to spend more time with people who have similar interests like fitness because we only not widen our knowledge spectrum but it also create an extrinsic source of motivation. This is the same effect people get on hiring personal trainers because of the beneficial effect of “coaching effect” because sometimes, we need that someone to be held accountable on pushing us psychologically.

There are many things in life that can provide us continuous motivation. Sometimes, all we need to do is to keep both of our eyes open and somehow, change our perspectives on life towards proactivity. Health is wealth as they say. People should view health itself as a motivating tool alone because it is a life-long investment.

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