What’s Your Motivation?
During my first presentation regarding weight loss and healthy living, I requested that attendees share with me their primary challenges as well as their overall wellness goals. This allowed us to talk about the different factors that can disrupt an attempt at healthy living (such as loving to eat or having a sweet-tooth) and focus on the big picture goals that most everyone listed (such as losing weight and dropping their clothing size). Today, I want to talk about the foundation that lies beneath both of those factors in healthy living which is your own personal motivation. Being truthful with yourself and conscious about what motivates you every day is what I believe will help you get past the inability to start a health regimen so that it becomes a lifestyle that you truly adopt for life.
I have shared with you all my experience regarding health in bits and pieces but I have yet to emphasize why I am so passionate which, beneath all of my day to day advice and suggestions, respectfully has a constant presence in my heart.
I was barely a teenager and the first memory I have regarding health was seeing my dad struggle with his weight. I don’t know why that stands out as my earliest memories because it wasn’t as I do recall visits to and from hospitals for my mom and my grandmother much earlier than that. I think the strength of the memories have more to do with how much I felt him struggle with it. For someone who was always so strong, always putting us—his family—first, I felt sad for him. It seemed so hard for him to start measuring his food and going for walks. I saw him really try to make some changes and I even tried to join him occasionally but I didn’t understand what it all meant. He seemed so miserable. Why was he doing it if it was so hard? It wasn’t long after this period of his life that he really fell ill and it was all slowly revealed to me in time.
I didn’t fully understand until later that my dad was a type 2 diabetic and what that meant. Along with his high cholesterol and high blood pressure, his sedentary lifestyle, poor nutrition and overeating had developed a disease that is fully preventable, even reversible, but his attempts were too little, too late. And by the year he turned 54, he had also developed pancreatic cancer, taking him away from us only 22 days after the tumor was originally found. Many will isolate the diseases as if they have nothing to do with the other. The bottom line for me, however, from what I saw as a teenager is that it set the stage for a personal, concrete belief that we have full control over our quality of life, at the very least, regardless of how long we have during this lifetime.
It took me several years to come to terms with what happened to him and why. When I did and finally stepped back to look at myself and embrace the passion the experience granted me, it became my personal motivation to just start taking care of myself, to feel good every day and to enjoy life as much as I possibly can. I do not want to suffer through changes nor do I want to see anyone else suffer if it can at all be prevented.
What I hope to inspire most is an ability to find joy in the lifestyle changes I’m encouraging as I am personally motivated by my father’s memory. Whatever your challenges, whatever your goals, I hope you find the underlying motivations that generate a genuine passion for your life. Whether it be fulfilling a dream of athletic ability, being around long enough to see and truly enjoy your children and grandchildren, being as healthy as possible to prevent disease or to simply feel better every day—may you find your own personal joy in health and may it always keep you going.