Part I: Creating a Burning Desire
By Dr. Michael Tobin PhD.
A recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that it makes no difference what kind of a diet you’re on. They all work, or they all don’t.
Only motivation matters.
Sometimes it takes a bunch of scientists, spending millions of dollars on a research project to tell us what we already know: To succeed at anything you have to really, really want it.
To understand burning desire think Olympic athlete, not a glamour athlete like superstar gymnast, Simone Biles, or mega-celebrity, Usain Bolt, but an out-of-the-limelight, unknown like Matej Toth, the 50km, Slovakian race walker, who won the 2016 gold medal. Outside of Slovakia and the small international community of race walkers, no one knows about Mr. Toth except his wife and mother. Fame and wealth are not what gets him to lace up at 5:00 am.
So, what motivates Mr. Toth to dedicate more than 20 hours per week to a grueling training regimen? Since there are no lucrative endorsements for his efforts, no interviews with late night hosts, no pictures of him on the back of a Wheaties box, then we can only assume that his extraordinary efforts are a result of either a burning desire for excellence, a fiercely competitive spirit, or maybe Mr. Toth just loves to walk fast. Whatever motivates Mr. Toth to speed walk 45 K 3 times per week, it’s what we psychologists would call intrinsic motivation.
The psychology and medical departments of the University of Rochester conducted a study on weight loss and motivation. For the study, the researchers recruited 128 men and women who were severely obese. Each participant was asked a series of questions assessing whether they were internally or externally motivated:
Did they decide to participate in this weight loss study because of an intrinsic desire to be healthy and in control of their lives? Or, were they motivated to partake because of external expectations and pressures from others? In other words, did they choose to participate or did they feel pressured?
The researchers discovered that those participants who identified strong powerful reasons for losing weight (intrinsic motivation):
• Attended the program regularly
• Lost more weight during the program
• Were more successful in maintaining weight loss at follow up
What Might a Burning Desire for Weight Loss Look Like?
Read these 6 brief stories about weight loss motivation and see if you can identify the common trigger that compelled them to begin their weight loss journey:
When the doctor told me a month ago that she couldn’t classify it as pre-diabetes, but diabetes… That day I looked really looked in the mirror for the first time and didn’t like what I saw. I decided right then and there that I didn’t want to be that woman anymore. I want to be able to climb the stairs at home without my heart racing. I’M DOING IT!
I have struggled with my weight my entire life. I am getting older now, so It’s all about living longer and being healthy. My mother has NEVER exercised and she’s a total mess. She has no strength and she can’t walk down her driveway. I don’t want that for me.
I’ve always been overweight, but I thought, it’s one thing to put myself at risk for health complications, but to do so to my baby is unthinkable. And I also want to be able to keep up with him or her after they are born and be able to run and have fun with them too.
I couldn’t bear to look in the mirror ever. Not to mention over dressing everywhere I went, no matter the temperature outside, just so i can hide all of my fat. Then I told myself, I can’t complain about how I look if I am not going to do anything about it.
I had found one of my old photos of a younger, happier, fit me and I remembered how that use to feel. I looked at the picture while I looked at myself in the mirror… I had gone from dresses and smiles to sweat pants and sweatshirts… anything to cover up my body. I felt like I wanted to cry. s I knew I needed to change. So I did!
2 moments really… the first was looking in the mirror and realizing I just didn’t want to look like that anymore and the second was thinking of all the big moments I have coming up in life and how I imagine myself looking and it was not going to happen on its own!
Did you notice that all of our 6 weight loss heroes started their journey from a place of pain? Each hero literally felt a “burning” (painful) desire to change her life. The awareness of that burning pain coupled with a powerful desire to achieve health is what motivated each one of them to succeed.
So ask yourself, “What’s your burning pain?” When you can answer that question, then ask yourself, “Do I have a burning desire to lose weight?” If yes, you’re ready to change your life and ReSelf is here to help.