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What Motivates Us to Lose Weight

By: Ken Austin

In the Western world, obesity is a “growing” problem. Excess fat and the burden it places on our bodies and health has become an actual crisis.

The annual cost of medical care, lost wages and productivity from overweight people amounts to hundreds of billions of dollars. Despite this, overweight and obesity are increasing at an alarming rate.

Some “negative” motives that people ascribe to losing weight include:

Vanity – hating the way one looks in the mirror
Bad health – experiencing negative health consequences like diabetes, heart disease, etc.
Social rejection – being mocked or looked down upon for being fat
Fear of a shortened life span

Some “positive” motives for fat loss are:

General improvement – smaller successes allow us to tackle major weight loss as a goal
Greater self-esteem – becoming more confident creates the belief that weight loss is worth working for
New activities – taking up a sport or physical activity that requires better physical conditioning
A desire to get or keep a mate – correcting or removing any obstacles to attracting and keeping a love interest, including being overweight

Ultimately, each person finds reasons for moving beyond the idea of losing weight to taking action and following a plan to do so. Generally speaking, we need to change our eating habits and increase our activity level to lose the fat we have accumulated. That means creating new habits which requires an act of will. This is where the power of the underlying motive becomes important.

Just because a motive may be urgent or positive does not mean that motive will carry a person through the process of losing fat and maintaining a healthy weight. The most important factor in weight loss motivation is the belief that you are worth the effort, period.

Mere vanity or a desire to play racquetball may not be enough to carry you past the challenge of abstaining from favorite but forbidden foods. A lack of planning and goal setting will also decrease the chances of success in weight loss.

Good intentions are not enough. Making and following a plan with measurable goals increases success in losing weight, maintaining your target weight and staying motivated throughout the process.

Whether you are motivated by fear or the desire for more pleasure to lose unwanted fat, take the time to seriously consider a diet and exercise program that appeals to you. The more you feel motivated to take each step as it comes, the more likely you are to reach your goals with a positive attitude and strong motivation to achieve weight loss.

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