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Motivation Internal and External by Mary Margaret Tan

Probably the hardest factor in starting or even continuing a workout program is actually not the program itself, but finding the motivation. After all, it takes motivation to stay committed to your goals and see results; without it, you will most likely end up dead in your tracks. It can be especially difficult to stay motivated during the holidays where food is around every corner and in every celebration and self-blame is high for eating that extra slice of pie or not keeping track of your macros. However, it does not have to be that way! With a little guidance, anybody can get back on the wagon and continue where they left off before the holidays even began!

There are two different types of motivation- external and internal. EXTERNAL motivation is any driving force from other than yourself that keeps you going. Losing weight to make money from a competition or to impress that boy or girl next door are examples of external drives. These often are short-term and do not last very long; it is not very surprising to see how easy it is to fall off the wagon and not return. On the other hand, INTERNAL motivation is the drive from within you to keep going. Wanting to lose weight and be healthy and overall, to just become a better version of yourself is all internal motivation, with only you as your own competition. It first starts off with fulfilling small goals here and there, which eventually turns into something huge, like losing 50 pounds altogether or running a marathon. It is this type of motivation that will keep you committed and will help to change your life in the long run.

Now let’s discuss how to stay motivated during the holidays! It is understandable that it is a time of the year to just let loose and have a little fun with family.

1. It is important to stay organized- keep a checklist of what foods you want to cook or expect to have in your meals. This will help you visualize how much food will be present for the occasion.

2. Before you start eating, have some containers around so whatever you do not eat or finish, just save it in a Tupperware to enjoy another time.

3. Drink a couple glasses of water before the meal begins, as water will help your stomach feel fuller so you will be less likely to binge eat. Drink water while eating as well.

4. Go for a short 10-20 minute walk an hour after finishing your meal. This will help aid in digestion and give you a little extra mental boost so you will not feel like you “fell off the wagon.”

5. Always, always keep in mind always that exercise is a lifestyle, not a diet! It is okay to kickback and relax with loved ones without having to think about compensating for precious memories at the gym.

With that being said, enjoy yourself! Do not blame yourself for eating out of our nutrition plan; cheat meals are actually healthy every now and then and they prevent relapsing and binging. The holidays are a special time so just relax and be happy with your family!

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