What is it I wonder? What is it that allows an individual to make the lifestyle changes, positive lifestyle changes, which could in most cases transform lives?
Today has been a day like any other. A day spent assessing clients that vary significantly in demographics and health status. All of which want the same or similar things, to lose weight and unleash the God/dess within.
An incident however on the way home got me thinking about motivation and where this motivation comes from. When travelling on the underground I never use the lifts or stand on the right. In my line of work to be caught static would be the death of me! I wouldn’t be surprised to see a picture of myself of the front cover of The Sun the following morning under the strap line ‘Physical Activity Specialist, you decide!’
On this particular occasion I was heading down the 79 steps at Kennington station, when I came across an older lady, clearly puffed, standing about 15 steps from the summit. I asked, with a smile, if she was OK and if she needed any assistance (just because I am helpful like that) and she said (with a smile) “I am OK, I have been motivated by the Olympics”. Interesting I thought, this women may have been told many times to get active, move more but did nothing. I now find her, catching her breath, 15 steps from the top having attempted to climb what must have seemed like Mount Kilimanjaro to her. Hmmmm, I thought. What have been some of the other motivating factors in other clients lives.
Lets take ‘Client A’, my morning appointment, a 29-year-old female that for the purposes of this discussion we will call Abigail. Highly motivated, exercises 3 times a week but is still for all intents and purposes gaining weight. “I have never been small, but this is ridiculous, where am I going wrong?” she asks, an all to common mantra!
So how did this clearly motivated individual end up in front on me! So the story begins…for most of her adolescent and now adult life she has had a ‘FAT’ friend that we shall call,Leslie (image conjured). Leslie has recently undergone a gastric bypass, at the expense of her parents, and has lost a significant amount of weight. Abigail however still believes her friend to be ‘on the larger side’.
Recently Leslie and Abigail were sat sharing a friendly moment when Leslie decreed “wow, this is amazing, did you ever think there would come a day when you and I would be the same size”. Now, for the purposes of this discussion, I am going to be frank and throw all traces of ‘Political’ correctness out of the window!!!! As much as you love your friends, large and small, there is a sense of security that comes from knowing that, although you may be overweight you are not as big as Leslie. YES!!!! I said it!!!! Leslie has acted as your marker for as long as you can remember. Its OK, I wont tell anybody, but for you, as long as Leslie remains bigger than you everything is ‘A OK!’
Well, on this day things were no longer ‘A OK’. Leslie has always been the fat girl, not Abigail. LESLIE IS THE BIG GIRL! OMG!!!! I need to do something about this. In steps me, ‘tell me what I need to do’ she demands. Job done, motivation uploaded.
After lunch, the most sceptical woman I had ever had the pleasure of meeting sat before me. Arms folded, scowl to match, barriers clearly up. Lets call her Margaret. If Margaret were an animal she would have been a Rottweiler. “WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT DO YOU DO?” she asked in a decidedly condescending and somewhat patronizing tone. Now, for those of you that know me or have had the pleasure (ahem) of meeting me, you will know that there is one thing I enjoy more than the challenge of a resistant client and that is talking about myself (for marketing purposes only of course).
In a cheery tone, I proceeded to answer her question. Clearly taken aback by my obvious disinterest in humouring her less than positive attitude, she began to thaw. This woman it seems had become very used to being told what and when to do things and was ready for an ensuing battle. I, on the other hand am a lover not a fighter.
After a short while, I observed the ice queen leaving the room, so it was time to ask the killer question, “enough about me, tell me about you. What brings you here today?’” After a teary exchange she confided that life was just shit! To add insult to injury she hadn’t had sex for as long as she could remember, because if she was totally repulsed by the sight of her naked body, what man in there right mind wouldn’t be either?! Sex, it seems can be a very strong motivator, even for us ladies! I sat and merely listened to her reasoning with herself and turning thoughts to ‘real life adobe surround sound’. On conclusion she decided, not me, that if I could help or was willing to help she really would like to lose weight.
This was about 10 days ago. Since then she has lost 7 pounds and counting. To quote her exact words ‘I have never felt so positive’. The answers came from her, not me. Self-realization equals motivation.
So what has been the reason for my ramblings some of you may ask? Well I suppose it has been to highlight that in each of the aforementioned scenarios ‘health’ was never a motivator (this doesn’t mean however that it never is). We are unique individuals all motivated by different things and those things are not always obvious. The onset or presence of diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure or stroke seems to be a non-entity.
To affect change we must be the change we want to see. A wise man once said“the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expected a different result”. So stop telling them it is bad for there health, they already know and based on the current crisis in health status, don’t really care!