When you're invited to a National Weigh-In Day, dedicated to inspiring people to shed or maintain their weight, and your first thought is "Wonder if they'll be serving food?" this is a sure sign that you need to confront your weight issues.
I've still got the pounds I put on when I had my kids; Max is 9, Sabrina is turning 7 next month. I am a master of procrastination: I'll start eating healthier and exercising more on Monday. Or Friday. Or when I finish this big project. Or after that big party. Or when it gets a little warmer. Or colder. Or when it's a lunar eclipse! Really, any excuse will do.
The Special K people, who sponsored the event and this post, want to help women focus on what will motivate them to take off pounds. I love the question they're asking: "What will you gain when you lose weight?" They're offering personalized plans to get people to reach their weight goals. While none of the plans involve machines that exercise you as you sleep, alas, they do involve eating the cereal, a childhood favorite of mine, and lots of fruit and veggies. There's also a My Special K app to help you shop and plan menus.
At the event, I stepped up to the "Weigh-In." Mercifully, my weight did not pop up on a screen in the middle of Grand Central Station (dying of embarrassment is not a recommended way to solve your weight problem). Instead, a motivating word appeared: energy. Thing is, I already have plenty of that, though I sure wish someone would buy me a speedier metabolism.
One helpful way to appear slimmer: blurry photos.
The top three emotional reasons women want to lose weight are happiness, confidence, and a sense of achievement, according to a Special K survey of women ages 25 to 54 around the country. Other inspirations: fitting into old clothes, healthier eating habits and living a more active lifestyle.
Nope, nope, nope. Nada. Negative. Nyet. None of those are major motivations for me. All week, I kept pondering what might spur me to shed pounds. Then last night, as I was reading Max a bedtime story, I absentmindedly ran my finger over his foot and he giggled. "Mooooore!" he said. So I tickled his neck, and he cracked up. And then I reached under his Cars 2 pajama shirt and tickled his belly, and he made his joyous Max squeal that I can't describe except to say, nothing can be wrong in the world when I hear that sound.
As we lay there, both of us laughing, I realized my motivation has been staring me in the face all along: Max. I need to be at my healthiest so I'll be around to care for him for a long time. Sabrina too, of course. But Max is the one who's going to need me most.
The next time I reach for the chips at 11:00 p.m. or feel like skipping the gym, I am going to think back to our ticklefest. I want to hear that squeal of his for many years to come. Maybe I'll tape some photos of the kids to the inside of our pantry door; it would be hard to snarf down a Yodel with Max and Sabrina staring me in the face.
The first question you get when you choose the "Achieve a Goal Weight" plan at Special K is: "What positive change are you hoping for, besides slimming down?"
What I typed: "I want to be healthier so I'll be there for my son for as long as is humanly possible."
How about you: If you've had success losing weight, what's motivated you? Or if you've struggled to find your motivation, what do you think might help?