Motivation Hesitation

We’ve all seen the latest diet or fitness craze, and suddenly that is our goal.  We have SO much motivation the first couple of days, and then all of a sudden we no longer have any.  Life gets in the way.  We no longer care about being healthy or losing the weight.  HOW DO WE KEEP OURSELVES MOTIVATED?  When searching through the literature it was hard to even find articles that could apply to this post. frustrated-758722_640

Some people always care about their health.  They do as much as they can to remain healthy.  Basically it has become second nature to them, but how can we help other people to make this their reality too?  When I say these people care about their health I mean that they don’t eat out all of the time, and don’t eat donuts for every meal.  I’m not talking about making sure every single meal is perfect.

In my opinion sometimes people want to lose weight because they think they will be happier after they lose a certain amount of pounds.  Even if they do lose all of the weight they quickly realize that they aren’t any happier being smaller.  They still live the same day-to-day problems.  If these problems weren’t addressed in their journey they will remain the same level of happiness.  In college I learned that when it comes to behavior modification you should replace your old behavior with a new one.  Don’t just concentrate on not doing a behavior, but making sure to replace it with something else.

For some people removing or lessening great tasting foods generates some feelings of low mood, and even depression.  If you’ve experienced this low you know EXACTLY what I’m talking about.  For those of you that don’t know the feeling a person might experience:  sad mood, not wanting the next day to begin, tiredness, and dread.  Depression makes people less motivated.  (Kramer, Lena Violetta, Almut Wiebke Helmes, and Jurgen Bengel, 2014)  If people expected that they will have a lower mood they can prepare ahead of time, and they will be more likely to succeed.  In other words people who are better at finding ways to deal with future obstacles are better at maintaining new behaviors. (Thoolen, De Ridder, Bensing, Gorter, & Rutten, 2008).

It’s amazing the amount of dedication some people have!  They spend hours planning and initiating their new life change.  Then they mess up once, and it’s over.  Most of the time people have strong intentions to succeed, but this doesn’t always result in success.  (Orbell & Sheeran, 1998)  I may be a negative Nancy with this information, but understanding what will happen will make it that much more likely that YOU will succeed.pexels-photo (3)

Intrinsic motivation helps people to get started with their goals as well as creating a plan.  Extrinsic motivation is a larger factor when it comes to completing the overall goal.  (Ridder, Wit, & Adriaanse, 2009)  The thing about this study is that participants were already motivated.  They wanted to lose weight from the beginning.

In one study motivation was EXPECTED to decrease for people with certain attributes.  There were interventions already planned out for the participants who were expected to have problems.  (Teizeira, Silva, Mata, Palmeira, & Markland, 2012)

 “We believe that examining the nature of goals and the quality of motivation behind the desire to lose weight can prove useful at various junctures of the weight management process, beyond considering the amount of a person’s motivational impulse.”  (Teizeira, Silva, Mata, Palmeira, & Markland, 2012)  This study concluded that people who motivated themselves INDEPENDENTLY were the most likely to succeed in the long-term.  (Teizeira, Silva, Mata, Palmeira, & Markland, 2012)

How Can We Use this Information?

The reasons behind our motivation will help us succeed.  Typically when people notice a physical difference in themselves it motivates them to keep going!  Keep in mind that for some people it could take a couple of months to notice changes.  Some people’s bodies are better at protecting themselves when it comes to weight changes.  In other words your body WANTS to stay at its set weight.  Keep making SMALL SUSTAINABLE changes, and eventually YOU WILL SEE RESULTS!

  • Try to surround yourself with people who want to be healthy, or who are supportive.
  • Join an online community. I like Sparkpeople.
  • Don’t make a life change just to lose weight. Come up with other reasons!
  • Find or make a supportive plan. Without a plan you have nothing.

Example of a plan:

  1. Stop drinking pop, and workout twice per week for a month. After you feel comfortable with this move on to the next step.
  2. Eat a healthier breakfast, and workout three times per week.

          You can design your plan however you want, or find one that works for you.


  • Think about future obstacles that might come up. Write down specific examples.
  • Don’t forget to allow yourself your favorite unhealthy foods in moderation!
  • Messing up one meal, or one day does not mean you failed.
  • Read health articles to keep yourself motivated.

What is the best way you have found for motivating yourself?  Comment below, I’d love to hear from you!

Conflicted Health



Kramer, Lena Violetta, Almut Wiebke Helmes, and Jurgen Bengel. “Understanding Activity Limitations in Depression.” European Psychologist 19.4 (2014): 278-88.

Orbell, S., & Sheeran, P. ‘‘Inclined abstainers’’: A problem for predicting health-related behaviour. British Journal of Social Psychology, 37, (1998): 151–165.

Ridder, Denise De, Wit, John De, And Adriaanse, Marieke A. “Making Plans For Healthy Diet:  The role of motivation and action orientation.” European Journal of Social Psychology 39 (2009): 622-630.

Teizeira, Pedro j, Silva, Marlene N, Mata, Jutta, Palmeira, Antonio L, Markland, David. “Motivation, Self-determination, and long-term weight control.” Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 9.22, (2012): 1-14.

Thoolen, B. J., De Ridder, D., Bensing, J., Gorter, K., & Rutten, G. (2008). Beyond good intentions: The development and evaluation of a proactive self-management course for patients recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Health Education Research, 23, 53-L 61, (available online). doi:10.1093/her/cyl160


  • Rhonda Sittig August 20, 2016 at 11:33 am

    Interesting post– your biog is so packed with information! I’m trying to lose a few pounds (with My Fitness Pal)– I’ve always been thin, but now in my 60’s am a little bit pudgy. It’s hard to know what’s a healthy weight and what is inevitable with aging… (Plus I love ice cream!). Fun to find your informative blog!!

    • Katie August 20, 2016 at 2:14 pm

      Thank you! Yes it is hard. Ice cream is amazing. I used to have Fitness Pal’s app on my phone years ago and they have some great tools. Thank you for reading!!

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