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How to Motivate Yourself to Lose Weight

To lose weight, you have to eat well, move, and build lean muscle mass — it’s as simple as that, according to motivational speaker and New York Times bestselling author Susan Powter’s The Politics of Stupid: The Cure for Obesity.

The number one question I get, hands down, is “Where did you find the motivation to lose over 130 pounds?” The next question is “How do you stay motivated?” How did you get, where did you find, where oh where is the motivation? Three questions, but really just one. And the answer is, I didn’t. I didn’t find the motivation to lose over 130 pounds, and you will never find motivation. You haven’t found it yet, and it’s not as if you haven’t been looking. Finding the motivation to _________  (fill in the blank) is never going to happen because it’s not waiting anywhere to be found. You’ve been looking for motivation for how many years?

Looking to find the one thing you need in order to do everything you know you should do. You just need to be motivated by some motivation that you are going to find somewhere one day? You’ve found it a couple of times …it’s not as if you’ve never been motivated. Every time you are done with this fat thing — usually the Monday after a weekend binge — and …? Every time you believed (because you were sold) that you had found the system, the plan, the combination of, you’ve been motivated. Then you fail right, because you lose the motivation to stick with it? You had it for a minute, and it’s gone. Motivation evaporation every time.

You, you, you can’t find it or keep it. Must be something wrong with your:

  • willpower
  • discipline
  • self-control
  • self-esteem

Self-flogging is what it is, and self-flogging is where they want you. You may have thought that went out with Hildegard, but it’s not true, it’s still all the rage. You can’t stay motivated to save your life. You, you, you (again) …what’s the matter with you? Dieting …with it’s 98 percent failure rate (all diets) …and still they have you blaming yourself. Brilliantly done, wouldn’t you say?

Well, the fact is, when it comes to motivation (and everything else), there is no way you are the only problem, and the politics of that stupid is becoming crystal clear by the moment. If you were the only problem, you’d be the only unmotivated person alive or a part of a very small group of motivationally incapable people, but you aren’t. It seems that there are millions of people who can’t find, don’t have, aren’t able to hang on to for the life of them, motivation. And it’s not as if motivational advice, theories, beliefs, practices, and experts aren’t plentiful.

Motivational speaker, I am. Known to motivate, I am. And I begin every motivational speech saying it doesn’t exist. Motivation exists, but not anywhere you’ve been told (sold) it is. There is only one place motivation is, and it’s bountiful. As much motivation as you will want or need is waiting for you. Not to bump into it …to tap into it. All the motivation you’ll ever need is found in the process of doing …because motivation is in the process of doing. Something that is worth repeating fifty times. Motivation is in the process of doing, period, the end. Whatever it is, doing it is where the motivation is.

If it’s wellness motivation you’ve been looking for, then do well things and you’ll be very motivated to do more well things. Doing well things for your body and brain is where all the motivation to keep doing well things is. If it’s motivated to lose weight you are dying to be, then do things that make you lose weight. Eat well. Move. Build lean muscle mass — all fat-burning things. If it’s inspired you want to be in your life, do inspiring things. Motivation begets motivation. Spend a moment on the physiology of motivation, please. Why not? You get nothing but psychology, which is exactly how they keep you there.

The physical fact of the motivation matter is an unwell body (all unwell bodies) is …

An unwell body is a body that isn’t going to be motivated to get up and move. Mine wasn’t at 260. I was motivated not to move. A ton of fat, no lean muscle mass to speak of, and the cardio endurance of a gerbil? Why would my unwell body wake up and want to go jogging? It wouldn’t and it didn’t. It makes perfect sense, and again, the endless discussions discussing nothing, you only ever hearing how lazy, unmotivated, weak, out of control (I love that one) you must be to “let yourself go like you have,” little lady. When, in fact, your lack of motivation is connected to quite a few very real things. Never included in the discussions because why would they want to include the whole story?

A body that is oxygen deprived will not be motivated to move. A body that is nutritionally deprived is not motivated to move. A body that has very little lean muscle mass and the metabolic activation of a slug is motivated to be sluggy. Why all the psychology and never the physiology? Something you should take up with your psychologist because the two are connected, Dr. Dr.

The way you are going to get all the motivation you’ll ever need is, stop waiting for it. You are no longer going to wait until you are motivated to move, to move. When you first start this wellness thing, you will not be motivated to exercise, but you are going to move in oxygen for thirty minutes anyway. You may not be inspired to lift weights and build lean muscle mass, but you are going to build lean muscle mass anyway. I’d be glad to bet that you’ll be inspired to do it with me, so begin with me whether you are motivated or not. Then you are going to do it again, and again and again, and very soon you’ll be motivated in more ways than you ever thought possible.

Wellness Success
The moment you eat, breathe, move, and think with me, you will get immediate results, because fitness is immediate. The results of fitness are immediate if you know what you are looking for, and have nothing to do with what you’ve been brainwashed into believing are successful results.

The results of moving in oxygen are immediate. As soon as you begin to do it, you have a bit more energy. Oxygen equals energy, oxygen equals life, and when you oxygenate your blood and that blood carries oxygen to every cell and muscle in your body, you feel better. The sigh, the “Oy, I feel better” …it happens every time. Only one of the thousands of successful results from thirty minutes of movement. Very good return on a very small investment. Atmospheric global bank, oh I will, because it is.

Eating works the same way when you think about it . . .

Dieting is not fun. Dieting doesn’t work. Dieting makes you weak, fatter, sick, not motivated to do anything, and when you try to add torturous exercise to starvation all the while you’re struggling to find the time and motivation to do it all is impossible. No wonder you aren’t motivated to do it …it sucks. Common bloody sense …the physiology, please. Move in oxygen today and you’ll have more energy/oxygen than you had yesterday, which is an immediate result when you think about it. And that’s exactly what you are going to do …think about it. The results of building lean muscle mass are immediate, a bit more strength and energy every time you do it. Not to mention, twist my arm, that you burn the hell out of fat when you do it. The results of eating real foods are also immediate; you feel less like shit when you don’t eat shit. Day after day of doing well things, you are going to think about:

  • what you did
  • how you feel
  • if you think it would make your life better if you did it again

I’m talking about thirty minutes a day or an hour tops. Oh, watch me, you’ll be begging for a one-hour exercise routine by the end of this book, but the point is you are going to crack that nut of motivation, and you’ll have all the motivation you ever needed by asking yourself three questions every time you do eat, breathe, move, and think. It’s the new (and much improved, because it works) measure of success, the only measure of success from now on. Every time you X-change a high-fat, processed, inactive, nonthinking lifestyle habit for a far more styling (lifestyling) life habit, you are going to ask yourself three questions:

1.    Do I feel better?

After thirty minutes in oxygen, the answer will always be yes. Thousands and thousands of classes later, never once have I heard, “Damn it, I wish I hadn’t done that,” or, “That was a complete waste of my damn time.” You’ll never get up from a meal of whole, real, nutrient-rich food and say you don’t feel better than you did when you ate junk.

The next question you are going to ask yourself every time do well things for yourself is:

2.    Do I have more energy? The answer will, always, be yes.

You sure as hell will have more energy if you:

  • get oxygen into your body
  • build an ounce of lean muscle mass
  • and eat real foods . . .

Who would be stupid enough to argue with that?

And the third question you can ask yourself is:

3.    Am I shrinking?

If you eat, breathe, move, and think, you will shrink. Oh my God, what a brilliant bumper sticker! Is someone collecting these? Shrinking is the best indicator that you are burning fat, which is exactly what you want to do. No need to even say the word scale yet. From now on, if you want to know what successful weight loss is, a tape measure will tell you everything you need to know. Fat burns, you shrink because fat is wide, fat is waddy, and lean is lean.

Shrinking is success measured in inches gone. The clothing-size rack has more to do with the measurement of successful weight loss than any scale ever has. Clothing sizes dropping and oh, what fun that is! Burned off. The scale, okay, I’ll mention it. “Scale stupid” is something I talked about years ago, but let me refresh your memory: Looking at a number on the scale to measure weight-loss success is as dumb as checking the oil of your car by looking at the upholstery. One doesn’t have anything to do with the other. Especially the numbers touted as success on some of the most popular weight-loss shows …it makes me crazy; it is stunningly hard to be me sometimes, really.

Just like everything else, every chart, every graph, every body-type expert opinion, the scale is wrong. Lean, strong, healthy, and well cannot be measured (and isn’t) on a scale. Internally activating your body, the only way to lose all the weight you want to lose and never find again, cannot be measured on that horrifying piece of bondage equipment, and that’s an insult to bondage.

Your scale measures lean muscle mass, not numbers dropped, and lean muscle mass is essential for weight loss. The scale has no number for energy, and wellness gives you more energy than you may ever have imagined possible. The scale certainly can’t measure passion. If it did, it would be illegal. Passion, energy, strength …don’t have numbers on a scale, and that’s the point. All the scales do is measure what the scale makers want you to focus on …and it’s not success.

Your doctor knows that and you might want to remind him/her of it the next time he/she tries to weigh you. There are only two things you need to do with your scale: one, give it to someone you hate, and two, never get on it again.

All the motivation you’ll ever need, organically recycled (it begets itself), is available when you start doing well things on a regular basis for the rest of your life.

Susan Powter, the New York Times bestselling author Politics of Stupid: The Cure for Obesity (Copyright © 2002 by Susan Powter), is also the author of Stop the Insanity!; The Pocket Powter; Food; C’Mon America, Let’s Eat!; and Hey, Mom! I’m Hungry! For many years she has been inspiring audiences worldwide with her books, audios, videos, and record-breaking life-changing seminars. Visit her online at




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