So, I was reading Shape on Saturday (while on the StairMaster…I can only read Shape when I exercise, otherwise it just depresses me) and I found this very interesting tidbit:
Pessimists may have an advantage when it comes to weight loss, say researchers at the University of Bath in England. In a recent study, people who pictured what they’d look like if they failed to maintain an exercise program were more likely to stick with it than those who envisioned themselves successful. “Fear can motivated you to take actions,” says study co-author Brett Martin, a professor of consumer behavior. If your workout resolve wanes, imagine yourself carrying extra pounds. After that, you won’t be able to lace up your sneakers fast enough.
So, what do you guys think?
I’ll tell you what I think. It’s true. I know that people always say to visualize where you want to be. You know, the power of positive thinking. Well, I am now a believer in the power of FEAR.
After returning home from the gym, I donned a bathing suit and took some “before” pics (a one piece racing suit, on a chubby super white girl, after a long winter…the worst possible look EVER and no, none of you will EVER be seeing them), and let me tell you, those images haunts me everywhere I go, every bite I take. It seems to be all I see in my mind’s eye.
Guess who was at the gym tonight…no hesitations, no excuses, only fear; fear of looking like this for the rest of my life. I liken it to the first time I saw a smoker’s lung and thought, “I never want to smoke”.
Now, I don’t know that I recommend it for everyone but, for me, it seems to be working; so well, in fact, that when I start to imagine what I will look like when I get to my goal weight, I force that image out and replace it with my “before” picture.
I also hope that no one reads this and thinks my only motivation for wanting to lose weight is to look better. Of course it’s a motivation (and a big one), but it’s not the only one.
ETA: I am loving the comments. I do want to reiterate that I do not recommend this for everyone. I also want to say that this is not about me hating my body. In fact, I think the motivation to exercise actually makes me feel better about it. Like last night, I was swimming laps (yes, in a one piece that is not super attractive) and while I am aware of what I look like in a bathing suit, I also love that my body is capable of so much. I also like focusing on changing what I look like without an “ideal” in mind. This way I am really focused on improvement, rather than a size I want to be, a weight I want to weigh, etc. Does that make sense?