Guest blogger, Pandora Williams presents her 5th Blog for us today! Pandora is dedicated to helping pre and post operative bariatric patients find a healthy balance in life to reach and maintain weight loss goals while battling obesity. After having bariatric surgery and losing 260 pounds, Pandora has become a Personal Trainer, Wellness Coach, Motivational Speaker and a Marathon Runner! Be sure to check out her previous blog posts if haven’t read them!
I often get asked what keeps me motivated to stay fit.
There are a few easy answers to this question for me personally. My weight loss journey included me losing about 200 pounds in my twenties thanks to low carb dieting, and I say dieting because I think diet is a 4-letter word. Diets fail people because diets are our temporary solution to a long term disease. We go on diets to lose weight and then we stop the diet and stop the behavior changes that achieved that weight loss and typically we go back to whatever our “normal” was before that diet and what do we end up doing? Gaining our weight back. In my case I gained back every pound and had to start all over again.
That regain often keeps me accountable and motivated. I know that I can regain the weight, I have done it before. Therefore I also know that for me to maintain my weight I need to maintain the behavior changes that I implemented in order to lose the weight and for me that means making sure I get my exercise in.
The next obvious answer is that my Father motivates me to stay fit.
I lost my Father before I had finished losing all of my weight and he was pretty much the champion of my weight loss journey. Knowing that me living a happy and healthy life was important to him provides me an intrinsic motivation to stay fit and make sure that my nutritional intakes are focused on maintaining my weight loss. I’m a Daddy’s girl and I want to make sure I can always say “My Dad would be proud of me.”
But there is something else that helps keep me motivated. YOU! The bariatric community. For five years now I have been attending weight loss conventions like the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC) Annual Your Weight Matters Convention and the Weight Loss Surgery Foundation of America (WLSFA) Annual Meet and Greet. Each time I attend one of these conventions I have the opportunity to meet more people who have the same goals I do in the fight against obesity. Knowing that you guys are all out there and that I have lots and lots of people within this community cheering me on helps keep me motivated.
Motivating others motivates me!
Each time someone tells me that they follow me on Instagram or Facebook or Twitter and that through sharing my journey with them I have inspired them to participate in their first half marathon, inspired them to run, or inspired them to join the gym and find a way to get their fit on, it’s just another motivation token in my pocket. I try to motivate others into fitness because I know how much fitness has changed my life and how much of a difference it has made in my weight loss journey and I want to share that with others. But when it works, and someone shares that with me, it just gives me more motivation to do it. Conventions like the #YWM2016 event in Washington, DC are just one great big motivation factory if you ask me.
Attending a convention like #YWM2016 provides motivation in even more ways that that though. There are the amazing speakers, and educational experiences that keep you on top of the latest trends and treatments when it comes to obesity and ofter their own little motivational token for you to take home with you. Attending my first Your Weight Matters Convention back in 2012 and talking to the experts that attended that convention is exactly what motivated me to pursue a new career as a weight loss and wellness coach. Each year I take something away from the educational sessions that helps set me on my path for the year to come.
Then there are the Vendors!
These conventions allow you the opportunity to visit the vendor booths of companies like Bari Life where you can sample products and get more information on the products that are available to help you succeed in your weight loss journey. From vitamins and protein cereals to protein bars, protein powders and of course delicious snacks like the Bari Life Dill Pickle Krinkle Krisps. Finding products that work for you and help you meet your nutritional intake goals and still taste great just arms you with another motivation token. You’re motivated to get that protein in when that protein tastes good.
If you have never attended a Your Weight Matters, WLSFA Meet & Greet or Obesity Help convention let me just say this – the motivational tokens I take away from attending conventions like this last all through the year. The stuff I learn, the new friends I meet, and the products I learn about arm me with many of the tools that I need to stay successful in my weight loss journey and help me make sure that I am keeping my weight loss teeter totter in balance.
Motivation comes in many forms. But the most important thing about finding your motivation is just that; finding it. Don’t wait for your motivation to come knocking on your door. Get out there and start looking for it. Go on a motivational scavenger hunt and see what you can find that makes you want to do better today than you were yesterday.
Check back to learn my first-hand experience with setting realistic and actionable goals after surgery for my next Blog #6. Inches turn into feet, feet into miles – keep the overall goal in sight while maintaining perspective!
Until next time,