Tuesday, January 12, 2016

How to Get Motivated

Motivation is in short supply at this time of year. It’s really unfortunate, because this is also the time of year when people have made New Year’s resolutions and they’re trying to keep them. But cold weather and early evenings take their toll. I find it interesting how different my motivation this year is from last year.

Last year, at this time, I had a goal. I had lost some weight, but between Thanksgiving and Christmas, my weight had remained constant. I counted that a success, but I was ready to see the scale start moving downward again. My daily calorie intake was so low that I was hungry much of the time. I would ride my bicycle in the evenings because I knew that would allow me to eat more. I had also committed to cycling through the winter and I was anxious so to see how well I could handle the cold.

This year, I’m at my ideal weight. I’m not watching my calorie intake as closely, so I don’t associate riding my bicycle with allowing me to eat more. I’m also getting very tired of riding circles around my neighborhood. There are kids playing out in the street. There are dogs that my neighbors let run loose. There’s a pothole that I have to remember to avoid. There’s glass in the streets. But I get out and ride anyway, because I need my legs to stay conditioned to ride for what does get me motivated. Funnily enough, what I’m finding motivating this year is the promise of a restaurant somewhere along one of my rides. I’ve never been one to eat out alone, and yet, that is now my motivation. To get to a restaurant, I’ll ride my bicycle, never driving.

But is that a good thing? And would it be a good thing for someone who is trying to lose weight? I think it probably is on both counts. Restaurant meals are notoriously high in calories, but with the distance I’m riding to get to some of the places I’m going, I’m literally burning more calories than I am consuming. I think that could work for someone who is trying to lose weight as well. Even though people know they should cut out restaurant food, they end up eating there anyway. That just makes them feel guilty and they say, “I’ll do better next time,” as they stuff the whole meal into their mouth. This is terrible for weight loss. But what if they occasionally hop on a bicycle and pedal to a restaurant? What if they commit riding a bicycle to any restaurant they choose to eat at. They will no longer feel deprived because they can’t eat out, but they are also burning enough to make up for the additional calories.