September 26, 2011

Stop talking about motivation

Many of us think that if there's any magic cure for overweight, it's motivation.

Maybe "this embarrassing incident/this pair of pants/this picture of me at my friend's wedding" will be the motivation I need to do something about this weight!

We never stop to think about how absurd this is.

If we are already lurking in Lane Bryant or the Big & Tall shop, or pulling an outfit out of the closet uncertain how it will fit, or fearing the next binge, or worrying if we will fit in that amusement park ride, or refusing to take a booth in a diner, or avoiding reflections below our collarbones the way a vampire might... all these things aren't motivation?

Obviously we don't mean motivation. Because we have plenty of that. We are simply at a loss to figure out why it isn't enough... and so, we think we need more.

If only we could have stuck with it, we sigh, thinking back to the last scheme we tried. I must not have wanted it enough.

Fact is, all those tactics designed to make us Stop Eating: the pig that oinks when we open the fridge door, the pre-packaged tiny portions, the shakes we throw down instead of lunch, the delightful cocktail dress in our goal size that hangs on the back of the closet door; why do none of them work?

Because none of them, including the much-wished-for Magic Motivation, keep us from being hungry.

We might resist for a while or a long while, but just like holding our breath when we were kids, our body forces us to do what we have to do to survive.

But I don't need cake to live! I can survive without Triple Fudge Twirl ice cream! Why don't I crave steak and salad?


We are putting too much on Motivation's shoulders. We are underestimating our Hunger. We don't know we are Hooked.

We don't understand why we are standing at the microwave, nuke-defrosting the frozen cheesecake we had bought for company. It is supposed to sit in the fridge overnight and be cut into lovely slices, but instead it is exploding all over the paper towel we draped over it.  We will eat it anyway, burning our tongue on the over-done edges and scraping our teeth on the paper towel.

What got us here?

It was eating food, that isn't food.

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