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E.o.t.T. What’s Your Motivation?

October 17, 2011

What motivates you? What keeps you going back? What helps you see the pain, sweat and tears in a positive light rather than as torture? And does the gender of your trainer make a difference in how motivating they are?

I started training in 2008 because my cardiologist said to and because I woke up one day knowing I’d be diabetic by age 40. This just wasn’t an option.

So I picked the 24-hour gym right around the corner from the house and the school. I paid the monthly membership and the perky trainer for roughly 5 months. I did good under her training, lost roughly 30 lbs. When I’d have to do something I didn’t like or really hurt, I’d say “I hate you” in between reps. It helped. She had a positive and motivating attitude. But mid-way through my 5 months with her she got a breast augmentation. I guess she had lost so much weight herself becoming a personal trainer that she needed to get the “lift” back. Okay, she got the lift back and then some. I could spend money to get that kind of body too … so how is this supposed to motivate me?

When my sessions with her ended she did invite me to workout with her before she saw clients for the day but it really became inconvenient. Life happened and it was hard to get back into the routine. So the gym got my monthly donation for a couple of more months and I put back on about 20 of the 30 pounds. I canceled the membership when the year was up, under the guise that we had built a sunroom on to the house so that I would have a place to workout on my own, with my Total Gym and my Tae-Bo dvds.

And I did that for a little bit. But have you ever watched the Tae-Bo videos? Mr. Banks surrounds himself with the skinniest women. After a while, even though I could make it through the medium and hard dvds and the new cardio blast without feeling like I was dying, it was still discouraging. When I do those side crunches I don’t see my ribs… I see extra rolls…

Finally a colleague mentioned that her husband takes personal clients. DH and I went to meet him pretty much exactly one year after I stopped seeing Ms. Perky. I have been with him ever since.

I’ll admit at first I jokingly called it Torture. You want me to do what? And eat only what? But that first year was awesome. I’m not quite sure when it happened but suddenly I wasn’t joking when I called it Torture. I dutifully went to my sessions to pay for eating that donut or enjoying Chinese take-out with DH. It was punishment, much deserved punishment for plateauing. I stopped keeping the food log because I didn’t need the trainer telling me all my food transgressions–I knew them and I was already there for the punishment.

While trying to overcome what I’m going through emotionally, mentally, and physically I woke up one day and realized I cannot see training and dieting as punishment any more. Pounds lost are not the concern right now. The first thing I did was stop calling it Torture. I began to see it as a reward for sticking with it, a way to challenge myself to be stronger. There were days that if I didn’t have the standing appointment I would have crawled back into bed and curled up into a ball. Getting up and going was a gift to myself.

But during this my well-meaning male trainer would say things like: “did your doctor tell you that you’d feel better if you lost a few more pounds?” Really? You think? Dude, I had none of these aches and pains 30 pounds ago–so what’s my motivation to keep going?

This past Friday I was keeping my trainer up to date on what the cardiologist has said and the new medication he wants me on to lower my LDLs. And the trainer said: “did he talk to you about your diet? I’m sure if you ate better it would be fine.” It didn’t matter that I eat better now, even with my indiscretions, than I did two, three years ago. It didn’t matter than the cardiologist was pleased with my numbers, he just felt in light of things that I would be better off lowering the LDLs below 100 (currently 125).

And I cried.

Why can’t we just celebrate that with all the health problems I still came when allowed by my doctors and I actually plateaued instead of gaining weight? Why can’t we celebrate that I have actually moved below that plateau? Why can’t we celebrate that I didn’t give up and let the pain win? Why does he have to state the obvious, Mr. The Glass is Only Half Full?

I am smart enough to know: 1. continuing to work out will benefit my joints, 2. continued weight loss will benefit my overall health and delay other problems, 3. I could stand to eat a little better still until I reach my new goal weight (BTW, I’m 1 pound away from what I weighted when I got married!), and 4. I also know, as the cardiologist clearly stated, the new medicine is not a magic bullet and under no uncertain terms was I to stop weight training.

Is it a male thing? DH and I have had some tense moments. He is a saint for marrying me as immature as I was. I made mistakes. But he does like to point that past out to me when I back slide. I have often said to him, “Can’t you just let me know that you can see I’ve changed?” Can’t you celebrate how far I’ve come? Otherwise, why should I keep trying?

I told my colleague that her husband made me cry and why (while we were both ravenously enjoying CiCis pizza buffet). She calmly said, “You don’t see working out with him.”

Don’t worry. I went back today. I even ignored calls to sub because E.o.t.T. is where I need to be.

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