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So Rewarding!

What should I eat? Which is best - cardio or strength-training?

I get these questions all the time. Like there is a “magic pill, bullet, vegetable (or cookie)” that is going to change everything. Meaning you will never have to diet, exercise or deny yourself (your cookie) ever again.

Well, it just ain’t so. There are too many variables at play for one thing to be the answer.

I know there are plenty of diets out there that purport to be the key to finally losing the weight and belly fat once and for all. Some of the more popular ones are Keto Lite, Mediterranean, Paleo, and Intermittent Fasting as a way of eating.

And all of these have something in common. They are making you be mindful of what you are eating, by being restrictive in some way and you are actually consuming less because of this awareness. Guess what, you will lose weight.

And there are many exercise regimes and equipment that are sold as the solution to your fitness goals. This past year especially we saw an increase in Peloton, Mirror and treadmill desk sales throughout the country as people worked out as they continued to work from home. Some people are now going back to the Burn Bootcamps, Cross Fit and personal trainers to get back into or stay in shape.

Many people opt to either restrict their food intake or workout more to make the changes they desire.

Here is the fatal flaw in both strategies, as we look to change our health and our shape through diet and exercise alone.

  • It will not be sustainable if you can’t stay motivated.

  • It will not be sustainable if you get bored.

  • It will not be sustainable if it is too restrictive.

External motivators such as vacations, weddings, high school reunions, new jobs, and training for a run are short-term and will not last. How many people, including yourself, whip themselves into shape for an event, only to revert back to old habits as soon as it is over? I confess, guilty as charged.

There is nothing wrong with rewards-based systems to promote healthy change, such as some employer-sponsored programs that pay you for getting regular checkups, walking, joining a fitness center. If nothing else, it gets your attention when you get rewarded with cold, hard cash.

But it is ineffectual long-term because it focuses on only one type of reward. A hedonia reward, based on looking good, weight loss, and acceptance of others is extrinsic and unfortunately it is often short-lived.

Better to rely on another type of reward – eudaimonia – which relies on connecting wellness goals to a sense of purpose and meaning. This type of reward activates your brain’s reward system in the ventral striatum, and keeps you going with your mission when activated.

The key to lasting change, the key to radical transformation is knowing what motivates you. This internal desire that is within you has be fired up for you to truly change your lifestyle to one that supports your health, your fitness, your immunity. You have to dig deep and figure out your values, what you can jettison, and what is important enough to you to perpetuate lasting change.

And that takes getting to know you. What lights you up? What motivates you to keep going when you don’t feel like it. Finding out your “why”. Your intrinsic motivation is what is going to keep you going when the going gets tough, as it will.

An example of this might be:

  • A grandparent who wants to make sure she is going to be healthy enough to attend her granddaughter’s wedding next year.

  • A woman who has been diagnosed with diabetes making the dietary changes to ensure she maintains her health with a progressive disease.

  • A dad with hypertension realizing he wants to be around to see his kids graduate from college.

We all know the value of staying healthy and fit as we age, but the key to our success is tapping into the eudaimonia reward system and finding that intrinsic motivation that lies within us ready to help us on the long haul. Because it is so worth it.

Where to start? Well, you are in luck because I know the value of this particular motivation and it is something I cover with every client I coach. It is so integral to my 21-day transformation program, GRIT, that it is covered in the first week. And from the feedback I get I know it really is eye-opening for the participants in this online group coaching class.

If you are interested in finding out more about what you can achieve long-term for your overall health and well-being, let me help you explore eudaimonia. Join me on Monday, October 11 to being your transformation. Got questions, contact me:


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