You may not know this, but I am a Certified Health and Wellness Coach and I specialize in motivating women to care for themselves in midlife and beyond. A recurring theme in my workshops is weight management.
I’m great at helping other women figure out what they can to do to achieve their fitness goals and set up supportive environments that will help them succeed. To be honest, I don’t have a problem outlining my own plan for fitness, and lets face it, weight loss is a big part of that plan.
My personal problem is with the motivation. I’ve been canoodling on this for a good year now – well when I wasn’t hunched over textbooks trying to make facts stick to my aging gray matter. Too bad the information doesn’t stick to my brain the way every single calorie I eat sticks to my ass.
Anyway, I am a straight A student. I’m a successful author. I am a pretty darn good mother (so my kids tell me). I’ve excelled at every job I’ve ever had. Everything I do, I do at 110%.
So why can’t I excel in a fitness program the way I do in other areas of my life? Motivation and boredom. I lack the motivation to engage in physical activity that is short of torture while being less mind engaging that sorting sox.
Also, I’m a praise junkie. Whether it’s a teacher, a client or an editor, receiving a pat on the back, an “Atta girl!” or any other acknowledgement of a job well done, gives me an endorphin high to rival any drug induced mind trip.
Clearly, I need a personal trainer who will give me my daily does of praise – but only when deserved. But not just any trainer will do. I need my Jr. High phys-ed teacher and gymnastics coach, Mrs. Farmakes. It’s important that you are saying the name correctly in your head; far – mach – ass, accent on the first syllable. You can see how that is much more formidable than far – makes.
Mrs. Farmakes was anything but svelte. She sat on the bottom bleacher with a clipboard and a whistle, barking instructions and critiquing with a critical eye. She was the teacher you hated, until you won first place in the track and field sprints, or hammered the opposing basketball team, or heard the roar of applause for your perfect cartwheel, back hand-spring, round-off.
I have no idea where she is today, but I’ve got a plan. One of the tools I use with my own clients is having them create visions boards – collages depicting their goals. Vision boards are the warm fuzzies of motivation, filled with pictures and words meant to be uplifting, positive and encouraging.
Suddenly my own vision board seems wholly inadequate for the job. A conglomeration of graceful yoginis, slim women walking along the beach or through the park, and gardening with floppy brimmed hats upon their heads – all overlaid with cut-out words to make phrases like, “New steps to enrichment,” and “Balancing body, soul and spirit,” is not what I need.
My hubby, who spent three years in the regular army and 20 years as a Sergeant in the National Guard, offered his services to whip me into shape. I declined for the sake of harmony in our marriage, but it got me to thinking.
What I need is a poster sized cut out of Mrs. Farmakes – or a reasonable facsimile – with word balloons of stern commands and brutally honest critiques that will make me want to punch her lights out.
I don’t need guided visualizations on CD of soft voiced hypnotists telling me to listen to my body and give it what it needs. I need a stern voiced old broad telling me the cottage cheese on my thighs could feed a starving country.
Mrs. Farmakes, if you’re out there, I hope you don’t take offense. You are the best motivator I ever had, and I’m hoping you will be again.
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