Competition Goals Can Be A Useful Weight Loss Tool
You may be saying that you have relied upon good medically based and scientifically based information from me and my books and columns so that you can achieve better fitness, improve your health and live at a healthier weight. But you really were not interested in competing with anybody, and I understand this. But what I am raising with this idea of competition goals is a little bit like a psychological lever that you can use to motivate yourself to achieve your broader goals of improved fitness, health and longevity.
We all have a competitive instinct. Some of us display it and are driven more by it than others, but we all have it. What you want to do is tap into it to help you achieve your goals.
Sometimes the competition is only with yourself and sometimes it is with others. But the point here is to not shy away from some competition and to enjoy it and use it as a motivational tool for you to reach a better level of fitness, and lose weight in the process.
Let me give you an example: A patient of mine had been active as a teenager, but gained a large amount of weight after each of her pregnancies and found herself seriously obese in her early forties. As part of her weight loss program, I encouraged her to join our weekly walking group and eventually encouraged her to sign up for a 5K run/walk race. Now the word “race” causes many people to shy away from the event. After all, she had never “raced” before, certainly was not in good enough shape to win any races. On the other hand, I knew that once I got her hooked on the idea that she would begin to compete against herself and want to improve her times.
In fact, she went on to complete a 10K race and is signed up for more future races. Each race is scheduled several months out in advance and it gives her a target for her “training”. Now, all of a sudden, instead of being a seriously overweight 40-something, she is an active person who is training for races. It changes the way she thinks. It changes what she talks about with her friends and colleagues. It has changed, in fact, who she is as a person. And, oh by the way, she has lost 60 pounds.