Hope makes all the difference

I know enough about how my body functions to understand what I need to do to lose weight. The "how" is basically easy for me. The "why," however, is more complicated. Why do I want to do this? How do I stay motivated?

I was pondering this last night and reflecting back to 2005/2006 when I lost a significant amount of weight. I lost the first 35 or so pounds by "accident" - illness and some major life complications. The last 40 pounds, though, were very intentional. What was going on in my life that made it so easy to focus on my health?

I was so ridiculously happy in 2006. I'd been accepted into a program to study and minister abroad, I had some amazingly great friendships, I was actively volunteering for several different organizations, I was pursuing hobbies that I loved. The future looked amazing and I was running towards it with wild abandon. I wanted to lose weight and be healthy because I wanted to be alive to enjoy that future.

And then....everything fell apart. I wasn't able to move overseas. I had to take a job with hours that made it almost impossible to continue with the volunteering and hobbies. Those dear friends all lived 45 minutes away (I'd moved at the beginning of the year) and the cost of gas and winter weather made it difficult to see them so often. I hated my life. HATED IT. I lost my vision of a better future. I no longer cared about my health and the pounds slowly came back.

The same scenario repeated itself (on a much smaller scale) in 2010 when I lost about 40 pounds. I had a job I enjoyed, I was in a great relationship, I had an active social life, etc. Again...things fell apart and again...I lost hope.

And this time I'm really struggling to stay motivated because I don't have anything to look forward to. I started this particular weight loss journey for one reason - fear. Several people I know have recently died because of weight-related illnesses. I don't want that to happen to me. Or do I? When I think about living this same life for the next 20...or 30...or 40 years, it makes me feel weary and despondent. Just, no. I'd rather be fat and die next year, thank you very much. Fear is a good instigator, but it is not a good motivator.

Hope is my strongest motivator. Hope makes all the difference. But....where do I find it?

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