Are bad motivational methods the real enemy we need to weigh up?

January 27 2015

This month has seen the launch of a brand new dieting show with a difference, Channel 4’s ‘Weighing Up The Enemy’.

Instead of the usual tactic of asking people to work together to encourage one another to succeed with their diets, the premise of this show is to deliberately destroy your opponent’s motivation so that they fail. The rival dieters, who are the polar opposites of one another, stake their own money on the cause and compete with each other to lose the most weight.

In an attempt to combat the main reason why dieters often fail - a lack of motivation - the loser will have to use their hard-earned cash to pay for the winner’s treat, which is usually something that would make the opponent,s blood boil. In a previous episode, vegan animal lover Karl had to pay for the fox hunting victor, Andrew’s, new gun.

Would this be enough to motivate you to lose weight?

Over the years there have been many wacky ways that people have tried to motivate themselves to lose weight. We have compiled a list of some of the most memorable and discuss why they are not viable in the long term.

Snapping an elastic band around your wrist every time you have a craving

The theory behind this wacky idea stems from operational conditioning, where behaviour is altered through reinforcement. It is believed that punishing yourself by snapping the elastic band on your wrist every time you have a craving for bad food should train your brain to associate the bad food negatively. This negative association should eventually stop you craving the bad food altogether.

However, aside from the fact this makes you look like very strange in public, this is obviously not an advisable long-term plan and you’ll most likely be left with a sore wrist and very little change to your physique.

Instead, try and focus on the positive impact that exercise has on your life. Give yourself a compliment after you’ve finished a workout and try to remember how much happier you feel after exercising when cravings strike.

Buying clothes that are too small for you

Everybody has that elusive pair of skinny jeans that they are dying to get back into. But for some, buying extra small items is the way to motivate yourself to keep going. While you should set yourself achievable goals, buying something that is physically too small for you is mainly just a waste of money rather than a motivational tool.

Having a cheat day

Sticking to a rigorous diet and exercise routine can be tough, so wouldn't it be nice if you had one day a week where you put your diet to one side and ate everything you’ve been craving? Some people allow themselves a cheat day once a week where they avoid the gym and just pig out.

While this may not seem like such a bad idea to begin with, the danger is you will go off the rails and snap back to eating the same old unhealthy foods once you’ve had a taste for junk food. It’s healthier to allow yourself certain things in moderation, rather than splurging on them when you get the chance.

If you struggle to motivate yourself, why not join our gym? We can certainly help you to achieve your fitness goals.