A recent debate on one of my Medifast Facebook groups made me think about the two basic types of motivation for any change -- desire and fear. The debate centered around whether it is better to post a picture on your refrigerator of yourself at your highest weight or a picture of yourself (or someone else) at the weight you want to be.
Some argued that when they see a picture of themselves at their heaviest, they think twice about grabbing something out of the refrigerator that is Off Plan. They do not want to go back to being that person.
Others replied that posting a "fat picture" is a negative approach; it is better not to remain stuck in the past. From their perspective, you should move toward something positive versus away from something negative. (Neuro-linguistic Programming types call this toward and away from motivation.)
In my view both sides were right because (drum roll please...) people are different.
Parents know that some kids are motivated by ice cream, others by losing TV. Managers know that some employees respond better to praise, others to fear of being fired.
When I was in the process of losing weight through Medifast, I used a combination of carrot and stick motivation. When I was tempted to cheat, I usually thought about the risk of getting kicked out of ketosis and stalling my weight loss for a few days. I would even picture the needle on my scale staying stuck on the same number. Was one cookie really worth all that?
Yet other times I would picture a slimmer version of myself and decide that reaching that goal was more important to me than eating a slice of pizza.
Though I did not post any pictures of myself on the refrigerator during my weight loss phase, if I were to do Medifast again I would probably post two photos: an unflattering picture of myself at my heaviest and another of myself at my desired weight.
If a carrot works and a stick works, why not use both?
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