What Making My Bed Taught Me About Losing Weight
Years ago, when my husband and I first married, I gained a lot of weight. I knew I needed to get it off because I felt miserable and had no energy, but my motivation was lacking, and I had such a hard time getting started.
I remember hearing a commercial on the radio for fat-blocking diet pills that came along with promises of incredible weight loss. I pulled my car over in a gas station parking lot and bought those pills that minute. I knew the answer to all my weight loss problems was on its way to my mailbox, and my life was about to change. You can guess how that story ended. Those pills and other products with empty promises all ended up in the trash.
I was looking for an answer to my weight loss problem, but I was looking in all the wrong places: exercise videos, workout plans, meal programs, diet pills, cabbage soup, and the list could go on and on. It wasn’t enough that I was overweight now; I carried guilt and shame because nothing seemed to work.
I kept looking for motivation only to be continually disappointed while my lack of kept me spinning my wheels in the same place over and over. Dictionary.com defines motivation as the general desire or willingness of someone to do something. I had no general desire or willingness to lose weight when it came down to it because I failed over and over.
As a woman of faith, I poured my heart out to God during that season in my prayer time. I felt a nudge to start doing one thing I didn’t want to do every day. As crazy as it sounds and utterly unrelated to my weight problem, I chose the daily discipline of making my bed every day because it was a chore that I hated. At the time, I thought it was ridiculous to make up a bed I was going to get right back in later that day, but I began begrudgingly doing it every day when I felt like it and didn’t.
Before I knew it, making my bed became a habit. Even to this day, I make my bed every single day. I can’t stand it when my bed isn’t made. I don’t think about it; I don’t have to make myself do it; it is as natural to me as brushing my teeth. How did that happen?
Do you know what I learned about weight loss from making my bed?
I can’t wait for motivation; it will always fail me.
I can’t wait for my life not to be crazy or busy; it will always be challenging.
If I want to achieve something, it will take effort, time, and sacrifice, whether I feel motivated or not.
Making my bed every day when I thought it was stupid and a waste of my time taught me one of the greatest lessons in my life that I still reference almost every day.
If I want something in my life to change, motivation is irrelevant.
Discipline is the key. Dictionary.com defines discipline this way – train oneself to do something in a controlled and habitual way.
Discipline is much different than motivation. Motivation depends on a desire to do something, but we all know when weight loss gets hard, desire and willingness disappear. Instead, training ourselves to do something controlled or habitual, whether the path is easy or hard, will lead us down a path of success.
What does discipline look like in my life today?
When I don’t feel like exercising, motivation is nowhere to be found. Discipline says to do it anyway.
When I want to drink Sprite Zero and Crystal Light all day, discipline says to drink water anyway.
When I want to eat my kid’s candy when no one is looking, motivation will always fail me. Discipline says I can do hard things like walk away from my favorite candy bar because sugar is not the boss of me.
I’m not here to tell you that making your bed will help you lose even one pound because it won’t. Instead, it taught me that if I chose discipline over motivation consistently over time, I would see change.
Whether I felt like it or not, making my bed day in and day out opened my eyes to the fallacy that motivation is essential. I learned that if I wanted weight loss results, I would have to deny myself repeatedly, which isn’t fun, and say no to temptation.
So, today if you are looking for motivation and aren’t finding it, perhaps discipline is the answer. Do you know what happened when I applied discipline to my weight loss journey instead of motivation?
I not only lost fifty pounds, but I gained confidence that I could do hard things.
Don’t wait for motivation. Motivation is fickle and based on your current circumstances, emotions, and environment. Motivation has failed all of us. Perhaps looking at this journey differently will be the key to a real breakthrough.
You can do hard things!