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Motivation With Tough Love

stew smith


I’ve been reading your articles and you have some great tips on how to lose weight. I am a 34 year old mother of two, am 5’8”, and have been fighting an extra 30-40 lb for the past two years. It seems that everything I try ends up in failure. I am afraid I am locked in an infinite cycle of Phase 1. I can’t seem to get out of this phase!

I need some tough words to motivate me, with no option of failure. I am sick of the “you can do it” mentality, said with a smile. Maybe if someone told me I can’t do it, it would make me mad enough to prove them wrong. What do you say to people who need that kind of no-nonsense push?

See Motivational Workout pic for reminding purposes!!

There is very little difference between getting motivated to exercise and lose weight / get healthy and having the self-motivation to do the same. Even if it requires one outside voice to motivate you to do something, in the end it is really YOU who accomplishes the task at hand. So, I tell people when I receive a success story - that sure I wrote a workout that worked for you, but it was YOU who did the workouts daily, who took control of your eating habits, or other unhealthy habits - not ME. So in the end - you have to be self-motivated.

Self - Motivation is defined by WikiPedia as the ability to motivate yourself, to find a reason and the necessary strength to do something, without the need of being influenced to do so by another person. Working in a careful and consistent manner without giving up.

BUT, sometimes people need a kick in the butt and need to stop feeling sorry for themselves and could use some “self-motivation”. Not everyone needs this type of motivation, but I will say from personal experience, it does work. Here is a story that explains how it works:

When I was 18 years old after spending two and a half years of my high school days trying to qualify for the Naval Academy, I got accepted. I was pretty pumped. Before I left, I actually had an adult teacher actually say to me, “Well, if we see you back here in six months, we’ll know you didn’t make it.” Needless to say this shocked me, but when the days got long and difficult during the next four years, I always thought of that jack-@## and it did help me stay motivated.

Here are some examples to try on yourself if you need a little kick in the butt:

Even though these will not apply to everyone, we all may have 1-2 that we could do better on.

I usually start out with - DON'T TELL ME....I learned this one from Erin O'Neill - See her story

- DON'T TELL ME you want to lose weight yet you spend all day playing video games, watching TV…(_________fill in the blank with any lazy activity)

- DON'T TELL ME you want to lose weight yet you eat extra large portions / extra calorie snacks / desserts. (you could also use the phrase “stuffing your pie hole with…”)

- DON'T TELL ME you want to get healthy and still smoke, drink to excess, or have a high fat diet.

- DON'T TELL ME you want to be an example to your kids and you eat at fast food restaurants when most convenient.
(Just get them the toy in the Kids Meal - that is all they really want.)

- DON'T TELL ME you want to serve your country in the military, law enforcement, or fire fighter, yet you cannot even take care of yourself. How are you supposed to have the ability to save your partner or a victim needing help?

- DON'T TELL ME you want to be in Special Forces one day, but you do not know what it means to push yourself physically / mentally and still fail - BUT get back up and succeed.

So I tell people - DON'T TELL ME - Just DO it....THEN tell me you DID it.

Sorry about the tough love, but the email I got MOTIVATED me to share. Thanks and good luck staying motivated. Feel free to email me anytime at

I hope these ideas can help you rebuild your determination to get back to exercising. Check out the Fitness e-Book Store for more information on the programs for passing nearly every PFT in the military as well as regular workouts for weight loss and general fitness.

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