What’s Your Motivation?

Preventing diabetes - what motivates you?

lowering diabetes risk


Lark DPP offers coaching to help lower risk for type 2 diabetes, and program can challenge you. As you learn about the how and why of preventing diabetes, you will have the opportunity to make healthy eating and activity changes designed to reduce insulin resistance and lower blood sugar.

How will you motivate yourself to stick to the year-long program and, along the way, practice healthy behavior changes consistently enough to turn them into habits? The more reasons you have, the better your motivation may be for thriving with Lark.

 

Extrinsic vs. Instrinsic Motivation


As you think about your motivation, know that there are two general categories of motivation. Extrinsic motivation comes from factors in your environment, such as other people. Intrinsic motivation comes from within. External factors, such as fitting into a specific dress, tend to be more short-lived, while intrinsic factors, such as wanting to feel better each day, can keep you going for the long term.

Extrinsic motivation may not last as long or be as strong as intrinsic reasons, but it is not a bad thing. It can still add to your chances of success, which is good because it is nearly unavoidable anyway. Extrinsic motivation can reinforce internal motivation, and it can be particularly useful when you are starting a program, such as Lark, and are just getting started learning new information and practicing new skills.

 

Look Better


Be honest. When it comes to your reasons for losing weight, is looking better near the top of your list? You are far from alone. More than one-third of both men and women say that their appearance is one of their biggest motivators for trying to lose weight. 

Looking better and fitting into certain clothing sizes may be external motivators stemming from societal pressures, but you can use them to your advantage. If looking better gets you to set healthy weight goals and start making small, healthy changes to reach them, go for it!

 

Please Others


Pleasing others is another extrinsic factor. It can be a terrible one if it leads to to set aside your own goals and practice unhealthy behaviors to achieve someone else’s ideal for you. As with appearance, though, there is no reason not to turn other people’s expectations and hopes for you into extra motivation to improve your health and well-being.

These are some examples of pleasing others to increase your motivation to commit to Lark DPP.

  • Lower blood sugar and A1c to get praise from your doctor.

  • Lose weight to get your parents off your back.

  • Make your lunch instead of eating fast food to prove to your spouse that you are not lazy.

  • Boost physical activity to see positive trends in Lark.

If you can use a desire to please others as a way to trigger healthy behavior change, ride this motivation for as long as it works. Just be sure to keep your own interests and goals first because ultimately, your health journey is about you and nobody else.

 

Increase Your Feelings of Self-Worth


How do you feel when you choose carrots and hummus instead of chips and onion dip for a snack, or when you get done with a hike? Chances are, you feel pretty proud of yourself for making those good choices. You can also feel empowered as you realize that yes, you can make those choices.

Wanting to feel those good feelings can be motivation for making healthy choices. This type of motivation is intrinsic, and it does not ever need to go away. You can always have the desire to feel proud of yourself. 

As you continue to establish new habits, you can develop confidence that if you can do Lark DPP, you can do anything. Feel free to apply your skills to anything, such as stepping it up at work and going for the raise, or planning a trip that includes a fitness challenge such as a famous strenuous hike.

 

Be with Family


Your family can be a strong motivator. As you may have found out in the Lark check-in, you may feel the need to stay healthy because one or more family members may depend on you. You may, for example, need to care for children or aging parents, or you may be the breadwinner for your family. 

Other possible family-based reasons to want to be as healthy as you can include:

  • Wanting to be healthy for future possible events, such as high school graduation of your grandchildren or seeing your children get married.

  • Being capable of saying, “Yes!” to any invitation from your family (or friends) to join them, such as for a bike ride or day at the beach, without being limited by physical health concerns or lack of fitness.

 

Improve Your Health


Health tends to be the most common reason for wanting to lose weight, and it applies to getting fit and preventing diabetes, too. You can get more mileage out of this reason by getting more specific about why you want to be healthier. 

One reason for preventing diabetes is to make life simpler. With diabetes, you may need to check your blood sugar regularly, take medications multiple times a day, and go to more doctor’s appointments. You may not even be able to exercise without checking blood sugar, go to a party without considering insulin doses based on the extra carbs you expect to eat, or delay a meal without changing your meds..

 

Immediate Benefits


Those long-term reasons can seem worthwhile on paper, but it can be hard to work day in and day out for benefits that may happen 10 or 20 years from now, or that you may never be able to prove. For example, if you don’t get diabetes, when will you not get it, how can you see if you are making progress towards that result, and is it due to these healthy behaviors?

In contrast, feeling better right now can be a powerful motivator. The healthy choices you make can have immediate benefits and spur you to continue to make those choices and try additional healthy choices. These are a few examples.

  • Having high-antioxidant foods, such as vegetables, whole grains, and fruit, and healthy fats, such as from fish, at lunch can improve concentration and alertness in the afternoon.

  • Exercising regularly can improve sleep and make you happier.

  • Having plenty of folate, such as from broccoli, lentils, and oranges, can lower risk of depression.

  • Choosing healthy fats instead of fried foods can reduce anxiety.

  • Choosing high-fiber carbohydrates in moderation can reduce blood sugar swings and reduce cravings and energy dips.

  • Including fiber, protein, and healthy fat at most meals and snacks can reduce hunger.

 

Connecting Goals and Core Values


As you identify some of your motivational factors and set goals with Lark, you can reach within yourself to set goals that align with your core values. Core values may be similar to motivational factors. These are some examples of core values are consistent with weight loss, physical activity, and health goals in Lark.

  • Family - be present for years and be able to participate in activities.

  • Self-worth - feeling proud of your choices, such as eating healthy.

  • Engaging in life - being physically able to do any activity you want.

  • Productivity - having few sick days and being focused and alert during the day.

Motivation can be an extremely important factor in how much you lower your risk for type 2 diabetes. You can have all the knowledge and support in the world, but if you are not motivated to hit your goals, you are unlikely to make healthy choices for long. 

Lark can help you stay motivated by asking you about your reasons for being in the DPP and reminding you about them as you go through the program. Be sure to enter your reasons into the app and consider keeping them somewhere handy so you can see them any time your resolve flags. The more motivation you have, the more you may want to stick to the program and achieve great results.

 

Natalie Stein

Exercise, Fitness & Nutrition Expert | Assistant Professor of Public Health