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Motivation, The Paper Towel Theory, and More

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Old 07-14-2004, 02:35 PM   #1
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Lightbulb Motivation, The Paper Towel Theory, and More

I've been thinking about motivation lately. Twice in the past week I've been told directly that it's "easy" to stay motivated when you can see results, but that it's hard when you don't. Well, I both agree and disagree with this. I am seeing results now (at the time of this writing, I'm down 3 sizes from a 26 to a 20) but I wasn't always -- and yet I was very motivated in the beginning and still am. I've heard it the other way around, also: "Oh, it's new and exciting, so of course you're motivated -- wait till you've been doing it a while and then see if you've still got steam to continue."

There are those among us who fall off just as soon as they start to see consistent results. There are those who plan and talk and cannot bring themselves to DO (or NOT do.) And then there are those who just doggedly persevere, like ever-shrinking energizer bunnies, bitten by some magical motivation bug and seemingly unstoppable.

I think the overall truth is that it's hard for everyone at every stage....until it's not.....it all changes, it's not static, it's fluid -- it's an ongoing, rolling, human process, and the only thing you can safely predict is that your only control can be over your responses. And that's all connected to motivation, either before or after the fact.

I'd like to invite everyone to use this thread to contribute positive, motivational quotes and articles, theories and studies......all with the intention to motivate -- no matter where you are on your journey.

I'll start with this:

The Paper Towel Theory - by Bob White (paraphrased)

"Here's a little inspiration for those of you who are worried about not seeing any changes in your bodies so far. It's what I call the Paper Towel Theory.

Let's assume you go out and buy two rolls of paper towels, each with only 84 sheets on it. You put one aside, and keep it for future reference (it will be your "before" picture.) The other represents you (I'll call your Paper Towel You, "Ed.") The cardboard core represents the lean Ed. The towels represent the fat that is covering the lean Ed. For the sake of argument, let's say that Ed wants to lose 21 pounds of fat, so (84/21) each sheet represents a quarter-pound of fat lost. Let's also assume that Ed loses his fat equally during each of 84 days (1 for each paper towel sheet.)

Each day during the first week, you tear a sheet off of Ed, representing the fat he has lost for the day. Next, you put Ed next to the untouched full roll ("Big Ed") for comparison (that's why you need 2 rolls.) No noticeable difference! Even at the end of the week! This can't be working for me, say you!

But, being a good Ed, you continue to follow your diet plan, your new way of life. At the end of weeks two and three, you continue to compare Ed to Big Ed, and still notice very little difference.

But Ed is determined! He works hard! Three more weeks go by, the sheets peeling off day after day, before Ed gets up the courage to stand next to Big Ed again. Holy Nonfat Cottage Cheese! Ed is skinny! Ok, not skinny, but less huge!

By the end of 12 weeks, Ed is down to his lean dream, or somewhere near it or on the way to it. Ed is happy. We are happy. Big Ed - well, he's not so happy.

The lesson to be learned is that fat, like paper towels, comes off in sheets. When you are heavy, you are big around. And when you are big around, that fat is spread over a MUCH larger area - just like that outside towel sheet. The closer you get to the lean you, the more each lost pound of fat shows, because it is spread over a smaller area.

While the outside sheet may only cover 1 layer of the roll, the inside sheet may go around 4 times! That last sheet looks like it gives you 4 times the results of the first sheet, but in reality, the results are the same -- your perception is just different! And you'll never see the inside, if you aren't patient while the outside is coming off."
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Old 07-14-2004, 04:04 PM   #2
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This is a totally excellent idea and I LOVE LOVE this paper-towel theory. Thank you Sarah! I have to share that it gave me a renewal of excitement knowing that as you get smaller, the pounds show more! I truly appreciate these little points of motivation. It keeps me going! And WOAH! SARAH.... Down to a 20 from a 26??? Holy begeezers! Congratulations. That is a great great accomplishment. I am so proud of you! Keep up the great work!
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Old 07-14-2004, 05:05 PM   #3
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Great analogy. I may even buy me a couple rolls of paper towels and take one off sheet a day.

I was just thinking last night that I can't tell I've lost much weight. I'm down almost 30 pounds. Just last week I was looking in the mirror and could tell I've lost a lot but I think I've just gotten used to me looking like this already and will have to wait a few more pounds to see more of a difference again. (I guess I'll pull out those old pics of me back in February to remind me of where I've come.)
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Old 07-14-2004, 11:52 PM   #4
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Sarah

This is AWESOME! What a great little read for the day! It actually really helped me. I've lost 10 lbs. but I can't notice a difference yet, except for the fact that I feel 100% healthier. I'm more motivated right now than I've ever been from seeing the 10 lb loss so I guess it does totally go both ways... I'm gonna stick with it though as I can't wait until the day (which shouldn't be too far away) where I see results, where my clothes feel better and when I can go further/longer at the gym.

Again, this is a great analogy and thanks so much for sharing! This is why I LOVE this board... always something to keep me motivated...

Cheers
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Old 07-15-2004, 08:29 AM   #5
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I agree! Hey Celina.... 10 lbs?? That is AWESOME.. You'll see it soon.. I promise.
Keep up the great work. Stay motivated and positive. You'll get there no doubt. I've been meaning to tell you that I'm really proud of you for restarting your program in June. I am so glad we didn't lose you because you really add alot to this board and I appreciate you!
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Old 07-16-2004, 10:01 PM   #6
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Sarah, thank you so much for sharing that! It's really SO HARD to step on the scale knowing i've been so good and nothing happens. It's hard to think about the long term effects, which is what we should probably concentrate on!
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Old 07-16-2004, 10:36 PM   #7
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Aw, you guys are a buncha sweeties to thank me! While it's very nice of you to do so, and I'm glad that you appreciate it, isn't sharing motivating stuff what this site is all about?? It's why we're all here -- to give and get support and try to help one another achieve our goals. I'm just glad that you guys liked it!

I must say that I would just LOVE IT if some others used this thread to share some more motivating words....or stories....or images....or ideas....or whatever you have that you think would help someone else. I think it would be great to have some different motivating items on the same thread, so that when any of us really needs a pick-me-up or shot-in-the-arm or just some vehicle for regaining focus, we could easily access a few things at once.
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Old 07-17-2004, 10:51 AM   #8
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Awwwww Gretchen, you're sooooo sweet! Thanks for encouragement!

And don't you worry, I won't be going anywhere for a long time... I've never been more committed to anything in my life. There's really no stopping me right now, and I'm at the point that I even think having a greasy meal, for example, would make me physically ill.
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Old 07-18-2004, 01:21 AM   #9
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Thumbs up

Ok, here's something great I found here on the 3FC site about "falling off the wagon." I thought it was a great analogy.
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Old 07-18-2004, 05:35 PM   #10
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Thanks Sarah,

I've just read that thread and it has come at a really good time for me - I went a bit off track this weekend, so the advice is just what i need.

I like the 'chutes and ladders' analogy - we call the game 'snakes and ladders' here.

The best bit was where it said 'you can't win the game unless you keep on playing' - that is soooooo true and really spoke to me. I hit a snake this weekend - but it doesn't mean the game is over!

Great thread Sarah - lets hope it gets bigger and bigger.

Love Amanda x
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Old 07-18-2004, 09:28 PM   #11
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Amanda, I'm so happy to hear that this thread is achieving its intended purpose! I'm sorry that you had a rocky weekend, but it's just a little blip, right? I love that article too, and am really glad it helped you out when you needed it. You're back in the game now, Amanda! How simple was that?
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Old 07-20-2004, 03:35 PM   #12
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Ok, here's a link to a similar thread, one devoted to inspirational quotes....hope you like it!
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Old 09-21-2004, 10:34 PM   #13
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I LOVE the paper towel story. Thank you for sharing it, because it is EXACTLY what I am going through right now.
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Old 09-26-2004, 11:54 AM   #14
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Here's a quote I like
"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." My best friend sent it to me on a card, another good one she sent is;
"Show me a day when the world is not new." I love this stuff and am sorry I missed this thread.
I'm going to get busy reading all the links! Come on everyone we must have millions between us.

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Old 09-27-2004, 09:57 PM   #15
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Default A little bit of inspiration

I wrote this little poem thingy back in 1989 and the topic of the poem was weight loss. Wanted to share it with all of you.


There is no mountain higher
than the one I create in my mind.
One single mountain that tries to
prevent my dreams from coming true.
It even speak to me in the back of my mind,
telling me what I cannot achieve.
And I listened.
For too many years I heard its voice
pulling me back from my goals,
goals I so longed to reach.
Doubtfully, I tried to climb it
never believing that I really could.
So therefore, I could not.
My attempts were many and my successes were few.
Until now.
Now is the key to my freedom
for my tomorrows have run out.
Now I will begin to climb,
confident, that I alone
can reach the top.


When I dug this up last night, it just reminded me that weight loss is truly a mindset. You have to want it with everything in you. It's a bit like climbing a mountain: it takes time, perseverence and stategy. This time, I want it so badly I can taste it.
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