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Which is better motivation- insults or compliments?

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Old 07-22-2010, 03:16 AM   #1
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Default Which is better motivation- insults or compliments?

I am just curious about something.
I have read lots of weight loss stories, and I have seen a lot of them saying it was a negative comment, a bad picture, or something like that which inspired them to lose weight. Of course, I have also heard stories that they wanted to be healthier, stronger, etc.
But, what I am wondering is which is a stronger motivation?

A while back my aunt said that she wishes my uncle would insult her or tell her she needs to lose weight. She says that would be much more motivating to her than when he tells her she is pretty and he likes how she looks no matter what she weighs.

What motivated you to lose weight? Was it a healthy reason for losing? I know this may be pretty personal for someone to answer. I am not going to lie- sometimes I find myself saying negative things to try to encourage myself. I know I should be saying empowering things, but instead I find myself doing not so good things like imagining my husband being attracted to a thin woman and him wishing I looked like that. I know it's not healthy, but it does work- I have no desire to eat after that.

Anyone else guilty of this or am I just crazy? I am really kind of embarrassed to admit that I do that. I have never told anyone that before.
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Old 07-22-2010, 03:29 AM   #2
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Hmm, interesting question. I am curious to see how people respond to this.

For me, compliments and positive thinking are the way to go. I am not at all motivated by insults, either coming from myself or others. I am a competitive person, but not in a negative way where I feel the need to one-up someone or get a better angle at a (boyfriend, husband, job, cute dress) by tearing myself down or allowing others to do it for me.

I started this process because I didn't like how I looked or felt and I wanted to feel and look better. I didn't have a "rock bottom" experience because I had nothing but those experiences for years. My whole life was rock bottom. So I decided to turn it around. I've done major, drastic renovations of my body and mind before and I'll do it again before I die. This weight loss process can be challenging, but it's not even close to the hardest thing I've ever done, and I try to take it in stride. But I need to hear positives from myself and others. Compliments, friendly faces and kind words invigorate me, and though I sympathize with people who berate themselves (I've been there too), I figure there are so many people out there in the world who would love to bring you down, why do it to yourself? Even if it is a temporary motivational tool, what purpose does it serve?

Just my two cents
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Old 07-22-2010, 03:44 AM   #3
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What is really interesting about your post is that YOU are the one that is actually creating the insults - about yourself. You are not getting insults in reality from others. You are creating a nightmare image/scenario in your head: your husband is attracted to a thin girl, and you are watching him drool from the distance. Thus, you must lose weight, become the thin girl, and then he can love and drool over you.

I'm certainly not passing judgment on you - just find the act of self-punishment interesting because I do it as well, but in a slightly different way. Despite the fact that my boyfriend (really, insanely cute) has told me he does see himself married to me in the future - I cannot accept this and so every time I see a pretty girl, I imagine that he would be better with her.... as he could never be happy enough with me, I'll never be pretty enough. For some reason, the fact that I have a brain and personality are not enough to convince me that I am good enough to be "the one".

The difference between our stories is that I have never used this personal, negative insult as a device to help me lose weight. Thanks for posting, you've given me a lot to think about!
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Old 07-22-2010, 03:50 AM   #4
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Neither one, for me. Motivation is about how I feel about myself, not about how others say I look.
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Old 07-22-2010, 03:56 AM   #5
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I've had insults, though not many I suppose. They just make me eat in anger.
compliments? Not too fond of them either, I don't like people getting too close to the deeply personal, and somehow, although I'm all too obviously fat, it feels like a dark and nasty secret that I don't want people to approach me over.

Somewhere in my house I have a very old Garfield cartoon, the paper is yellowed with age. It shows Garfield standing on the scales with a towel draped over his head as he looks down at the dial. The caption: "My weight, My problem". I'm rather like that.

I can't say it's the same for everybody but for me, I can lose weight when the switch in my head clicks over, and that's regardless of anyone else's comments. I can only lose weight for me, through me, because of me taking responsibility. No offence intended to your aunt but it's not fair of her to put the blame for her weight on her husband - our weight is our responsibility, not anyone else's.
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Old 07-22-2010, 05:20 AM   #6
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Negative reinforcement has never, ever, ever motivated me to do something positive. We're all different, and all that, and I know it's worked for other people, but whoa, it just does not work for me.
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Old 07-22-2010, 05:28 AM   #7
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I personally don't like either. Compliments upset me because I myself know I haven't done my best... (this is with anything)... and insults upset me because... well... I'm being insulted of course.

But... if there was one that would make me work harder... it would probably be the insult. To prove that their wrong. Not that I want people to go around insulting me. I'd rather have them say nothing at all (hence, the reason I don't show many people... at least in real life... my accomplishments). I find that when people are just like "wow... you look great"... or something along those lines... I stop working as hard, because my subconscious instincts are that "oh... I'm doing it OK".

I don't like positive remarks on my schoolwork. Because then I slack off... because there's no need to push myself. In my art class, my old teacher never pushed me. I always got 100 on everything, and a "wow". And so... I never strived for anything better. When I got a 85 on an art piece I didn't work hard on in my new class (I had to switch halfway through the year), I knew I had to step up my game. I wasn't happy... but I did do better.

So... I personally prefer neither... since I'm a harsher critic of myself than almost anyone else... (even Simon!)... I tend to do better on my own... but... if I had to choose... it'd be insult.
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Old 07-22-2010, 06:25 AM   #8
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If someone insults me, they may get it back two-fold. My body is not here for other people to judge. It's none of their business, really.
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Old 07-22-2010, 07:51 AM   #9
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Negative comments just make me mad and want to drop kick that person into the next century, I haven't had any compliments so cannot comment on that aspect but I imagine if anyone did it would motivate me to stay on track and keep losing


Quote:
Originally Posted by blonie123 View Post
I am just curious about something.
I have read lots of weight loss stories, and I have seen a lot of them saying it was a negative comment, a bad picture, or something like that which inspired them to lose weight. Of course, I have also heard stories that they wanted to be healthier, stronger, etc.
But, what I am wondering is which is a stronger motivation?

A while back my aunt said that she wishes my uncle would insult her or tell her she needs to lose weight. She says that would be much more motivating to her than when he tells her she is pretty and he likes how she looks no matter what she weighs.

What motivated you to lose weight? Was it a healthy reason for losing? I know this may be pretty personal for someone to answer. I am not going to lie- sometimes I find myself saying negative things to try to encourage myself. I know I should be saying empowering things, but instead I find myself doing not so good things like imagining my husband being attracted to a thin woman and him wishing I looked like that. I know it's not healthy, but it does work- I have no desire to eat after that.

Anyone else guilty of this or am I just crazy? I am really kind of embarrassed to admit that I do that. I have never told anyone that before.
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Old 07-22-2010, 08:03 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Serbrider View Post
I personally don't like either. Compliments upset me because I myself know I haven't done my best... (this is with anything)... and insults upset me because... well... I'm being insulted of course.
Me too. One of the hardest lessons I've learned was taught by my band director step-father. He taught me to say "thank you" to compliments.

My highest motivator? Tell me I can't do something. I WILL prove you wrong. I went from the last chair flute player to the first chair flute player with a life long passion for it because as that last chair player I was told I would never be able to play a certain piece of music. ("Morning, Noon and Night in Vienna"...a turning point in my life) I was told with my intolerance for pain I'd never breast feed. Did just fine, thank you very much.

No one has ever told me I couldn't lose weight, but I told myself that every single day I was fat. I was my own worst enemy with the "I can't" talk. And yet, that stubborn part of me refused to accept my own "I can't" talk, thank God! I fought it tooth and nail. I just had to figure out the right combination to get back where I needed to be.
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Old 07-22-2010, 08:24 AM   #11
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I've never been directly insulted about my weight. I have no idea how I would have reacted at my heaviest, but it would NOT have been positive. I certainly wouldn't have wanted to lose weight to prove anything--I'd be more likely to gain weight in an attempt to show I don't give a f*** what they think.

I have had people--good people, family mostly--express concern over my weight, and I understand why they did--I was well on my way to an early grave. However, it more or less created the same "f*** you" response. That is not admirable on my part, but seems to be hard-wired into my personality.

My relationship with compliments is really complicated. I don't like receiving them, particularly, because they make me feel awkward, but I like knowing people approve of me or admire me (my favorite compliments are second hand, when Suzie tells me what Jenny said -- less awkward!) But I also really hate that I like approval/admiration because I feel like I shouldn't care so much what other people think.

I joke sometimes that my parents spent the first 10 years of my life convincing me not to care what other people thought and then the next 10 years trying to repair the damage. I took the advice a little too literally and it's left me with a contrary streak--like everything else in my life, I have trouble moderating--it matters what other people think about some things, some of the time, to some degree. That's hard for me to understand.
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Old 07-22-2010, 08:29 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blonie123 View Post
A while back my aunt said that she wishes my uncle would insult her or tell her she needs to lose weight. She says that would be much more motivating to her than when he tells her she is pretty and he likes how she looks no matter what she weighs.
You know, I can totally hear my mother saying this... but if my father actually did it? She'd be livid. But this is typical of her. She does not have the self-motivation to address her weight, so she assigns responsibility to someone else.

Likewise, you may find yourself imagining your husband admiring a thin woman -- but how would you feel if you actually observed this? Motivated? Or hurt and rejected?

I don't think it is wrong to be motivated by looking better and being healthier for our partners. I like to think that in a loving relationship, one strives to be the best person she can be for her partner (and likewise). For me, part of that is being healthy and being confident and working to become the person I really want to be.

However, I will admit, that one memory that has haunted my mind for the past few months is how, 20 years ago at a party (I was 18), one of my guy friends said I was a little "chunky." I was not chunky. I was not "skinny" like some high school girls, but I was definitely not overweight at all. What was particularly infuriating is that he felt it OK to pass this judgement when he had a good bit of extra weight himself. Our 20-year high school reunion is this Fall. I can't wait to see him there. Cause I know I will look 1,000 times better than he will. Is this what motivated my weight loss? No. But it is the cherry on my (uneaten) sundae!
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Old 07-22-2010, 08:29 AM   #13
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Neither is motivation for me. Compliments, while nice to hear (from the right people) do make me feel good but never motivating. Insults have always made me want to punch some one

My husband is like your aunt's husband....he loves me and thinks I'm beautiful no matter what I weigh. He's never said anything negative about my weight and I think when I got it in my head to make changes, it made a huge difference

Negative influence is never a good thing in the long run.
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Old 07-22-2010, 08:48 AM   #14
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To be honest, the insults never really bothered me, I mean it did make me more insecure than what I already was, but that's not what really motivated me b/c if it was, I would have done something a lot sooner. I think the realization of wanting to be healthy and really reflecting on my life and what it could be is what gave me the courage and strength to achieve my goals. I'm happier now, and you know what, I still get compliments and insults, just different ones now. People can just be awful, but I no longer take it personal, b/c if i can accomplish this, I feel i can do just about anything!
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Old 07-22-2010, 09:11 AM   #15
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I agree with mandalinn82 in the sense that I find motivation has to come from within myself, rather than from something external (like a compliment or an insult from another person).

In terms of what motivates me from inside, I find that I am actually most motivated when I am being really positive. For me, so much of my weight gain in the past was due to negative self-esteem and negative things happening in my life, and thus negative self-talk, for me, either has no effect, or strengthens those maladaptive patterns I used to have. When I have feelings that suggest I don't like who I am as a person, I stop taking care of myself. When I have positive feelings which suggest I am a worthwhile person with a great life ahead of me, I am far more likely to make positive choices about my health and lifestyle.

In terms of what my positive motivation is, for me, it's when I'm thinking positively about myself now, and about how I will be in the future. I am twenty four years old, and I want to feel healthy, confident, attractive and young, all at once. I focus on how much better I look and feel now, how pleased I am that I take better care of my body and health now, and how happy and exciting it will be in the future when my self-discipline and willpower pays off.
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