- Competition distracts from your true goal: Weight loss is not a goal. Weight loss is a method for getting what you want. When you focus on getting to a number on the scale, you forget the real reason you want to lose weight is not the number, its ultimately to feel and function better.
- Temporary by design: Competition training is designed to be temporary. Like building a sandcastle, you are spending your time on something designed to last.
- The let down. The ‘high’ of competing pales in comparison to the thought of doing this for the rest of your life. Once the excitement of the competition is over, you are more likely to lose motivation because long term changes are just not as ‘exciting’.
- It takes too much brain energy: Competition teaches you to use willpower as a source of motivation. Willpower takes a lot of brain energy, which means exercise is likely the first thing to go when life get stressful and pulls from your brain energy.
- It’s a false start, not a jump start: The idea that losing weight will ‘jump start’ your weight loss so you will be more motivated from ‘seeing results’ is a false start to weight loss. Your motivation will not be strong enough to last a rebound in your weight when the competition ends.
- It’s a distraction: Competition keeps your focus more on the competition than your own body. Listening to your body is the only way to know if what you are doing is sustainable.
- Raising injury risk: Competitions make you exercise to extremes for quicker ‘results’, increasing the likelihood of injury.
- Lowers the chance of a habit: The need to push yourself beyond limits to ‘win’ means exercise does not feel enjoyable. You might be willing to put up with soreness and fatigue to win. However, once the competition is over, your brain has already associated exercise with pain and fatigue, lowering your chances of making it a habit.
- Temporary motivators: Prizes and incentives are external motivators, known to be temporary. Once the potential prize is not there to push you to exercise, you need to find ways to get yourself motivated. Better to practice self-motivation from the very start, since it’s the way to make motivation and weight loss last.
- Weight loss is not a competition. Being healthy is not a sport, its an act of self-care. It requires a whole different mindset.
Skip the lure of weight loss competitions and put your energy into learning more sustainable ways to stay motivated.
Keep Moving, Be Well,