Here's why you can't sustain your motivation to work out, according to experts

How does one stay motivated to stay fit and go to the gym?

Ah, the million-dollar question. Ten days ago on Instagram, I broached the subject of why it may be problematic to simply keep pushing oneself during workouts whenever one feels demotivated. While pushing through lazy moments may work, it might be a band-aid solution that would stop working one day. It may also breed a plethora of mental health problems, such as self-esteem issues, disordered eating, and paradoxically, compulsive exercising as a way to purge after undisciplined moments.

And this is where science saves the day once again!

failed barbell squat

Not all motivation is created equal. If you've been trying to troubleshoot lazy days without really knowing what Self-Determination Theory is, then you might be missing out on vital information!

Monsters inside us

“I bring out the monsters in people,” I said, trying to drown my shame with a glass of wine.

I had just told a friend about a young man almost half my age who had somehow played out his stalker tendencies on me with my unwitting permission. Yes, there's a lot to unpack in that sentence, which I shall do later... but I'm getting ahead of myself.

My friend smiled at my declaration, in part because she sympathized, but mostly because she thought I was giving myself too much credit. “The monsters have always been there, Stef. You did not create them.”
black and white
Just because they've 'been made', as the slang expression goes, does not mean I made them. Ah, pun of the year.

Maybe so, I thought, but I definitely attracted them. I did not feel as innocent as I wanted to think I was.

It was starting to become a pattern. I realized I had turned into a magnet for people looking to prey on women in different ways.

Addiction to perfection: What the fitness industry is doing to females

A few days ago, I posted about how too much fixation on physical fitness can be detrimental to mental health. It was a friendly reminder, one I also needed, so that women like me don't fall into the trap of sacrificing mental health just to achieve physical health.

Imagine my surprise when someone aired their dissent, saying it was not applicable to athletes.

Something I learned in med school immediately came to mind: One of the common defense mechanisms employed by someone with an addiction problem is denial.

barbell plates
We have to accept the possibility that our quest for health is, ironically, harming our health.

To be a 'pure vegan'

One vegan bought a leather jacket before he went vegan, and he doesn't know what to do with it. Another vegan likes to buy vegan pizza from a place that also sells non-vegan pizzas, and he feels guilty about it. One other vegan has non-vegan friends and wonders if she should stop being friends with them.

You might think these three vegans have different problems, but they don't. All three are dealing with purity as an issue, something you might encounter often in both online groups and your own personal life.

So, what should these three vegans do? Should they look at purity in veganism as a worthy goal?

Ideal versus real

Many people think that cooking a vegan burger in a pan previously used to cook a non-vegan burger automatically makes it non-vegan. While I don't blame any vegan who finds it disgusting to consume a vegan burger swimming in small amounts of non-vegan contaminants that came from formerly living animals, I don't believe that contamination converts vegan food into something non-vegan.

A vegan product processed in a non-vegan factory may be inadvertently exposed to non-vegan contaminants, but that does not make the product non-vegan.

A vegan item cooked in a pan previously used by a non-vegan can be described as many things: unpalatable, disgusting, unhealthy, impure, contaminated. But it is still vegan.

Take note, however, that vegan ingredients cooked with animal flesh is a different issue. It is unfair to ask a vegan to “just remove the meat” after cooking vegetables and animals in one dish. This is no longer just mere contamination; this is asking a vegan to actually consume a non-vegan dish.

Sana maging vegan si Kuya Wil
This image is all thanks to Sana Maging Vegan si Kuya Wil, a vegan meme page for Pinoys. Follow them, they're hilarious!

I've always dreamed of a vegan world. I can't wait to see it, and I hope I'm still alive to witness it. It's something I and many other vegans work toward – as you can see, I've been blogging regularly to complete this 30-day online veganism guide for Filipinos – because living in a world that doesn't see animals as objects is the one I want to live in.


But the reality is, I don't live in a vegan world. At least, not yet. This means I have little choice but to use roads constructed by non-vegan companies. This means I have relatives, friends, and colleagues who still contribute to animal suffering. This means that even if I choose restaurants with completely vegan menus – and a completely vegan workforce – their employees probably have non-vegan families, too, so the money I pay these restaurants eventually make it to non-vegan hands.

On staying | Animal Scene editor's notes

Endings and goodbyes – I can only hope they're always happy, but that's just wishful thinking on my part. The many chapters in our lives that need concluding are enough to turn even the most hopeful optimist into a sobbing mess with one bitter lesson to learn in the end: Some good things never last.

But not all goodbyes are sad, even the ones that seem to be. So many things that occupy our lives are mere stopgap solutions to problems we think we can't remedy, and they hurt us more than help us.

Sunsets end the day, but they can be beautiful. The same can be said about goodbyes.

Things can get better when we have the courage to take out the trash. Put simply, good riddance.

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