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No Sweat: How the Simple Science of Motivation Can Bring You a Lifetime of Fitness

No Sweat: How the Simple Science of Motivation Can Bring You a Lifetime of Fitness

by Michelle Segar Michelle Segar
Pub. Date:
Pub. Date:
No Sweat: How the Simple Science of Motivation Can Bring You a Lifetime of Fitness

No Sweat: How the Simple Science of Motivation Can Bring You a Lifetime of Fitness

by Michelle Segar Michelle Segar
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Do you secretly hate exercising? Struggle to stick with a program? Millions of people try and fail to stay fit. But what if "exercising" is the real problem, not you?

Motivation scientist and behavior expert Michelle Segar translates years of research on exercise and motivation into a simple four-point program that will empower you to break the cycle of exercise failure once and for all.

You'll discover why you should forget about willpower and stop gritting your teeth through workouts you hate. Instead, you'll become motivated from the inside out and start to crave physical activity.

In No Sweat, Segar will help you find:

  • A step-by-step program for staying encouraged to exercise
  • Pleasure in physical activity
  • Realistic ways to fit fitness into your life

The success of the clients Segar has coached testifies to the power of her program. Their stories punctuate the book, entertaining and emboldening you to break the cycle of exercise failure once and for all.

Practical, proven, and loaded with inspiring stories, No Sweat makes getting fit easier—and more fun—than you ever imagined. Get ready to embrace an active lifestyle that you'll love!

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780814434857
Publisher: AMACOM
Publication date: 06/10/2015
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 393,482
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

MICHELLE L. SEGAR is a behavioral sustainability scientist and Director of the Sport, Health, Activity Research and Policy (SHARP) Center at the University of Michigan. She holds a Ph.D. in Psychology and Master's degrees in Health Behavior and Kinesiology. A sought-after advisor, her expertise has been featured in The New York Times, Forbes, Elle, Prevention, and other major media.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

It's Not About the Sweat

When Marcia called me, she was at her wit's end. Now in her mid-fifties, she'd been carrying around excess weight for thirty years, ever since she'd given birth to her first child. "I've tried everything," she told me, "eating special foods, fasting, diet plans from my doctor, jogging, the treadmill at the gym . . . Nothing works. I can't seem to lose weight for more than a few months at a time, and then it comes back again. I'm calling you because I know your specialty is motivation. And I need to be motivated!"

"Actually," I said, "you sound incredibly motivated. Maybe too motivated." I knew this would get her attention.

"How can you say I'm motivated when I'm five dress sizes bigger than I should be?" she asked. I could hear the annoyance in her voice, but I also heard the anxious pressure of should driving her frustration. She should eat less, be thinner, work out more, take care of her health . . . Like so many of us, Marcia had come to think of food and physical movement not as the life essentials they are but as "diet" and "exercise"—a type of medicine prescribed in doses of portion sizes and reps we have to "take" or "do" to lose weight and prevent disease. But when eating and moving become something we should do or have to do rather than something we want to do, this undermines motivation and participation big time. After all, who looks forward to "taking her medicine"?

"Marcia," I said, "I'm going to ask you to do something, and I think it will be incredibly hard for you. But I want you to at least consider it." I didn't have to wait for her response.

"I'll do anything!" she replied, sounding ready to jump off a cliff if that's what I suggested. "Just give me a plan, a program—anything. I swear I'll follow it to a T."

"Good," I said. "I know you don't have any pressing health problems, so here's what I want you to do: I want you to stop dieting and get off that treadmill."

"And do what?" she asked.

"How about just living your life?" I responded. "How about deciding that it's okay to forget about dieting? Instead of watching calories and driving yourself to sweat, you'll begin enjoying your life by being as physically engaged in it as possible. How does that sound?"

"That sounds great, I guess," Marcia admitted. "But I'm not really sure what you mean by being physically engaged. And don't I have to sweat to get the benefit? Or else why do it? Honestly, I've tried just as many exercise plans as diets, and I couldn't stick with any of them. I fail with exercise too."

"That's not a problem. I'm not going to ask you to exercise either."

"What?!" Marcia sputtered. I think she thought I was crazy. I knew that this statement must have sounded downright insane coming from a motivation coach who specializes in getting people to become physically active.

"The idea of exercise has become too much of a synonym for punishment," I continued. "You hear the word exercise and immediately think that if you're not drenched in sweat and gutting it out on some kind of complicated gym equipment for at least an hour a day every day, you're failing at it."

This hit home with Marcia. "Yes! Exactly! I can't stand going to the gym. First, it's boring. I hate those machines and dragging myself through classes with perky instructors. Plus I'm surrounded by skinny young women who run on those treadmills as though they're outracing the bulls at Pamplona. It's so depressing!"

"So why not move your body in ways that feel good to you instead?"

The complete silence on the other end of the phone told me that Marcia had never stopped to consider this idea before. Maybe you haven't either, so let's talk about it right now.

I'm guessing that you picked up this book because, for the first or fiftieth time, you've gotten up your resolve to start exercising, watch what you eat, get in better shape, and improve your overall health. I really hope you weren't looking for another standard diet or exercise plan. Because just as I explained to Marcia, I'm asking you to begin by doing just the opposite: Take a break. Give yourself some breathing room to consider where your usual approach to fitness and health has taken you.

Table of Contents


List of Figures



A Note to Health Professionals

Chapter 1. It's Not About the Sweat

The Health and Fitness Message Isn't Working

Doing What You Enjoy Is a Better Motivator for Exercising—and It Works

An Individualized Program That Changes Lives

Your MAPS and How to Use Them

It's Your Move

The Takeaways

Part I. Meaning

Chapter 2. Escaping the Vicious Cycle of Failure

What Does Exercise Mean to You?

The Vicious Cycle of Failure

Why We Choose the Wrong Reasons for Exercising

Escaping Your Personal Vicious Cycle of Failure

Do You Just Need More Willpower?

The Takeaways

Chapter 3. Motivation from the Inside Out

Our Past Experience with Exercise Builds Our Meanings

Self-Determination Theory Supports the Benefits of Owning Our Choices

Take Ownership of Your Exercise

Framing Is Everything: The "Work or Fun" Study

The Why: The Foundation of Sustainable Behavior Change

How Our Whys Influence Even How Much We Eat

Muddying the Waters: More Motives Are Not More Motivating

The Takeaways

Part II. Awareness

Chapter 4. Exorcising Exercise

Body Shaping and Weight Loss Whys Guide Us to Work Out in Ways We Don't Like

To Feel or Not to Feel? Feelings Trump Function

High-Intensity Exercise Feels Bad to a Lot of Folks

Ignoring Your Body Undermines Your Goals

How Autonomy Can Change Your Experience

The Relationship Between Enjoying Exercise and Losing and Maintaining Weight

Illuminating Invisible Chains

How to Exorcise Exercise

The Takeaways

Chapter 5. Count Everything and Choose to Move!

What "Counts" Is Different from What You Think

The Misunderstood Ten-Minute Rule

Sitting May Be Bad for Your Health

To Sweat or Not to Sweat?

Moving Away from the Medical Model of Exercise

Everything Counts: A Better Message to Motivate More Movement

Understanding That "Everything Counts" Is a Bridge to Consistency

It All Adds Up

A Treasure Hunt: Discovering Hidden Opportunities to Move

The Takeaways

Chapter 6. From a Chore to a Gift

Reframing: From the Wrong Why to the Right Why

Many Right Whys: Regular Physical Activity Is an Elixir of Life

Why Isn't "To Be Healthy" a Right Why?

Reward Substitution Is a Very Strategic Move

The Successful Cycle of Motivation

Listen to Your Body's Messages and Do What You Like

Wanting and Liking: The Neuroscience of Reward

Men and Women Might Benefit from Different Experiences

"Gift" Yourself with Movement Any and Every Way You Can

Let the Games Begin! Discovering the Gifts of Movement in Your Life

Could Walking Be Your Way?

The Takeaways

Part III. Permission

Chapter 7. Permission to Prioritize Self-Care

Does Your Mindset Have Your Best Interests in Mind?

Caretakeritis Is Not Good for Anyone's Health

Are Your Paying Attention to Your Body's Distress Signals?

Seeing Through the "I Don't Have Time" Smoke Screen

Your Daily Self-Care Needs

Give Yourself Permission to Stop Following Shoulds

Your Brain Can Change, and So Can Your Mindset

Permission Is the Gateway to Prioritizing Your Self-Care

If You're Not Ready, Pretend You Are

The Takeaways

Chapter 8. What Sustains Us, We Sustain

You Are the Energy Center of Your Life

The Amazing Paradox of Self-Care: Giving to Yourself Means Giving More to Others

Alchemy: The Gift of Physical Movement Becomes Essential Fuel for What Matters Most

The Sustainable Cycle of Self-Care

What Sustains Us, We Sustain

Positive Emotions Help Us Build Better Lives

What Do I Need Right Now?

The Conundrum: Which Self-Care Activity Do You Choose?

The Takeaways

Part IV. Strategy

Chapter 9. Six Big Ideas for Lifelong Sustainability

Big Idea #1: Use Learning Goals to Get Intrinsic Motivation, Persistence, and Resilience

Big Idea #2: Begin with the End in Mind

Big Idea #3: Use Sustainable Self-Care as an Essential Strategy for Well-Being

Big Idea #4: Integrate One New Behavior at a Time

Big Idea #5: Strengthen the Core—Build Consistency Before Quantity

Big Idea #6: Bring Your Learning to Life

The Takeaways

Chapter 10. Sustainability Training

Negotiating the Reality of Our Complex and Busy Lives

The Lynchpin of Sustainability: Self-Regulation and Negotiation

Sustainability Training for Life

Become a Skilled Self-Care Negotiator

Make a Self-Care Negotiation Plan

Phase 1. Planning and Previewing

Phase 2. Negotiation in Action

Phase 3. Nonjudgmental Evaluation and Recalibration

The Takeaways

Epilogue: Changing Your Beliefs, Changing Your Behavior, Changing Your Life

Stephanie's Story: MAPS in Real Life

The Learning Process Never Ends

Your Journey Continues



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