Is there a motivation pill for that?

The rantings of a life coach



The subject of motivation has been rolling through my mind the past couple of weeks. So, sometimes it's good to hash it out, and what better place than here? Once more I climb 'Pentad's Peak', and allow thoughts to roam in order to gain a larger picture perspective.

Please join me. Let's ask ourselves a few basic questions about motivation. How does the concept fit into our work not only as professional motivators/coaches, therapists and health workers; but, also in our personal lives? Allow me to put a few thoughts and examples on the table in order to spin-start reflection.


Why am I bringing this subject to light? Let me fill you in on the background of my frustration.

The other evening I was watching the news and a medical doctor was talking about new meds up for trial testing. They were to treat obesity. She went on and on about all the new science confirming "things we've never known before", and how heavily treatment will rely in the future on new knowledge about brain chemistry.

*insert eyeroll*

Does that eyeroll mean that I disregard new research and knowledge about brain chemistry? No. Does it mean that I am non-empathetic to people with high BMI's? No. Does it mean that I deny the difficulty many people have in their weight loss struggle? No. No, I'm on board with all of that. I'm even on board with thyroid imbalances, menopausal weight gain, just to name a couple more. I also realize that both are subjects of biochemistry.

The eyeroll was the lopsided explanation given by the doctor, and an immediate understanding of how the information could be misunderstood by the general public, and cause confusion. An impression is served that the health industry is once again tipping too heavily on the biological side of the scale. I see it increasingly appearing as accepted dogma in health care industries; from general practitioners to specialties. 

In doing so, we pave the road for more quick fix expectations, and give the impression that any level of personal responsibility is dwindling. The concept of motivation also takes a beating. Motivation is so very fragile, so very empowering, and tapping into this capacity of the mind lends individuals a life survival tool.  

My frustration and dismay are rooted in the fact that a huge International effort in scientific research balanced that weight over a decade ago, so why tip it once again? The Human Genome Project laid the solid foundation of genetic knowledge, which enables scientists in all fields to better understand and research the symbiotic relationship between biology and environment.

For example, it has brought the field of Nutrigenomics to a completely new level. Nutrigenomics studies the effects of foods and food constituents on genetic expression. The research strives to understand the molecular-level interaction between nutrients and the genome. Plainly stated, it studies how nutrients or other food chemicals may either turn certain genes on, or off. Nutrients may help certain genes remain dormant and therefore also illness. Certain nutrients may also cause genes to 'turn on', thus enabling expression in terms of illness.

Yet, is not the choice of foods also a point of knowledge, effort, and subject of motivation?  The empowerment lies in the knowledge that we can influence our health by our choice of nutrients. The healthy choice of nutrients is increased by information, knowledge, and support a health professional/life coach/Nutritionist can provide.

I may be fretting a little prematurely. It comes from certain trends arising with too heavy an emphasis on the type of biological model that extracts client/patient personal responsibility for their own choices and lives. That is the root of my worry. In my opinion and experience, it comes with an unstated sense of disempowerment of the individual. In some strange way, clients become "too sick" to know any better, or do better by their own lives. I'm not on board with that. Medication is many times needed to treat and manage illness, yet there must involve a personal responsibility in the management of the illness, and in prevention of new illness.

If we give a pill for obesity, there isn't much need to speak of such things as learning, and motivation. On a side note, l can mention that those pills had a major side-effect on blood pressure, among other effects. This subject is not only one of physical illness, and medication. It can involve many types of treatment/therapeutic modules depending on the field of client/patient work.

All health professionals know that each and every single thing they do in their client/patient work is anchored in their theoretical perspective. Anchored in defined concepts; such as, 'what is health?', and 'what is illness?'. In my client work, I've always evaluated levels of knowledge a client has about themselves, and about health issues. Also evaluated is their motivation on different levels, and in different areas. Doing so brings to light the 'red' danger zones in order to better work with them, kind of like a risk map.

Underlying it all is a personal responsibility to consciously work with new knowledge, and utilize new tools. In my opinion, these tools become somewhat superfluous with too heavy an emphasis on a biological model, because the theoretical playing field changes.  Heavy biological emphasis can greatly influence the way we view human behavior, and the level of personal responsibility that can be expected, or not. 

The issue is one of importance. As health workers and life coaches, we must always remain cognizant of our perspective, and our practice. As individuals, we can reflect upon how we, ourselves, would like to be viewed and met in our life challenges.

Stay safe and warm wishes,
Tamera Daun



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