Where Does Motivation Come From?

Once upon a time, a fellow named John Stone spent years making a wreck of himself. The decade of decadence encompassed bad habits of every description, all practiced in warmup pants and humungous t-shirts. He suffered a dozen simultaneous medical problems ranging from shortness of breath to low-back pain. The several doctors he saw had never suggested an improved diet or an exercise regime.

Mired in misery and self-disgust, Stone finally experienced the unmistakable “enough is enough” moment. What brought about his decision to, in his phrase, make a body transformation? One day he got out of the shower and, rather than repeat the customary avoidance, actually took a look in the mirror and contemplated the fat stranger who looked back.

He felt shocked and depressed, and then mad, and decided to use the anger as fuel to supply the energy that would be needed to make a change:

A healthy dose of properly channeled anger can actually provide an incredible amount of motivation. So my very first suggestion is to do what I did: get mad — fighting mad — about your weight problem!

One by one I began to change my bad habits, and I never looked back…

Five short months of hard work was all it took to completely change my life! I transformed from a fat, alcoholic, drug addicted, negative, lazy and out of shape shell of a man into the happy, healthy, strong and fit person I so desperately wanted to become.

Never one to shy away from extremes, Stone rode his bike an average of 31 miles per day for an unbroken streak of more than 1,000 consecutive days — and that was just one of the new habits he instituted. He lost over 50 pounds and 12 inches of waistline. He writes,

My idea was to take front facing and profile progress pictures every single day until I reached my goal. When dieting it’s all but impossible to see the very small changes that take place from one day to the next, and I figured if I had photographs to compare side by side it would make those very small changes more apparent — thus providing me with constant, positive feedback. Also, I thought it would be really interesting to take all those photographs (once I reached my goal) and then create an animation of my weight loss.

The video, which sadly is no longer available, packed a whole year into 60 seconds. Starting at 215 lbs. and 30% body fat, it showed Stone melting away to 160 pounds and 8% body fat. For the curious, many still photos are available on the cached version of the fitness website he created to share his tips with a community of like-minded strivers.

An unexpected bonus was that family members and friends were inspired to follow his example, and then, a much larger group coalesced around his teachings. Because he left such detailed notes on both his fitness procedures and his mental state, more about this determined “loser” will appear in the following post.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “About Me (Historical),” Web.archive.org, 04/16/03
Source: “About Me,” Web.archive.org, 02/01/20
Image by Dawn/CC BY 2.0

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OVERWEIGHT: What Kids Say explores the obesity problem from the often-overlooked perspective of children struggling with being overweight.

About Dr. Robert A. Pretlow

Dr. Robert A. Pretlow is a pediatrician and childhood obesity specialist. He has been researching and spreading awareness on the childhood obesity epidemic in the US for more than a decade.
You can contact Dr. Pretlow at:


Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the American Society of Animal Science 2020 Conference
What’s Causing Obesity in Companion Animals and What Can We Do About It

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the World Obesity Federation 2019 Conference:
Food/Eating Addiction and the Displacement Mechanism

Dr. Pretlow’s Multi-Center Clinical Trial Kick-off Speech 2018:
Obesity: Tackling the Root Cause

Dr. Pretlow’s 2017 Workshop on
Treatment of Obesity Using the Addiction Model

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation for
TEC and UNC 2016

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the 2015 Obesity Summit in London, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s invited keynote at the 2014 European Childhood Obesity Group Congress in Salzburg, Austria.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2013 European Congress on Obesity in Liverpool, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2011 International Conference on Childhood Obesity in Lisbon, Portugal.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2010 Uniting Against Childhood Obesity Conference in Houston, TX.

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