Weight Loss Support - Cannot stay motivated for more than 2 weeks

02-17-2009, 01:54 AM
Seriously, 2 weeks is the magic number for me. I am able to exercise and eat healthy for about this long every single time I try something and then my willpower leaves me.

does anyone have advice on how to really establish a routine and be motivated by something other than sheer willpower? I know Dr. Phil claims that willpower alone will not last and will not get you to your weight-loss goal. I think I believe him!

02-17-2009, 02:46 AM

First ask yourself, why do you want to lose weight? write your reasons down somewhere.

Then I'd research to see what eating lifestyle suits you (i.e. South Beach, Atkins, french women don't get fat, etc).

After that, see what workout routine suits you... I'd probably start out with something simple like walking and dumbbells.

After that, just go for it, and keep blogging here for additional motivation! ;)

hope this helps! :)

~ tea

02-17-2009, 03:11 AM
I would try to figure out what's so hard to stick with that you can't do it for more than 2 weeks, since you're going to have to do it for the rest of your life to be permanently successfully. Be fluid and flexible, adjust your plan as needed to keep going.

02-17-2009, 04:35 AM
I love two of the ideas in the Beck Diet for Life book.

The author suggests you first write out an Advantages Card with a list of all the reasons why you want to lose the weight. She says include the big (I want to live to see my kids grow up) and the small(If I lose weight I'll be able to cross my legs easily). Make sure you list all the reasons important to you. Think about the things you hate about being overweight and list the benefits of not having to deal with those things again. Look at this card every day and read through all the reasons. When you feel your motivation waning, read it again and imagine all of the benefits of sticking with your plan.

Her second idea that I find helpful says to anticipate the voice in your head that will try to talk you into giving up and imagine what arguments it will use. It sounds like you've heard the voice a number of times so think back and remember what it said to convince you to give up. Then write on a small card (she calls it, you guessed it! a "Response Card") with the argument you can use against the voice in your head. The author gives many examples that are something like these:

Sabotaging thought: I don't care about losing weight. I want the brownie and I'm going to eat it.
Response: It may be true that I don't care right now but I know that if I eat this brownie I will care a lot in just a few minutes. If I resist the urge to give up, I will feel great later but giving in and giving up will make me feel weak and discouraged. I need to find something else to do!

Sabotaging thought: I am starving. I have to eat something now and there's nothing healthy so I have to eat this brownie/pizza/burger/whatever.
Response: Being hungry is not an emergency. I know I will eat again soon when better food becomes available/when I get home/whatever. I know this feeling of hunger will subside if I find something else to do until I can eat what I planned to eat.

The author then says you are to read these cards every day at least once a day, even after you have memorized them, to make sure that you can use the responses to help you resist the urges when they come. She suggests making as many cards as you have sabotaging thoughts.

The book is full of other ideas along these lines. I work in cognitive behaviour therapy and this type of motivational technique works really well for both me and the clients I work with. The author's book is discussed on one of the other forums here at 3FC. Just search Beck Diet. There's a support group, too.

Good luck in finding what works for you.

02-17-2009, 05:04 AM
Seriously, 2 weeks is the magic number for me. I am able to exercise and eat healthy for about this long every single time I try something and then my willpower leaves me.

does anyone have advice on how to really establish a routine and be motivated by something other than sheer willpower? I know Dr. Phil claims that willpower alone will not last and will not get you to your weight-loss goal. I think I believe him!

It is like a smoker who cannot quit smoking, they have tried and tried to no avail. Then the doctor tells them they have a suspicious spot on their lung and the person stops smoking cold turkey right on the spot.

The same if a person could look into a crystal ball and see that they will die from heart disease on a specific date they would immediately stop eating bad and drop the weight in 3 months.

I think it is degrees of how bad you want something and what are you willing to go through to get it.

It takes commitment and determination as some on here much wiser than I have posted before that commitment will take you farther than motivation and I whole heartedly agree.

I have tried to lose weight so many times and failed because I failed to realize what is needed is not a short term diet to get me down to what I want but a healthier lifestyle to follow for the rest of my life.

What helps me tremendously is trying to surround myself with postive people who understand what I am going through. Like this website and I joined Weight Watchers and I am in a great WW group (25+ members) and even though many of my old friends and family are not very supportive I feel like I am surrounded by positve people who want me to succeed.

02-17-2009, 07:35 AM
Hey :wave:

Here are some things that can cause a person to stray from their plan:

- Too restrictive. If you are trying to eat too little, then you will get hungry. It is awfully hard to keep on going if you feel hungry all the time. Another way of being too restrictive is being faced with a lot of "No's," so that you can only eat from a small selection of foods. I once tried a "plan" where I mostly ate turkey breast and egg whites. I have never liked egg whites, and now I don't like turkey, either! :p

- Too difficult. If you do not like to cook, and you've chosen a plan where you have to cook all the time, things may not work well. You'll need to find a food program that will fit how you live. If you have a family and you're the chief cook, your food will need to fit with your family's foods--or really, vice versa.

- Expectations too high. If you are planning to lose 5 pounds in two weeks, and you don't, then it can be discouraging. It's better sometimes not to have a number in mind.

- Weighing too often. At your current weight, the scale can fluctuate, gosh, I would say maybe as much as 5 pounds in the course of a day for no particular reason. When the scale blips up, you can wrongly think you are failing.

- A hidden agenda. It may be that unconsciously you don't like the idea of having to stay on a plan "forever," and after two weeks you want off.

But at least you know that two weeks is a danger zone for you. If you can get past two weeks, you'll be on your way! So you can prepare for that to happen.

Good luck!

02-17-2009, 07:59 AM
Set yourself up for success. When I have yummy healthy foods available and planned, I eat them. When I let myself flail and scrounge, I am more likely to eat things I later wish I wouldn't have.

It's good you recognize the 2 week mark. When you hit that mark, get here on 3FC and post for support, daily or hourly if need be. We can help you get through.

Celebrate success! Some people put stickers on a calendar to reinforce healthy behaviors and reward themselves with new lotion, iPod music, a trip to the movies, etc.

Remember: discipline is more reliable than motivation!

02-17-2009, 04:58 PM
Flatiron and midwife both said something really important, IMO.

There is a difference between motivation and commitment. For me motivation is the "why" I want to do something. Its easy even if I sometimes forget my reasons (hence the Advantages Card I referred to in my earlier post).

Commitment is harder to achieve but I think it's key to really making a new life style, or new life. Some decisions have to be moved out of the "I can choose" category and into the "No choice" category in my life. I have decided I don't have unlimited choice about what I will eat if I want to finish losing this weight. So when I wake up I don't think about "what do I want for breakfast" because I already know what I have planned. I just prepare it and eat it. When someone at work brings in a box of my favourite dessert, I don't even entertain the idea that I might have some. I know that I can't if I want to be successful. No choice. For me It's like the cookies are not even there because I made a commitment. Making these kinds of commitments gets easier and easier every time I do it.

For me, and I know this from other areas of my life too, too much choice is not good. I am happy eating a planned diet and I lose weight.

Again some of this comes from the Beck diet because it is my current fixation. It fits so well with what I do in my job and I understand the techniques because they are just like what we use with borderline personality disorder and substance abuse clients. Maybe it wouldn't work for others but it sure deals with my weak points and lets me feel in control.

02-17-2009, 05:37 PM
even this message board is a great way to stay on track. Just by reading what these ladies have posted, I get motivated to stay on track. lol.

02-17-2009, 05:47 PM
My new motto is in my signature...it isn't ABOUT motivation. Motivation lasts, as you've seen, a finite time. It's fleeting. It isn't dependable.

What IS dependable is a commitment you've made to yourself. A decision. A solid, unwavering resolve.

To make that commitment, you have to decide that, to get where you want to go, you sometimes have to do things you might not want to at that moment. That even if you're not feeling like it, you are going to stick to what you've planned, because overall, it's important to you to get where you want to go.

And then you just decide to do it, and even when you don't want to, you do. Right now, I'm probably motivated about as often as I'm NOT motivated. I want to skip workouts. I want to eat off plan. But most times, even when I want to, I don't...because I've committed to sticking with what I'm doing.

It's a mental shift, but it's worth it!

02-17-2009, 06:11 PM
Hmmm, I remember Renee Zellwegger (sp?) say that on Fridays, she eats what she wants when dieting to lose weight after the Bridget Jones movies.
Now, I don't think she totally binged/pigged out, but rather didn't carefully count her calories on that day, maybe had a nice dessert.
What if you gave yourself permission to take a DAY off now and then, (say every 2 weeks?) where you don't exercise much (maybe just a nice walk) and don't worry too much about calories.
NO guilt allowed. Plan to go off plan, so you don't go so far you feel like you can't come back?

02-17-2009, 07:17 PM
Seriously, 2 weeks is the magic number for me. I am able to exercise and eat healthy for about this long every single time I try something and then my willpower leaves me.

I'm a bit like this. For the first little while, I throw myself wholeheartedly into eating right and exercising. NOTHING could deter me from sticking to my plan! Gradually, this enthusiasm wanes.

I agree with the posters who say motivation and commitment are two different things; you have to find your way to commitment. What's working for me this time is my food diary, which I look at/write in every day, and contains not just what I'm eating but also words from this board and elsewhere that remind me losing weight is worth it.

Some examples: (the one from Blue2Blue works wonders for me... must be my contrary nature :) )

"One thing I try to remember is that I don't have to be thin--there's no law. I can quit this whenever I want." Blue2Blue

You're not being deprived, you're getting what you want.

Dealing with disappointment (with the scale, feeling deprived, etc): Just say, "Oh, well." (Beck)

"I really like depriving myself of things. It's fun! Very monastic!" Kramer

Just breathe, and wait, and let the feelings/cravings pass over you and away.

02-17-2009, 07:42 PM
Fressca, I love that Blue2Blue quotation. And Kramer's too. Thanks! I'm going to use them both.

02-17-2009, 10:47 PM
You've gotten a lot of great advice already, and I'm not going to say anything new...the point is that motivation comes and goes. But here's another way to think about it:

So let's say after 2 weeks, you eat some chocolate or chips or something. You binge on pizza. You skip your workout. You feel like you failed.

Does this mean it's all over? NO.

I believe this is where the whole thing STARTS. As many people have said, it's not about how many times you fall, but how many times you GET UP.

So what if you can't stay motivated for more than 2 weeks? Frankly, it's very unusual for me to go 2 weeks sticking to any plan! But the point is that when it's a lifestyle change, then you just keep going. After you eat something you shouldn't have, or miss a workout, you just get right back on track. Even if you don't feel like it, you just do it.

That's the difference between a crash diet, and a lifestyle change. Mistakes are INEVITABLE. So it's a question of how you deal with it. Don't worry about whether or not you will lose motivation, because you definitely WILL. :D Now that you don't have to worry about being perfect, you just gotta get on with the job. You can do it!

02-17-2009, 10:55 PM
I was thinking on this as the day went on. I try to think of weight loss kind of like my job. Bear with me here, but I think it makes sense.

I have a job, and some days, I'm really excited about what I'm working on. Some days, not so much! It can be fun, but sometimes it's tedious. Sometimes I go through weeks at work where I'm just frustrated and not feeling it, and then I go through weeks where I really LOVE my job.

And I'm sure we can all relate - there are days when we get a LOT done, and days when we maybe slack off a little bit. But if you make a HABIT of not getting much done, you're going to lose your job. You can take a long lunch every 2 weeks, but not every day.

But the rewards of working (the paycheck, the benefits, etc) get me to where I need to be, so I keep working and even when I'm not really feeling it, I get my job done so I can keep it.

Weight loss has to be like a job. You do what has to get done most of the time, even when you don't feel like it, because the rewards are something you're dedicated to having.

02-17-2009, 11:03 PM
I agree with futuresurferchick also!

There will always be missteps. The difference between those who lose the weight and work to keep it off and those who don't is what you do after the missteps.

There will be weeks you don't lose, days when you eat crap and think WTF (not that I have any personal experience with that today---no those are NOT chocolate cake crumbs on my shirt)....but don't ever think for a minute that perfection is required or even desired. It is what you do MOST of the time that counts and how you pick yourself up one more time and crawl when you need to crawl and run when you can run and you'll get there. And once you get there, you keep going.

02-17-2009, 11:17 PM
I really like the analogy to weight loss being like a job. I think that is what has kept me going this time around - I'm not really giving myself a choice about it, and since I write EVERYTHING I eat in my little purple book, even if I go off plan, it keeps me committed to staying with it. I have to go to work, even if I don't wanna, because I have to pay rent. I have to pay rent so that I don't have to move into a box. I have to lose weight because I don't want to be sick from being overweight. I have to work out because I want to be able to run AWAY if I ever have to. :) There's just no choice about it at this point.