100 lb. Club - For anyone who has reached goal or has lost a significant amount and is on the way...

05-02-2009, 06:22 PM
... or maybe even anyone who has just started:

Have you ever seen weight loss as a competition with yourself? As a competition with your will?

Right now I'm in college (I graduate May 9, yay!) and I really don't mean to sound like a snob but... I am extremely competitive. I aim for 100% in everything. I HAVE to be the one to get an A, to be the only one who knows the answers. I HAVE to be completely organized and efficient and it irritates me if my classmates or co-workers aren't the same. I HAVE to be a perfectionist, in other words.

But I've noticed that in a competition with my own willpower, my will power always loses. I can give anything and everything my best shot and won't stop till the job is done. But not when it comes to my weight.

I guess my question is, for anyone who has reached their goal weight or has lost so much, do you see losing weight as a competition with yourself? Either the willpower wins or the food wins?

And for anyone who's starting your weight loss journey, are you seeing this whole thing in terms of a competition with yourself?

I hope I'm making sense. I've noticed it's hard for me to word questions these days. Or express what I want to say eloquently. My mind feels like it's jumping around randomly.

05-02-2009, 07:04 PM

I spent a lot of past diets focused on willpower, but in my past attempts, I always tried to eat too little. So, my body's will to survive usually kicked in a month or so and then I binged. And then felt bad, for having no willpower. And then I would restrict/then binge etc.

When I changed my life in 2004, I changed how I looked at food and changed how I viewed my body during weight loss. My body is not the enemy, my body wants what's best for me. It doesn't want me to starve, it can't figure out why I would ever want to restrict calories. It put that extra food on my hips JUST IN CASE I needed it.

I had to stop thinking of myself as a modern woman with a checkbook and a fully stocked grocery store 3 minutes away. I had to think of myself as a prehistoric woman, or an 19th century woman crossing american in a wagon. If I really weren't getting enough food - what do I WANT my body to do? Well, I want it to cannabalize muscle, slow down my metabolism and hold on to fat. Why should I be surprised if that's what my body actually does when I radically diet?

This time, I partnered with my body. My way of eating is based on eating whole foods, calorie counting and volumetrics - basically eating lots and lots of vegetables, fresh fruits, lean proteins, healthy carbohydrates, low fat dairy, healthy fats. When I started giving my body all the good things it needed and plenty of them - all my weird, freaky binges/sugar cravings went away.

I'm not perfect, I occasionally eat off plan. But I don't beat myself or blame my willpower - I chalk it up to being human. No one on these forums is perfectly on plan, every day, every minute. Not our most successful maintainers - there is no perfect! And I don't have to BE perfect! I am maintaining a 70+ weight loss - for over 4 years! and there has been some serious food debauchery during that time (Hello Paris Buffet in Vegas, for example).

Life is messy, complicated and food is so much in our society - love, companionship, celebration. I will eat offplan, I will forgive myself and I will immediately get back on track at the next eating opportunity (one off plan meal does not become an offplan day or weekend or week, etc.). That's not to say I give myself permission to go crazy and "cheat cheat cheat" because I'm human - it just means I don't get hung up on occasional lapses. I think why it happened, what tactics I could use in similar situations (am I bored, did I forget to pack a healthy snack, etc) and MOVE ON.

My mind and body are united in this effort - for my health, for my happiness, for my closet of size 6 clothes ;)

Good luck!

05-02-2009, 07:32 PM
I used to be that way with weight loss. If it wasn't 100% perfect then why bother, right? WRONG...
It's ok to strive for the best but i REALLY hope you can view your weightloss journey with more love and gentleness. If you have a slip-up with a perfectionist attitude that can really do you in... if you are embracing this not as a win/lose thing but a life change it will be much easier and happier :)

Thighs Be Gone
05-02-2009, 07:43 PM
Perfection and complete and utter failure are too close together for me comfortable aiming for perfection. Like you, I am highly competitive but have started mellowing some on that probably due to age and hopefully some wisdom. I do want to me my OWN BEST more so now than at any other time in my life.

05-02-2009, 07:48 PM
The problem with wanting to be 100% with eating is that you won't be.

Plain and simple.

You're going to mess up. We all do. So if you see things as black and white and either you eat perfect for a day or you binge and the food wins you're going to run into some problems. I think people do that a lot actually. For instance, lets say you ate well all day and then the candy bar or ice cream beckons and you succumb to the evil temptation of high calorie food, the thought process often becomes that you might as throw in the towel and eat poorly for the rest of the evening instead of seeing it as a minor setback and continuing on with your plan for the day.

Food is not your enemy! You need it to survive and thrive and you need to eat smart to fuel yourself. But you're GOING to have a few high calorie days. You're GOING to drink that milkshake or drive up to a drive through window. The point is to not see those instances as failures but as NORMAL.

05-02-2009, 08:44 PM
100 percent in agreement with the other posters. I am also a perfectionist. EVERY attempt in the past, where I missed the goal, even a little teeny bit resulted in my trying harder to make up lost ground.

A HUGE recipe for disaster!

ONLY when I learned that this is a journey, one in which there is NO competition, NO pressure and NO timelines or deadlines - did I succeed.

Progress not perfection is the mantra that I repeated DAILY (sometimes hourly). I had to learn to let go of all my competitive nature and spirit when it came to losing weight.

Surprisingly, when I did so - I actually relaxed, enjoyed the journey and lost weight IN SPITE OF my imperfections. I see weight loss as more of a journey - a process - an experience, than a destination.

I'm channeling Robin here, but it isn't about willpower, or a battle where willpower wins or loses - it is about commitment.

Make a plan, and commit to it. Execute the plan. Gather data. Evaluate. Repeat. Continue the cycle until it becomes a natural part of your life.

That being said, I can only speak for me and my journey. Each of us is different and I believe that each of us must find what works - for us.

05-02-2009, 08:56 PM
No, it's not a competition, it's a journey, for me, anyway.

05-02-2009, 09:36 PM
I am a bit of a type A person, but I have found that I absolutely cannot think of weight loss in those terms. That is why I had so much trouble in the past with lose/gain/lose/gain. I expected perfection and there was not room for error.

Once I gave myself permission to be imperfect yet still try, I have found much more success.

05-02-2009, 10:18 PM
Sometimes I have to have conversations with myself but it really isn't will power. It is more of being able identify my goals and ensure that my choices follow those goals.

I think if I viewed as a competition of me vs my will power, it is a competition I'd lose.

05-02-2009, 11:26 PM
I am so scatterbrained in my life that I don't even come close to being a perfectionist ;) So no I don't feel competitive with myself. I do however just take this as my lifestyle. It's hard to explain but it's just what I do.

I am very competitive business wise so I do understand where you are coming from. It is something that you will sabotage yourself with if you don't reign it in.

05-03-2009, 12:48 AM
It's definitely NOT a competition for me. Nor a race. It's nothing I win or lose at. It's my journey. Staying on plan for me is what I do now. I won't kill myself or throw it all away if I eat too much or go off plan... I would be disappointing, pick myself up and keep going. It's can't be a competition for me or I'd lose. Every single time :)

05-03-2009, 03:37 AM
No and yes and kind of.

I'm not very competitive in any walk of life. That's partly because academically at first, and now in the academic side of my job, I'm lucky enough not to have to try too hard. I'm not a genius but once academe became the subjects I wanted to take further (languages), I didn't have to try too hard. Actually, having said that, I adore languages, and chose to spend hours doing something I loved and got better at. There's a lesson there for my weightloss efforts.

What hits me is that I do make efforts to do my job right, and will do anything anyone asks me to do for them. By and large, I don't give myself the same respect, any old thing will do for me - or at least, that was the case until my restart on 01/27/09. I'm trying to remember 'I deserve it'.

I do think you can be 100%, it depends on your perfect. I've been 100% for 97 days now. My Plan is
calorie counting, with an emphasis on whole/unprocessed foods with occasional forays into foods I don't eat much (cheese, red meat, bread), daily tracking of food and exercise,
generally increased activity with as many daily walks as possible, leading to starting a gym this week.

I don't do cheats, because the word itself offends me, and because my perfect has a natural amount of latitude in it.

I think you do have to plan to be 100%. I know that if I planned for less, less is what I'd achieve.

05-03-2009, 08:24 AM

I guess my question is, for anyone who has reached their goal weight or has lost so much, do you see losing weight as a competition with yourself? Either the willpower wins or the food wins?

And for anyone who's starting your weight loss journey, are you seeing this whole thing in terms of a competition with yourself?

A competition with myself? No, I never thought of it in those terms. Although in the beginning I did perhaps look at it as, "All right Robin, let's see what you're really CAPABLE of." Time to dig down deep and show me what you got.

I do like to "challenge" myself though at times. If I have a particularly challenging day ahead of me - faced with more temptations then usual for instance, like at a social event - I will plan it out ahead , make a strategy for it and do my best to keep to it. To make a game out of it of sorts, but I'm not sure if that's what you're speaking about.

Either the will power wins or the food wins? Absolutely not. I don't believe this IS about will power. I never, ever thought of it in those terms. I believe this is much more about willingness. What is one WILLING to do to get to a healthy weight and stay there. Is one willing to do what is required to get the job done?

Like has been said already, this is a journey. With bumps and blips along the way. The most important thing being to pick yourself up and dust yourself off if you should falter. It's about COMMITMENT. LONG TERM COMMITMENT. For me, it was even simpler then that. I was sick and tired of being fat, decided I didn't want to be fat anymore. Realized I didn't have to be fat any more - then made that COMMITMENT to good health and to get the job done. Made a plan - stuck to it, because like I said, I didn't want to be fat anymore.

05-03-2009, 12:22 PM
I am your classic Type A personality with a strong competitive streak. This has not served me well in the weight loss arena. To me, staying 100% on-plan and exercising every single day was winning. Anything else and I was a failure and might as well give up. Afterall, there is no second place, only the first loser....right?

Wrong. This is not a race with an end. This is a lifelong journey full of opportunities to learn about yourself and make your life richer, healthier and more enjoyable. This is your opportunity to reclaim your life and live the life you were meant to live. When I realized this, the insane pressure I placed on myself to be perfect eased and this whole journey became so much more feasible and enjoyable for me.

05-03-2009, 01:43 PM
"The problem with wanting to be 100% with eating is that you won't be.

Plain and simple.

You're going to mess up. We all do"

I am going to mention here that this is simply not true. Not true for me anyways. I'm 272 days PERFECTLY ON PLAN. Seriously. I've never faltered. Never cheated. Worked treats (popcorn... twice) into my calories for the day... NEVER OFF PLAN. Will I freak if I go off plan? No. But I've made the CHOICE to be perfectly on plan and so I am. And you know what? I might mess up in the future... but I'd have to make the CHOICE to mess up. And I don't honestly think I'll make that chioce.

05-03-2009, 05:19 PM
I never saw it as a competition with myself. I saw it as finally treating myself better, and it was about making it easier and more pleasant, not making it about more negativity. But that may be more of a personality thing. If you naturally thrive on competition (instead of hating it), then you can use it to your advantage. That's a big part of successful weight loss and maintenance - figuring out what *you* can leverage to your advantage.