Often I'll read posts in which people seem to be down on themselves, sometimes losing lots of weight and still being dissatisfied with how they look. I seem to have the opposite problem: Even though I've lost only about 12-15 lbs. (I don't weigh but I've gone from a 14 to a loose 12 / snug 10), I am finding it hard to get motivated to lose the rest, and I need to lose about 25 more; my goals is a loose-fitting size 8.
Right now, though, things seem just fine: I have a whole "new" wardrobe of clothes that now fit (clothes that I had outgrown), so there's no desperation there. I even was willing to have my picture taken on a recent vacation, and I didn't look fabulous, but I didn't have that shock of "Oh my lord, look how fat I am!" I looked the same as I thought I would look. Also, I'm married, and my husband couldn't care less about whether I stay this weight forever or lose weight (actually, he probably would like it less if I lost more than 10 more pounds since he would think I'm "too skinny" after that--LOL!).
My point is that I don't seem to have a lot of motivation to get to a specific goal, and for the first time, that feeling has absolutely nothing to do with diet fatigue. I'm not burned out at all. In past dieting attempts, I've always been chomping at the bit to get to goal, and that can be frustrating, but this darn contentment with myself is sort of frustrating as well. I keep asking myself, "Where's my drive?"
I think the above mentality is causing me to drift into maintaining mode rather than losing mode. For instance, this week for the first time since I started losing weight in June, my calories for the week averaged out to 1700calories per day, which is approximately maintenance calories for my goal weight of 140.
Does anyone else have this problem?
09-03-2011, 04:43 PM
Personally, I think negative motivation is highly over-rated. It never worked well for me, at any rate, because when I was dissatisfied with myself, I also didn't treat myself with respect and kindness. I didn't feel that I had (or deserved) the power to change.
We're really taught in our culture to lose weight through self-criticism (or worse, self-hatred).
We almost never hear someone say "I look and feel awesome, but I want to lose 10 more pounds." Instead it's always "I hate my thighs, if I could lose 5 lbs, I wouldn't feel like such a cow!"
When we hear even the thinnest, most gorgeous, most fit women complain about themselves and their body, it makes it seem that self-hatred is an almost obligatory motivation for weight loss.
We also right now have a "be happy with yourself" movement inspired perhaps by the fat acceptance ideology that suggests that if we're happy with ourselves we should accept our weight at whatever it is, and eat whatever we want. As if being happy with yourself means putting no effort into taking care of yourself.
We have all these messages being thrown at us to the point it seems that you have only two choices make changes or be happy (as if they were mutually exclusive).
You can do both. You can be happy with where you are AND be working to go other places. I'm happy in my little northcentral Wisconsin town, but it doesn't mean that I can't plan for a trip to Ireland some day.
I actually am happy at my current weight. I have a waist again, and I haven't felt this good physically in years. I do want more, but it's not because I'm dissatisfied with what I've got now.
You don't have to accept the cultural stereotype of change having to be motivated by disatisfaction with your current life. You don't have to be disatisfied to change, you just have to be aware of your motivations - by reminding yourself of them. There are a lot of ways to do this without negative emotions.
It may help to examine your motivations. Are you wanting to lose the 25 lbs because you want to, or because you think you're supposed to want to. Only you can determine the best weight for you. It could be a little above or below the ideal weight charts. If you're trying to lose weight because you think you're supposed to, not because you really want to or see the value in it, maybe you are ready for maintenance.
And you know, you can even try maintenance for a while to see if you're really happy at this weight (or maybe you're just tired and want a break, which is ok to as long as you don't use it as an excuse to return to habits that will result in weight gain). And if you are truly happy at this weight, and your doctor agrees that it's not harming your health, then why not try it on for a while, you can always lose more later, if you decide to (and if you decide to it doesn't have to mean you're unhappy where you are, just that you think you'll be even happier somewhere else - and if you're not you can always return).
I think we treat weight loss and maintenance as if it has to be a steadily moving, never yielding constantly progressing quest for a magic number (and that the magic number has to be a static, fixed point that never changes).
You often see people (even here), with over 100 lbs to lose, just beginning their journey and they're fretting and stressing over what their goal weight should be, sometimes to the point that the stressing is holding them back.
When you're starting the journey, you don't need to know your ultimate destination, just the direction in which you want to be going. And really, you don't need to know your ultimate destination ever. Life in many respects is a journey with an indeterminate destination. Where you plan to end up, you may not. You may stop short, or you may surpass it. What you want today, may not be what you want tomorrow.
I think your first step is probably deciding (not forever, just for today and maybe tomorrow) where you want to be, and why.
09-03-2011, 07:04 PM
As usual, I appreciate your words of wisdom, kaplods. I love the travel analogy. I think you are right about the societal expectation of having to be dissatisfied with ourselves in order to take steps to change. While I would like to be thinner, at this point I'm not really disgusted with myself as I have been when I've been on other plans. The absence of that feeling seems strange to me, but I'm just going to go with it.
09-03-2011, 07:44 PM
I agree with Kaplods, as I usually do. :)
It seems to me that it is a very basic feeling within each of us.
I'm happy with my weight loss, but then I was a happy person when I was fat. Actually I've always been a fairly happy person - why not be happy? Life is good, let's enjoy it!!!
I've really never understood those who say "I hate my body, especially my waist. If I could lose 20 more lbs., then I would be happy." But if they lose those 20 more lbs., are they happy? Usually not, usually they then find something else to hate about themselves.
Lin43 you might want to try the maintaining for a while, like Kaplods suggested. This is a lifetime journey we are on, and losing weight is just a part of the journey. If you are happy now, stay happy. There are too many unhappy, disatisfied, miserable people in the world. :wave:
09-03-2011, 08:04 PM
I know what you mean about that absense of self-disgust feeling strange.
I tried and mostly failed to lose weight for almost 35 years before I discovered what worked for me (which was mostly taking self-disgust out of the picture, entirely).
It seems that all my life, I would need a specific level of self-disgust to succeed. Too much disgust, and I felt hopeless and unworthy of even my own attention. Too little disgust, and I felt too ok with myself to want to change anything.
I was never able to sustain "just the right amount" of self-loathing. I'd either feel worthless and unworthy/unable to change or I felt happy with myself exactly as I was.
I thought I needed to find a way to sustain the motivation (which to me had always meant sustaining the perfect amount of disgust).
I just couldn't do it. I couldn't walk the tightrope.
Learning to find motivation that wasn't disgust-motivated has been really difficult (which is probably one of the reason's it's taken me 7 years to lose 94 lbs, of course the other is that my health deteriorated to the point that just regaining movement was progress).
Even now, I sometimes find myself in "punishment mode," because it's how I was taught to "do" diet and exercise changes. It's extremely difficult to unlearn 40 years of culturally indoctrinated behavior and thoughts, especially to follow a path that is a little unusual.
I have to occasionally remind myself that I've chosen to take "pain" out of the equation. I often have to remind myself that I'm doing this to pamper my wonderful self, not punish the "bad" me.
But one advantage of doing this in ways that pamper myself, is that it's a lot harder to give up pampering than punishment.
I have always envied people who could afford to take weight loss spa vacations to weight loss resorts, and celebrities who could afford full-time spa treatment in their own homes with personal chefs and trainers on staff.
When I started "this time," I decided that I was going to bring as much of the spa atmosphere to my life as I could.
I was going to remind myself that I was doing this FOR me, not TO me, and to find the most fun, most enjoyable way to go about this. Little things like splurging on exotic fruits or a breakfast cereal I'd never tried before (by the way, Better Oats "Lavish" dark chocolate oatmeal is amazing, by the way. They also have a dark chocolate in their Naturals line. I don't know if it's the same flavor under a different label, or if there's a difference. They have quite a few really tempting looking flavors. I want to try the blueberry muffin as well).
09-03-2011, 08:17 PM
As usual, Kaplods swoops in and weaves a tapestry of wisdom! <3
I was merely thinking that maintaining or purposefully losing slower for a couple months might be a good option for you. Say, aiming to lose a pound or two a month.
That way you get to enjoy your healthy habits without resenting being "forced" to do more... yet at the same time cutting calories just enough to see a loss at the end of the month.
You'll still be working towards your goal, but likely without having to think about it too much. And when/if you're ready to pick up the pace you always can at whatever point in the future.
Re: Self-hatred and Weight Loss
Self-hatred, at least these past couple of years if not years before, was one of the factors that got me back up to 327 pounds. It was recognizing what I was doing to myself and how I deserved to treat myself kindly that got me to make any changes.
I'm not peaches and sunshine all the time, but I've learned that I'd rather love myself down to a healthier weight over many years... than to hate myself down to goal in a few months.
09-03-2011, 09:04 PM
"I have to occasionally remind myself that I've chosen to take "pain" out of the equation. I often have to remind myself that I'm doing this to pamper my wonderful self, not punish the "bad" me."
Brava, Kaplods! This is exactly what encourages "me" today.
09-03-2011, 10:01 PM
Thanks, you guys! I've really enjoyed reading the responses----inspiring!
Lovely, what a great suggestion! I think I'll do it. I guess my motivation will wax and wane, so I'm not going to try to resist whatever I'm feeling as long as I'm moving forward rather than backward.
09-03-2011, 10:50 PM
I think you've gotten a lot of good advice already. There's no reason that you couldn't work on maintaining your current weight and eventually lose more if you felt the need too.
Since you're not weighing, it might be worthwhile to drop by your doctor's office and just quickly check to make sure your health is in line (I'm assuming you should be ok since you don't mention any health problem but it doesn't hurt to check). I just say this because I'm just now fitting into a size 10 and am only 25lbs overweight but I have some weight-related issues that don't go away until I get to a lower weight.
Oh, and I understand what you're saying about the motivation. Appearance-wise I'm so much happier with myself than I was when I started this journey. Sometimes it is hard to lose site of my goal. That being said I really feel the need to get to at least to healthy BMI because of my health. If I get lax I remind myself of that and it truly does help. I actually really prefer to have that as my underlying goal rather than my looks (and I have a feeling that's why I've been so much more successful this time around than in the past).