Weight Loss Support - Frustrated, I feel like I'm putting too much focus in the wrong places...




LounorteTJ
01-10-2013, 11:38 PM
It's been nearly two months since I've made the committed decision to living a healthier life and improving my body. Progress has been minimal, but it's still there.

I've relapsed into bad habits several times now, and it's been quite upsetting. Sometimes I feel like I'm putting too much focus into what I'm not supposed to do. Don't eat this. Don't eat that.

I was reading an article that says it can be really counter-productive focus on our unwanted habits:


The unfortunate truth is that brain science has proved it impossible to delete hard-wired habits. The only way to manage undesirable habits is is to stop using them, stop thinking about them, and start forming new habits that weaken and suppress old ones. Unfortunately, it is common practice in the weight loss community to focus on the things you’re not supposed to do ultramindthinking.com/the-brain-science-of-losing-weight

What do you guys think about this? Do you think focusing on your bad habits can lead to relapses?


Remington90
01-10-2013, 11:47 PM
I think the key problem is exactly as you said. You're puting the focus into the negative things. I've pretty over-weight, have been for a while. Ate like a pig and didnt care. The amount of calories I consumed per day before this were astronomical. but since i've started this I've looked at everything positively. Instead of looking up a food item and reading how bad it is for you, and then saying "I'm so mad that I ate that before", turns into "Glad I know now, lets stay way" type of thing.

I went for a walk today for the first time in a long time. (an actual "good" walk). It was a simple 30 minute, 3km walk. and it felt AMAZING. I hold onto those feelings.

I think if you're focusing on bad habits then yes, it can pull you down. But what can't pull you down is thinking positively, and finding little things in yourself to be proud of. Decided to not go for the chocolate ? Be Proud. Took the stairs, not the elevator ? Be proud.

Simple little things.
If you set yourself up for failure, you will fail.

I myself have learned this, in this past week.

Misti in Seattle
01-10-2013, 11:58 PM
I agree, and that is one reason why I don't go on "diets" that don't allow me to eat certain things or require me to "count" stuff, etc., but rather focus on eating nutritious foods, trying new things, and still allow me to share meals with friends, etc. My food is actually MUCH more delicious now and I have no desire to go back to the old way of eating.

Also, with my workouts, a lot of times I don't want to go but remind myself how much better I will look and feel if I do... and end up enjoying it. I work at making it FUN!!

I focus on the positive... how much more energy I have, how fun it is to have nice looking clothes, how much better I feel just knowing that I am working toward a solution instead of increasing the problem.

That is another huge benefit of this forum, too. I "hang out" in the threads where people are having fun with this weight loss thing and can laugh about things, as well as sharing their struggles. I join challenges that inspire me and hopefully encourage others.

I love focusing on the positive things I am doing and, at least for me personally, it would become "drudgery" to have lists of things I can't do, can't eat, etc.

Just my two cents' worth. :)


Fluffypuppy
01-10-2013, 11:58 PM
Well I struggle with anxiety and I have heard it said "neurons that fire together wire together." I think that means that once a habit is formed it takes thinking differently multiple multiple times to make that connection weaken and form a new one.

For myself, I have decided to eat any food as long as the "bad" stuff is in small quantities within my calorie limit. The habit I am working to change at the heart of things is stress eating. I have replaced it with burning incense. I tried to "program" myself by burning incense when I was feeling good so that it would have the connection made and invoke similar feelings when I was feeling stressed. This is my own made up experiment and I don't know how scientific it is but it is working so far. I find when I am stressed now I actually crave incense, not food and I have only been doing it for a few months.

I think what that article says to me is that forming a new habit is easier than just deleting an old one with nothing to take it's place. I don't know how you can not focus on what you're not supposed to do and still not do it?!?

Misti in Seattle
01-11-2013, 12:00 AM
Great post, FluffyPuppy! And good idea about changing the association of something!

LounorteTJ
01-11-2013, 12:01 AM
Instead of looking up a food item and reading how bad it is for you, and then saying "I'm so mad that I ate that before", turns into "Glad I know now, lets stay way" type of thing.

Perfectly said. There is so little to be gained from negativity. Being positive just doesn't come all that naturally to me.

Misti in Seattle
01-11-2013, 12:03 AM
Perfectly said. There is so little to be gained from negativity. Being positive just doesn't come all that naturally to me.

And sometimes it is worth having eaten the bad stuff just to have it give us the reminder that it really was NOT that enjoyable and that we regretted it... a lesson for "next time." :)

LounorteTJ
01-11-2013, 12:15 AM
Fascinating association tactic, Fluffpuppy! Definitely gives me a few ideas for ''tricking'' my brain.

I think the article meant we need to put as much focus as possible on our desired habits. There's no way you can completely divert all attention from what you're not supposed to be doing.

Misti in Seattle
01-11-2013, 12:19 AM
Fascinating association tactic, Fluffpuppy! Definitely gives me a few ideas for ''tricking'' my brain.

I think the article meant we need to put as much focus as possible on our desired habits. There's no way you can completely divert all attention from what you're not supposed to be doing.

That is true, and I don't think we really need to completely divert all our attention from it; but rather to put our focus on the new habits we are developing and seeing THEM as the desired goal; not as something bad. That is also why I personally don't embrace the idea of "cheat days" in our eating (to clarify I am not knocking them for others) as to me that is embracing the idea that eating the bad stuff is to be desired. To me it is desired to keep right on eating the healthful stuff... I want to change my wants. :) And it is working!

LounorteTJ
01-11-2013, 12:23 AM
And sometimes it is worth having eaten the bad stuff just to have it give us the reminder that it really was NOT that enjoyable and that we regretted it... a lesson for "next time." :)

Agreed! As I progress I'm learning that occasional relapses are inevitable. The ability to reach my goal has more to with my long term ability to get back on track after setbacks.

free1
01-11-2013, 06:28 AM
Search for posts by KAPLODS...She has an amazing point of view on this..and has lost over 100 pounds with this approach.

I agree....focusing on the I cant's are a recipe for failure. I CAN EAT WHATEVER I WANT...just not in the massive quantities that I really want. I still eat pizza, chips, etc. I just don't eat them every day and I eat in much smaller quantities.

For example, I LOVE Chinese food. Went out with DH for lunch and had Chinese for lunch. I tried to stay away from heapings of rice but I had some. I adjusted my dinner calories and ate very small. Also adjusted my calories for breakfast and lunch the next day and exercised. No guilt, no restrictions and I'm still on plan.

I may not lose 100 pounds in 6-months like some of the commercials...but I am losing sensibly and I generally don't feel deprived.

Misti in Seattle
01-11-2013, 07:07 AM
Interestingly, I have changed my eating dramatically, so I don't eat most of the things I did before, but I have learned to love eating this way. I am a big fan of Michael Pollan and think he has a lot of great info about nutrition. I eat mostly organic or local produce in season, and avoid most processed foods, chemicals, sugar, fake sugar, etc., and eat mostly whole fresh foods... lots of fruit and veggies, but also plenty of other things. I have googled a lot to find out what is actually IN the processed foods and it is stuff I most definitely do not want in my system.... in fact I find it appalling. "Real" food actually TASTES much better once the junk is out of my system. It helps that I live in an area where we have PCC Natural Markets so it is easy to get this high quality food, even though I have to drive past several grocery stores to get there!

I would not go back to my old way of eating "whatever I want" for anything!!

LounorteTJ
01-11-2013, 12:39 PM
I may not lose 100 pounds in 6-months like some of the commercials...but I am losing sensibly and I generally don't feel deprived.

I think your realistic approach will be key to your success. No guilt, no putting yourself down, just steady progress.

And Misti, I hope to one day reach a point where my preferences begin to change all together!

Kaitie9399
01-11-2013, 01:03 PM
Ok, so I was once fat, got skinny, and then gained it all back. Now I'm back on the road to being skinny again--but this time I don't have a goal weight, I know that I will always need to monitor myself or else I'll just be back in the same boat that I'm in now...

Anyway, it's easier to discover new yummy foods than to think about all the bad. I'm using a new app called 'AllRecipes.com' and it lets me type in what I want to eat---say chicken and artichokes and it finds recipes for me that are low-cal, low sodium, and low-fat (although, that's what I told it to find, you could set it for however you want). My point is this: find the joy in eating good, flavorful food that's going to satisfy your appetite and then you won't want the bad stuff anymore. I haven't had chocolate in two weeks, and I was addicted to it--seriously, I had chocolate with every meal and as snacks.

You can do it! Stick to your guns and make it happen.

LounorteTJ
01-11-2013, 05:14 PM
Definitely gonna have to try that app Katie!

And you're right, there is an incredible amount of food out there that is tasty, satisfying, AND conducive to a healthy lifestyle.

BreathingSpace
01-11-2013, 05:31 PM
Funny you should mention this, I just had an experience yesterday that is worth mentioning.

I decided to try and make a green smoothie WITHOUT any almond milk and replace it with water instead, and I omitted my usual vanilla protein powder. This was because I had no more Weight Watchers points at this time of day and I really didn't want to go over my points allowance.

I made the smoothie with spinach, water, berries and banana.

I started drinking it and immediately started thinking about what was missing and how it tasted watery and flat.

I stopped myself right there and said "instead of concentrating on what's missing, think about what IS there" and all of a sudden I instantly started tasting the deliciousness of the fruit and spinach and began to appreciate the smoothie.

I know it's a weird analogy (it's just a smoothie after all), but it really put it into perspective for me. Instead of always focusing on what's missing, or what I can't eat, or what I can't do - focus on what I AM doing, and it will taste and/or be that much sweeter :-)

kaplods
01-11-2013, 05:59 PM
Search for posts by KAPLODS...She has an amazing point of view on this..and has lost over 100 pounds with this approach.

Well after that kind of flattery, I have to chime in.


Although I think my 100+ loss doesn't say as much on this subject as my 30+ years of failure.

There are some other differences "this time," but I really believe that the difference between my decades of failure and my current success (dreadfully slow, but success nonetheless) is in my choice to focus on the successes (even when they're few and far between) and to refuse to dwell on the failures (and especially to stop punishing myself for the failures).

I've got degrees in psychology and even though I've known since the 1980's that rewards work better than punishment, I still always tried to lose weight by self-punishment (it's just the way most of us are taught). Even knowing it didn't work, the ingrained tradition made it difficult to lose weight any other way.

My hubby likes to say "people are sheep" meaning we all follow the herd without question, and while that's rather insulting, it's also somewhat accurate. We do tend to do what "everyone else does" especially when we're on autopilot - and stress puts people on autopilot. And when dieting we then punish ourselves for it (because that's part of the dieting autopilot too).

One of my own AHA moments came when watching a weight loss show on television that featured this amazingly luxurious weight loss spa, and I thought - "Who couldn't lose weight, there?" That wasn't a new thought exactly - since I was 8 years old, I wanted and begged my parents to send me to "fat camp," and my parents even looked into it for me - but they couldn't even afford to send me to a regular summer camp, and weight loss camps were five times as expensive or more.

However, for some reason "this time" I was watching the show, I thought "why can't I be my own weight loss spa?" If I couldn't afford to pay others to pamper me to thinness, why couldn't I pamper myself thin?

And that's a core part of my weight loss philosophy. People tend to avoid activities that are painful and unpleasant. Hey, it makes sense. You don't hit yourself in the head with a hammer for a very good reason.

So we make weight loss so miserable only a seriously messed up person would enjoy it, and then we decide that anyone who fails is lazy, crazy, or stupid. When the reality is that we quit diets because we are sane and intelligent.

All I had to do to stay motivated was to make the process fun and rewarding.

That's a bigger challenge then it seems when you live in a culture that sends overt and subtle messages that overweight individuals do not deserve to have fun. In fact, they deserve to suffer (heck even wearing sleeveless tops and shorts in the broiling heat of summer - or even being caught in public at all, especially exercising - because that's just gross and decent folk shouldn't have to see fatties in bathing suits and exercise gear... Eww, yuck...)

I decided that I had a right to exercise - even swim in public places. Oh I never let my weight prevent me from swimming, because I have always loved it so much, but I always felt ashamed and guilty when I did. I even felt bad for the people who would have to see me - so I'd rush to the water, head down, hoping to draw as little attention to myself.

There were activities that I did avoid because of my weight, and most of them had absolutely nothing to do with the weight itself, but with my fear of how I would be perceived. "This time" I've decided not to let the weight stop me from doing anything that the weight doesn't actually, physically prevent me from doing.

I also don't focus on the weight itself, because that drives me absolutely crazy, except to focus on the "not gaining." Every morning, when I weight myself I celebrate "not gaining." I also have chosen to see the "not gaining" as a GREATER and much more worthy of celebrating than the losing. This means I start most days feeling incredibly successful. And even if I do gain, I compare it to what I've lost. So if even if I gain 10 lbs (which I sometimes do with my TOM) I remind myself of the 90+ lbs I've successfully kept off.

Just this commitment to "not gaining" has largely (and perhaps solely) been responsible for the success. Putting the focus on "not gaining" is something I can do with enthusiasm every day.

Focusing on what I can do, and what I want to do, has made the process much more fun than focusing on what I can't or shouldn't have done. Likewise focusing on how I succeeded, rather than how I messed up has made this journey fun and satisfying enough that there is no temptation to quit.

Quit what? Quit celebrating the weightloss I've maintained. Quit shopping for and choosing the most beautiful, wonderful tasting, highest quality, freshest best-for-my-mind-and-body, foods that I can afford? Quit rewarding my successes?

Pampering myself thin, even at a slow pace is so much more rewarding than even the fastest weight loss done through self-punishment. There's no temptation to quit, because what fool would give up something so enjoyable?

Fluffypuppy
01-11-2013, 07:03 PM
Agreed! As I progress I'm learning that occasional relapses are inevitable. The ability to reach my goal has more to with my long term ability to get back on track after setbacks.

Exactly!

LounorteTJ
01-12-2013, 01:16 PM
Focusing on what I can do, and what I want to do, has made the process much more fun than focusing on what I can't or shouldn't have done. Likewise focusing on how I succeeded, rather than how I messed up has made this journey fun and satisfying enough that there is no temptation to quit.


Really quite inspiring. Thank you for sharing!

Putting our focus in the right places seems like it can be instrumental to success.