Weight Loss Support - I feel like I'm running on a hamster wheel.




thewalrus0
07-09-2013, 04:58 AM
I feel like every week I'm trying to eat better, get to the gym and lose weight. I'm putting in the mental effort but in the end I always break, but because I'm putting in the emotional effort I feel so tired. I feel like I've been trying and trying with no results. I know realistically that it's because I haven't been able to say on any plan. Exercise is actually the easiest part for me because I really enjoy it.

I also enjoy health food, but this thing happens where I go day after day, counting calories/eating healthier and finally something inside me snaps and I just overeat. Then it's like I can't repair my brain right away. I just fall off the wagon until I have the mental energy to try again.

I'm not sure what's wrong. I'm pretty knowledgeable in health and fitness. I am doing it for what I think are the rights reasons. I don't severely restrict calories and I don't overexercise. I have plenty of non-food related hobbies. I don't use food to make me feel better. I don't use it when I'm bored. I drink water. I don't drink soda. I don't eat a lot of junk food and I enjoy lots of fruits and veggies. I even cook a lot, for a college student. I don't drink too much beer/alcohol.

Why can't I get it together? I know you gals probably won't have an answer, because we're all so different, but I just had to get it out there. It's been on my chest for a while. I'm devoted to college, to art, to music, to my foreign languages. I'm overcoming hurdles and improving in all those things. I just can't seem to get past this one hurdle when it comes to eating better and losing weight.


FiftyFive
07-09-2013, 06:33 AM
Oh, I feel just like you, basically, a few days doing everything right and then off the wagon for a few days. I too feel I’m going forward in lots of aspects in my life but I just can’t seem to tackle the weight issue and I feel it’s keeping me from living a better life. Just wanted to say you’re not alone! We can do it!

carter
07-09-2013, 06:44 AM
I feel for you here. I had a similar problem the first few times I tried to stop my regain - I could get back on plan for a day or even a week but then slip right off again, and have trouble getting back.

One thing that helps me is to narrow my focus down to one choice at a time. Get back on your plan. If you overeat at some meal, then just try to make your very next eating choice an on-plan choice. Then focus on your next choice. That can help stop one off-plan choice from becoming a complete abandonment of your plan. Perfcection in following your plan is not required, just consistency. Focusing on one choice at a time can help you keep that perspective and avoid the all-or-nothing thinking of "we'll, I went over today, there goes that attempt!"

Further, can you articulate what happens when you go off plan? What is the event or happening or trigger that drives you off plan? If you can figure that out, there may be small changes to your plan or your habit or your environment that you can make which will help stave off that moment.


thewalrus0
07-09-2013, 07:03 AM
To be honest carter, nothing particularly stressful causes me to fall off the wagon.

It'll be a completely normal day. Usually I wake up feeling fine, I'm on plan throughout the day and then something just breaks at dinner. It feels, to me, like my brain is tired of fighting my body over what I should eat and I just decide to eat whatever I want and as much as I want. Almost to relieve that sensation of mental exhaustion over what to eat.

I know there has to be something I can do to overcome it, but each time it happens it's almost out of my control. Like some part of my brain flips from being 'on' to 'off'.

I suppose it's something akin to the first few times I tried to quit smoking. I'd make it through most of the day, sometimes a whole day, but eventually something would snap and I'd just smoke one.

But breaking the habit of overeating is proving to be a lot tougher than breaking the habit of smoking.

thewalrus0
07-09-2013, 07:05 AM
I'm with you fiftyfive.

Eventually it has to 'click', right? At least I haven't thrown in the towel completely. That's a plus.

carter
07-09-2013, 07:09 AM
I didn't necessarily mean something stressful. I really mean examine your environment and think about ways to make staying on plan the mentally easier path.

I will give an example for me. The worst position I can be in, plan-wise, is to come home from work at the end of a long day and have to think about what is for dinner. That leads me to think about "what do I feel like eating" and "I'm so tired maybe I'll just order takeout" and stuff like that.

I had to engineer my environment to avoid this situation. That meant having on-plan meals ready or mostly ready and waiting for me when I got home, so that eating on plan was so easy and effort-free that I didn't have to muster too much discipline to avoid the temptation to order takeout "just this once."

For me that meant doing more cooking on the weekends so I would have planned leftovers ready during the week (at most I have to spend 15 minutes making an extra salad or cooking an extra vegetable). Now staying on plan in those moments really doesn't require any mental effort at all.

That specific example may not suit your needs, but that is the kind of thinking I am talking about. Examine what it is that makes those moments mentally challenging and see if you can plan ahead to make them easier when they come.

freelancemomma
07-09-2013, 07:14 AM
I feel like every week I'm trying to eat better, get to the gym and lose weight. I'm putting in the mental effort but in the end I always break, but because I'm putting in the emotional effort I feel so tired. I feel like I've been trying and trying with no results. I know realistically that it's because I haven't been able to say on any plan. Exercise is actually the easiest part for me because I really enjoy it.

I also enjoy health food, but this thing happens where I go day after day, counting calories/eating healthier and finally something inside me snaps and I just overeat. Then it's like I can't repair my brain right away. I just fall off the wagon until I have the mental energy to try again....

Why can't I get it together? I know you gals probably won't have an answer, because we're all so different, but I just had to get it out there. It's been on my chest for a while. I'm devoted to college, to art, to music, to my foreign languages. I'm overcoming hurdles and improving in all those things. I just can't seem to get past this one hurdle when it comes to eating better and losing weight.

I've been pondering this very same thing, Walrus. I also don't deprive myself unreasonably, enjoy healthy food, exercise regularly, etc. If I experience any hunger, it's only in the mildest, most transient form. (I've also studied music and foreign languages, and I'm no stranger to discipline in most aspects of life.) I keep asking myself: Why is it so hard to NOT put something in my mouth?

Lionel Shriver reflects on the issue in her most recent novel, Big Brother (about a woman with a morbidly obese brother). Her protagonist observes that we persist in thinking that food will give us the ultimate satisfaction and relief from what ails us, all prior evidence to the contrary. Her dispirited conclusion: Food doesn't offer all that much, but maybe it's as good as it gets. I don't actually believe that food is the best thing life has to offer and suspect that Shriver doesn't either. But it's possible that we're biologically programmed to believe, every time we reach for those chips or that pastry, that the food will make everything OK.

I'll be very interested to hear other people's thoughts on the matter.

Freelance

freelancemomma
07-09-2013, 07:16 AM
The worst position I can be in, plan-wise, is to come home from work at the end of a long day and have to think about what is for dinner. That leads me to think about "what do I feel like eating" and "I'm so tired maybe I'll just order takeout" and stuff like that.

I had to engineer my environment to avoid this situation. That meant having on-plan meals ready or mostly ready and waiting for me when I got home, so that eating on plan was so easy and effort-free that I didn't have to muster too much discipline to avoid the temptation to order takeout "just this once."


That's really smart, Carter. Thanks for the idea.

F.

olehcat
07-09-2013, 07:17 AM
All I can say is that I hear you. This is the story of my weight loss attempts for the past few years, honestly. But I will agree with the person above who talks about making one choice at a time. I don't know if that's going to work for me "this time" but it's the one that makes the most sense and takes away the bratty inner toddler who wants to say, "but I can never have caaaaake again or at least not for a really long time? Screw that, I'm going to have it now!"

Rhiko
07-09-2013, 07:18 AM
I wonder if it's your mind rebelling a bit? Like when someone says you can't do something but you find yourself doing it anyway? The grass is greener on the other side? On the other hand, you could consider it as a 'test' before the big exam, just making sure you're willing to stay on the right track?

I was doing so well with my weight loss and exercise for 5 months, up until the final month of my university studies when I couldn't find a spare minute to myself and my habits came back (but not bad enough to cause weight gain! Phew!). What I mean is, perhaps it has something to do with your being distracted by your studies?

I could be way off. I'm getting kicked in the butt at uni these days lol :)

freelancemomma
07-09-2013, 07:28 AM
I feel like I've been trying and trying with no results. I know realistically that it's because I haven't been able to say on any plan.

I also wanted to say that I appreciated the honesty in your self-analysis. So many posters express the sentiment in your first sentence, while leaving out the observation in your second one. We're then left wondering: Does "trying and trying" mean staying on plan or not? Which makes it harder for us to offer useful advice.

F.

TheGreatDepression
07-09-2013, 07:53 AM
I think you'll find that nearly all of us have experience or are experiencing what you are going through. I got so tired of failure that I gave up for three years. During that time I went through extreme isolation and put on about fourty pounds (I was already obese before the extra weight gain).

I thought good-tasting food was my best friend but looking back, it just made me unhealthy and more depressed.

I was able to break free from this trap when I finally brought myself to see a doctor for a check up. I am young but had high blood pressure and my BMI was on the brink of morbid obesity. I couldn't believe this was the life I was living. Since then (about six months ago), I've been making changes that I commit to. It's difficult as **** but at the end of the day, I am in a better place than when I was alone in the dark room eating.

Elena EQ
07-09-2013, 08:00 AM
Maybes cold turkey healthy is just not for you. Lets ease into it! Pick one thing you want to change about your diet (but only one!), like drinking water instead of soda. Stick to eat for two weeks, then set another goal. You don't have to do it all at once, it's a lifestyle change after all!

Ps if you would like you can write me your pre-dieting meal routine and I will pick things to eliminate every couple of weeks and stay in touch with you on the progress.

Euphy
07-09-2013, 08:47 AM
I was like you until I found something to really occupy my mind. Now it doesn't bother me to eat less. I'm also off the birth control that was making me ravenous.

Munchy
07-09-2013, 09:49 AM
I had to engineer my environment to avoid this situation. That meant having on-plan meals ready or mostly ready and waiting for me when I got home, so that eating on plan was so easy and effort-free that I didn't have to muster too much discipline to avoid the temptation to order takeout "just this once."

For me that meant doing more cooking on the weekends so I would have planned leftovers ready during the week (at most I have to spend 15 minutes making an extra salad or cooking an extra vegetable). Now staying on plan in those moments really doesn't require any mental effort at all.

Yep. That's why I have my freezer full of homemade meals. I can have a meal ready in 10 minutes or less. Even faster than takeout or fast food. It's brilliant.

Hello Nurse
07-09-2013, 12:07 PM
I think you mentioned that you count calories? I know when I was on a counting plan, either calories or WW points, I experienced a lot of that mental fatigue. I'd just get tired of thinking about it. I've been most successful on a plan that does not require counting (I do South Beach with little dabbles of intermittent fasting, which amounts to only eating between 8am and 6pm daily). I don't count calories, carbs, points or anything. I don't even do a food journal unless my weight loss stalls, then I'll journal for a day or so to identify any areas I'm slacking in (usually too few veggies and overdoing the nuts).

With SB certain foods are restricted, mostly for the 2 week induction and then you start adding back. For me, it is helpful to be able to choose from a wide variety of foods I enjoy, eat pretty much as much as I want, and lose weight. Having "rules" to follow works better for me than having to count and track. This is just a suggestion in general, it's not for everyone, but it might just be if your plan isn't working for you, it just isn't the right plan for you! ;)

Andrea85
07-09-2013, 12:41 PM
I TOTALLY understand how you feel! I tend to go off plan when other things just zap all my mental energy to "deal with". Once I'm having to deal with other things, I don't have any mental energy left to deal with good eating. I still enjoy all those good meals, I just add too many snacks on top of them.

The last few weeks, my partner and I have been actively cooking dinner. He and I both are not dinner people, but I know I will get home and snack ALL night because I never really fill up on anything. So we make an effort to cook. On his nights, it's awesome because I only have to wait a few minutes for dinner. On my nights, I'm forced to cook because I can't let him go hungry! And we always plan good, nutritious, easy meals, with enough for leftovers so we aren't cooking EVERY night.

My point with that is to figure out a way to navigate through the times you find the hardest. I also give myself small to-do lists at night (stuff I need to do anyways, like shower, walk the dog, etc, but having a list makes it more official in my mind!), so I have something to do besides eat. I even have "watch an episode of xyz" on there for my relax time!

Once you get into a routine, it will be habit and not so much of a drain on your mental energy.

lin43
07-09-2013, 06:20 PM
There are some people who simply do not like routine or boundaries; I know because I'm one of them. For such personalities, it is difficult just to KNOW that we "should" eat A, B, & C rather than D, E, and F. My mind rebels. As I've gotten older, it has gotten better, though.

So, I agree with another poster who suggested that you just try to make it through "the next" choice. If you eat off plan, so what? Get right back on plan the next meal. The all-or-nothing thinking is something I believe most of us on this forum have had to deal with. Holding onto that mindset makes it almost impossible to lose and/or maintain.

However, here are two practical suggestion if you count calories (I'm not sure you do; I know some people hate it, but I have done it for more than two years now, and it doesn't bother me at all):
1) I have a weekly calorie total rather than a daily one. That way, if I do pig out, I can always cut back the next day. Caveat: I am an overeater, but not a binger, so if you have binge issues, that sort of plan may not be wise.
2) Also, I track my calories daily using a smartphone app (even though I go by a weekly total), and I start my "day's" calorie count with my most unpredictable meal, which is dinner for me.

Those two strategies allow for some spontaneity in my eating, which I believe has made it easier for me to stay on plan for two years than it ever was in the past. (Not saying it's easy; it isn't, but it's better now than before).

Missys Mom
07-09-2013, 06:40 PM
thewalrus0.....omg.....you sound exactly how I feel.....I couldnt have said it any better myself.....I do so well, I follow eating my ww points etc and I dont see any results (even with exercise, etc) so I fall off the wagon and its so hard to start again and I have to push myself. This week I have gone carb free so maybe that will finally get me jumpstarted. I feel for you girl and I hope both of us can make it over this hurdle sooner rather than later. Good luck to both of us :)

thewalrus0
07-11-2013, 06:47 AM
Thank you all for the replies!

I've been mulling it over and I am starting to believe that overeating is a really heavy habit.

I overeat because it's automatic. It feels nice. It's almost like coming home from work, getting into comfy clothes and crawling into my bed or laying on the couch. It feels 'right', until I'm done and I feel overly full and have heartburn.

I used to be a smoker with a drug and binge drinking problem and I've managed to get those issues in line for the most part, except I still binge drink sometimes and I do it for the exact same reasons I overeat still. My friends drink. I get off work on the weekend, I have a few dollars and suddenly it's so easy to just say 'let's get drunk tonight!' even though I always regret it the next day.

I've obviously been overeating longer than I've been frequently binge drinking, but I feel like they come from the same place in my mind. They're essentially mindless. They're numbing activities. Playing music, exercising, drawing...these other hobbies of mine require considerable effort compared to staring at the television, overeating or drinking beer.

So I need to find a way to get past that incredible urge. I don't know if it's habit or if it's something else but right now it's seeming like habit.

Obviously I've broken bad habits before. I quit smoking. I smoked for seven years and I really liked it. I quit for my health. I want to quit binge drinking for my health, as well as overeating and binge eating. Right now it's just tough. I'm tired just thinking about those moments that lead up to overeating. It's such a disappointment once I've given in but I swear those few minutes before I decide to overeat...it's like I'm a different person. Suddenly my ideals shift and I couldn't care less about my goals and plans. Then, once the food is gone, I 'wake up' and I'm myself again.

It'd be really fascinating if it wasn't keeping me obese and unhappy.

DionDi
07-11-2013, 06:59 AM
Walrus nice to meet you! I read your posts and I completely get how you're feeling. I think the issue is mindful eating is not giving much attention these days. Rather than counting points or even calories, just being in tune with our bodies and KNOWING what our body needs at any time will send you leaps and bounds in your weight loss journey. Easier said that done, but I think TV/movies have a large part to play. I personally find I just keep eating and eating in front of the TV more than when I'm anywhere else. I got rid of the TV just to test my theory and surprise, surprise....I actually lost 2lb that week!! Amazing isn't it how the mind is tuned