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I feel like I'm running on a hamster wheel.

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Old 07-09-2013, 04:58 AM   #1
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Default I feel like I'm running on a hamster wheel.

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.
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Old 07-09-2013, 06:33 AM   #2
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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!
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Old 07-09-2013, 06:44 AM   #3
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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.
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High weight: 275 (August 2009) *** Low weight: 155 (October 2012)
Today, working off a partial regain. Current weight: 179.
Goals:
* Make the best choice I can make, with every choice.
* Remember that the temptation in front of me is not the last of its kind that I will ever see; say "I'll pass today."
* Say "no!" to my whiny inner five-year-old.
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Old 07-09-2013, 07:03 AM   #4
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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.
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Old 07-09-2013, 07:05 AM   #5
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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.
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Old 07-09-2013, 07:09 AM   #6
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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.
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High weight: 275 (August 2009) *** Low weight: 155 (October 2012)
Today, working off a partial regain. Current weight: 179.
Goals:
* Make the best choice I can make, with every choice.
* Remember that the temptation in front of me is not the last of its kind that I will ever see; say "I'll pass today."
* Say "no!" to my whiny inner five-year-old.
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Old 07-09-2013, 07:14 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thewalrus0 View Post
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.

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Old 07-09-2013, 07:16 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by carter View Post
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.

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Old 07-09-2013, 07:17 AM   #9
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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!"
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Old 07-09-2013, 07:18 AM   #10
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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
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Old 07-09-2013, 07:28 AM   #11
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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.

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Old 07-09-2013, 07:53 AM   #12
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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.

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Old 07-09-2013, 08:00 AM   #13
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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.
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Old 07-09-2013, 08:47 AM   #14
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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.
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Old 07-09-2013, 09:49 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carter View Post
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.
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