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Old 08-21-2017, 04:46 PM   #1
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Default How did you find motivation and self discipline?

Hey everyone!
I am new to the forum. I currently weigh in at 160lbs at 5’ 4” and plan on losing a total of about 30 lbs. Not really putting a number on it but I know that I felt the most comfortable when I was at around 130lbs.
I know what to do in order to lose weight and I think I’m pretty knowledgeable when it comes to healthy nutrition and exercise but my problem is finding motivation and self-discipline to actually do all the things that I know theoretically need to happen in order for me to lose weight.. I pretty much give up on diets before I even really get started. It’s like there is this little voice inside my head that says “why bother, you won’t be able to do it anyway” This is very strange for me as I am usually a go getter when it comes to other aspects of life. I love to work out, that is not the problem. But unfortunately, diet is more than half the battle when it comes to weight loss. I am interested in how other people found the self-discipline to start losing weight. Any advice is greatly appreciated. Thank you!
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Old 08-22-2017, 02:29 PM   #2
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Motivation is not required. Self-discipline is. And I'm certainly not an expert on why I sometimes have more self-discipline than others. But what I do know is this. For me, it is easier to be disciplined one decision at a time than it is for a longer period of time. So, when I am struggling, I tend to map out ways for the decisions to be easier for me (i.e., don't go the way that will take me by the candy jar, don't have my biggest weaknesses in the cupboard), then focus on one day at a time. In fact, I set daily goals that are focused on the things that I am finding most challenging that day. It works a lot of the time. It doesn't always work. But the beauty of doing this one decision at a time is that if I make a single mistake, I haven't blown the day or the week or the month. I've blown one decision.

Glad you're here! Hope you decide to stick around.
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Old 08-23-2017, 09:34 AM   #3
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. I pretty much give up on diets before I even really get started. It’s like there is this little voice inside my head that says “why bother, you won’t be able to do it anyway”
Hi, nocake! I think you've nailed your obstacle right here. Research supports that our belief in our ability to succeed is often correlated with our motivation. You mention that in other areas of your life, you're a go-getter, and I'd guess that in those other areas you believe you have a strong chance of achieving what you set out to do? What might help is lowering the bar for what food behaviors you currently believe are necessary to lose weight. You might be expecting too much perfection. If you pick smaller goals that you know you can achieve, that will set the foundation for success.

ETA..Sry, got pulled away before I could finish that thought. The reason I mention choosing smaller, achievable goals regarding food is because one of the most effective ways to improve our belief in our ability to succeed (if not *the* most effective way) is to have experiences in that domain where we do succeed. So by giving yourself opportunities to master food goals, you're re-framing your view of yourself from someone who can't do it, to someone who can, and that can correlate with higher motivation.

I'm kind of your mirror image, in that I'm pretty good on the food front, but I struggle with staying physically active. Once I'm in that zone, I tend to stay there, so that's good. But when life throws me a big transition that changes my physical activity level to sedentary, I've twice not adapted quickly enough and ended up gaining about 40 pounds both times. Getting back into exercise was difficult, so what I did this time was set the bar relatively low and easy and fun. I rode my bike a few times a week, and I did this short workout I enjoy that's only 10 minutes long. After a month of succeeding at that, I was having fun, seeing results, motivated to stick with it, and even jonesing for more challenging exercise.
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Old 08-23-2017, 11:19 AM   #4
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. But the beauty of doing this one decision at a time is that if I make a single mistake, I haven't blown the day or the week or the month. I've blown one decision.
I think this is such a key mindset for success!
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Old 08-23-2017, 11:38 AM   #5
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One last comment.

I think two things are necessary for high motivation (in general, not just for weight loss):
(A) You need to want the goal/outcome more than not having it, and
(B) You need to believe you can achieve it.

I think (B) is the easier factor to change because we can create more do-able scenarios and scaffold their difficulty.
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Old 08-23-2017, 02:05 PM   #6
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One last comment.
I lied.

I wanted to comment on the self-discipline side of things too. I couldn't agree more with Laurie said about making the decision as easy as you can for yourself. Basically, reduce the need to use discipline as much as you can, and instead make the healthier decisions as easy and necessary for yourself as possible. Then those healthy decisions build momentum and become habits that we perform automatically. I think habit and routine are more powerful and reliable than self-discipline.

As an example, the first time I gained weight was about 10 years ago. To lose it, I stopped getting rides to/from work and instead walked both ways. That made walking a part of my routine that I simply had to do. There was no daily battle where I needed to be disciplined. I just needed to do it or I couldn't get to work!

Mastering those achievable goals that I mentioned before is another way to build discipline, since it builds habits in a relatively easy and enjoyable way. What we find easy and enjoyable is subjective, but let's hypothetically say that you really enjoy fresh fruit and veg. They're your jam. So as your achievable goal, you decide to eliminate your carb serving at lunch and replace it with double your current veg serving. Since, in this scenario, you like that food, this is a relatively easy and enjoyable change for you. But even easy and enjoyable challenges require us to build them as habits, and that consistency requires discipline, especially in the beginning. After a few weeks, that strengthens your self-discipline, morphs the decision into an automatic habit, and helps you see that you *can* exercise self-discipline because you successfully *did.*
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Old 08-23-2017, 09:49 PM   #7
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I just think of all the positive comments I've gotten from people who say I look good. I just think of how humiliated I'd be if I gained the weight back.
Just thinking of gaining the weight back can snap me out of a binge.

But another thing that is motivating me, is the fall.

People talk about their summer body's, I'm looking forward to my fall body.

I am looking forward to wearing hoodies. I feel like I look better in a hoodie then a t shirt and shorts.

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Old 08-24-2017, 01:08 PM   #8
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My experience was that I really have very little self-discipline, but I'm motivated. So I do things to overcome my lack of self-discipline. For example- I know if there's crap around I will eat it. So- I eat before I go shopping for groceries, so I'm full. Then I'm less likely to buy junk food and bring it home. If it's not here, I can't eat it. Another is that I'm frequently tired and don't want to work out in the evening. So I made myself a "deal"- 10 minutes. I just have to do 10 minutes of whatever. If after 10 minutes I still want to quit, I can. But I have to do 10 minutes. Many times I'll keep going. And if I'm really tired, I'll make sure my workout is gentle- walking outside, or yoga in the house. That way I don't feel like I'm punishing myself. I also allow little cheats: a small piece of dark chocolate per day. Coffee with real cream. That sort of thing. I've built it into my diet so that I don't have to be totally deprived of all the things I truly love.

It's still a real challenge. My life has been super hectic lately -we're building a house so my workouts have been waylaid in favor of installing floors, or building a deck. So I'm not doing my formal workouts so much, but I still have to watch my diet. For me, I've noticed I'm super sensitive to carbs. So I've begun just tracking my carb intake with the goal of keeping it under 150g for certain, under 100g desired. This is a new addition to what I've been doing, but it's helping me because carbs are the only thing I really overeat. I don't overeat protein or fat because those are satiating- but carbs- I don't stop when I should when it comes to carbs. So by counting them specifically, it's helped me re-start my weight loss.
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Old 08-24-2017, 01:24 PM   #9
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But the beauty of doing this one decision at a time is that if I make a single mistake, I haven't blown the day or the week or the month. I've blown one decision.
This was fantastic advice. Well said!
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Old 08-24-2017, 09:07 PM   #10
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I usually find my motivation either from looking at an unflattering photo, or thinking about how I could extend my time with my son if I had a healthier body. The rest for me is all about organization, which is a type of discipline I think. I really need to plan ahead and be organized to succeed in sticking to my plan. Tonight I made dinner, but cooked enough extra to make 3 more meals from it. I have some on-plan stuff baking in my oven now for quick go to snacks (I'm doing keto).

Like others have mentioned, it helps me to break things down...so although I'd like to lose 80 pounds, my first goal is 40, which I then look at as 4 mini goals of 10 pounds. I know I'm going to feel great when I get there, and it's just not quite as far as my ultimate goal, so it feels really attainable to me. When I get there I'll be able to say, well look, I already lost 40 pounds, and I can do it again.
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Old 08-28-2017, 11:26 PM   #11
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You know that feeling when you sit, and you can actually comfortably rest your hands on top of your tummy? That feeling when you pick something up, your stomach gets in the way? That feeling when you try and sit in an indian or squat position, your thighs feel so thick that it's almost painful to squeeze them together? You know the feeling of losing your breath with the smallest physical activity? And that helpless feeling of all your clothes not seeming to fit well as your tummy is protruding in any outfit? When I get discouraged or lazy, I just bring these all to mind to remind me why what I'm doing is worth it.
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Old 08-29-2017, 12:59 AM   #12
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You know that feeling when you sit, and you can actually comfortably rest your hands on top of your tummy? That feeling when you pick something up, your stomach gets in the way? That feeling when you try and sit in an indian or squat position, your thighs feel so thick that it's almost painful to squeeze them together? You know the feeling of losing your breath with the smallest physical activity? And that helpless feeling of all your clothes not seeming to fit well as your tummy is protruding in any outfit? When I get discouraged or lazy, I just bring these all to mind to remind me why what I'm doing is worth it.
Good ones.
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