Location: In Florida near the beach with all these thin pretty girls around!
How do you keep yourself motivated?
I also promise myself I will stick with it but in the end I always end up getting fast food, eating something I shouldn't or not going to the gym. It's always a split second desicion almost on auto pilot that I regret later. I just can't stop doing it though! I was wondering if anyone did something to remind themselves not to cheat? I was thinking about tying a string or something around my wrist so I'd see if and remember when I went for the food but I don't want to have to explain it to people. Which I know I would have to.
5'11, Small Frame
Current Motivation: Swimsuit!
I live near the beach and I want to feel good going...for once!
I understand what you are experiencing, but for me this isn't about "motivation." Motivation is an EMOTION, which comes and goes. There are things you can do to keep it pumped up, which I'll talk about later, but even then it's going to desert you from time to time. What has kept me going through over 3-1/2 years and the loss of over 165 pounds is DETERMINATION.
If you find yourself giving in to fleeting urges frequently, to me that's a sign that you need to do more planning. When I started my program I sat down every night and planned my menu for the next day down to the smallest detail. I laid out things for breakfast as much as I could, and I packed my lunch and all the snacks I would need at work the next day (if the next day was a work day). When I got home from work I knew exactly what I had to prepare for dinner. Some people would balk at this -- the work, and the "restriction" -- but for me it was crucial. Eating by whim was what got me to well over 300 pounds. By knowing that I would be eating a meal or snack every 3 to 4 hours, I eliminated the "hmmm I think I want something to eat" mind-wandering. I had a schedule. Second, it eliminated the possibility of making those split-second decisions to eat something bad -- if it wasn't in my lunch box it was simply off-limits. Period.
I still find that the times I eat off-plan are the times I've done the least planning and preparation. I have kind of a "menu template" that I follow, but am willing to let myself make last-minute choices within that template. However, the less prepared I am with viable choices, the more likely I am to make poor ones.
That time each evening planning the next day's food also served as a time to simply focus on what I was trying to accomplish. I think a lot of people trying to lose weight have this vague wish to do it, but they don't spend time every single day THINKING HARD about it, making concrete plans, anticipating challenges, visualizing solutions. I think we all have a strong tendency to want to "wing it" and do only what we want at a particular moment -- eat the junk, stay on the couch, whatever. The ones who are successful are those who work hard to turn that thinking around, who give up some of that supposed freedom (which is really a prison built of food and sloth) in order to accomplish goals. In addition to the time I spent on menu planning, I also made sure I went to the grocery store every week, same day and time, to stock up with healthy food for the week. There were no excuses about not having vegetables in the house or whatever. I also spent a lot of time reading about fitness and weight loss (such as Thin for Life, and Shape magazine, and health and fitness web sites). This became my hobby, it became a focal point of my life. I truly believe that for people who have a lot of weight to lose, especially if they've struggled with weight a long time, this HAS to become a project that takes center stage. It is not something you can do incidentally, at least to start. If you build a good foundation, you can gradually shift to a more "normal" life as the new habits take hold. But if you never dedicate the time and energy to planning and journaling and digging deep, it'll be hard to turn around that conditioning that associates stress with chocolate, movies with popcorn, shopping with fast food, etc.
When I get the urge to be really bad and eat something that I shouldn't, it usually comes just how you described: a split second decision where I'm on auto pilot. Somehow those bad tendencies just grab hold of the reins and the next thing I'll know, I'm eating a [insert unhealthy food choice].
What helps me the most is to simply remind myself that if I had stuck to any of the diets or exercise programs that I started in my past, I would already be at my goal weight. So, when the urge comes and I'm sitting at the drive up window staring at a picture of a bacon and cheese smothered burger, I just say "No, darnit, if I had stuck to any of my diets I would already be thin... I'm not going to do this to myself" and I take the reins back and order wisely.
One thing that also might help you is to become accountable for the times when you do mess up. For instance, you can eat a pint of ice-cream, regret it immediately afterwards, and then do one of two things: A-you can feel sorry for yourself, curse your lack of will power and say "well I've blown it now" and continue on in the same manner of unchecked eating OR B-you can admit to yourself that you've made a mistake and try to be accountable for it by shaving a 100 calories or so off your next couple of meals until you cancel out the damage. I find if make myself actually react to and fix my mistakes like this, then I'm less likely to eat something I shouldn't because as I'm considering eating it I also consider the fact that eating it will mean making up for it later (and losing small portions of my breakfasts, lunches, and dinners-every bite of which I cherish). Usually I'd rather have my full meals for the next day or two than a double cheeseburger this minute.
Don't lose faith It takes a lot of trial and error to figure out what works best for your cravings and urges. You'll figure it out eventually!
DaisyLily - I have struggled with this before as well. Until recently, I didn't really have a good answer for it.
Lately I've started asking myself a question before I make a choice (like in a fast food restaurant, for instance): what would (my favorite video fitness instructor) order? That's what keeps me motivated in those situations. Believe it or not, it has really worked for me so far. When my husband is with me (he's a coach), I always say to him: what would a championship coach do in this situation? Works for him too.
You have to remember - there's ALWAYS a better choice you can make. Instead of french fries, how about a side salad in the fast food restaurant? As for working out, do the same thing. Think of someone you admire and ask what they would do if they were in your situation. My current inspiration (the video instructor) wouldn't just sit around if she didn't feel like working out that day. She would at least do a stretching workout, Yoga, or maybe some abs!!!
There are quite a few things which motivate me, largely revolving around being able to do certain things - instead of a beach holiday with easy walks, a jungle trip with more arduous hikes, that kind of thing. Also my "summer job" is cooking at the fishing lodge we have, which means 10-12 hour days, mostly standing - very physical. This is my eighth year doing this, and it's much harder at 41 than it was at 34.
But mostly what motivates me is... not wanting to feel so rotten about myself anymore. I drank too much for many years, which resulted in eating way too much, and also resulted in other stuff I didn't like. Now, I've given up smoking, drinking, and "bad" eating, and I'm working out like crazy (was an athlete when I was younger), so I'm about 35 pounds down (from 185 to 150, though 212 was my highest, a few years ago), I ran 5 miles for the first time in my life yesterday. I feel great (except for all the little bits & pieces that hurt, and will no doubt be arthritic in another ten years - Idon't care about that!! ). And I keep pushing it, because I know that the more goals I make the harder it will be for me to go back to my old ways.
THE THING WHICH ULTIMATELY STOPS ME FROM SERIOUS SLIDING:When I think about going back or am feeling emotional and stressed and really want to eat a lot of something I don't need, the image which I painfully FORCE myself to bring to mind, is of me standing in the bathroom at the end of an evening, red-faced, red-eyed, bloated and fat, and what I would think was "you are so disgusting. you are a revolting cow". I FORCE myself to remember how I felt about myself in the past, to really inhabit those feelings again. (I've never told anyone this, by the way.)
That is such a terrible way to live!!!! a TERRIBLE way for someone to feel about herself. Really, it was self-hatred. I NEVER want to feel so low again. And I finally really and truly know that I have the power to fix it, and I really want to live the second half of my life in a so much healthier way.
Sorry I went on and on!! Really, there are so many reasons, so many things that can motivate us. I KNOW you can find the one that works for you, if you want it.
I had an "urge" this past weekend to stop at McDonalds or burger-king......fortunately I turned on the TV and caught part of that movie........Super-size Me. UGH! It disgusted me so badly, I doubt I'll crave that stuff for quite a while.
I can have that type of food, but the healthier version I re-make myself....a 90% lean hamburger and my fake-french fries that I bake in the oven.
I agree that advance planning keeps you on track.
STOP WHINING, SHUT YOUR MOUTH AND PUT ON YOUR SNEAKERS!
I liked a point from Dr. Phil's book. He says that you don't have to have willpower all the time, just for those brief split-seconds, as you describe. Try telling yourself, "Well I'll just get something healthy now, if I still want something unhealthy later, I'll think about it then." Before you know it, you're out of "danger."
"Failing to plan is planning to fail." -- Alan Lakein
"The price of freedom is eternal vigilance." -- Thomas Jefferson.
when I get to a WW mini-goal I buy myself a charm for my charm bracelet, and when I go out (my high-risk eating occasions) I wear the bracelet and it reminds me of my goals. So you could wear something on your eating wrist that only you know is a reminder, and not explain it to anyone. My not-cheat strategies are 1. sometimes I just have to pretend I'm motivated. Ie I think, oh I'm not motivated, I won't work out/I'll order pizza for tea - but then I think "well just work out/ pick something more healthy to eat, even if you're not motivated". I think the trick is to not link behaviour to motivation. 2. I have a photo in my kitchen of myself completing a fitness event that it took me a long time to get fit for, and that picture continually reminds me that I can keep at a project that was hard and took a long time. 3. Recognise your mistakes and act on them straight away, eg I ordered a bag of chips (fries?) with a meal, ate half of them, wished I hadn't and threw the rest in the bin straight away. So what started as a 'failure' turned into a 'win' if you see what I mean. 4. This is a bit Dr Phil - create a no-fail environment as far as is realistically possible. I take apples and water when we have a long drive ahead so I'm not tempted to snack at a bakery, and my pantry has rice crackers and my fridge has low-fat yoghurt and frozen veggies so if I do give in to the urge to eat unnecessarily there's something that won't do too much damage. 5 My rule of no secret eating. If I want to 'snack' I do it in front of my DH and DD. That makes me much less likely to eat rubbish.
Anyway this post went far too long. Good luck and keep at it!
remember, living well is the best revenge
I put a rubberband around my right wrist and when I feel the urge to cheat I snap the rubberband and stop and really think about it. A moment on the lips is a lifetime on the hips.
Also, when I start to feel a difference in the way my clothes fit that gives me great inspiration to continue on my path!
Motivation for me
I want to stop not liking myself. I want to feel better about myself. I wanted to actually like myself , I want to like how I look.
Im not there yet but I am getting there. Its a process and I know this.
It will happen and I will get there. Just got to keep working at it.
My body is changing and im a more happier person then I used to be.
when I get to a WW mini-goal I buy myself a charm for my charm bracelet, and when I go out (my high-risk eating occasions) I wear the bracelet and it reminds me of my goals.
I think this is the best idea I've seen all week!!
I was going to say, wear something if it will help--you don't have to explain anything to anybody!! When I was having a real problem with impulse spending (I mean, digging myself into serious debt) I took a little round sticker, bright red, and stuck it on my debit card. (I took all the other cards out of my purse.) It was so mortifying every time somebody asked me about it--and probably 90% of the cashiers I handed it to, asked me about it--but you know what? It worked. I knew I was going to be asked about it and I weighed the embarrassment of having to explain the dot ("Well, you see, I'm too broke to be spending any money, so I stuck it on there to remind myself to stop buying stuff. Charge it, please.") with the pleasure I'd get from the purchase. And just seeing it, reminded me of my goals.
I love the charm bracelet idea. I may have to go get one.
I keep a miniature schedule of my gym's group ex classes in my dayplanner. I have also at times kept pictures of bodies I'd like to have, and of myself at my most unpleasant. My computer wallpaper is a collage of me, now, chubby and 36% body fat, and me, two years ago, trim and 18% body fat. So every time I think, "I'm not going to work out today" and load up my computer, there I am in all my "glory," reminding me of my goals.
One thing I'll be doing is getting a coffeepot with a timer (it's on the way) and setting it for when I WANT to wake up and squeeze in a mini-workout, instead of when I HAVE to wake up to not be late for work. Given the choice, I will ALWAYS sleep in, but if the coffee's already going, I'll get up, if for no other reason than it's a fire hazard to leave it going!!
I am just trying to remind myself that this was a decision *I* made, nobody forced me to make it.... and remember all the reasons I want to be fit and healthy, and that I am really just retraining my mind and body to enjoy exercise. I truly believe it is a conscious decision... like MrsJim said, you enjoy it when you decide to enjoy it. So I'm really pushing for a positive attitude.
As for the food.... ugh, watch SuperSize Me. Watch that little clip in the special features section where they take the burgers and fries and stick 'em in glass jars for eight weeks. That makes me gag every time. Cures the cravings like magic.
If you really want to do this, you'll find a way. If not, you'll find an excuse!
I've been saving and saving and SAVING my fat jar money (I put 50p in when I exercise and 50p if I had a good food day!) I've saved up wuite a bit and don't want to buy anything with it till I'm at a healthy bmi (just 5-6 lbs to go!). When I saw your post I started thinking, mmm yes, a charm bracelet, that would be nice, and it would remind me... And I could buy charms for my first bikini, and for another stone lost and all that! So you have inspired me! I'm itching for that bracelet now, so I hope to lose the nest few lbs soon!
Wow this is an awesome thread funniegirl!!!! i really needed that today.
Mini-goal: Say bye bye to 300's
15 minute mile Penguintastic!
1st Race Fleet Feets Lady Distance classic 5K: 53:19
Know that you can do it. It is not a question of willpower. I have none of that. It is a question of willingness. What are you willing to do to reach your goals? No matter what your situation, no matter what your history – you can be successful and improve your health and physical fitness. You can never be defeated until you quit.~anon
Visual reminders work best for me. I have a diet tracking bracelet which consists of a set number of beads and a charm that I can move as I eat. I use mine for WW points, but you can use it for anything you want, really. Calories, carbs, glasses of water, running laps, etc. A couple years ago, I stopped using it, thinking I'd learned enough to estimate pretty well. Over time, my diet fell apart. I didn't get back on track again until my husband found the bracelet and put it back on my wrist a couple weeks ago.
Awesome thread! I don't have any great advice like everyone else, but I did want to say that planning is KEY for me to succeed. The night before I have to plan my next day. I figure out when I'm fitting exercise in and what I will be eating. I don't always stick to it, especially the eating but without some type of goal I get myself into big trouble!