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Old 01-30-2011, 12:07 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Maintaining Focus, Motivation, and Drive

Just like so much of nature, I too, seem to move through cycles. In the early going I was quite motivated and my focus was great. It seemed the my whole world was all about getting myself into a fit condition. I had the drive to carry me through from 240 lbs to 185 lbs. in about 7 months. I even got myself up and running, going from the ability to run a half a city block to a full 5K.

My total overall goal is to get to 178 lbs, but even more than that. To increase my muscle mass while reducing my fat mass. This requires a great deal of hard work. You simply cannot get there with healthy meal planning alone. Weight training had become part of my routine. I stayed with it until I injured my back and that seems to be the point of derail for me. I took some time off from the workouts but went back about a week later. I worked out for a few days and my back was bothering me a little so I stopped again.

I'm now having a great deal of trouble finding my drive again. It seems the motivation has been zapped out of me. I'm not yet where I wanted to be. There is plenty of work yet to be done.

I decided to start tracking my moods, feelings, etc. I've always had some issues with depression and medication never seemed to help me. One of the key factors in starting this journey was to try and help the way I felt and boost energy. I've noticed a very strong connection between my mood and energy and certain types of food. When I eat less "clean" food items it seems my mood and energy goes down. My motivation and drive vanish and I find myself eating worse and worse.

I don't know which actually gets the ball rolling first, poor mood/energy leading to poor food choices or poor food choices leading to poor mood/energy. It's a viscous cycle. One seems to feed the other.

At any rate, here I am, sitting and wondering why I have run out of steam and how to get it going again. It's all too easy to tell yourself "I'll start back tomorrow".

I'm only 11 lbs of fat and 4 lbs of muscle away from reaching my goal of being fit. Any words of wisdom for getting the fire stoked again? Not only that, but keeping this as a lifestyle. If I'm out of steam now, then keeping this going for life is a whole different challenge. How do you eliminate the finish line and see the journey?

My own thoughts on this topic relate to being whole. Meaning that not only does the body need proper nourishment, but also the mind and spirit. Perhaps, like a tripod, the human being doesn't stand up well on less than three legs. I think maybe I've been too focused on the body and my mood has crashed, bring everything else down with it.

I would love to hear what others do to maintain their focus, motivation and drive.
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Started 6/1/10: 240 lbs. and made it to 184 lbs.

Starting yet Again: 9/16/11 205 lbs. (someone help motivate me please)
Starting Again 4/14/11: 192 lbs. (completely fell off the wagon here)
Goal 8/11/11: 175 lbs. (Never made it)

Complete failure at keeping it off and now starting again.

9/1/14: 241 lbs.
Goal Weight: 190
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Old 01-30-2011, 05:02 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Mark, I've read your post four or five times now. I'm afraid I just don't have any real answers.

When I'm "on", I'm on and when I'm "off", I'm off.

I wish I knew how to better control this. I do know that I need a clear "goal" to work towards--I think that is why I can lose weight like a trooper. And, perhaps why I've never been able to keep it off--increasing "fitness", which I attempted to do before was way too ambiguous. This time around I'll need to set some specific goals and that's what I intend to do.

A wiser man than me gave the advice that we need to write down on paper what our goals are. This somehow solidifies it in our brains. Will it work for everyone? Who knows, but it surely can't hurt.

I don't know that I have depression (my wife does and uses Zoloft) but who knows--there is some reason I've obviously developed an eating disorder (which I sincerly hope I've overcome).

So, I guess I'm not much help to you. I know it's trite, but perhaps just take one day at a time, have contingency plans for circumstances that might derail your plans and just DO IT (like exercise--I can find countless reasons NOT to go out and walk at lunch time if I take time to think about it. If I just thow on my coat, lock my door and head out, then I'm fine).

Regards,
Michael

PS For whatever reason, I find it helpful to my own plan to do my best to help others (both in person and here in the forums) with their fitness goals. "Givers Gain" (or hopefully DON'T gain, in this instance) is a pretty well respected sentiment.
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May 4, 2010...... 440? lbs. (Start FitDay Size 60 Jeans)
June 19, 2010.... 393 lbs. (First Weigh-in)
June 19, 2011.... 229 lbs. (164 lbs. gone in one year :-)
Current Weight... 185 lbs. (Size 36 Jeans)

Next Goal 169 lbs. (07/04/12)
Ultimate Goal 165 lbs. (12/31/12)

The best exercises for weight loss are Fork Putdowns and Table Pushaways.

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Old 01-30-2011, 05:31 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Hi Mark, I think you've raised a great question, and I thank you for the invitation to look at my own motivation and focus and see what it is that drives me.

So, what did I find? Ultimately, my goal is my reward in and of itself - which, as Michael said, is what makes losing weight easier than maintaining it. So, for now, that long-term goal keeps me going.

But I will tell you that of course I've experienced highs and lows of motivation since starting this journey last May. I hit a plateau in August last year that lasted almost 2 months - I lost and gained the same freakin' pound over and over and over again. I got frustrated, and while I didn't give up, my motivation was definitely flagging. The best advice I can give to you, which is what Michael has said as well, is to just dig in. The only way I got past that plateau and low motivation is by working out harder, and working out more (and being more strict in what I was eating). It IS hard to go harder than your motivation is currently telling you to go. But it's the only way, IMO, to get your motivation back up.

Not sure if that's any help, but know that you can do it! Sometimes it's matter over mind - get out there and dig in, and do it! Sometimes you have to make the opposite choice of what your mind is telling you - have a salad when your mind is crying for junk, and go do something when your mind is craving the couch. Much luck to you.
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Old 01-30-2011, 06:39 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by changeisgood29 View Post
Hi Mark, I think you've raised a great question, and I thank you for the invitation to look at my own motivation and focus and see what it is that drives me.

So, what did I find? Ultimately, my goal is my reward in and of itself - which, as Michael said, is what makes losing weight easier than maintaining it. So, for now, that long-term goal keeps me going.

But I will tell you that of course I've experienced highs and lows of motivation since starting this journey last May. I hit a plateau in August last year that lasted almost 2 months - I lost and gained the same freakin' pound over and over and over again. I got frustrated, and while I didn't give up, my motivation was definitely flagging. The best advice I can give to you, which is what Michael has said as well, is to just dig in. The only way I got past that plateau and low motivation is by working out harder, and working out more (and being more strict in what I was eating). It IS hard to go harder than your motivation is currently telling you to go. But it's the only way, IMO, to get your motivation back up.

Not sure if that's any help, but know that you can do it! Sometimes it's matter over mind - get out there and dig in, and do it! Sometimes you have to make the opposite choice of what your mind is telling you - have a salad when your mind is crying for junk, and go do something when your mind is craving the couch. Much luck to you.
I agree completely with having to make the opposite choice of what your mind tells you.

Lost motivation has always!!! been my downfall. In the past, I will slack off for a day then that turns into 2 days and so on, then a year later, I'm back where I started. So, I also have no answer for this, otherwise I would have weighed 120 a long time ago.

I think it's all mental. IMO losing weight, getting fit, staying fit is 95% mental and 5% physical. My biggest motivation is seeing my own results.
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Start: 1/5/11 Weight : 240
2/4/11: 222
Current 214
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Pre Goal: 160 by 10/11 (in a wedding)
Ultimate Goal: 120 by 1/1/12

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Old 01-30-2011, 06:58 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I really like everything that has been said here. I will add that sometimes our bodies just need to rest a bit. Even elite atheletes take some time off from training. They usually plan an annual cycle around their sporting events. It looks to me like you are simply in your resting period after a very successful 7 month training cycle.

Maybe try setting a date in 2 or 3 weeks that will be your start date for a new training cycle. You might also try setting a specific goal, rather than a general, such as lose XX pounds and feel better. You have already proved to yourself you can do that. So maybe a race, a challenge event at your gym, or maybe it is time to try a new sport or activity. Could boredom be playing a part here?

One thing I do recommend is avoid stressing yourself out about it. Keep to the great eating habits you have developed, and keep you eyes open to new opportunities to jump back into a new fitness regime. Fretting about stuff never fixes it and can sometimes make the situation worse - at least that what I have discovered over the years. (Not that I don't still fret about stuff, mind you. I just try to keep it to a dull roar )
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Old 01-30-2011, 09:00 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Cool Courage, focus and motivation

Mark et al.

What a greate discussion thread. There have been excellent comments on here: write down your goals, be kind to yourself, try a new mini-goal such as a new sport or activity. I find that what works best for me, is to approach each day and each week as a new challenge and not to focus on the ultimate goal. Generally, I reflect on how great I feel with each day----more clarity in thinking, very satisfied in my choices, clothes fitting better, more stamina etc.

We each find our own intrinsic motivation. It is important to know and understand yourself...some need a reward system, others need praise...whatever it is, find the positive in your life and focus on it.

I think about how my back hurt every day, I had limited flexibility, and did not have the energy for my life....this has changed in a few weeks and I certainly do not want to go back.

Wishing you all courage, focus and motivation to meet your mini-goals for today.
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Weight Jan 1, 2011 = 288 pounds (size 24)
Weight April 1, 2011 = 244 pounds
Weight July 1, 2011 = 220 pounds
Weight September 22, 2011 = 203
Weight Goal April 6, 2012 = 185 pounds
Ultimate weight goal = 155 pounds Sept 1, 2012

Current Weight = 213 lbs (size 14)
Total loss to date = 75 lbs
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Old 01-31-2011, 06:31 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Hi, these are great discussions you all raise about motivation. Me, lately I've been demotivated, only hitting the gym about twice a week. UGH!

All I can say for myself is that I love the extra energy I get and I feel when I'm healthy and motivated.

I've used various things to motivate myself; music, sex and yeah even anger. But each time, each cycle I go thru gaining weight, losing and then gaining.... I hate that. But now at 44 I realize that there is a steady rythum, hit the gym, be active and eat right. I still want to lose 20 lbs, I'm at 210, 5' 11"; But I'd be satisfied at 198, running 6 mi in an hr, bench pressing my weight, and being healthy.

I got a "compliment"; a new aquientice didn't believe I was 44, had to pull out my retired military ID card, stessing to this 30 year old "retired".

But it's good to find a friend, go with another person to the gym, use some of their motivation to help thru the tough times. Maybe try a new exercise or sport; mine was diving. It requires allot of fitness and I subscribe to one magazine and read allot online, staying motivated for the sport. I want to travel to more exotic places, dive the sites so for me I think of those thoughts to push thru some more down times. That doesn't get me thru the difficult tlmes of unemployment, relationship problems and things that are thrown into our lives. But I find that it minimizes the ups and downs, shortining the periods.

Bottom line is find that thing that you want; push yourself to reach for it and then pursue it; make it a crusade. But, do it healthliy, consult a professional and maintain balance of eating, activities and spiritural fitness.

Good luck!

Good luck with your
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Old 01-31-2011, 11:57 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Thanks for all the responses. I plan to give several of the things, said here, a try.

One person said to find out what it is you want and push yourself to reach it. I think in the end that's always been my problem. I don't really know what I want, or I don't want anything enough to have a burning passion for it.

I started this journey because I knew what I was tired of. I was tired of feeling run down all of the time.

What I've learned about myself with this thread is that many other aspects of my life are unfulfilled. This eventually leads me to the self destructive behavior of overeating, making poor choices and failing to exercise. I get into that cycle of "why bother?" thinking. I guess this is a form of 'all or nothing' ideology.

I also live in a desolate place. I think some new scenery would go a long way in giving me some motivation. My new focus is going to be finding a new place to live. One that's inspiring rather than depressing.
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Started 6/1/10: 240 lbs. and made it to 184 lbs.

Starting yet Again: 9/16/11 205 lbs. (someone help motivate me please)
Starting Again 4/14/11: 192 lbs. (completely fell off the wagon here)
Goal 8/11/11: 175 lbs. (Never made it)

Complete failure at keeping it off and now starting again.

9/1/14: 241 lbs.
Goal Weight: 190
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Old 02-01-2011, 01:29 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
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To increase my muscle mass while reducing my fat mass. This requires a great deal of hard work. You simply cannot get there with healthy meal planning alone. Weight training had become part of my routine.
Mark,

This may not help but I have to point out the obvious. The worse off we are, the easier it is to lose fat and gain muscle. The closer you get to your goal, the harder it becomes. At times it almost seems impossible. I've struggled with this myself. Back when I was really fat, I dropped the fat and gained muscle... now for the past year I haven't seen much change. My weight has stayed the same and I know my bf% HAS NOT gone down. Does it aggravate me? Hell, yeah! I bust my ass in the gym, lifting heavy compound lifts 3 days a week and I get nothing in return.

A while back I decided to bulk to put on some extra muscle, and it backfired. It was my 1st time trying to bulk and I did it wrong. I decided that I'd have to chose one or the other, and seeing that I can't bulk the right way, I decided to continue to cut. This has been going on for a while and I still don't see progress. So now matter how hard I try to change my body composition, I just seem to maintain.

It was a lot more fun going from fat to decent shape than it's been going from decent shape... to STILL decent shape.
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Old 02-01-2011, 02:14 AM   #10 (permalink)
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When I lose focus, I have to remind myself that I feel great when I exercise and eat right, so of course I feel crappy because I haven't exercised and I caved in to junk food. Following that line always helps me get back on track. Also I've noticed that when I'm in really good shape, I can't miss the workout because I'm so energetic that I need it just to burn off the edge. So being in shape and exercising feed on each other much the way that bad habits do. What is that saying? Being fat is hard, working out is hard, so choose your hard.
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