Everyone has their little mental aids to help them keep motivated.
I always struggle with keeping on a diet if I miss a day or two of exercise. It's like something inside says, well, you screwed that up, so to heck with the rest of it. Then I eat like a pig for a couple of days and through the weekend, and promise that I will "pick it back up" come Monday. But often I don't. And even if I do, I've eaten like a pig for 3-4 days with no exercise!!
This site has helped me get off that track for two reasons:
1) The baseline caloric burn graphics demonstrate that the chief catalyst of weight loss is not exercise - it's sustainable calorie restriction. Not to say that exercise isn't important; it builds muscle and heightens baseline calorie burn, etc. etc. But to make me get off the treadmill of viewing a day without exercise as a "wasted day" (and thus making it easier to chuck the diet), it really helped me to see that if I couldn't exercise one day, then as long as I stuck with a reasonable diet I was still getting the bulk of the benefit - it wasn't a wasted day. This may seem obvious to most of you but it was a real mental block for me.
2) Keeping meticulous track of my moods, food, activities, etc. gave me a reason to stay on my diet - I sort of view it as, I want to see what a long-term trend looks like, and if I chuck it all for a few days, then the data is compromised and I won't be able to see that.
IMO, the best ways to control hunger are fiber, protein, and healthy fats, as they "burn off" much slower. If possible, try to have snacks that combine these, like cheese and whole grain crackers, peanut butter on an apple, some nuts, something like that. Just as an example, switch to Kashi Go Lean, which has a lot of protein and fiber, over the flakes, and you may notice a difference.
I believe that the calorie deficit is the most important thing, but I also feel that where the calories come from is also important. I can eat the same number of calories seven days in a row but depending on the proportion in my pie chart, I can feel really hungry or completely satisfied, and everywhere in between. Trial and error will show what works for you...hang in there and you will figure it out!
And now that you don't have to be perfect, you can be good.
Last edited by VitoVino; 01-24-2012 at 03:43 PM.
Reason: added title
...I was wondering if anyone has suggestions for someone who is prone to rationalization and giving up...
Ideally I'd like to lose the 40 pounds I've put on slowly since freshman year of college 8 years ago...
...Does anyone have any tips for staying on track and keeping focus in the long run? My mind plays tricks on me -- I know I can gain control if I can find a way to train myself for success, I just don't know how....
Yes. Look at the long term situation here. You probably "give up" because you are thinking too short term and get frustrated with your results.
You can lose your 40 pounds. People on this site have lost HUNDREDS. I myself am getting close to losing 30 and I'm a lot older than you. You can do it!
Gaining control is what we do here. It's calorie tracking. You have all the tools and resources that you need to be successful. There are no gimmicks here, just plain honesty (don't cheat yourself), determination, and dedication. It's not overly complicated: it boils down to calories in versus calories out. "Training yourself for success" is to become educated. Read the forums. Ask questions. Stick around and join the ladies support group. And read the FitDay Articles, they are second to none!
My best advice is to read the threads on the forum and consider some of those ideas. If you have a specific question, people would be happy to help out; it's harder to give just general advice. If I had to identify general things, it would be to log everything, maintain a deficit between activities and calories (500 a day is a pound lost a week, 1000 a day is two pounds), balance your pie chart in the way that works for you, eat in a way you can maintain for the rest of your life (don't think of it as a diet that you go on and then go off), exercise regularly, drink a lot of water, make small changes each day or week and have them add up over time rather than trying to change everything at once, and get support. But you probably already knew all those.
At the end of the day, though, a lot of it is trial and error and you have to figure out what works for you personally. Like I said, if you have any specific questions, let us know, but I'm kind of stumped as to what you're looking for here.
Last edited by VitoVino; 01-19-2012 at 01:53 PM.
Reason: added title
Stop eating more calories than you burn. Sorry, but at the end of the day, that's the answer. I think you know what you "should" eat and what you "shouldn't" but really, it's calories in vs. calories out. Great advice in the posts above--read through the forums and you'll get lots of specific ideas about good food choices.
Last edited by VitoVino; 01-19-2012 at 01:52 PM.
Reason: added title
I think I can help here. The original poster was looking for a list of foods to avoid. This is my own personal list, you'll want to tweek it for yourself because every body is a little different. And I will admit that I do eat some of these things at special occasions, but I make it a point to think of them as "rare treats" rather than little "everyday slip ups".
1. White flour, and this includes anything made with it, bread, cake, desserts, cookies, rolls etc etc etc. I do eat things made with whole wheat and whole grains, but not before 2:00pm. I get pretty serious carb crash cravings so avoiding grain through the first half of the day keeps me from going into binge mode.
2. Modified corn starch and high fructose corn syrup. These foods are nutritionally worthless, unless your only goal in eating is to gain weight, and they are added to all kinds of processed foods so you have to read every label. I do occasionally eat corn starch and corn syrup in limited amounts, unless it's Thanksgiving or Christmas and I'm offered a piece of pecan pie.
3. Any cereal that contains more than 10g of sugar per serving.
4. Snack cakes, especially the chocolate coated ones, for me they are a big fat waste of calories and 1 always leads to 2, and 2 leads to the rest of the box. If I'm going to cheat and eat cake, it's going to be the homemade out of this world variety.
5. Any thing cooked in a deep fat fryer.
6. Liquid calories, pop, beer, alcohol, milk shakes, coffee creamer, energy drinks, etc etc etc. I stick with coffee, tea, almond milk, water, the occasional diet coke and/or flavored water, and every so often a bottle or 3 of light beer.
7. Any convenience food item sold at the checkout register or in a gas station, candy bars, gum, chips, etc etc etc. Most of these items are so bad for you its not funny. The only exceptions I make are for beef jerky, sugar-free gum, sugar-free mints, peanuts or protein bars, and even on those items it's very seldom that I'll get them.
8. Any food item where the first, second or third ingredient is "sugar". My only exception to this is frosting on a birthday cake, and I have to actually be at the birthday party and I always ask for a center piece, so that I don't get the big gob of frosting on the side. I love frosting, but then again so does my butt.
9. Any food item that is more than 400 calories per cup. Coffee creamer works out to like 560 calories per cup, so now I use almond milk instead (35 calories/cup).
10. Full fat ice cream. I love ice cream, but I've decided that it's in my best interest to only eat it for special occasions, and even then it has to be 130 calories/serving or less.
11. Peanut butter and Nutella. I actually eat peanut butter and Nutella, but they are problem/trigger foods for me, so my rule is that I have to workout for a minimum of 75 minutes in order to have peanut butter or Nutella. It also must be measured on a scale, because I can't be trusted to eyeball it, and it has to be put on something else because "on a spoon" always leads to "another spoonful".
Some people have sworn off other foods like potatoes, rice, anything you can spread on bread, but like I said you have to tweek the list for your own needs/wants/weaknesses. For example jam does not send me into a binge mode, my SIL will sit with a spoon and eat it straight from the jar until it's gone, so she can't keep it in her house. I have trouble if I get a whiff of peanut butter, so my kids know to put the lid on fast and tuck it in the far back end of the pantry cupboard.
Last edited by VitoVino; 01-29-2012 at 10:34 PM.
Reason: added title
One way of thinking that really helps me is focusing on the amount of food you get for your calories (kinda like a volume/calorie metric). For example, a container of sugar-free jello is only 10 calories. Add a tiny bit of light/no-fat whipped cream to that for 15 calories, and you have a pretty decently sized dessert for 25 calories. A lean meat turkey hot dog? 45 calories. An original boca burger? 90 calories. A serving of unsweetened apple sauce? 50 calories.
Finding these sorts of food that provide voluminous bulk without massive calories will really help to fill you up. If you eat 2k calories a day, imagine how many smaller items you can eat throughout the day! Studies show that most people tend to eat constant amounts of volume to feel full, regardless of how caloric that volume is. So, when I start watching my calories, I focus on maximizing the amount of food for the number of calories I have for that meal.
For example, if breakfast is 300 cal: you could do a piece of sprouted grain bread (90 cal) with an egg on top (65-75 cal), 17 mini saltines (70 cal), 2 cups of water with lemon in it (<5 cal) and 2 slices turkey bacon (70 cal). That's a lot of food for about 305 calories, and there's no reason that won't fill you up until your late morning snack. :-)
Also, water doesn't really fill me up unless I add some flavor- I like to make some lemon or cucumber water (just cut some up and throw it in a pitcher with water, let it sit overnight), and that really helps me fill up.
Last edited by VitoVino; 01-24-2012 at 03:26 PM.
Reason: added title
Lessons learned from losing 77lbs (by Dr. Gin, runnersworld.com)
Moderator's note: The following article is from runnersworld.com Lessons learned from losing 77lbs While it's not original to a FitDay member, it's still great advice to be included.
Lessons learned from losing 77lbs
Dr. Gin, December 13, 2009
I've learned a ton in the past 12months, and I see a lot of things on weight loss boards, and just thought I'd share some of the things I learned that I think are important, especially to those who have a lot of weight to lose or those who are new to losing weight.
There's no Secret
Everyone sees me and says, "what's your secret?" They're always dissapointed when I tell them there is none. The bottom line is to lose weight, you have to consume fewer calories than you expend. This takes discipline and very hard work, and there's no avoiding it. Fad diets and exercise plans don't work. Eating well and exercising is the healthiest and most sustainable way to lose weight. It's hard work, so resign yourself to that fact if you're serious about it.
The only thing you can do is your best
Some weeks go well, and some weeks don't. All you can do is exercise and eat healthy. Sometimes we can do this very well, and sometimes circumstances beyond our control come into play and we can't. Once you find something that works for you, just keep doing it when you can (you'll find that's most of the time). Don't make radical changes if you have an off week or two. Have a short memory and look forward, not back. If you're serious about making your weight loss last, only look forward.
Progress not perfection
This cliche is true. You will never eat perfectly and you will never make it to every workout. Just make better choices when you can and focus on improving, rather than beating yourself up for not being perfect. It's especially important not to quit when you mess up once or twice.
Thanksgiving dinner happens every year, like it or not. Your boss caters unhealthy food in for a conference. Your family wants to take you out on the weekend for pizza and beer. Don't deprive yourself from living your life and doing things that people do. Be healthy and fit on your own time and live it up a little when social situations call for it. That doesn't mean go crazy, you can still make better choices (like eating 2 slices of pizza instead of 4). But don't deprive yourself of living life and enjoying things that are meant to be enjoyed.
It doesn't necessarily get easier, but that's okay
This is pretty self explanatory, but very true. There are plenty of days where I'm tired and don't want to make it to the gym, or I don't feel like cooking and could easily order something greasy. It takes hard work to be fit and it always will.
Plan, plan, and plan some more
Plan your meals, your workouts, and have alternatives in mind. Know ahead of time what you are going to eat and when you are going to work out. If you wing it, chances are you'll find a good excuse not to find that healthy meal or find time for the gym. Every week, I plan my lunches and dinners, and write them down.I pre-make my meals so sometimes all I have to do is grab a few things that are already prepared, pop it in the microwave and just heat and eat, with no guessing, I never have to "Figure out" what I'm going to eat, and I'm never left ordering a pizza because I couldn't figure it out.
Be healthy, the thinness will come
Focus on working out hard and eating well because it's healthy for you. It's healthy for you regardless of whether or not your weight changes, That said, if you're working out more than you used to and you're eating better, the weight loss will follow.
The scale is deceptive
Your weight fluctuates... A LOT. You could step on the scale 5 times in one day and see 5lbs of fluctuation. When evaluating your progress, look at the general long term trends and not just what's directly at your feet. I used to get upset when I would gain 2lbs one week; after-all, I worked out and ate exactly like the week before, what's different? But if you look at my weight loss chart over several months, I had a weight gain on average every 2-4 weeks. But for every pound I "gained," I lost 3-4. Realize that fluctuations occur and that weight gain on the scale doesn't necessarily mean you've set yourself back or gained fat. It could be you are replacing fat with muscle, which weighs more than fat, and hell, that's a good thing since more muscle equals a faster metabolism. I struggled for awhile with this one, and finally I gave in to listening to my husband and figured, my clothes are still starting to become baggy, must be muscle gain!!
Cheat meals rule
The physical and mental benefits of having a once-per-week meal where I could go out and literally eat whatever and however much I wanted would need to be calculated by NASA. Knowing I could eat pizza Friday night made it easier to skip at work on Wednesday.
Lifestyle not a Diet
This is so cliche, and I used to HATE when people said it to me before I made the change myself. But this mental shift was the most important aspect to me personally. The point of this idea is to shift your thinking, and your behavior will follow. When you're on a diet, it's temporary, and going "off" the diet means going off the diet completely. It's too black and white: when you're going well, you're on, when you make a mistake, you're off and you allow yourself to say "oh well now I'm off my diet" and you throw everything to the birds. That isn't consistent with "Progress not perfection." If you're living a lifestyle, you're thinking long term. When you live a lifestyle, you can eat out with your family or eat your bosses catering, because you KNOW that tomorrow you'll eat healthy like you ALWAYS do. You can miss a workout because you know that you'll continue to work out the next day.
It's also key mentally when the scale is not being kind. When you have a week where you gain a pound or two, dieters may be more likely to say "Oh well my diet isn't working" or "why should I even do this if it doesn't work." Lifestylers know that sustainable weight loss happens slowly over time. Gaining a pound or two one week, or even two straight weeks, means nothing over the long haul. Lifestylers know that when they look at their weight chart in one month or two months, there net gain/loss is more likely to be favorable than not.
Hopefully this helps some people who are feeling a little lost, or frustrated. I was frustrated many times in my journey, but all I could do is eat well and exercise. And it's paid off.
January 19th 2011 - 205
October 2011 - 125 (Ultimate goal)
As of October 10th, 2011 - 128 (sheww almost there!!) -
Last edited by VitoVino; 02-16-2012 at 02:51 PM.
Reason: added title and clarification
Are you watching your calorie deficit? At the end of the day, that's what counts the most. Here is the strategy that I've used to lose 250+ pounds pretty painlessly:
Michael’s Weight Loss Plan
1) Zero tolerance for my “trigger foods” (candy, sweets, ice cream, bakery items and so forth).
2) 1500 “good” calories of “real food” a day (at least 1500 but less than 1600).
3) No soda at all, not even diet.
4) As little artificial sweeteners as possible.
5) Keep, on average, a 40/30/30 carb/protein/fat mix.
6) No trans fats, reasonable amount of other fats.
7) Limit sodium as much as possible (not easy!)
8) At least 100 grams of protein per day.
9) Limit simple carbs (white bread, white potatoes, sugar).
10) Some sort of exercise every day, even a short walk.
11) Weigh in once a week or less often.
12) Log EVERYTHING eaten into FitDay, every day, no matter what.
13) Have one “day off” a month. Nothing off limits except “trigger foods” and get right back to normal the next day.
14) As little alcohol as possible, save it for the “day off”.
15) Take whatever vitamins/supplements deemed necessary.
16) Don’t EVER give up!
Last edited by VitoVino; 01-29-2012 at 10:35 PM.
Granted, my middle name is Personal Responsibility. Not that I always have it, but because I believe it is the only key to success.
You can ask for help, but you won't always get it. You're right, you don't have to eat it, but if you're flagging, there are a few things you can do. Find what works for you. Make yourself drink two glasses of water before you eat it; make yourself wait 20 minutes and see if you still want it. Go journal on FD or otherwise the pros and cons of eating it. Leave the house. Go in the bathroom with a book till the others have eaten theirs. Ask them to buy flavors for themselves that aren't particularly tempting to you. Ask them if they will hide it, keep it in a locked car trunk, etc. Call a friend. Post on FD and say it's happening, then agree to report back to be accountable, put the scale in front of the fridge, tack your bathing suit to the pantry door. Make a deal with yourself by which, if you eat it, you have to do some sort of onerous exercise. Tell your family they are free to do/eat what they please, but you are setting limits and you will stick to them (you would like their cooperation but will do it alone if you have to)...the list goes on and on. I've done each and every one of these things.
As the addicts would say in the meetings, there is no easier, softer way to do this. If there were, it would have been done by now. The more excuses you let yourself make, the longer it will take. It takes a while to break habits; if you have to beg, borrow, or steal your way to two or three weeks of white-knuckling food sobriety, so be it. Just do it. Focus on yourself and what you need.
Last edited by VitoVino; 01-30-2012 at 03:44 PM.
Reason: condensed, added title