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taubele 08-18-2011 05:51 PM

Motivational/need to vent and write it down
Hi everyone,

So, for about the past month (or more now, maybe!) I have been stuck in a gigantic fitness funk. I was SO motivated, and then I hit 170 and it was like running into a brick wall. Some sort of gigantic mental block hit me.

I think it was a perfect storm of circumstances -- work got hard and stressful, I had an 'existential crisis' about turning 28 (I know, I'm still a baby...but I had one of those 'I thought I'd be married and be a mom by now' moments...), and I also hit a weight and size where I'd been for at least 7 years before I got bigger. It was a comfort zone mixed with a time where I had every excuse under the sun for NOT caring about myself. I think I've also been going through a mild depression that's related to all of the above + more that has to do with feeling ready to settle roots and not having the ability to do so (I'm at a transitional point in my career, which means moving around a lot, unfortunately). So I bounced around. 170, 172, 168, 171, 173, 170... I was happy not to really be gaining, but deep down I was also unhappy that all of my motivation shriveled up like an old raisin and went far away somewhere.

I started wondering what had HAPPENED to me. I was so motivated, flip switched on, and then before I even realized it, I was in a funk and completely uncaring. My food habits have changed for good, I think, but exercise was nowhere to be found.

Everything felt BORING. Cardio, weights, even just walking outside or puttering around, walking with friends...all of it just gave me a huge case of the 'blahs' and 'what's-the-point-itis' Even food, though my habits have stuck, became boring. I didn't want to look at fruit. Vegetables were tasteless. Grilled meat was depressing. Etc. I wanted everything bad for me -- plates of pasta and RICE (oh my goodness, rice!), fried food, even sweets when I don't have a sweet tooth, merely because it felt different. The more I resisted, the more bitter I became about the whole thing.

It's no fun to go out to eat and order a salad when everyone else eats a burger. It's embarrassing to ask for particular restaurants with good options when I go out to lunch with co-workers who all want Arby's or McDonald's or TGI Fridays appetizers. It's disheartening to have to plan every day around what goes in my mouth. I felt like food had become an odd obsession and somehow a source of shame because I had to think so much about it. Why me? Why can other people not seem to obsess about it? How do they just do it naturally? I know these are questions that get asked all the time. I never considered myself a food addict, but there is something inside of me that is always, always going to have to be extra-vigilant about my relationship with food, and it feels really unfair.

Okay, so that was whining. And I realized it after I finally caved this weekend and gorged myself. I had something like 3 bowls full of chicken parmesean. Boston Creme pie. Pizza Hut Pizza (and half of a P'zone). Rice-a-Roni with hot dogs mixed in. Just crazy combinations.

And how did I feel Monday morning? Like CRAP.

I wasn't satisfied, I wasn't happy that I did it, I didn't have some sort of crazy epiphany about food, I was just depressed all over again (and up to 171.7 on my scale). I spent a large portion of my Monday mulling over things. Did I really want to give up and stay at 170? I knew I had to exercise to get over this hump. Gorging aside, I still have a changed outlook on food and I don't think I'm ever going back to where I was -- even if I'll always have to monitor it. But the thought of exercise still filled me with a horrible sense of the blahs. I felt like I was going to be Sisyphus rolling a boulder uphill for eternity. I just didn't WANT to.

So I thought about why, and it came back to boredom. Things felt stale. I get good results from the elliptical but I hate it. Weight lifting is boring. I have to inject fun somehow, but it's difficult, as I have a bad ankle. I can't go outside and run (running hurts, even with a brace. It's the pounding). Sports are often painful (I miss tennis, but it's rough on the ankles). Biking is an option, but I need to buy a bike first! :) I started to feel really frustrated. I hated my ankle and my limitations.

Then I realized that I could either think about my limitations, or think about my options. What I can't do versus what I can do. And there are a LOT of things I can do.

I've ordered some Zumba DVDs and I already can't wait for them. I've heard nothing but great things about Zumba and it looks like FUN. I can't remember being this excited about exercise since I started this journey in January. It's also no-excuses exercise for me... no bitching about the walk to the gym in the hot Florida sun, no whining about anything monotonous, no saying it's too inconvenient - it's right there in the living room. I also invested in some new workout clothes yesterday, because my size 20 workout clothes no longer fit my size 10/12 body, and it's amazing what some new clothes will do. I've never worn form-fitting workout clothes in my life, and what a difference! I actually want to bounce around in them, haha!

For the moment, though, this week has been tough. I've managed to pop in the 30 Day Shred twice this week and grunt my way through it, even though I hate Jillian and her evil routines. (I say that with love, of course). I'm still struggling with my motivation but I think I've turned a corner.

I know a lot of people go through this (and worse!) but I felt like I had to talk about it and let it out with those who might understand. I think everyone hits a wall, and everyone has to figure out what's going to get them through it. For me, it boils down to fun, and focusing on cans instead of can'ts -- which is a horrible habit of mine. I made a list last night before I went to bed and I want to share it.

1) I can't eat a lot of fried food, but I can bend over and touch my toes.

2) I can't run or jump too much, but I can do 50 push-ups without stopping. (ok...MODIFIED push-ups)

3) I can't order that double-chocolate-fudge sundae on the menu, but I can cook over 30 different dinners without breaking a sweat (this is a big one for me, as I couldn't scramble an egg in January. Learning to cook has been FUN and so fulfilling)

4) I can't let go of planning meals, but I can shop in normal-size clothing stores.

5) I can't eat too much packaged food, but I can feel self-confident in front of a camera or new person

6) I can't give in to peer pressure about food, but I can teach others about nutrition and be inspiring (such a humble feeling)

7) I can't give up... and I can do this!

I looked that list over and felt that the "cans" were way more important than the "can't"s at the end of the day, and I felt a lot better. Am I still angry about some of my limitations? Yes, and maybe I will be many times in the future. But more importantly, I want to discover more "cans" along the way (like I can wear a bikini, I can dance the night away without feeling tired, or I can do some kind of marathon or competition... or even I can get the wedding dress of my dreams). The possibilities are limitless, and I finally feel good again.

For anyone that read all of that (yeesh, I wrote a novel!) Thanks. I just had to put it out there, and if anyone wants to share similar experiences, feel free! It's always good to know that you're not the only one who hit the wall and is trying to find a way through it.

brandismom1990 08-18-2011 06:26 PM


In reading it, I deep down, felt EVERY single thing you feel now and remember how much I dealt with these things once and the MINUTE I forgot the things like what you put on the bottom of your list, I lose my way (weigh?).

I love your list!!!! SO much better than the vent post I just posted. I may need to tweek that thread so we DO post the things we hate, but then we have to post the OPPOSITE THING that being thinner will mean or does mean to us. What a great idea.

I am printing this and putting it on my fridge to read every day.

You have NO idea what blessing you have been to me. Keep that motivation. I'm going to go do a Turbo Jam now after checking my emails and making sure I have no urgent biz I have to take care of!

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!
Angela (your new biggest fan -- but not in a stalkery way :-) )

cjohnson728 08-18-2011 06:44 PM

Hey Terri. Glad you came back and posted. Everything you wrote is something I have said, done, or thought at one point in time. You are definitely not alone, girl! Thank you for putting it out there so eloquently. Also, I'm really impressed with the way you shifted your mindset. You are absolutely right, you can do this! And you WILL!

I am trying to remember who used to write about having the body take a break after a significant number of pounds, stay in maintenance for a bit, then go on and do another chunk. It may have been Pam (RunBikeSki Pam), but I can't quite recall. So maybe someone could speak to the concept of a planned break in the action, of sorts.

Keep at it, girl. We're all behind you! You are truly motivating and inspirational and diligent and you deserve all the success that is coming your way!

taubele 08-18-2011 07:49 PM

Angela --

I feel very humbled that you found my post so inspiring, but I'm glad that you did :) I've been keeping a lot internal (I tend to present myself with a sunny outlook no matter what) but I realized at some point that I needed to put my thoughts into words. They were in my head, but they needed to come out.

It's true that it's easy to lose your way (and weigh!), and we all each need to find the things that are inspiring. My habit of focusing on everything negative was my downfall. I'm still struggling with it even today - I had a taco salad and a banana for lunch and I frowned and crunched my way through it, not wanting it, but I did it! And I felt better after I did. I keep having to tell myself that I always feel better once I do something good for myself. I am hoping that soon the process in and of itself will feel good again like it once did.

For now, feeling good at the result is a step forward, so I'm happily taking it. I hope your TurboJam session is awesome!

Cassie --

Thanks for so many kind words, I'm blushing :o and it's good to know I'm not alone. Sometimes I think I'm just a big wuss. Maybe a planned (or...unplanned-but-still-happened) break was what I needed to mentally realign myself. I know I'm going to a place (pounds-wise) where I've never been in my memory -- I have been overweight since the age of 9 as far as I know. I have some pictures of me as a younger, skinnier child, but I don't recall what that was like at all. There's a precipice here, and I'm needing to face it. I just never expected the brick wall in front of it.

Pam is very wise, it wouldn't surprise me if she had that insight (and it makes me feel better!)

I hope once my visit with my friend is over I'll get back my REAL motivation (rather than the motivation I've been half-faking) and can re-join you guys at the thread.

RunbikeSki 08-19-2011 01:43 AM

Oh My
Talk about blushing.

I do believe I did talk about breaking the weight loss process into chunks. Terri, you have done a super job on changing up your whole life style, as everyone knows, so a little motivational loss is kinda normal. Maybe even a little wistful reminiscing about the good old days of eating whatever you jolly-well felt like. (But I guess you already tested that and felt like crap afterwards, so you have proof that it wasn't all that great after all :rolleyes:.)

Plus... what the heck is the temperature down there??? About 120degrees/100% RH? I know a lot of people think about hibernating in the winter, but for those us in the hot zone, summer is the time when we hide indoors and feel like an old dish rag.

Hang in there girl. Keep following the great eating habits you have developed. If you need to scale back your exercise for a while, thats OK. Maybe you can use your amazing ability to focus and solve a problem to on find some relief from the work stress. That may ultimately be driving what you are preceiving as your motivational problems - but maybe not.

Me? When work gets unpleasant, especially when I have no control over the unpleasant work environment (after all, whats the #1 reason people get PhDs? To have control over their lives!), I tend to get a weird kind of boredom/fidgety feeling that results in me accomplishing nothing. When I can get a grip on that (which doesn't always happen), often the rest of my life falls back into place.

BTW "fake it 'til you make it" has a lot of validity ;).

taubele 08-19-2011 02:30 AM

Originally Posted by RunbikeSki (Post 54116)

Me? When work gets unpleasant, especially when I have no control over the unpleasant work environment (after all, whats the #1 reason people get PhDs? To have control over their lives!), I tend to get a weird kind of boredom/fidgety feeling that results in me accomplishing nothing. When I can get a grip on that (which doesn't always happen), often the rest of my life falls back into place.

BTW "fake it 'til you make it" has a lot of validity ;).

Man, Pam, that part resonates as really true. I am the EXACT same as you - when I have no control over the stress I get weird and fidgety and get this.... bored and detached feeling. There's a huge funding issue in the lab right now, and as I am not the PI I can do jack-diddly about it. There's also a grad student that is a grade-A emotional vampire (nice girl, but wheeeeeew) and she's been sucking a lot of my energy.

I feel like work has been stressful and yet I have accomplished nothing of substance for over a month now. And that's led to this weird procrastination feeling.

There's definitely a mental aspect to "being skinny" that I just have to get over, too. I don't even know who skinny me is. Who is that girl? It's not quite fear, but maybe trepidation is the right word.

LOL on fake it until I make it - man I'm trying!! Biiiig fake smile.

Also, yeah, the temperature is near 100 every day. Bleeeegh. The walk to the gym is 5 minutes of torture and just giving me another excuse, haha.

I think when exercise is fun again, something will click for me. But right now I really just need that fun/relief factor and haven't been getting it. It feels like an obligation rather than a treat for myself, and I've never been good at doing things because I felt obligated to.

I'll claw my way out. Step one is talking about it. I feel better having laid it out there :)

almeeker 08-19-2011 01:21 PM

Terri you are not alone in your lack of motivation, almost everything you wrote is or has been true for me as well. After I'd been doing this whole "Journey to good health", for about 6-7 months, I too got something like fitness fatigue. Strangely enough I've managed to keep the weight off and recently was able to turn the boat around and will maybe captain that fat-to-skinny ship across the ocean after all. I love your list of can't and cans. Personally I'm thinking that in order to keep this up for a lifetime I'm going to have to constantly be changing things up and setting new goals, to give myself something to work toward. I'm apparently goal oriented, so without a target I'm aimless. Maybe my next goal is a 5K's or P90X or maybe I'll join a biking club or something, ultimately I dream of calling myself an iron woman, but that might well be a grand delusion. But you're correct the elliptical is a really boring machine and doesn't motivate me at all. Lately I've been playing games on my phone to get me through that tedious hour and ten. Seriously I only allow myself solitaire while I'm working out, and since I'm addicted to the game it gets me on the machine just so I can play. But I'll take whatever teeny tiny source of motivation I can.

taubele 08-19-2011 03:14 PM


Haha, I like the visual of the fat-to-skinny ship! A healthy weight, for me, is only 20 lbs. away. But those 20 lbs. seem like an OCEAN for some reason, it's really true.

I think you're right too, about goals. For me right now I just need to feel like I'm having fun and that this is something I WANT rather than something I have to do. I'm wrestling with it daily. Then I can figure out goals when I'm motivated again - I guess my goal is "find something motivational!" I think trying some new recipes again and just completely changing my fitness routine is the ticket. I'm super-sore today from working out last night (damn you, Jillian!) so I am going to give myself the day off, but it's something.

Hey, why can't you call yourself an iron woman?! ;) You won't know until you try.

I unfortunately can't do other things when I'm on the elliptical - I suffer from bad motion sickness so if I try to read or do anything while moving I get awful headaches and dizziness, it sucks. I do have a playlist of music I listen to but staring at the wall gets boring as heck. I'm glad you can work on solitaire, it totally can be an addictive game!

Rubystars 08-19-2011 05:13 PM

Sorry if this offends, it's not meant to, but ultimately you have to decide what's more important to you, being a mom or having a career. You are choosing right now not to settle down and have a family because of your career, but if you feel that family would be more important then do what you need to do in order to settle down and make that happen, even if it means making less money.

RunbikeSki 08-19-2011 05:14 PM

Hey Terri,
I was going to respond to your comments in the thread, but because it is really more personal/work/lifestyle, rather than something relevant to the whole group maybe we can continue the conversation directly. I see you are logged in so here is my e-mail:

I'll leave it up for a couple of hours, let me know when you pick it up and we can correspond directly.

taubele 08-19-2011 05:19 PM

Hi Ruby,

No offense taken :)

I got my Ph.D. last year, May of 2010. You are correct in that I did put aside any wedding and baby-making plans in order to get my diploma, and even now, having a family is not in the cards as I don't feel "settled." But everyone has those little-girl dreams of what they're going to do when they get older (my "plan" was to be married by 24, finished having kids by! :) )

Getting my Ph.D. was a life-changing decision that I wouldn't go back and alter, however, it's also only human to have those moments of wishful thinking/wondering. I'm now at the point in my career where I need to decide a "track" (i.e., teaching college, research college, government job, industry job) and ultimately it is THAT decision that's going to determine much of my family life. I've come to realize that predominately teaching at a 4-year college seems to be where my heart is at, and I think it will balance the career and family goals that I want. I will make less money on that route than if I was a gung-ho research professor, but I don't think I'm willing to sacrifice the time necessary during these years where starting a family is getting more and more important to me. There's no sense in me being a mother if I can't do it the way that I want to!

The tenure lifestyle, too, is not helpful to women.... you often have to work the hardest between the ages of 27 and 37 -- hellooooo, that's family-makin' time! Easier for men to do than women, for sure! :rolleyes:

cjohnson728 08-19-2011 05:22 PM

Pam and others, if you have reservations about having your email up, you can use private messaging now to send it :). Just click on the person's username. Thanks, FitDay!

RunbikeSki 08-19-2011 06:20 PM

Thanks for the tip Cassie! Haven't used that feature yet.

cjohnson728 08-19-2011 09:30 PM

Terri, it will happen for you, I promise. Remember what happened to me??

All I can say is to seriously think about the option that leaves you the most flexibility. Often times that is academia; you don't have to have the traditional 9 to 5 (which these days is more like 8 to 6 for a lot of folks) and you can do a lot of your work on your own time in your own home. I absolutely love what I do and I spent a long time preparing to do it, but when it comes down to brass tacks, being a mom trumps everything else I've ever done. You can always go back to the "grind" and be a workhorse once your children are grown or at least more self-sufficient; you can't go the other way around and pound it out for the next 20 years, then decide it's time to start a family.

Alternatively, you could marry a stay-at-home dad :D.

Just my two cents. Balance is tricky but priceless when you can get the best of both worlds.

taubele 08-19-2011 10:39 PM

Pam --

I didn't catch your e-mail on the message, I must have just missed you (I think I was replying to Rubystars :) ) I sent you a private message with my e-mail contained, e-mail me anytime you like, I think that'd be lovely!

Cassie, I do remember VERY much what happened to you, haha! You know, in an ideal world, BF says he wouldn't mind at all being a stay-at-home Dad if he gets the job he wants (he's still working on it) that allows for work-at-home flexibility, so that may yet be an option ;) And I am seriously thinking about what I want. It's actually not easy for someone in my field (basic science Ph.D.) to say "I'd like to teach" versus "I'd like to do research" because we're all shuffled through grad school on the assumption that we'll work at major research universities, even though only about 15% of us ever get there. What do the other 85% do? Hide under a rock? :rolleyes: There's absolutely no guidance in other directions and it's really frustrating. I'm having a hard time finding anyone to ask about what sorts of experiences I should go for if I'd like to teach -- other than common sense of "teach more classes as a post-doctoral associate" (which my boss doesn't want me to do. She wants me in the lab.)

It's frustrating, but I'll get there! Somehow. A window or door will be opened. I just know that being a Mom is the one thing in the world I won't want to mess up when I get there. I don't mean being perfect... I mean being THERE.

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