Friday, July 06, 2012


I was just writing an email to a friend on SparkPeople about carb ranges and calorie ranges, and I had an epiphany.  It's been so hard lately for me to set a challenge for myself and to stick to it.  I used to be the queen of sticking to it. 

I used to do things like not eat sugar except for a once-a-month splurge day.  I did this for months on end and was really successful with sticking to it.  Something about knowing that even though I couldn't have something now, I could have it on X day worked really well for me.

Last year I challenged myself to swim 4 times per week for 12 weeks to train for my open-water swim, and I was almost perfect in meeting that challenge.

I've done Phase 1 of South Beach a few times and abstained from grains, sugar and fruit for 2 weeks to get my body primed for losing weight.

But lately, I just can't make the motivation stick.  I eat generally well, I work out a couple of times a week, but I can't seem to stick to a real plan that I set for myself.

Today I think I figured out why.  How do I stay motivated when it's Just.  Not.  Working?

This last year I've gained a bunch of weight and it's so depressing.  Before that I was in a multi-year plateau.  I would try to mix it up with the food and the exercise.  I swam 4 times per week and went on lunch walks.  And I was stuck.

(Of course, now I would be thrilled to weigh what I did a couple of years ago, but at that point I was still trying to losing another 15-20 pounds.)

One time, 10 or so years ago, I went to the doctor and I weighed 235, which horrified me.  I lost 50 pounds over the next few years by exercising (mainly swimming, but also some elliptical and weights) and by cutting out sugar.  Eventually my weight loss stalled, so I started doing some research and discovered low carb.  I started losing weight again.  Then that stopped working too. 

Now I feel stuck and I can't stay focused on a plan to be healthy.  I think the moral of the story is, I need to shift my focus from losing weight to just feeling the best I can.  I've been self-reflexive enough in this whole process to know what makes me feel good and what makes me feel bad.  Sugar and grains (especially wheat, less so rice and corn) make me feel bad.  Exercising 3-5 times per week and eating protein, fat and vegetables makes me feel good.  Swimming makes me happy and strength training makes me feel strong.

These are the motivators I need to focus on.  The weight isn't enough anymore.

Right now I feel pretty good.  But I know I can feel better.  A good shot of endorphins in the morning will make me happier.

I don't know if this is enough to keep me focused, but the endless frustration of not losing weight (plus gaining weight) makes doing the things that make me feel good seem like an exercise in futility.  I have to focus on things other than the scale.  Hopefully making myself happier and healthier will be enough.

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