Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Another Slump

It will probably be no surprise to some of you that I am experiencing my second slump regarding motivation; especially the day following my pizza mishap.  However, I would like to suggest here and now that the pizza issue was a result of the already existing slump rather than the cause of it.  I am sure that many of you have already experienced something of this nature in your own efforts of great personal challenge, whatever they may be.  In the beginning motivation is high, success is exciting, and every step you take along the way is inspiring.  Then that gets a little bit old after awhile; you start to tire of the monotony and wish you could change things up a little or your motivation starts to waiver.

In my case this is precisely the way I've been feeling over the last two days; and actually, I even felt this way on Saturday but I dug through it.  As I mentioned earlier this is the second time that this has happened to me; I start to really get tired of counting every little thing, eating the same foods over and over again because I am comfortable with the number of calories in them so I know I can count them accurately, going to the gym immediately after I get off work without even taking the time to relax with "Temptation" because I know if I do I probably won't get up and go, etc.

The first time I hit this slump I dug through it, I pushed myself and forced myself to keep going to the gym even though I didn't want to and I turned off my brain while eating so that I wouldn't think about how much I wanted to be eating something else.  My motivation was eventually rejuvenated by the post of a fellow blogger who said all the right things to get me psyched up about everything again.  Once that happened I was once more looking forward to going to the gym after work and making food choices with a sense of personal satisfaction and accomplishment.

Well slump two is here and this time it did more damage (meaning Sunday); Saturday was really hard.  I dragged myself to the gym and even though I felt absolutely great about my day after I finished the work-out, I have to admit that I had to fight myself to get up and get dressed that morning to the point that I almost made "Temptation" late for work.  Sunday was even worse and I talked myself out of going to the gym between breakfast and football because I wouldn't have time to come home and shower/change in between and I didn't want to sit around in sweaty stinky clothes all day so I told myself I would go after football.  Then after football I convinced myself that it wouldn't hurt to take a day off because the pizza upset my stomach.

Yesterday the food choices were easy, prison soup and more prison soup.  When I got off work I actually delayed shutting off my computer and stretched my work out so that I could stay "at work" 15 minutes late just because I didn't want to go to the gym.  I literally dragged my feet along the carpet as I dressed and briefly tried to talk myself out of going because I couldn't find a clean pair of matching socks to wear.  Eventually I went anyway, wearing one black sock and one gray sock but the entire time I was on the treaddy I was literally counting down the minutes until it was over and I almost skipped the tanning bed because I wanted to just go home and be lazy.  I realized at the gym that I didn't eat enough early in the day because I started feeling really weak and crappy in the tanning bed but the real problem was motivation ... it's gone and I need it back.

Of course I love that I've lost 27 lbs and that I'm only 10 lbs away from my first goal of being "light" enough to get on a horse again (250 lbs is the max weight allowed by my father on his horses for their own sake).  I'm excited that "Temptation" and our friends that we saw on Sunday were all encouraging and complimentary as they noticed how much I've lost in my hips; and that I can now wear some clothes that I haven't worn in a long time while other clothes are getting to be so big that I soon won't be able to wear them anymore.  But loving the results isn't producing the motivation that it once was; now the dieting and exercising feels more like work than it used to and I'm forcing myself to do it instead of doing it with enthusiasm as I once did.  I hope this passes quickly because it royally sucks; softball season will not arrive a moment too soon!

I know softball season will help because it always makes me happy to go to the park, spend time in the sun, cheer for my team, and this year I'll even be shagging fouls and homers for the blue.  It will be great to see all of our old friends again and we always have a lot of laughs and good times; all of that is uplifting and motivating for me ... but right now I just feel down.  Really down and for no particular reason.  My psych professor would probably call this "learned helplessness" leading to a potential for "mood disorder".  Pfft!  Tia ... am I wrong here? ;)

9 glasses of water
1 cup of coffee w/creamer
1/2 Whole wheat bagel
2 light laughing cow wedges
1 cup prison soup (lunch)
1 veggie wrap
>>artichoke hearts
>>spinach tortilla
1 cup mixed fruit
Daily Caloric Intake: 949

Treadmill: 2 miles @ 3.3 mph w/20% incline
Treadmill: 1.25 mile @ 3.5 mph w/10% incline
1 hour rearranging living room furniture and cleaning
>>Love seat
>>2 chairs
>>2 coffee tables

Today's Playlist:
Pussycat Dolls: Wait A Minute
Evanescence: Bring Me to Life
Bon Jovi: Wanted Dead or Alive
Blue October: What If We Could
The Killers: When We Were Young
Apocalyptica: When Worlds Collide
Flogging Molly: Yellow Tinker
Bon Jovi: You Give Love a Bad Name
Sick Puppies: Going Down (3 times!)
Cranberries: Zombie
Ozziy: Zombie Stomp
Started Over From Beginning


  1. Ahhh the slumpy world of getting healthy. It's not tons of fun 24/7; otherwise there wouldn't be a worldwide problem of obesity. The good news is that the slump will go away; the bad news is it REALLY SUCKS while you are in it.
    If it is any motivation I was thinking about you and admiring your drive today. I was at the gym and walked/ran (3.0/5.0)1.5 miles. By the time I met my distance goal I was bored out of my mind. I really admired your dedication for doing 3 miles a day. Keep up the good work :)

    Oh and your teacher can say whatever he likes. But any good mental health professional would call it just being human. We all have micro-symptoms of every disorder in the DSM. I highly doubt that you are on a downward spiral towards a mood disorder. We all have down times and occasionally wonder if this will be the push over the edge. But you will find your motivation and happy place again. I know you will :)


  2. I hope you are taking picture during all of this and I am not talking the ones down on the right..I am talking the ones where you go in the bathroom close the door and take off your clothes and take a pic of your self. You will then have some serious motivation!!!! You willnot believe the difference you will see in two months. if you have not.. Start today. Make sure the date stamp is on! Oh and the tanning bed?? Make your own choices but..UGH
    Everyone has the day you are having..It will get better

  3. Hi there. Hang in there. Maybe try a different workout to shake things up and get you excited again. Keep pushing through, you're doing a great job!!

  4. You are always going to feel these slumps. I have lost about 60 pounds so far and I still feel that way sometimes. But the good outweighs the bad. I get through the bad times and its back to the good times. For me, the weather isn't helping. It is depressing looking outside and seeing snow everywhere. I think my weight loss journey will be much better when the weather starts getting warmer. But for right now, I have made the decision to lose this weight and I won't let anything stop me.

  5. Tia: Yay, it's so much fun to talk psych with you now. It makes my class way more entertaining!

    Renea: Tan fat is sexier than white fat; lol. That's what one of my girlfriends said and I thought it was an awesome statement. The tanning beds are included free with the gym membership and they have really good fans in them so sometimes I like going in them just to dry off and take some chill time after a work-out.

    Everyone: Thanks for all the motivation through this. Our friends offered to let me rent their one-year-old mastiff as a jogging buddy any time I would like and I am seriously considering taking them up on it. A couple of years ago my sister had a wolf and he was out of control! He had a ton of nervous energy and didn't get out much so I put him on a leash one day and we went for a jog. I'm not a jogger - I think you all know that already. But something about jogging with a wolf by your side is almost intoxicating. He was a bit crazy on the leash when we first started but then some kind of instinct took over and he just fell into a rhythm with me and his energy fed my energy and I was able to run with him for a longer period of time than I have ever run by myself before. I think I'm going to see if the Mastiff can have the same affect; it was a very rejuvenating, invigorating, motivating experience. It makes me really want to adopt a big dog of my own ... I'm thinking a Doberman.

  6. hey, first of all, with all your comments about being in the sun during baseball season, leads me to agree with, "Plump Nonfiction";eventhough you don't have snow ----being in the warm sunshine is something you're craving. Maybe either TRY getting out for a walk, during the sunny/warm part of the day,(your lunch hour) and "drinking" in some of that sun, OR get some Vitamin D and "drink" it in that way. Our bodies REQUIRE so much Vitamin D, by way of sun IS the best, but taking a vitamin will help big time; I give one to day every day too. You're doing GREAT, YOU ARE MY motivation, so stay strong! Maybe it's time, again, to get Tia and go for a good, fast, long walk ----being with her, really seemed to make you feel good! Love you - Getting my bike out today ---looking forward to when you will want to ride with me ;-)

  7. ummm how about I jog while you ride? Even when I had that really nice bike we found in the wash I didn't ever really dig riding a bike; not sure why. I am seriously considering adopting a doby. Tia's rotty reminded me how much I missed having a big dog and Pips just can't hack the distance like she used to. After we had those lumps removed from her boobies last summer she's been an extremely lazy little girl. That's ok though, she's technically "over the hill" now in dog years so she deserves a rest. But a big dog I could take with me when I go with Tia, I could take him to the lake (you know how Pips hates water), take him jogging, take him to softball etc. Doby's apparently make great apartment dogs as long as they get out often and I figure training for two marathons should be plenty of exercise right? It's just a matter of finding the right doggy that I can afford.

  8. I am so jaw-droppingly impressed with your will power. It is nothing short of awesome. If you just keep this up, you are MADE.

    Everyone has the slumps--but the successful ones don't quit. And you have yet to quit, even if you're dragging.

  9. (part 1)

    First, I have zero-doubt that this is at least partially psychological -- you know my position on the power of thought.

    That being said, the symptoms you are describing sound *exactly* like what Mentzer (among lots of others) described as 'overtraining'. Overtraining is the result of exercising too much / too hard / too frequently -- and leads to the exact same symptoms you write about. Overtraining can be caused by a single workout, but more often is caused by a number of workouts that accumulate over an extended period of time -- just like sleep-deprivation. Also just like sleep-deprivation, overtraining is a form of stress, and like all forms of stress, generally takes several weeks to recover from.

    Any form of exercise can lead to overtraining.
    Something Mentzer didn't address (but I think might be true to some extent) was whether or not there was a corollary found in diet -- that is, can eating a restricted-calorie diet lead to a form of 'overtraining'? I believe it can.

    So you may be experiencing overtraining from 2 different sources: exercise and diet.

    With respect to exercise, the typical solution is to workout much less often, for shorter periods of time, at a much-reduced intensity. In fact, Mentzer's usual prescription was to avoid workouts altogether for 2-3 weeks. You may want to consider something similar -- but be careful to formulate a plan that will help your body relax while not also breaking the habits you've been learning. In other words, don't just start skipping the gym and plopping down in front of the tv/computer again -- if you do that, you very well may not return to the gym. Instead, find a way to incorporate "exercise" into that same spot of your day but without actually doing exercise (or at least not much of it). One example would be to grab a friend and walk around the mall -- promising to only look at stuff, but not to buy (leave the wallet at home). Alternatively, put your gym clothes on and take your laptop (or a book) with exercise-related reading material to the gym but just sit out of the way and read about exercising -- a technique I have adopted several times. Another idea: go to the gym, but spend your time just stretching and milling-about, maybe talking on the phone with someone (but stay out of the way of people actually exercising, that's annoying!) The key is to basically keep your mind and body engaged in your new habits in a way that doesn't actually stress your body -- giving your body a few weeks to relax and *RECOVER*. You'd be surprised how far a few weeks "off" will go towards rejuvenating your energy and interest!

  10. (part 2)

    Regarding diet-"overtraining"... not a topic I've read much about, and not one I've thought about a great deal... but it's a well-known fact that among it's many benefits, a restricted-calorie diet has at least 1 detriment: it definitely is a factor of stress. So it follows that, over time, you can do it too much. You might want to run the numbers a bit, do some googling, and determine the approximate number of maintenance-calories for your body -- and then let go of exact-counting/logging and just "ballpark"-it for a few weeks... doing your best to still eat mostly quality-foods, and strive for the maintenance-calorie target but doing so in a way without the constant "worry"/concern of counting/logging. Just do your best to enjoy your meals as best you can (I know from reading that might be hard b/c you don't like most healthy foods)... but the point is to keep eating quality-foods but stop concerning yourself with counting/documenting and also strive to eat right around maintenance-level (using your best guesstimates... remember, don't actually count things up on paper, just rough-guesses in your head).

    Just some thoughts.
    I definitely think your psyche is involved as well, but it sounds to me like "overtaining" is also a factor. You want to be careful because overtraining is not only a powerful-factor in derailing you but also, if you persist in pushing yourself, it eventually will lead to sickness -- it's very similar to malnutrition: you can't use-up all of your body's resources and just keep pushing yourself... you NEED to do things to "replenish" yourself.

    Also, this might be an interesting read on the topic... it's brief... and it's not written by Mentzer, but by a guy who worked closely with him. Also, when you encounter any phrase specifically about "weightlifting", just translate it to "exercising" -- it will apply just as well.

  11. Dog sounds good, either the rented mastiff or one of your own. I never owned a dog until my husband talked me into getting a pitbull puppy 2 summers ago and now he is the love of my life! He's wild on the leash and when he PULLS, I go--but this spring Im going to work on that with him because Id love to walk him everywhere. Not so sure about the jogging. Cuz I hate to bizzounce all over!
    Also, I think the Anonymous comment about vitamin D and the sun is right on. Just soaking up a few rays for 15 mins a day should help! I am with the chick with the long name on the tanning beds though--bad for your skin totally, not good for the aging process at all IMO!

    Anyhoo. Personally, and I know there are folks in this world who'd want to strangle me for saying this, but I think if you UP your protein a bunch, AND up your calories by a few hundred you may feel much better! Not gonna try and talk you into the low carb but, maybe your diet requires some tweaking and creativity! Look for a few recipes, get some variety in there!!! In fact, I will email you a couple of recipes that were my go-to meals when I was counting calories/fat if you want!!
    Hang in there, do NOT give in....you have come so far and your workout schedule is impressive!

  12. Ki: What are the chances of getting you to Vegas for a visit? Are you still in the business of kicking butts as a motivational tactic? :)

    Brandon: my reply to you will come separate.

    Ariel: YES! Please send me recipe's. I'm floundering here. I hate cooking, as I've mentioned but I'm getting sick of ordering the same things off the same restaurants, I'm getting sick of whole wheat bagels, banana's, prison soup, and prime rib. I need breakfast ideas that I can just break out and eat at my desk, lunch ideas that I can break out and eat so I'm not spending my hour cooking, dinner ideas can be a little bit more complex but they have to be very inexpensive and, preferrably, something "Temptation" will eat because I just can't afford two shopping lists. My grocery budget is about $100 a week. I really hate cooking, my stove is ancient, my kitchen is tiny, and my counter space is a 2x2 triangle between the stove and the sink. I'm willing to try anything new as long as it's not microwaved frozen veggies and stuff like that (those bagged frozen veggies are AWFUL!).

  13. Brandon: I am literally afraid of taking time off, from counting or exercising. Even with the suggestions you've made I am afraid that I will talk myself out of being persistent. I will start rationalizing food choices, guesstimating on the wrong side of caution, and figure I can sit on my butt at home and read as easily as I can at the gym so eventually I'll probably stop going. Time off ... not a bad idea ... but weeks off, I'm not strong enough for that. I know I'm not. In the past any time I've lost 20-30 lbs and hit "the slump" I've gone off whatever whack job diet I was on or figured "oh I'm doing so good I can afford to (fill in the blank" and then before I knew it I'd gained everything back plus some.

    I'm going to fight through it, I'll try to up protein intake, maybe try to go back to 1200-1400 calories for a week or so (though honestly this shift to less than 1,000 was never intentional and, at the end of the day, it's just what my count always happens to be ... it's not even something I'm trying to do on a day-to-day basis it's just happening). But I think the biggest source of the slump I'm in is boredom.

    The treadmill is getting boring - 3 miles is a chore now instead of an exciting accomplishment. I need something new. I'm getting sick of everything I can eat because I'm eating the same food every day: wheat bagels, prison soup, salad, prime rib, day after day after day. My natural instinct is to crave the foods that I had gotten used to: fried food, cheesy food, savory food.

    I really thought I liked healthy foods. Sushi, for example, is one of my favorites. I used to think it was my all-time favorite until I tried to live life without cheese and then I realized where my real affections are. Food in general is becoming boring, nothing ever sounds good anymore except cheese. The last couple of times "Temptation" and I went out we drove all over town from one end and back again trying to pick a restaurant because we're sick of the ones we can afford and can't afford the ones we're not sick of. I think I'm actually learning to live to eat instead of eating to live (at least my taste buds are) but psychologically something in my mind misses being excited about food. I can't remember the last time I ate something and sat back and said wow, that was delicious. Ok I can; it was Nacho's two weeks ago. But other than that ... nope, drawing a total blank. Food took up so much of my life that now that I am learning to consider it a less important necessity instead of a regular pleasure I am lacking something to fill the void. Take the pizza for example: I love pizza so I thought after having gone so long without it that it would be the best thing I'd ever eaten but it wasn't ... it was just pizza.

    Basically I'm like a divorcee right now. I've psychologically divorced myself from food and there's a part of me that still loves and misses it but for the most part there's just this void in my life where food used to be. Food used to entertain me, make me smile, make me feel better, give me something to look forward to. It doesn't do that for me anymore and I'm starting to think it's not doing that for "Temptation" anymore either but he's slower to realize it. He said last night that he feels sorry for me because he's eating nacho's while I'm eating a veggie wrap but I don't feel sorry for me. Not really. I'm not bummed or miserable - I'm just bored.

    That's why I want a puppy. A puppy would require lots of time and attention and training ... a puppy could fill the void. It could get me excited, give me something to look forward to, make me smile. All the things food used to do without the calories.

  14. A little something to make you smile in your slump
    At least you aren't trying to run in this state of being:
    I would hate for you to end up in the yellow isle of a mexican grocery store.


  15. OMG I am so happy that you shared that blog with me. She is freakin' hilarious! Which is clearly why she has 47,700 + followers!

    EVERYONE: Please, do yourself a favor and check out that link Tia posted ... you'll love every second of time you spend looking at it, I promise!