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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 10-28-10, 04:16 PM   #1
Sayre Kulp 
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Fat Person Mentality?

Discussion kinda went down this path on the Biggest Loser thread, so rather than hi-jack that thread, I'm bringing it here to discuss.

I want to talk about how not to "think like a fat person."
It's something I'm struggling with.

One of the obvious areas is in regards to my eating and portion sizes. I find that I tend to order food (when we dine out) as though I'm feeding an army. Truth be told, that's how I used to eat, and I guess my mind still wants to order all that food, even though I can no longer eat it.

Another area for me is when in a restaurant, I still occasionally request a table in lieu of a booth, despite the fact that I can now fit in a booth again.

Do any of you other clydes or athenas in the process of losing weight find similar issues?
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Old 10-28-10, 04:25 PM   #2
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Sayre,....excuse me that's Mr Sayre (21.75 MPH)


The one that gets me is walking away from food. I've finally overcome the ravishing hunger and no longer need to lick the plate. But, it's so hard for me to not eat every scrap of food. This is especially a problem in restaurants as the portions are ridiculous.

Just the fact that I think about it is evidence of thinking like a fat person.

Oh yeah, I am a fat person..duh Well I'm a fat person who is losing weight and trying to act like an athlete.

Whew, life is confusing
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Old 10-28-10, 04:41 PM   #3
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I struggle with portion control - what fat person doesn't!!!! Eating out is tough so I try to limit the amount by doing the following:

1) I try and find someone who is willing to split the meal with me. That way at least I only get half (which is still usually too much). I've also told the waiter to split the meal in the kitchen for me and don't bring me the extra. They look at me weird but I explain its the only way I can try and control my weight.

2) I order a "to go" box with my meal. Meal comes, I immediately split it, dump it in the box and put the box aside. I am usually satisfied by the amount on my plate and bonus, lunch or dinner for the next day. This is especially good when you want to order several items in order to taste different things.

3) I do not order fast food "meals" even if cheaper. I limit myself to one item. If its a hamburger its just that, no frieds, etc.

4) I just don't eat out that much. I find myself eating home more often that way I can control portions and whats in the food since I have to limit salt and fats.

As far as sitting at a table vs a booth, who cares... do what is comfortable for you. At some point, that all will change.
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Old 10-28-10, 07:55 PM   #4
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When hungry and eating out - my achilles heel is the ordeurves (sp?) - I love onion rings,cheesesticks, chipsNsalsa etc. I try to limit my order and usually take 1/2 home. If I overdo it I make myself pay for it the next day with an extra few miles in the saddle - works so far
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Old 10-28-10, 10:48 PM   #5
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Hmm, Sayre beat me to starting the thread. OK, here goes.....

Based on my own experiences failing at weight loss for 30 years, finally succeeding four years ago, reading accounts of people losing weight in books, blogs, alt.support.diet, and Bike Forums, discussions with fat people, and conversations with people who have lost a lot of weight, my understanding of "thinking like a fat person" is that it breaks down to three parts:

1. denial;

2. learned helplessness, and;

3. the habits that reinforce the two points above.

No two fat people are alike, so the proportion of these items varies from person to person. Also, there may be other factors - health problems (Tom Stormcrowe could comment about the disorder that brought him to 562 pounds), psychological problems, abuse (I'll raise my hand here), addiction, etc, that complicate matters.

Denial is an obvious item, so I'll skip straight to learned helplessness. The severely obese, like myself, develop the mindset that no matter what they do, they can't succeed, or if they do, it's not enough of a success, or it was luck, or it's not important. Or they manufacture ways to avoid situations in which they may succeed, or set themselves up to fail. Or settle for less, because that's the best they expect.

An example from my past: when I was at Antietam last year, I made all sorts of excuses to avoid riding the battlefield. It was too tough, I was fat and sluggish, it was late in the day...... then I told myself I should do what I wanted to do, not what my past told me I should do. I had a great time once I stopped thinking like a fat man.

Another - last Saturday, after riding with Sayre, I stopped for snacks at a gas station. The woman behind the counter flirted with me. She wasn't my type, so I was polite but cool in response. On the way back to the car I was downplaying what happened - "she must be very desperate to flirt with a fat guy like me." For a second I saw myself as 400 pounds again. I didn't even consider the idea that I might be a handsome - OK, good-looking - guy. Fat thinking strikes again.

Sayre's post above details some specific behaviors and habits, the "old tapes" of learned helplessness. He doesn't sit in booths because he still thinks he won't fit, or that he doesn't deserve to sit in a booth.
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Old 10-28-10, 10:55 PM   #6
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I came across this excellent post on obesity and learned helplessness:

http://escapefromobesity.blogspot.co...plessness.html

And congratulations to the blogger for losing 100 pounds!
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Old 10-28-10, 11:08 PM   #7
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The psychology of weight loss, though, is something that is largely lost on me, perhaps only because I don't know anything about it. Neil, you asked if I'd congratulated myself on my loss so far. I feel great about it every day, but beyond that, and the double-edged sword of getting to/having to buy some new clothes, I can't say I've exactly celebrated it. For one thing it seems a bit premature to me, since I still have 50 pounds to go. For another, I have trouble seeing the change in the mirror. Part of that is the fact that it happens so slowly, but I also realize it's likely a part of it is body-image psychology, and I'll need to be on guard against any problems that may cause. Beyond that single issue, though, I don't really understand the whole "thinking like a fat person" notion. I'm not saying that isn't a valid issue for many people, perhaps even me, without my realizing it - only that I don't know what it means in practical terms. I've never been much into self-loathing. Or perhaps more accurately I should say I've always loved myself, even when I hated my body, if anyone can follow that thinking. I've never devalued my personal core being, even when I was unhappy with the way its "shell" looked. I hope that's a healthy sign.
I'd say it's healthy.

Keep in mind there's fat, and there's fat. Someone with 20 pounds to lose, or middle aged spread they've gathered since turning 40, isn't going to have the baggage that, say, someone 200 pounds overweight will. The first two are too much beer and not enough exercise; the last example is something else.
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Old 10-29-10, 12:23 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Sayre Kulp View Post

I want to talk about how not to "think like a fat person."
It's something I'm struggling with.

One of the obvious areas is in regards to my eating and portion sizes. I find that I tend to order food (when we dine out) as though I'm feeding an army. Truth be told, that's how I used to eat, and I guess my mind still wants to order all that food, even though I can no longer eat it.
That's retraining yourself. If it helps, nibble on something before ordering or entering the diner, so you don't order when hungry. Drink a glass of water before ordering. Ask to have your and your wife's orders shared. Ask for the doggie bag. Anything, as long as you set up new behaviors to replace the old one.
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Old 10-29-10, 07:25 AM   #9
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Ugh. I was so steeped in being a fat person that I owned the domain fatguy.org. I didn't use for anything until I put a real effort into losing weight, and it became my weight loss blog.

One night while in bed I realized I had ribs again. I still felt like a fat guy.

Months later when my gut had gotten quite a bit smaller, I started to realize I wasn't a fat guy anymore.

Then I gained 20 lbs. Not quite sure how I feel now.
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Old 10-29-10, 07:52 AM   #10
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The two biggest necessary shifts in "fat person" thinking:

1. The idea that this is a diet that will some day come to an end. Wrong. This is a constant situation. You can't go back to your old way of eating, or you'll put it right back on again. It really is true when they say it's a "lifestyle change," because your old way of living is over.

2. The idea that if you slip up and do something "bad" that you're automatically worthless and will never change. You slipped up. People slip up. Don't beat yourself up over it, and most of all, don't make it worse by saying "oh, I'll always do this, might as well not bother at all," and then reach for the chips after you've had too many cookies.

This is diligence, hard work and can be fun as heck. It's fun to push yourself to do a tiny bit better than you did the day before. There are times when it's fun for me to weigh all my food and count and track every calorie as exactly as I can like a mad scientist of weight loss. You're an athlete, darn it. Loud and proud.
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Old 10-29-10, 07:59 AM   #11
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The two biggest necessary shifts in "fat person" thinking:

1. The idea that this is a diet that will some day come to an end. Wrong. This is a constant situation. You can't go back to your old way of eating, or you'll put it right back on again. It really is true when they say it's a "lifestyle change," because your old way of living is over.

2. The idea that if you slip up and do something "bad" that you're automatically worthless and will never change. You slipped up. People slip up. Don't beat yourself up over it, and most of all, don't make it worse by saying "oh, I'll always do this, might as well not bother at all," and then reach for the chips after you've had too many cookies.

This is diligence, hard work and can be fun as heck. It's fun to push yourself to do a tiny bit better than you did the day before. There are times when it's fun for me to weigh all my food and count and track every calorie as exactly as I can like a mad scientist of weight loss. You're an athlete, darn it. Loud and proud.
The comment "fun as heck" echoes my remark to CraigB asking if he "celebrated" his weight loss every day.
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Old 10-29-10, 09:04 AM   #12
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Ugh. I was so steeped in being a fat person that I owned the domain fatguy.org. I didn't use for anything until I put a real effort into losing weight, and it became my weight loss blog.

One night while in bed I realized I had ribs again. I still felt like a fat guy.

Months later when my gut had gotten quite a bit smaller, I started to realize I wasn't a fat guy anymore.

Then I gained 20 lbs. Not quite sure how I feel now.
Has your weight loss and lifestyle change been a success or failure?

I wonder about that in my case. Should I celebrate having lost 104 pounds and keeping it off for four years this month? Or cry because I was 158 pounds less two and a half years ago? Do I think I'm a failure because I'm 50 some pounds up from my low? Or smile because I've learned so much about what works and what doesn't, and learned the power to change is in my hands?

Personally I'll celebrate and smile. Crying and calling myself a failure won't cause me to drop a pound. And you, my banana-avatared friend, should smile too. :-)
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Old 10-29-10, 09:09 AM   #13
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Denial is an obvious item, so I'll skip straight to learned helplessness. The severely obese, like myself, develop the mindset that no matter what they do, they can't succeed, or if they do, it's not enough of a success, or it was luck, or it's not important. Or they manufacture ways to avoid situations in which they may succeed, or set themselves up to fail. Or settle for less, because that's the best they expect.
That's one of the reasons that my success at athletic endeavors is something I'm proud of, but also feel a little awkward about. It makes me want to check and recalibrate my computer because I figure there's no way I pedaled that fast for that long. Or I start making excuses for why I placed as well at a 5k as I did. "Oh, well there were a lot of first-timers, blah, blah, blah..." Then my friends are nice enough to remind me that those "first-timers" are less than half my size and have been doing a couch-to-5k program for as long as I've been running. Then it starts to sink in. But I still have a hard time believing that I can be successful at athletic endeavors despite the fact that I don't look like an athlete.

And yes, the eating & portion control thing is getting easier, but I haven't quite cleared the fat guy style of eating out of my behavior arsenal. I find it's much easier at home. I portion the food out when I'm not hungry, then it's no BFD at meal time. It's tougher when we go out. Of course, it's not as easy at home when my wife bakes cookies!

What I really need is advice on how to stop thinking like a fat guy. We've talked about behaviors of a fat guy, and most are subliminal (i.e. - how you eat), but I need to tackle those that affect the way I perceive myself. I need to be able to think of myself as a budding athlete, not a fat slob. That life is gone. I left "fat Sayre" for dead on the C&O Canal. But still, it seems that fat me still has a hold on my brain. How can I get him out of there?!
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Old 10-29-10, 09:11 AM   #14
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This goes with the cleaning up your plate thing. I won't stop eating until I'm almost stuffed. Most things that I'm eating become my favorite food while I'm eating it. So, instead of having a few pieces of black licorice (love the stuff) I'll eat it until I run out or am full. The same goes for pizza, oysters, steak, potatoes, what have you. The list is seemingly endless because I like just about everything but pickled beets and glazed carrots.
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Old 10-29-10, 09:14 AM   #15
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I'm a fat guy who thinks he's skinny...is that the denial part?
I used to be skinny, but due to my love for food I gained 80lbs in 5 years. The moment I realized I'm fat was when I tried getting into a roller coaster seat and had to seriously jam the safety thing over my gut. I felt like an overstuffed sausage going 60mph.
I've lost some weight since January and I'm starting to feel like my old self again. I'm taking it a day a time, some days I gain a pound or two, some days/weeks I lose a few pounds. I track my progress and regress regularly and it helps me stay motivated and goal-oriented. I have 6 more pounds to lose until January to meet my personal yearly goal, and still 35lbs after that to reach my target weight. Some people will still see me as a fat guy at 200lbs, but that's their business.
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Old 10-29-10, 09:45 AM   #16
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This goes with the cleaning up your plate thing.
This is my biggest problem. My parents were both raised by depression-era parents, and were taught to waste nothing. So was I. "Clean your plate" echoes in my mind nearly daily, so much so that I've said it to my kids way to much. Thankfully my oldest has a healthy relationship with food and self-limits intake. The rest of us struggle daily with the needed devil. When my wife and I were newly married, we had very little money, but were too "proud" food stamps, so food kind of became our "luxury". Payday was a big deal when we were expecting our first-born and would celebrate with grocery shopping for two weeks, a Hershey's chocolate bar for her, and a run through taco bell's drive thru on the way home for some value items. We love good food, but eat anything. We are trying, but constantly battle it and I have to remember that food is not THAT important.
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Old 10-29-10, 10:01 AM   #17
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That's one of the reasons that my success at athletic endeavors is something I'm proud of, but also feel a little awkward about. It makes me want to check and recalibrate my computer because I figure there's no way I pedaled that fast for that long. Or I start making excuses for why I placed as well at a 5k as I did. "Oh, well there were a lot of first-timers, blah, blah, blah..." Then my friends are nice enough to remind me that those "first-timers" are less than half my size and have been doing a couch-to-5k program for as long as I've been running. Then it starts to sink in. But I still have a hard time believing that I can be successful at athletic endeavors despite the fact that I don't look like an athlete.

And yes, the eating & portion control thing is getting easier, but I haven't quite cleared the fat guy style of eating out of my behavior arsenal. I find it's much easier at home. I portion the food out when I'm not hungry, then it's no BFD at meal time. It's tougher when we go out. Of course, it's not as easy at home when my wife bakes cookies!

What I really need is advice on how to stop thinking like a fat guy. We've talked about behaviors of a fat guy, and most are subliminal (i.e. - how you eat), but I need to tackle those that affect the way I perceive myself. I need to be able to think of myself as a budding athlete, not a fat slob. That life is gone. I left "fat Sayre" for dead on the C&O Canal. But still, it seems that fat me still has a hold on my brain. How can I get him out of there?!
Wrap that brain around this, Sayre.....

The word "athlete" derives from Greek, and means "one who participates in a contest." No mention of what the contestants look like. You ARE an athlete, and one who 'podiums' at that.

As for getting rid of him, that's self-confidence. You might need to prop yours up for a while until it can stand on its own two legs. Put the medals where you can see them. Tell yourself you are awesome once a day in the mirror. Write about how great you thought your last ride was. Think about how happy you were when finishing some great accomplishment. Next time someone pays you a compliment, don't try to undercut it, but just say "Thank you." Plan big, not small.

Look at the man in your avatar, Sayre. He doesn't have a trace of fat thinking in his head. Now be him 24/7.
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Old 10-29-10, 10:08 AM   #18
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I'm a fat guy who thinks he's skinny...is that the denial part?
From my blog three years ago:

http://historian2wheels.blogspot.com/2007/09/ffid.html

Fat F[riend] in Denial. Someone who claims they can't lose weight because of [insert whine of your choice]. You can lose weight. You've just got to do what it takes. And it takes eating less and exercising more......That's the hallmark of a FFID. He's fat, he's tried, oh well, nothing works, it must be his lot in life to be fat. Nothing he can do will change it."
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Old 10-29-10, 10:44 AM   #19
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Has your weight loss and lifestyle change been a success or failure?

I wonder about that in my case. Should I celebrate having lost 104 pounds and keeping it off for four years this month? Or cry because I was 158 pounds less two and a half years ago? Do I think I'm a failure because I'm 50 some pounds up from my low? Or smile because I've learned so much about what works and what doesn't, and learned the power to change is in my hands?

Personally I'll celebrate and smile. Crying and calling myself a failure won't cause me to drop a pound. And you, my banana-avatared friend, should smile too. :-)
It's been a success. My entire life has changed for the better. It's been about more than weight loss. I got out of a bad marriage, spent a lot of time living alone to learn more about myself. I rushed a bit into a second marriage, but she's a wonderful woman who supports my weight loss and cycling.

I'm pre-disposed to depression. The depression lifted for a while. It did come back, and that may have been part of the reason for the weight gain, or due to it. I'm not sure. In any case, recognizing it allows me to manage it.

So, yes, I will smile. Thank you!
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Old 10-29-10, 10:45 AM   #20
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I came across this excellent post on obesity and learned helplessness:

http://escapefromobesity.blogspot.co...plessness.html

And congratulations to the blogger for losing 100 pounds!
Holy crap! She made a huge change.

She's right on the money about learned helplessness. I need to remember that. I'm sure I've fallen into the trap a few times.
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Old 10-29-10, 11:00 AM   #21
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Thank you for brining this discussion up in a fresh thread. Thank you also for bringing up the "spirit" aspect of eating and weight loss and not just self discipline. This is kind of a spiritual problem. A few years ago I learned to ask myself, why am I eating this, or why do I want to eat something. When I paused to consider the why behind my action, I learned to deal with more than just eating, but what am I avoiding. That simple question has helped me a lot.

Pames... has many good suggestions that I have also adopted. Eating out is now a celebration of something good. Its like smoking a cigar, I don't do it often, but to celebrate something. And cigars (while they may have other health concerns) are fat free, unless you get the chocolate ones.

I also avoid BUFFETS! I view a buffet as a personal challenge, I must conquer the buffet. NO Buffets, and this is Las Vegas where I live, even the convenience stores have a buffet.

I think that we should celebrate every victory. Guilt over the past will do 1 of 2 things. It will kill your resolve and send you into a spiral of what you hate in the first place or it can remind you of where you never want to go again. We are each in charge of how guilt effects us, but I don't want to give it a fighting chance, stick to the celebration of today I am heading in the right direction.

NOW-the big question, with Halloween around the corner, how do you avoid the stupid candy dishes every 10 feet.
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Old 10-29-10, 11:37 AM   #22
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I still think like a fat guy. My biggest problem of late is getting caught out out the house during mealtime, either staying in town to visit friends or running out of normal lunch fixins before I can get to the store. I get so tired of cold lunch that I will indulge in fast-food, which is the devil. I think, "oh I'll just have it this one time" and then the next week I have not learned my lesson and bought extra food for my late night in town. At least now I'll skip the fries and the large coke full of hfcs. It's still not good, but not nearly as bad as the whole super-sized everything. Yesterday I had 2 angus snack wraps and a diet coke, my wife had a coupon for free fries, so she got those. I shared a couple, but not many because I did question "why am I eating this", the wraps were to satisfy hunger, the fries smelled good and I remember liking fries, but they tasted nasty. Whatever they're frying them in is gross. I still love fried things though, for example, once every other week or so I'll grab a potato and slice it up and fry it in a skillet with some olive oil and a little salt. mmmm now that's good, but McDunlaps fries just aren't tasting good enough for me to say "it's worth eating this".

Lately I've been going to the local market deli for some chicken strips on these nights. I look at them and they seem so small. First time I ordered 5 of them thinking I wanted to be sure I don't get hungry later. Big mistake, it was way too much, but I ate them all, and felt uncomfortable and over-full all night long. Now I've scaled it back to 3, but every time I look at them they all look so small and I secretly hope that the girl at the deli gives me the 3 biggest ones. And you know what, she usually takes a look at me, like I'm from mars for only ordering 3, and then she does, she gives me the 3 biggest ones in the bin. I swear she'll dig them out and pull them from behind other ones, the small ones and I still get really full. I know after eating just part of the first one I get to thinking, "sheesh, these are really big, I could do with less", but then I eat them all because they're too good to waste. Next time I swear, I'm just going to order 2 and make due and take my chances with getting hungry later. Eating at resturants is easier because I can just split the dinner and get a to-go box as mentioned above. One of the biggest helps I've found is my intollerance to MSG, that rules out a lot of snack food. The other thing is over the past several years there have been few cost-of-living raises at work, food costs more and I feel it in the budget. It costs more to eat healthier, but it also costs more to snack on unhealty items. I love kettle chips, but I won't buy the 3.25 bag because I've learned I'll over-indulge and be sick from that size of a serving, yet the 99-cent bags are almost impossible to find. Most of the stuff in the 99-cent bag have MSG, so that rules them out, but even so, there seems to be more air in there, so buying that stuff feels like a rip-off. I am guilty of not trying very hard as of late, but I am still trying at least to maintain the status quo and not gain my lost weight back. It won't work to let it go on auto-pilot, I'm going to have to be aware of where I'm at and where I want to be, or I'll just end up where I was.
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Old 10-29-10, 12:42 PM   #23
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2. The idea that if you slip up and do something "bad" that you're automatically worthless and will never change. You slipped up. People slip up. Don't beat yourself up over it, and most of all, don't make it worse by saying "oh, I'll always do this, might as well not bother at all," and then reach for the chips after you've had too many cookies.

This is diligence, hard work and can be fun as heck.
I found this to be one of my biggest hurdles with weight loss on a more granular scale. I would eat something crazy at lunch and have the attitude of "well, this day is shot, I might as well blow it big and enjoy myself". I had to change that to "Ok, I blew it at lunch, so its spinach for dinner to make up for it".
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Old 10-29-10, 01:24 PM   #24
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I found this to be one of my biggest hurdles with weight loss on a more granular scale. I would eat something crazy at lunch and have the attitude of "well, this day is shot, I might as well blow it big and enjoy myself". I had to change that to "Ok, I blew it at lunch, so its spinach for dinner to make up for it".
That's a good attitude, and I think successful weight loss is all about having a good attitude. Little changes add up over time.
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Old 10-29-10, 01:40 PM   #25
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Have you tried visualizing yourself as the person you want to be Sayre? Just spending 10-15 minutes seeing yourself as clearly, vividly, and intensely as you can as your "ideal self".

You can also spend time trying to decipher why you think "like a fat person". Perhaps an epiphany will come and you realize why you think the way you do. Or perhaps you notice a cause (something triggers you to start feeling the way you do) and an effect (you start thinking or behaving in a certain way). Sort of like pavlov's conditioning.

I'm no expert but visualization is something I did/ and do to get myself out of a "funk" and sometimes to drive me towards action. I'm also learning the power of goal setting. I also realize I compare myself to others to much. Like they have some "secret" on being, having, or doing that I don't have. Which in times brings me to the point sometimes that the Historian was bringing up about "learned helplessness".

Whatever works for you or any of us, feel free to share.
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