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  1. #1
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    Motivation & Willpower

    So, when it comes to losing weight I lose my motivation quickly and have next to no willpower when it comes to staying on track. I love junk food and most of the time nothing makes me feel better than a cheeseburger. More like a double cheeseburger, fries and some kind of dessert. I'm at about 230 lbs and need to drop about 60 lbs. I'm trying to recommit myself to losing the weight and hoping the cycling will help me in that regard. So, I'm here for some ideas. What do you guys do to keep on track?

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    Senior Member MRT2's Avatar
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    Log everything you eat into an app like my fitness pal. Once you see how much you are eating, you should be able to figure out where you need to cut back.

    When, riding skip the sports drinks and stick to water.

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    After many years of the same lack of willpower as you suddenly I decided to do it for me. That's all it was. Not for my doctor, not for someone else. Suddenly I just wanted (instead of needed) to do it. 2 years later I'm able to maintain, but it's tough to find the will to get to my final goal, having past 4 "final" goals already. That was really it. I woke up on Jan. 20, 2012, thinking that it was time to do it. All it took was finding the right "Why?"

    Tonight it was those skinny bastards cruising past me on the 7% grade during hill repeats. I'd have said something to them about it but I was past speech. heh. Can't use weight as much of an excuse anymore since I'm down to 185, so I need a new one. Don't want to admit that it is that I'm just a weakling. Did set all kinds of personal records, but I don't want to ride fast compared to myself, I want to ride fast compared to others!

    Sorry, lost focus there.

  4. #4
    Cat 5 field stuffer bbeasley's Avatar
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    Ricky,

    Have you had some success in the past dieting?

  5. #5
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    MRT2 - I've done that, and, honestly, my issue comes from just quitting on it altogether. I'll do well for a little while with logging my food and eating clean. Then I'll lose focus, stop at a fast food joint and then spiral from there.

    bbeasley - No, I haven't. I've tacked on the weight consistently year after year since getting out of the Marines, though the past couple years I've maintained my current weight. I did do P90X once about 2 years ago and lost about 25 lbs, but didn't find it be sustainable.

  6. #6
    Senior Member mrodgers's Avatar
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    Having trouble myself. Haven't lost any weight since November. I was logging MyFitnessPal every day and quit doing that over winter. Logging the calories everyday is pretty good motivation and easy to see how you are doing. It keeps me from grabbing some of the kids' cookies or something. Now, I realize that I am grabbing a snack here and there and it definitely shows on the scale.

    There are 4 of us who share an office space inside the plant at work. One of them takes care of a lot of paperwork stuff and the other 2 generally do nothing but surf the internet and BS all day. They are weighing themselves on my industrial scale and writing it down on the calendar. They are doing fairly well. I am never in my office. I am out on the plant floor or, as I am now, on a computer watching equipment run away from my office and away from them. I am not doing so well. I do end up standing on the scale and seeing my weight just about every hour as I package material off. But being that I am out working and not in the office with them, I don't have that social motivation that they do.

    The paperwork guy doesn't need to lose weight. One of the others isn't a good comparison to me because he is 6' 4". The 3rd guy though is my height and had about 10 pounds on me. He passed me up by a pound a few days ago. I need to get back into the swing of things now that riding weather has finally come so I started logging again on MyFitnessPal yesterday. Unfortunately, I didn't do so well yesterday with the calories.

    My problem is pretty much snacking junk food. I don't eat fast food and my wife cooks everything organic and from scratch. We raise our own grass fed beef in the family as well as 90% of our eggs. We eat a lot of chicken and the beef is extremely low fat (and far more tasty) than store bought beef. Through tracking last year and not changing what I eat mealwise I found that I eat about 1600-1700 calories. Calculating BMR from various internet sources lead me to believe that my BMR is 2100 calories at my current weight and I should eat 1800 for 1-2 pounds of weight loss per week. That tells me that it is the junk food that is my downfall.

    It is amazing how many calories is in snacky junk food. Logging calories in something like MyFitnessPal shows and shocks you with that.
    Ride no faster than your Guardian Angel can fly!

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    I say to just get deep into cycling, and let that become a prime feature of your life, of what you do, and why you do it.

    Join a club, train at a studio, read the mags, socialize with cyclists, volunteer at the races, maybe start racing. In that kind of world, the burgers become less important and you start doing the things you want to do more readily, more easily, and you don't need to have iron-clad willpower.
    Chaad--'95 DeKerf Team SL, '02 Lemond Buenos Aires, '05 Novara Buzz, '73 Schwinn Collegiate, '06 Mountain Cycle Rumble, '09 Dahon Mariner D7, '12 Mercier Nano, '12 Breezer Venturi

  8. #8
    Senior Member ill.clyde's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MRT2 View Post
    Log everything you eat into an app like my fitness pal. Once you see how much you are eating, you should be able to figure out where you need to cut back.

    When, riding skip the sports drinks and stick to water.
    +1 on logging everything ... you'll be floored when you see what you're actually eating. And be sure to get a VERY good understanding of portion sizes. The more you log, you'll begin to weigh whether or not your food choices are worth it.

  9. #9
    Senior Member ill.clyde's Avatar
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    Those of you who have used myfitnesspal and quit, I've found that having "friends" on there helps a great deal. If you're on it, or thinking about trying it, feel free to friend me on there. I'm jjking54

  10. #10
    Senior Member Dave Cutter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rickyk76 View Post
    ..... I lose my motivation quickly and have next to no willpower when it comes to staying on track..........
    I feel your pain brother! After this long cold winter with so very little cycling and exercise I feel like the Michelin Man... in bicycle shorts. My plan.... is to just keep plugging with my diet app.

    michelin man.jpg

  11. #11
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    Ricky, it isn't enough to just log what you eat...if that was all you were doing, then I am not surprised you would lose focus. You need to start with a plan, a goal (preferably several including intermediate and ultimate goals), and rewards in mind for reaching your goals. Then eat to that plan, including punishing yourself when you don't stick to it (i.e. not eating a real dinner if you eat too much earlier in the day).

    I was you for the last 15 years. I reached 200 lbs and was disgusted with myself. I tried to eat better and exercise some, but within a few years I was 220. Same thing...then I reach 240...then 250...260, and earlier this year 267. Along the way I started suffering from elevated cholesterol (family history), elevated blood pressure (also family history), and finally elevated diabetes control markers (you guessed it...family history as well).

    So I decided in mid-February I wanted to outlive my father (he died at 69), I didn't want to be diabetic, and I wanted to try to get off the BP meds that were interfering with my ability to do hard workouts to get faster on my bike. My plan was to eat 1500 calories per day net, try to eat close to 25% of my calories from protein and no more than 45% from carbs. My intermediate goal was to reach 220 lbs by the end of the year and reward myself with a new bike when I got there. My ultimate goal is to reach 190#, which would by a BMI of 25 for me, but would require body fat to probably be around 12-15% to reach it due to my build. When I reach that, I am going to do either a destination bike ride (like an MS 150 somewhere else in the country) or a bike touring vacation with my wife.

    Right now, I am way ahead of my goal. I started at 267 and I am now around 238 and dropping fast. I will probably reach 220 before July. The success breeds further motivation and provides support for my willpower. I have never ever felt so focused on achieving a goal like this. I will echo what was said above...nobody here can give you the motivation or the willpower to stick with it...only you can do that, and it will have to come because you don't want to be "the fat guy" any more. When you get tired of being fat and decide you really want to commit to making a change, it will seem easy...almost effortless to stick with it.

    As for the nuts and bolts, I am using Myfitnesspal to track what I eat. I made a conscious decision to shift how I ate, and one way I have done that is to stop buying fast food and pre-packaged food as much as possible. My wife and I fix large meals on the weekend, and then package up specific serving sizes to eat for lunches and dinners during the week. I can confidently grab a container from the fridge each morning knowing that it will have somewhere around 300-350 calories in it instead of grabbing a deli sandwich and chips downstairs and not knowing if I am eating 600 or 800 calories for lunch. When I do go out to eat, as soon as my food is brought out, I cut the plate in half and eat half of what is on it, taking the other half home for another time. When I eat fast food, I check the food database online to pick choices high in protein and low in calories. And finally, when I slip and eat something I shouldn't early in the day, I don't shrug my shoulders and say oh well and keep eating the rest of the day. I log it on the app, and then go eat only what calories I have left in my budget for the day. It only takes a couple of times going to bed hungry to reinforce your willpower not to slip up and eat too much early in the day.

    I thought eating 1500 calories per day was going to be exceptionally hard when my nutritionist suggested it as my plan. I thought I was going to be eating nothing but salads and sitting around starving all the time. But I am not doing either. By using myfitnesspal and choosing the right kinds of foods, I am eating as many times a day or more than I used to, but I am eating smaller portions and better foods. If you commit to it and plan your eating, then stick to that plan, it is much easier to stick with than just making a half-hearted "I am going to try to eat better/less" promise. Believe me, when you see the pounds start coming off, you will want to stick with it. There is nothing quite like the first time somebody who doesn't know you are dieting asks if you have been losing weight to boost your resolve to keep going.

  12. #12
    Senior Member ill.clyde's Avatar
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    Excellent post txags92, thanks for sharing your story ... Aggie fan???

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by txags92 View Post
    Ricky, it isn't enough to just log what you eat...if that was all you were doing, then I am not surprised you would lose focus. You need to start with a plan, a goal (preferably several including intermediate and ultimate goals), and rewards in mind for reaching your goals. Then eat to that plan, including punishing yourself when you don't stick to it (i.e. not eating a real dinner if you eat too much earlier in the day).
    I definitely believe in having a plan and a goal, but I don't believe in punishment.

    I think one of the most important things you can realize is that one meal, or even one day, or overeating isn't going to erase all of your progress. How much weight can you possibly gain back from one slip-up? A pound? Two pounds? The important thing is to get back on track as quickly as possible. Don't let one slip-up turn into a week of eating pizza for every meal; just make sure it's an isolated incident. Obviously, if you can get in a little more exercise or eat a little lighter it's going to help you get back on track. But starving yourself as punishment or trying to "make up" for a slip-up is likely to make you more hungry and more likely to overeat in the near future. At least in my experience.

    It's also important to take a break from dieting every once in a while. When I was working to lose 50 pounds my diet was low-calorie, repetitive, and more than a bit boring. So every couple of weeks, I'd take a day off and eat whatever I wanted. I certainly didn't gorge myself, but I did eat whatever I wanted and I didn't worry (too much) about calories. Usually I'd try to schedule these days for the same ones where I did a big bicycle ride, but that doesn't always work out. Taking a break from the diet and being able to enjoy foods I'd been missing (in moderation) made the dieting much easier, for me.

    The success breeds further motivation and provides support for my willpower. I have never ever felt so focused on achieving a goal like this. I will echo what was said above...nobody here can give you the motivation or the willpower to stick with it...only you can do that, and it will have to come because you don't want to be "the fat guy" any more. When you get tired of being fat and decide you really want to commit to making a change, it will seem easy...almost effortless to stick with it.
    Agreed with this completely! And it's also the reason that, just like with punishment, I don't really believe in rewards. The best "rewards" are being able to ride further, climb higher, or having to buy new clothes because you've shrunk out of everything you own. I think that being able to appreciate these less material rewards is better for long-term success at weight loss than buying yourself a new bike or something like that.

    In terms of motivation, the best thing for me was looking at myself in the mirror each morning after I got out of the shower. Ask yourself: do I really want to be this (fat) person? Is this what I want my wife/husband/girlfriend/boyfriend/kids to see? That was enough to get me started on a successful weight-loss plan. Once I got started, the improved fitness and better appearance really helped keep me going.

  14. #14
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    Yeah, I worried that the term punishment would be taken the wrong way. I don't deliberately starve myself as if it will make a big difference on a day to day basis. But what I do is if I normally plan to have some calories leftover for an evening snack/dessert after dinner, and some vendor brings donuts to the office in the morning. If I am going to eat a donut, I accept that I am going to have to skip the after dinner snack. And that night, I can sit there after dinner and reflect on whether the donut was really worth it or whether I would rather be eating a couple of cookies then instead. By not eating a "real dinner", I just meant that I might eat a single chicken fajita wrap instead of 2 or just have a cup of greek yogurt and some fruit instead of a full meal. It is just a mind game that helps reinforce my willpower to resist tha donuts the next time somebody brings them in. If I totally blow it, say by eating while out of town while traveling, I try to get back on track as fast as possible, and each new day is a new chance to get back on the wagon. I agree completely on having "cheat days" where you eat something you want and have been avoiding. For me it is Mexican food. So each weekend, when my wife and I get done with a 3-4 hour ride, we shower and head for the mexican restaurant. It is our reward for working hard that day.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ill.clyde View Post
    Excellent post txags92, thanks for sharing your story ... Aggie fan???
    Yep, Gig em! Class of 92.

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    Senior Member Cycle Babble's Avatar
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    A lot of interesting posts here. It all seems to come to: Food, our evil weakness!

    While I have been changing my snacking habits to fruit, nuts, and vegetables, I allow myself to slip every now and then. When I do, the scale will show the negative results for a day or two. Then I get back on track and start losing weight again.....SLOWLY. I would have to say the most important thing I have learned is how to get back on track after the bad day of cheating. I do not allow myself to dwell on the bad days, but look forward again to the good days.

    Since I still have a serious food addiction, I am always aware of watching out for the days when I fall off the wagon. Now I will let it happen once every two weeks or so by allowing myself to indulge a bit. As a matter of fact, earlier this week, for my birthday, I indulged in a large peperoni pizza. Later that day I paid the price for my weakness with heartburn and a lot of belching while on my first 20 mile ride of the year. Now I am good to go for a while without the cravings and hope the scale will show possitive results.


    Good luck all,
    John S
    Last edited by Cycle Babble; 04-11-14 at 11:18 AM. Reason: Grammar
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  17. #17
    Senior Member Astrozombie's Avatar
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    I've started counting my macros and it was insane how in just 4 or 5 days i would be over 1000g of Carbs for the week! Cutting that down has helped, but i find it hard to even stick to two "cheat meals" per week
    Assume nothing; Question everything

  18. #18
    Senior Member ill.clyde's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by txags92 View Post
    Yep, Gig em! Class of 92.
    Nice! Not a grad, just a fan, originally from Illinois, now in Wis.

  19. #19
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    I don't diet, I livet(never do anything that makes you die!). I love weight watchers, no need to count calories, you can have any food you wish(just track for it), and it is something that you can do long term. You can never workout enough to counter a bad diet. I would say check out my blog and see the lifestyle that it gives me. Big Boned Biker | My Journey into a new and Healthier lifestyle
    www.BigBonedBiker.Wordpress.com

  20. #20
    Senior Member squirtdad's Avatar
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    One thing I have been doing is not freaking out if my weight is up or down by any one day or week, it is easy to get discouraged that way
    . I track weight on scatter graph chart and look at the time tend.

    Also tracking something like waist measurement can add motivation (i.e waist is down 2 inch even if weight is only down xx pounds)
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  21. #21
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    Thanks for the comments, y'all. Keep them coming. Again, the question isn't really dieting or knowing how to diet, it's staying focused on the goal.

  22. #22
    SuperGimp TrojanHorse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rickyk76 View Post
    Thanks for the comments, y'all. Keep them coming. Again, the question isn't really dieting or knowing how to diet, it's staying focused on the goal.
    Well, you have to want it. How bad do you want it? I made excuses for myself for years... at the end of the day, you're only fooling yourself.

  23. #23
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    Hi Ricky,

    As you can see from the other responses, there are a lot of ideas that work for different people. For me it was doing it together with my wife for a long time. We encouraged each other and kept each other accountable. But different tactics work for different people. I would say try to find someone else that needs to lose weight, and make a pact -
    **************************************************
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by rickyk76 View Post
    Thanks for the comments, y'all. Keep them coming. Again, the question isn't really dieting or knowing how to diet, it's staying focused on the goal.
    That's what I'm talking about. Be the goal. Live it.

    Array everything in your life in support of riding, and the focus becomes structural, not a matter of willpower.

    For example, if you're friends are cyclists, you'll do and talk cycling naturally. If your friends are beer drinking, BBQing football fans, you'll sit around eating and drinking. In which scenario do you need more willpower to meet your goals?

    Make choosing the right things automatic. Be in the target, not looking at it. Make the elements of your life the guides that channel you to your goals. Be water, my friend (to quote Bruce Lee).
    Chaad--'95 DeKerf Team SL, '02 Lemond Buenos Aires, '05 Novara Buzz, '73 Schwinn Collegiate, '06 Mountain Cycle Rumble, '09 Dahon Mariner D7, '12 Mercier Nano, '12 Breezer Venturi

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    There are two or three motivators for motivation that worked for me:

    1. When I gave up smoking and reduced my drinking to almost zero, I rationalised it as removing a line of profit for both the cigarette and alcohol companies and the government's tax take; this was on the basis that my consumption of their products caused me harm, but they didn't care a dash about that.

    2. What appeared to be a life-threatening incident at the age of 42 -- what was diagnosed at the time as a heart attack, but subsequently post-diagnosed as "broken heart syndrome" -- which was the motivator to stop smoking and reduce drinking and to get my life into order emotionally.

    3. A desire to get involved in something like cycling that involved some goals, which subsequently led to extended touring to countries around the world, and randonneuring including finishing two 1000 and three 1200 events.

    The life-threatening experience is the best motivator of all. But do you really want to get to that point?

    You obviously can afford to eat badly, but do you really want to spend all that money on getting fatter and fatter?

    The thing is, saving that money leads to more disposable income to spend on other stuff, whether that is cycling itself, travelling like I do, engaging in other pursuits, improving your education and job prospects or even just finding a life partner.

    As to dieting, the biggest issue you have to overcome is controlling the portion or meal sizes. Once you have that aspect licked, you can really eat anything your like, but just in smaller amounts. And think about doing some running, even on a treadmill, to help strip the weight off. Running has been really useful for me to drop under Clyde status when I had plateaued for months just over the threshold.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

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