How do you stay motivated?

From August of 2005 to March of 2006 I lost 42 lbs. I looked better, I felt better, I was happier. After months and months of exercise and diet changes and such I started to lose momentum, but I was still attempting to improve my health. Slowly though, the routine started to become boring and compliments weren’t coming like they had been when I had first started losing weight. It became less like doing something for me and more like a chore. Then it happened. I went out dancing with friends and was mocked by some 18 year old whore in a red halter top. Like, pointing and laughing, poking and grabbing my flab kind of mocking. At that moment, I lost all motivation to continue to lose weight. After all, what the hell was the point if after so much time and energy I was still fat, right? Well now I am 15 pounds heavier than my starting weight and I would like to get back to working out and back on the diet plan but I am afraid. No one I know is interested in losing any weight, no one will go with me to work out, and though they all tell me how great I look when I lose a little weight they sure don’t have any desire to help me at all. Not that they are required or expected to of course, just that it would be nice to have someone who was interested in helping me keep motivated. It is harder to do when you are alone.

So now I am getting ready to start putting that kind of energy back into losing weight but I don’t know what to do next time something morale bruising comes along. Food has always been my coping mechanism but it simply can’t be any longer, I have to find a way to get down to a healthy weight. Has this kind of thing happened to any other dopers? How do you stay motivated when you hit that point where the effort seems so great and the payoff seems so far away?

**pbbth ** - Please email me (it’s in my profile)

For me it’s racing triathlons. Personally, there is nothing more motivating than an upcoming race. Long, short, in between, it doesn’t matter. The thought of going out and testing myself against others (and my old times), keeps me going when the training gets burdensome. It also gives me a way to measure my success independent of what some young twit in a dance club thinks (especially when I know I can ride them into the ground :p).

So one thing you might try is to hook up with a local triathlon club. You don’t have to pick an Ironman, triathlon is rapidly gaining in popularity and more races, of all distances, are being organized every year. Picking a race and joining a club give you a goal and a built in support network. Most clubs have organized workouts open to all levels, and many, if they’re smart, have workouts specifically geared toward new people. I know our club has a New To The Sport program which gradually introduces people to longer rides and runs while teaching them the “usual” routes. It also gives folks a way to hook up with people at a similar level to plan their own workouts.

Well, I can’t really see my fat ass trying to run a triathalon just yet, but the competition part of it is a good idea. :slight_smile: I have auditioned for the show The Biggest Loser more than once because I know competition is a great motivator but they keep telling me no. I wish I knew more people in my situation because it would be much easier to compete with them or work out with them…stupid friends and family all being thin and healthy! :stuck_out_tongue:

For me, looking better is only a small part of what motivates me to stay in shape. What gets my butt to the gym is all the things I can do when I’m in shape. Depending on your interests, try picking up a hobby that involves physical activity, maybe something like a basketball league or dance class. You’ll get some physical work plus have added motivation. I’m into horseback riding. I have to get myself to the gym now because I need to stay in shape for my riding lessons (otherwise, they’re just misery).

Setting a performance goal (like the aforementioned races) also helps keep you motivated. A good program will involve long, intermediate, and short term goals. Your goals should be measurable. It really helps keep you going when you see how much you’ve improved and how close you are to your next goal. Performance works better for me than weight because, well, it’s so much more fun! You don’t have to do a triathalon. Maybe set a more reachable goal like running a 5k–or anything else that you find enjoyable.

Some other things that may help…

You say your friends don’t want to go with you to work out, so have you tried joining a class? I have some buddies I met in work out classes that I now meet at scheduled times for some weight work or cardio outside of the normal classes. We don’t have much in common other than our work out goals, but it’s nice to have a scheduled time at the gym (that keeps me from skipping it) and someone to chat with while I’m there.

If you don’t find anyone at your current gym, look around at other locations. Different gyms tend to attract different sets of people. Find one where you feel you fit in and you’ll start meeting people with similar goals. You can also try different times. Early mornings at my gym are only for hard core work out fanatics. Lunch hours are too packed to talk to anyone. Evenings are the best for me.

You mentioned that you’re alone. I find it’s hard to keep to a diet when you live alone because it’s so easy to snack when you’re bored or just relaxing with a book or TV show. Try a hobby that keeps you occupied during your off hours so you’re not as tempted to munc. Knitting is a great one for me. I can knit while watching TV or reading. Other people have found needlepoint or other activities help out.

Maybe you’re too thin :slight_smile:

Another thing you might do is track down that 18-year-old whore, show her a photo of yourself at 18, tell her that when she’s your age she will be a fat old whore, and then poke her right in the beezer.

Well, I am 24 so I don’t know that she will be fat by the time that she is my age, but she will probably still be a whore :slight_smile: When I was 18 I was a little heavy but it wasn’t a huge deal, I was just really curvy. Then I got a job at Pizza Hut. I gained 70 pounds in 2 years working there. Damned free pizza! Then I went from community college to a 4 year school where I lived in the dorms and gained another 30 pounds, so I am at a point where I would like to lose 100 lbs over the next year or two. I am currently taking a ballet class that I love (where everyone is thin) but it only meets once a week. I am getting back into the daily workout routine today and I am going to start the dieting part of it after New Years. I even tried to meet people in my area online to work out with me and the one person who was interested just stopped emailing me all of the sudden when I tried set a date for us to meet at the gym. I have a pair of jeans that are 2 sizes too small for me and right now my goal is to fit into them by May.

I lost 60 pounds a few years ago and have managed (for the most part) to keep it off. It was not easy, and it took the better part of two years.

Here’s my advice:

  1. Forget about your long-term goals and get lost in the day-to-day ritual. If you behave well on a certain day (eat the right foods, complete the alloted amount of exercise), allow yourself to take pride in a job well done. On the days when you don’t stick to the plan, resolve to do a better job the next day. Rinse, repeat, etc., etc., and gradually you’ll lose the weight. The key word being gradually.

  2. Ditch the scale and stop scrutinizing yourself in the mirror. A watched pot never boils.

  3. Do it for your health, not just for your looks. At some point or another I realized that becoming thinner would never make me handsome. Better looking, maybe, but never a movie star. I’d need a face transplant for that. On the other hand, I’m much less likely to have heart disease, diabetes, a stroke, or any of the myriad of health problems that plague obese people. It feels good being in shape – who cares what other people think of my looks?

  4. Forget the girl in the red halter top. Unfortunately there are plenty of mean-spirited, insecure assholes in the world who are constantly looking for ways to strike out at others, either because they’re lacking in self-esteem and need to boost their pathetic egos by making others look bad, or because they’re miserable inside and have a perverse desire to spread the pain. Don’t let anybody have that kind of power over you. That girl is worthless pond scum. Brush her off like you would an annoying mosquito.

Good luck. Keep up the good work. You’re doing a fantastic favor for yourself. :wink:

I’ve made the committment to Nutrisystem, starting Jan 1
I will ride my recumbant bike.
Then once I get my knees replaced, I will be purposefully walking everyday

PBBTH I’m so sorry that you had to go through that, and congratulations on your achievement to date. I have lost around 40kg (88 pounds), and I know what you mean. The neverending battle to find motivation is incredible.

Like most people who have fluctuated in weight, I had a bunch of clothes in different sizes. I used them as motivation, fixing up old favourites ready for a new life.

I also found that I really, really felt better when i exercised. The natural high from it, inspired me to continue to do it. An MP3 player with your favourite songs works wonders.

Most of all, even though you have setbacks like the above, people did comment and notice, and they will continue to.

Recently I threw out my larger clothes, and kept all my current size, which I loved. It felt so good :slight_smile:

You have done an amazing job so far and you will continue to do so. Don’t let the bastards get you down :slight_smile:

This is why you do it. Because it feels good. It takes a little while to get going, but you suddenly realize you’re walking father, feeling stronger, noticing you rmuscles as they move with greater power. And you know you’re doing your own self a favour because your health will improve. To hell with the rest of the world - the only person you need please is you and if you keep up the good work, you will!

Thanks for all the input guys! I will be marking this thread and coming back to it when the going gets tough. It’s nice to know other people have kind of been where I am and were able to fight to get healthy again.

One thing that I’ve found helpful for various goals is to write a kind of mission statement for my life. It’s about a page long, and details my goals and why they are important to me. I find if I read that out loud to myself every morning that it just helps me stay focused. Keep it positive, make it things you want, not avoiding things you don’t want. Good luck and try to focus on doing it for your health–it sounds more important than just trying to look good, and while it’s easy to say “to hell with looking good” when your tempted, it sound pretty bad (to me, anyway) to say “to hell with my health” when faced with the same donut. You can do this.

I went from 260 to 180 in about a year myself, and staying motivated was definitely the hardest part. People can be really cruel, I know that first hand.

I started running to lose the weight. When I first started I was an awkward fat dude. At 260, I ran very slowly and only for short periods of time… your typical fat guy run. While friends and family were complimenting my looks and renewed energy, I always dreaded my runs because of the cruelty of strangers. Maybe some of it was in my head, but I swear people in cars would drive by laughing at me. People on porches would yell unflattering things in my direction. One guy threw a half-full water bottle at me during one of my runs.

Sometimes it took the wind out of my sails and made me want to turn around and go back to my apartment. But I used their cruelty as part of my motivation. I figured the best way to say “fuck you” to all those people was to keep on keepin’ on, and that’s what I did. I kept running the same route in front of the same houses with the guys on their porches who drank beer and yelled at me. And eventually, their yelling tapered off as I thinned up and ran more like a “real” runner.

Anyway, I guess my point is that sometimes negative comments can motivate just as much, or more, than positive ones if you get in the right frame of mind. Don’t let the slutty halter top girl make you fat… get thin in spite of her. She’d hate that.

Find a friend or loved one who can be counted on to give you emotional support. Go to them for a pep talk when you feel unmotivated. My husband is wonderful for this, but my mom would do it for me, too, or my friend.

Have you considered taking up punching 18-year-old whores in red halter tops? I hear you can burn a lot of calories that way!

Honestly, I can’t help too much with the motivation thing. I have a really difficult time staying motivated myself. Before my wedding seven years ago, I worked out often but back then I had a goal to look forward to. Once that goal had passed, I got lazy and gained about 30 pounds. I’m trying to take that back off now (Well, 20 of it. I don’t need to be an 8.) It’s really difficult to get myself onto the treadmill, but I try to keep up. I find it’s best to make it a routine: set a time and stick to it. My husband hooked up a TV with cable in the guest room where the treadmill is and that really helps. I usually scope out some TV show sometime between the hours of 5-8:30 p.m. and set that as my workout time. It’s three months and counting and I’m still sticking with it. I’ve found that my two greatest sources of encouragement are the weight loss club here at SDMB and my husband. The other night I really did not feel like getting on the treadmill, and I whined to my husband about it. He said, “That’s okay. You’re so good about doing it, so you don’t have to if you don’t want to.” That helped me realize that I had been good about it and did not want to stop that night.

I lost weight by changing my diet. Stopped snacking on canned fruit in heavy syrup and switched to pre-cut carrots and celery sticks. I had originally balked at this because they cost double un-cut carrots and celery. But then I realized that the chore of peeling and trimming was what was keeping me from good health, and gave in. Now I would never think of buying uncut veggies.
Similarly I switched from cleaning and cutting up head lettuce to bagged shredded lettuce because it was something I would actually do more often.
And switched from thick cream dressings to vinaigrette with canola oil.
Now I can’t stand the taste of any of those old favorite foods, they seem so heavy.

Well, I guess e coli is a fast way to lose weight . . .

Finding a motivator is tough. I get really bored easily, so group fitness (like classes) really work for me. I am also really competitive and am just finishing the Running Room’s Learn to Run Class For Women Only. It was very easy, gradual and I am so proud of myself each time I hit a personal goal. I would recommend the class to anyone because running in a group is so much more fun than on your own. Running is also an easy and cheap way to get and stay in shape. They also have walking courses and higher levels of running.

I just ran 4 K the other day. I was thrilled.

My next goal is to start training for a triathlon. I am hoping to do the half-marathon this summer and maybe even run The Death Race in a relay team (I am also supposed to compete in a bikini competition this summer, I am a ways from that yet).

They key is to find an activity that you enjoy.

I used to hate running, now it’s growing on me. I always wanted to like it, and thought if I learned how to do it properly it woudl be better. It worked.