How do you find a "Why"?

2

Replies

  • kommodevaran
    kommodevaran Posts: 17,890 Member
    I have figured out, for myself at least, that I don't have to be vigilant around food all the time - just like I don't have to be on the watch out so I don't get run over by cars and buses, when I'm not near a road - I only have to make food decisions when I grocery shop, or plan meals, or cook or eat. Removing temptations, or myself from temptations, helps - meal planning is part of that, and scheduled grocery shoppong too, and I limit my time browsing dessert recipes.

    As a living animal, I need food every day. To feed myself properly is my duty as an adult, but it's also great fun, to pick what I need, and what I want most; I feel priveleged and grateful to have access to enough food, safe, tasty and nutritious food, and an appetite for it. This makes me not want to abuse the trust by overeating or otherwise wasting food or eating unbalanced.

    I don't really exercise, but I incorporate movement into my day - functional movement, like walking errands and housework, and just for laughs, playing, mock yoga/running/dancing.

    You can also think of it like this: If you work, why do you go to work every day? If you have teeth, do you brush them every day? How can you be bothered?
  • tlpina82
    tlpina82 Posts: 229 Member
    I don't know. Seriously. I don't know if the mental strain of constant vigilance over food, the having to give more of my limited time for other hobbies over to exercise, the arguments about what food gets cooked for the whole family versus me and the lack of any release mechanism for the constant ongoing stress in my day actually stacks up!

    Is "thin but at the point of mental/emotional collapse" a good place to be?

    Sounds like your mind is made up.
    You should stop a cheesecake factory on the way home.
    Fat and happy... There's nothing wrong with it if that's what you want.

    But, maybe, just maybe, if you deep down want something else, then it's time to stop looking at eating well and exercising as a problem and start looking at it as just another thing you have to do. Like brushing your teeth.

    It's up to you.
  • SabAteNine
    SabAteNine Posts: 1,866 Member
    I am sorry for what happened to you when you were a kid.

    Telling someone who doesn't feel motivated to work out to do so because it's good for them is like telling a depressed person to smile more and think happy thoughts. I'd agree that there are other ways of dealing with external pressure other than submission and compliance.

    But I don't think it's all about the why, I think it's more about the want. What do YOU want? Generally? From life? Break it down into manageable, concrete pieces (or stepping stones if you will), and you may find that some of them relate quite strongly to being fitter, or being healthy as you age.

    Some of us like to eat, others eat to function. That applies to exercise as well. You're not the oddball here - you just need to find something that resonates, ties in with your hobbies, and / or is really important for the long game that you've set.
  • mitchkelly2446
    mitchkelly2446 Posts: 38 Member
    You can also think of it like this: If you work, why do you go to work every day?
    Because I need the money! If I didn't, I wouldn't do it again as long as I live. It's one of things I do have to do.

    However, I'm at the stage where adding any more things I have to do is going to start heavily impinging on the time I have to do any of the things I like to do. I need a positive "why" in order to make it something other than a trade off against my extremely limited fun/pleasure activities. I'm currently running at less than two hours "fun time" per day as it is, once you remove work, commute, chores and basic things like eating, sleeping and showering etc. Pretty much everything is time-limited now, and I need additional stress from plate-spinning more activities like I need a third shoe. General stress from work, travel, family, money plus vigilance around food is already wearing me. I've exercised for years but never, ever felt any improvement in mood levels as a result - I have felt equally stressed/depressed with and without.

  • mitchkelly2446
    mitchkelly2446 Posts: 38 Member
    I have figured out, for myself at least, that I don't have to be vigilant around food all the time - just like I don't have to be on the watch out so I don't get run over by cars and buses, when I'm not near a road
    I have to be constantly vigilant to stop myself raiding the fridge at home or walking across the road at work to the shop. I have to consciously force myself not to go through with those actions, more so when I'm under pressure.
  • try2again
    try2again Posts: 3,564 Member
    Just to add, as far as the "why", this comment came to mind from an excellent thread on the topic ( https://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/818701/the-myth-of-motivation-and-what-you-need-instead/p1 ):

    You are going to die. And neglecting your health and fitness is more likely to hasten your departure. Furthermore, the days you do have will be spent with less energy and more pain if you choose to eat crap and be sedentary. The motivation, the “why”, to exercise and eat nutritious foods in appropriate quantity is present and strong. The bigger mystery is why we choose to ignore the need for proper diet and exercise in the face of obvious requirement.

    I would venture to say that everyone's "why" essentially boils down to feeling better (physically and/or emotionally) & extending his/her life. If a person is miserable anyway and hates their life, there's just not a lot to work with.
  • ravergirl1992
    ravergirl1992 Posts: 39 Member
    For me I want to look good on holiday, so when I'm struggling I visualize myself in that bikini on a beach, and how I want to look and feel wearing it. Gets me through tough sessions at the gym, and steers me away from the chocolate aisle at the supermarket. Be kind to yourself, one treat here and there isn't going to hurt, big picture!!
  • 88olds
    88olds Posts: 4,118 Member
    Great thread BTW.

    Just my experience, I thought weight loss would be the death of fun. What I found though was liberation.
  • mitchkelly2446
    mitchkelly2446 Posts: 38 Member
    try2again wrote: »
    I don't see that anyone has addressed this specifically, but honestly the message that's coming across to me from this thread is that you are not a happy person. I get the sense that even if all the struggles with maintaining your healthy lifestyle were removed, you wouldn't necessarily be satisfied. I'm hearing a job you don't like, a ridiculous commute (that alone would suck the joy out of my life), and surrounded by people that you perceive to be critical. Taking care of yourself sounds like one more obligation you don't want. Maybe it's strictly situational, or maybe it's clinical, but have you ever sought counseling to help you sort things out?

    Forgive me if I'm being presumptuous... let's just say your sentiments sound awfully familiar :(

    After I typed this, I saw your comment above, which seems to confirm what I was thinking.

    No, not presumptuous: accurate. I was put on a list for counselling years ago, after a three year wait I got twelve sessions, was pronounced "cured" and turfed back out of the system to get by on antidepressants and my own resources. Currently diet and exercise sound like one more task, rather like adding another toilet to be cleaned.

    I make and follow through on the decision to go to work every day, but only on the basis of the negative consequences of failing to do so. I genuinely doubt if I have enough mental and emotional strength to commit to one more set of tasks driven by the consequences of failure. TBH, the improved physical fitness side feels like being a farm horse kept in good condition so you can work it harder for longer!
  • saragd012
    saragd012 Posts: 706 Member
    I have so many answers to "why" but it does not sound like these answers would apply for you. I find great joy in setting a goal and accomplishing it. I don't enjoy running, but I enjoy completing a race/run and having a beer with friends after. I love that feeling when I know it's time to add more weight, because I've dominated the last few sets of something that used to kill me. I particularly enjoy doing these things in group settings to push myself further and socialize and share in the excitement after we've given it everything. Also I enjoy looking lean, and find motivation in the idea that one day I could build enough muscle to also look as strong as I feel.

    Your hobbies all sound like very solo activities, and I saw your comment about not really socializing outside of work, so I imagine social reasons are very unappealing to you.

    So, what's your commute like? Are you driving or taking a train/bus? Is there any way you could get off/park a few blocks early and briskly walk the remainder? Or join a very heap gym by your work so you could use their facilities after an early morning run? I'm fortunate that my work has a gym, but when I was more pressed for time I'd arrive 45 min early, run 3ish miles downtown and take a quick shower before heading to my office. It was annoying to wake up early but once I was done I knew I was good for the day so that was nice.
  • mitchkelly2446
    mitchkelly2446 Posts: 38 Member
    saragd012 wrote: »

    Your hobbies all sound like very solo activities, and I saw your comment about not really socializing outside of work, so I imagine social reasons are very unappealing to you.

    I don't socialise outside work, basically I don't have any friends that live nearer than about 40 miles. I've tried making friends with locals/neighbours but I have so little in common with them in terms of interests and life experiences that we just don't gel at all.
    So, what's your commute like? Are you driving or taking a train/bus? Is there any way you could get off/park a few blocks early and briskly walk the remainder? Or join a very heap gym by your work so you could use their facilities after an early morning run? I'm fortunate that my work has a gym, but when I was more pressed for time I'd arrive 45 min early, run 3ish miles downtown and take a quick shower before heading to my office. It was annoying to wake up early but once I was done I knew I was good for the day so that was nice.

    I'm driving 40 miles odd in each direction which takes 1.25-1.5 hours. I have to work fixed hours - no flexibility, which in the job I do is nonsensical, but that's another story. There are no gyms nearby except for the very expensive chain ones (where I work is a spa town, everything is expensive!) and work doesn't have a shower or even facilities to change clothes except for a toilet cubicle. I'm lucky if I get a proper lunch break, because as I have a troubleshooting role, I'm pretty much on call if I'm on site. The gym I use is attached to a school, so it isn't available except after work, hence an early start isn't viable. As it is I get up at half-past six, leave the hour shortly after seven and on a good evening will get home/to the gym at about half past six. Short of sleeping less or giving up any pretense of having hobbies there's nowhere to gain back any time! I just can't see how getting up earlier to go for a run so that by the end of the day I'm even more tired is going to help.
  • tracybear86
    tracybear86 Posts: 163 Member
    Maybe try just concentrating on tracking your calories right now and don't worry so much about the exerciese until your food is more under control? When the food becomes more of a routine than something you need to think/stress about then you could try adding in some exercise.
    Or maybe you just aren't ready to put in the energy it takes to lose weight right now. I know I "tried" to lose weight for years and nothing really happened. I made every excuse in the book as to why I wasn't losing anything and then one day something just clicked and I was tired of how I looked and felt. I got serious and honest with myself and am almost to my goal weight now. I believe true motivation to change for most people has to come from within.
  • try2again
    try2again Posts: 3,564 Member
    Looking back over the thread, I realized that there wasn't any mention of where you are currently at as far as your weight & fitness? A couple of things you said gave me the impression that you have been at this a while, and thus may not be in that bad of shape. Is your current weight such that it would be deemed a danger to your health? If not, how would you feel about focusing on maintenance and keeping up a reasonable amount of activity to maintain your fitness, rather than feel like you need to keep pressing for bigger & better goals?
  • mitchkelly2446
    mitchkelly2446 Posts: 38 Member
    OK.

    Height 5'10" (178cm), weight is 100kg (220lb), age 51.

    Gives me a BMI of 32. I guess I ought to aim to be about 87kg in the first instance (overweight).

    I would need to be 77kg to be in the healthy range. That's 4kg lighter than I've ever been in my adult life, including the time when I was working in construction and spending all day running about, lifting timbers and not eating lunch.

    I work in science now, a mix of lab and office, essentially sedentary.

    About 3.5 years ago, I severely damaged my ankle - total rupture of the posterial tibial tendon. I would barely walk, couldn't do anything and was in severe, constant pain. I think this was caused by running on the road initially then worsened by continuing to run/lift heavy on the damage. This was repaired by grafting another tendon into the break. This cost me five months on crutches in a cast, three month physio and orders not to exercise other than walking for a year. Finally restarted but had gone from a twenty minute commute to 90 minutes as a result of redundancy, and being told by the doctor that I must not (not won't be able do, but must not) try to get back to where I was before my injury. No advice on how far I could go, just "not to where you were".

    Been on citalopram for 20 years - no major episodes for 9-10 years, but doesn't seem to make the days any better. Asthma from childhood, well-controlled but with extensive lung scarring from drug-resistant pneumonia as a five year old.

    What else would be useful to know?
  • EatLikeAHuman
    EatLikeAHuman Posts: 30 Member
    I tried getting into fitness many times before it stuck. The reason it stuck this time is because I wasn't doing it for any external reason, but for its own reward.

    I found the "why" after having a complete mental breakdown. A full-on, lost-my-job, could-barely-get-out-of-bed-for-weeks mental breakdown.

    As it turned out I had been living with an undiagnosed and untreated mental health condition. It made it nearly impossible for me to do the bare minimum to just scrape by, let alone the "extra" stuff people "have" to do (exercising, socializing, eating well, etc).

    I received treatment, both through the appropriate medication and through cognitive behavioral therapy, and I now simply have a drive to want to improve myself and my life. The exercise and eating well is something I look at as medicine now. If I have a day where I wake up with no direction and that familiar sense of aimlessness, I bust out a workout. It takes all the little robots running around my brain and puts them in a nice straight line. I would never have gotten here if I hadn't called out for help. And I was very lucky to have a loving family who helped me up when I fell down.

    So that's my "why". I never want to feel so mentally sick ever again.

    I really hope you can find someone to help.
  • Bry_Fitness70
    Bry_Fitness70 Posts: 2,484 Member
    My perception is that you know "why" but loath the process so deeply that the "why" isn't compelling to you. If you want to be healthy, feel good, have energy, live longer, look better, fit in your clothes, etc, engage in fitness activities. If these benefits don't motivate you, then you have to accept the consequences of neglecting yourself, which are far more painful than enduring workouts and eating a reasonable diet.

  • hipari
    hipari Posts: 1,367 Member
    I really, sincerely hope you get better and reach your goals. I have just one humble suggestion: instead of trying to find your why, try to find your joy. When there’s more enjoyment in life, the not-so-fun necessities are easier to bear as well. And who knows, maybe finding your joy leads to finding things helping you with weight loss.

    You mentioned having hobbies, what are your hobbies and do you enjoy them? Could you use them as a motivation? Like if your hobby is, I don’t know bowling, losing weight might help you with your bowling and that might motivate you. Or having less weight on your middle might make leaning over crafts or puzzles easier. Whatever makes you happy. TBH, in my opinion it’s more important to find long-term happiness than long-term weight loss, even when it means you’ll be a happy obese person instead of a miserable skinny & fit person. Of course, most of us here want to combine those and be happy & fit.

    Also: we have somewhat similar stats (despite the fact that I’m a 26-year-old woman) and I also have a history with ankle injuries. If you want, add me as a friend and I’ll support you to the best of my ability.
  • mitchkelly2446
    mitchkelly2446 Posts: 38 Member
    My perception is that you know "why" but loath the process so deeply that the "why" isn't compelling to you. If you want to be healthy, feel good, have energy,
    When I've been lifting, running etc for months and months and months, then WHY do I still feel physically and mentally dreadful and have the energy level of a dead battery? WHY isn't it simple biomechanics - work hard, feel better?