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How do I convince my brain to lose weight?

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  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Member, Premium Posts: 20,301 Member Member, Premium Posts: 20,301 Member
    Steve25k wrote: »
    I read something last night that stuck with me this morning. It was something like - A fixation with the end goal demeans the here and now. It renders the moments we live less important than the place we want to go.

    This means that I need to learn to love the process, the journey, and not focus solely on the end result.

    Exactly as many of you had said:
    nasr25 wrote: »
    What I mean is that instead of become so emotionally invested in how or how much weight I was losing I started loving the process of it.


    I think I am embarassed by the process, I want to hide away and do it on my own. Admitting I'm trying to lose weight means admitting that I am obese. It's obvious that I'm obese, everyone can see it's true, but I think in my head if I don't admit it, it isn't a problem.

    I think my goal should be to "be healthy" and I can start that today - I can't start to "be thin" or "be 100lbs lighter" today.

    That brain shift for me--from eating less to "lose weight" to making better choices/eating less to be healthy--was what made the difference for me.

    There's been a lot of great advice already but I don't think I see it yet, but one thing successful people will tell you is to rely on discipline rather than motivation. Motivation comes and goes, but discipline is something you can cultivate for long-lasting success. The thing is with discipline, your goal has to be important enough to you to stick with it when it gets tough, or pick yourself back up when you fall off the wagon a bit. View mistakes or falling off the wagon as opportunities to learn rather than excuse to just throw in the towel.

    As others have said, start with small, sustainable changes. Maybe for now that means logging your food without the intent to restrict it initially, just so you get an idea how much you eat and where you can start to make changes. Remember, these are habits you want to build for life (maybe not necessarily the tracking part), so if it feels way too hard right now and the end goal isn't big enough to overcome that, you may fail.

    When I say this, I acknowledge in advance I'm being a weirdo: For me, I don't even consider discipline to be a workable foundation, as a hedonistic old-hippie type. (I don't know that I'm officially "successful" either, but I have been at a healthy weight for 5+ years now, after multiple previous decades at a weight that was class 1 obese, or at least nearby.) I'm not a disciplined person, rarely "motivated" long term.

    For me, what worked was to use my limited supply of discipline temporarily, plus some intellectual curiosity, to experiment with calorie counting, seeking a good balance of reasonable calories, adequate nutrition, satiation, tastiness, practicality, and that sort of thing on the food side; and mostly enjoyable activity on the exercise side of things. It was like a fun science-fair experiment for grown-ups.

    Experimentation led to finding the sweet spots where things were easy, i.e., I found habits that were not difficult or or demanding, that kept me at a reasonable calorie balance without too much effort, thought, or stress. I needed a little discipline during the experimentation, and during the time where some of the habits became automatic, but long term they're just habits, routine.

    I'm not saying that will work for everyone. (Personalization of methods is key to success, I think.)

    In a way, I think my conceptual framing is similar to what the PP said about enjoying the process. I have habits that are easy and happy, and the fact that if followed they'll keep me at a reasonable weight so my future self can be as happy/healthy as possible: That's plenty of motivation, to do easy stuff. If there were a bunch of difficulty and self-denial and hard stuff involved, no way it would stick long term.

    As an aside, IMO, someone who's motivated by the scale drop, and doesn't find *some* alternative to that along the way, is going to have a really hard time in maintenance, when the scale is supposed to stop dropping. If that person has used approaches to lose weight that don't feel sustainable long term, that require really high motivation or discipline because they're unpleasant, it will be doubly difficult to handle maintenance.

    There's something to be said for finding one's personal "relatively easy", and running with it.

    P.S. I'm not intending to be disagreeing with the post I quoted. I'm intending to riff on this part of the "conversation" to talk about alternative ways to conceptualize the process, because I really do think different things work for different people. I'd bet there are a few people out there who feel so proud about doing things that are really super difficult that that can be super motivating, make them feel like a champion, help them stick with it long term. I am NOT that person, and I'm thinking I'm probably not the only one.😉
  • lmf1012lmf1012 Member Posts: 250 Member Member Posts: 250 Member
    @AnnPT77

    I have to agree with you on this. A great friend of mine would tell me constantly that all I needed was more discipline. I hate to exercise, and find that to be a particularly more difficult part of losing weight. So, at first I put my focus on the diet side of the calorie equation, knowing I’d find that to be much easier. I also knew that trying to fix my eating and add in exercise at the same time would make me want to quit rather quickly. Now that I have the eating part working like a well oiled machine, I have started lifting weights and am actually finding it enjoyable.
  • plcarpenterplcarpenter Member, Premium Posts: 80 Member Member, Premium Posts: 80 Member
    My brain is such a jerk. I'm trying to stick to a healthy eating plan so that I can lose some weight to get back to feeling good, healthy, and fit. My brain is such a liar too, we are all on board with doing the right thing, we have agreed to no eat out too much, snack on unhealthy snacks, and drink too much booze but the moment there is even a suggestion to get take out (usually food that's gonna make me bloat up like a tick) my brain is YES that sounds awesome lets do it and brain takes over, then the next day when brain is off thinking about going for a walk or hike I'm like Hey, what happend last night, I thought we were on the same team? Brain doesn't give a *kitten*, so selfish and bossy and sure as *kitten* not giving a damn about what heart and lungs needs to stay alive and be healthy. I'm so tired of brains BS.
  • plcarpenterplcarpenter Member, Premium Posts: 80 Member Member, Premium Posts: 80 Member
    Ha! That's funny MFP replaced "$h!T" with "kitten"
  • LietchiLietchi Member Posts: 2,223 Member Member Posts: 2,223 Member
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    Steve25k wrote: »
    I read something last night that stuck with me this morning. It was something like - A fixation with the end goal demeans the here and now. It renders the moments we live less important than the place we want to go.

    This means that I need to learn to love the process, the journey, and not focus solely on the end result.

    Exactly as many of you had said:
    nasr25 wrote: »
    What I mean is that instead of become so emotionally invested in how or how much weight I was losing I started loving the process of it.


    I think I am embarassed by the process, I want to hide away and do it on my own. Admitting I'm trying to lose weight means admitting that I am obese. It's obvious that I'm obese, everyone can see it's true, but I think in my head if I don't admit it, it isn't a problem.

    I think my goal should be to "be healthy" and I can start that today - I can't start to "be thin" or "be 100lbs lighter" today.

    That brain shift for me--from eating less to "lose weight" to making better choices/eating less to be healthy--was what made the difference for me.

    There's been a lot of great advice already but I don't think I see it yet, but one thing successful people will tell you is to rely on discipline rather than motivation. Motivation comes and goes, but discipline is something you can cultivate for long-lasting success. The thing is with discipline, your goal has to be important enough to you to stick with it when it gets tough, or pick yourself back up when you fall off the wagon a bit. View mistakes or falling off the wagon as opportunities to learn rather than excuse to just throw in the towel.

    As others have said, start with small, sustainable changes. Maybe for now that means logging your food without the intent to restrict it initially, just so you get an idea how much you eat and where you can start to make changes. Remember, these are habits you want to build for life (maybe not necessarily the tracking part), so if it feels way too hard right now and the end goal isn't big enough to overcome that, you may fail.

    When I say this, I acknowledge in advance I'm being a weirdo: For me, I don't even consider discipline to be a workable foundation, as a hedonistic old-hippie type. (I don't know that I'm officially "successful" either, but I have been at a healthy weight for 5+ years now, after multiple previous decades at a weight that was class 1 obese, or at least nearby.) I'm not a disciplined person, rarely "motivated" long term.

    For me, what worked was to use my limited supply of discipline temporarily, plus some intellectual curiosity, to experiment with calorie counting, seeking a good balance of reasonable calories, adequate nutrition, satiation, tastiness, practicality, and that sort of thing on the food side; and mostly enjoyable activity on the exercise side of things. It was like a fun science-fair experiment for grown-ups.

    Experimentation led to finding the sweet spots where things were easy, i.e., I found habits that were not difficult or or demanding, that kept me at a reasonable calorie balance without too much effort, thought, or stress. I needed a little discipline during the experimentation, and during the time where some of the habits became automatic, but long term they're just habits, routine.

    I'm not saying that will work for everyone. (Personalization of methods is key to success, I think.)

    In a way, I think my conceptual framing is similar to what the PP said about enjoying the process. I have habits that are easy and happy, and the fact that if followed they'll keep me at a reasonable weight so my future self can be as happy/healthy as possible: That's plenty of motivation, to do easy stuff. If there were a bunch of difficulty and self-denial and hard stuff involved, no way it would stick long term.

    As an aside, IMO, someone who's motivated by the scale drop, and doesn't find *some* alternative to that along the way, is going to have a really hard time in maintenance, when the scale is supposed to stop dropping. If that person has used approaches to lose weight that don't feel sustainable long term, that require really high motivation or discipline because they're unpleasant, it will be doubly difficult to handle maintenance.

    There's something to be said for finding one's personal "relatively easy", and running with it.

    P.S. I'm not intending to be disagreeing with the post I quoted. I'm intending to riff on this part of the "conversation" to talk about alternative ways to conceptualize the process, because I really do think different things work for different people. I'd bet there are a few people out there who feel so proud about doing things that are really super difficult that that can be super motivating, make them feel like a champion, help them stick with it long term. I am NOT that person, and I'm thinking I'm probably not the only one.😉

    I think there are different interpretations of the word 'discipline' and you're not necessarily far apart in what you mean.
    I interpreted 'discipline' in the sense of 'consistency' (perhaps because I'm hedonistic myself and making myself do things I don't like would backfire, so that's what fits with my view).
    And yes, consistency is way more important (to me) than motivation. I focus on the process (which, BTW, I made as painless as possible), because it works in the long-term (which makes me happy, in the sense of fulfilled) but I have long periods without any particular motivation (in the short term sense of being excited, raring to go) and I just keep plugging along out of habit. Occasionally I'll get to a certain milestone (new low weight - but that's rare now since I'm inching closer to my goal weight-, improving my running times/distances, lifting heavier weights, etc.) which gives me a little boost, but that's not my focus.
  • Anniesquats100Anniesquats100 Member Posts: 676 Member Member Posts: 676 Member
    One thing that brings me back to reality is the Photos Only Success Stories thread. Looking at people with their weights next to them makes me face that my current weight looks obese. Then my brain gets on board with dieting.

    Another thing is the challenges. Being on a team makes me less likely to go over calories.
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