Why is consistency so hard for most people?



  • lavendy17
    lavendy17 Posts: 309 Member
    2. They are treating the symptoms of the issue.

    ^ THIS

    I was told this once that eating too much (and subsequently weight gain) is a symptom and you can't fix a symptom.

    The woman who told me this asked me why I thought I was over weight and I had no clue. Years down the road I started to see her point, and learned I had a lot of 'whys' and I bust through them one by one. A few still linger but I've virtually maintained for years now thanks to treating the problems and not the symptoms.
  • hhanse45
    hhanse45 Posts: 8
    Eating is a lot like breathing...our body puts it on autopilot; most of the time, we don't even think about it. We can change how we breath or eat for short periods of time, but only when most of our attention is focused on that. Eventually, life happens. We get distracted and focus on other things (there are so many more interesting things to think about than calories), and eating goes back on autopilot. If autopilot made us fat once, you can bet it will do it again.

    It is very unnatural to govern our food choices based off of computer programs and calories and macros rather than just listening intuitively to what our body wants and needs. It's more surprising that anyone logs consistently in the long term.

    I have been using another program like MFP (just works better for me visually, I'm here for the forums) on and off for two years, and have had great results. Every time I stop logging, it is an attempt to use the new habits that I have learned and try to live skinny on my autopilot. I usually maintain for a few months, then start sliding back into old patterns. As soon as I start gaining again, I go back to logging.

    For me, the end goal is not just the weight loss, but being able to maintain it without having to think about it or be a slave to it. That would be true success.
  • lavendy17
    lavendy17 Posts: 309 Member
    Because, inherently, placing any restrictions on consumption runs counter to the human make up. We, as a species, just don't take well to purposeful, consistent efforts to control food intake and lose weight. And we also naturally resist being told "no" if there is no immediate gratification for doing so. In the past this wasn't nearly as big of an issue because we not only worked harder in labor jobs, we also relied more on foods that were naturally higher in volume, but lower in calories; more natural staples. Food has become easier than ever to obtain, and much of it is man-made and altered to be high in calorie, but low in volume. It's the perfect storm for obesity.

    This is why people who eat everything in moderation, make "lifestyle changes" that seem permanent, who genuinely enjoy their new found way of eating, moving, and living still almost always fall back into old habits. The food is ever plentiful, the desire to be "normal" and eat everything without restriction takes over, and BAM, right back where you started.

    Asking a human being to not only restrict their eating for the time it takes to shed excess weight, but for all time, is a daunting task. Which is why you'll never know if you made a true "lifestyle change" until you've actually walked it out. Somebody just a few months, a year, hell even 5 years into a weight loss or maintenance journey can not exclaim that they've made a "lifestyle change". It's all wishful thinking until you've actually walked it out.

    What do you mean by "walked it out"?
  • oedipa_maas
    oedipa_maas Posts: 577 Member
    I think part of the problem is that people equate consistency with perfection.

    They think any time they're not living up to their idea of perfection, whether it's eating cake at a wedding, skipping exercise for a few days, or seeing a slight gain on the scale, they've screwed up, so they quit.

    They don't realize that consistency includes imperfections. There's going to be days that things come up and you don't exercise when you'd planned on it, when you eat foods that weren't the most nutritious, when you get invited to a friends' house to try out their new Margaritaville Mixed Drink Maker, and in the name of SCIENCE, you need to try all possible combinations.

    This a thousand times.
  • oedipa_maas
    oedipa_maas Posts: 577 Member
    My lack of consistency can be traced to a few things.

    1. Impatience with the process and then giving up because "it's not making a difference anyway"

    2. Resistance to any discomfort. Most times I should push through a little harder, but instead I say, "Too hard, forget this. "
    (this is not about experiencing pain; that's a different thing)

    3. Looking at the amount of time it will take to hit my goals and giving up.

    4. Making a bad plan which immediately sets me up for failure, so I just think, "There, that proves I can't lose weight." Bad plans include extreme diets, completely omitting macros because they are "bad," starving myself, using cleanses which only hurt my efforts and pathologizes food.

    5. Not having a health buddy, whether it's online or in my real life. Always going it alone hasn't really worked out for me. With support, I have both accountability and a sensible voice urging me not to quit.

    6. Let's face it, I'm lazy when it comes to exercise. "I really need to watch all 3 seasons of the Mighty Boosh, I'll go another time."

    I would agree with all of these and add a couple of my own:

    1. Trying to lose weight to please others instead of yourself (or doing it out of spite (this was me))

    2. Some folks REALLY suck at cooking and think they can't lose weight unless they cook (not me :-))

    3. Creating long term weight loss goals and not enjoying the small victories (this was me)

    4. Not having a visual motivator (I have a pair of jeans I used to be able to wear pinned on my wall its the first thing I see in the morning)

    5. Not having/knowing a sport they truly enjoy (this was me). For instance last year I discovered I love playing tennis...so when I play I don't "feel" like I am working out. I also swim now which is another sport I like that was also not hard on my joints.

    6. Not dealing with depression or the reasons for the depression (this was/can be me)

    Yes yes yes. I did spite dieting too. Boy did that boomerang on me!

    I have a beautiful red lace bra hanging where I can see it in my bedroom. I'm going to get my boobage into that thing if it's the last thing I do.
  • Edensienna
    Edensienna Posts: 180 Member
    I had a 300 day streak and lost it while on vacation.. Back up to 60 now.

    This is the first time in my life I have been so consistent. I guess I felt a real need to shed those excess pounds.

    It has taken almost 1 year to lose 20lbs. Consistency was to only way to do it.
  • Iwishyouwell
    Iwishyouwell Posts: 1,888 Member
    For me, the end goal is not just the weight loss, but being able to maintain it without having to think about it or be a slave to it. That would be true success.

    That is my definition of success as well.
  • Just_Ceci
    Just_Ceci Posts: 5,926 Member
    To think, like a 'slim' person is the key.

    I am wondering if I will ever be able to think like a slim person. I reached my goal weight just before Thanksgiving last year and have pretty much maintained that weight. When I look in the mirror, I still see the fat me.
    For me, the end goal is not just the weight loss, but being able to maintain it without having to think about it or be a slave to it. That would be true success.

    I have logged every day for almost 2 years. I want to be able to maintain my weight without logging, but I'm afraid I will slip back into old habits. I think I need to take a cruise or some such vacation where I have no choice but to not log and see what happens!
  • kommodevaran
    kommodevaran Posts: 17,890 Member
    It is very unnatural to govern our food choices based off of computer programs and calories and macros rather than just listening intuitively to what our body wants and needs. It's more surprising that anyone logs consistently in the long term.
    I think it is just as unnatural to be completely surrounded by sweet fatty foodstuffs at all times. To defend our systems from overload, calorie counting is an easy way out.
  • I think people get discouraged when they fall off the wagon (I know this, because I do). My new attitude is: if I do have a bad day, to make sure it's not a bad week, And if I have a bad week (I hope I don't), I'll make sure it's not a bad month.
  • I think results aren't seen right away and they lose hope. People around them eat what they want and you have to be determined not for a day for your life. When you lose any weight esp large amounts that doesn't mean you get taco bell and binge out. That means your butt gets a salad or a health choice. When spouses or significant others aren't supportive that makes you stumble. Not blaming others but if does effect you. Changing your life is hard you have to work for every pound and account for everything you eat and want it ore then anything otherwise you will find yourself a week or two later back where you started eating right for a week and exercise doesn't mean you will see the effects.It takes time.
  • RM10003
    RM10003 Posts: 316 Member
    I know that for me, operating on a feelings basis messes things up. So, even when I don't want to work out or don't want to eat well because of how I "feel" I have to turn that switch of and just do.

    If I don't do that then it is easy to not be consistent because I give in to feeling tired or sad or not in the mood or lazy etc. Consistency comes from just doing it (Nike got that one right!) and enjoying the feelings that come afterward.

    This is me, too. If I ask myself "do I want to get up early and go to the gym?" or "do I want to plan tomorrow's food and pack my breakfast/lunch/snacks now instead of chilling out with my husband?" the answer will never be yes. But when I do get to the gym before work and have a day of healthy food ready, I'm always happy with the end result.
  • violetcharms
    violetcharms Posts: 158 Member
    "I don't know what alien invaded me, but now that I have awoken from my nightmare, i am up to 34 inches on my waist, from 31-32. WTF just happened???"

    I guess in my case, I give into temptations too easily.. ie BF's mom's home cooked food, friends invitations to lunch at Chilli's or at TGIF. Then once I start to let go, I completely lose it and next thing I know, I have eaten 2 burgers, all the fries that come with it and downed a vanilla milkshake to wash it down.

    Am struggling as I am the biggest I have ever been in my life.

    I just wish I am able to keep myself motivated the right way, and keep going at it consistently.