Determination, Diet, and Insanity

At times in the past, I’ve discussed with my friends how one is motivated to do things. Where does motivation come from? Or rather, how do you find the motivation to get up and do whatever it is you are trying to do? I like these conversations, because it helps me understand the thinking of others. For me, I don’t usually think about finding motivation, but about being determined to make a decision. My thought processes work a little differently. If I make a decision to take an action, I take that action. If I decide I’m going to take a certain action each day (like exercising), once I make that decision then I don’t have to make it again. I don’t need to fight that choice each day. Once I decide, I just do it. So, logically, after explaining this to my friend, she asked, “Then why do you have such trouble dieting?” 

Good question. It’s because I wasn’t actually deteremined to do it. I hate dieting, it’s awful and horrible. I use food as a stress reliever, which means when you take the inherent stress of changing your diet and also add the stress that would normally be alleviated by the food in question… that makes me hate life. Eating “healthy” stuff, eating stuff that’s good for me, but stuff that doesn’t really make me happy… yeah, yeah, yeah, I know you’re sitting there and thinking “Oh, but you can still healthy eat things that’ll make you happy…” Uh-huh, heard it before. It doesn’t work for me. I become a real asshole. (Yes, I’m leaving you that opening, my dear commentors).

My weight has been steadily increasing and it needed to stop. I tried starting the Insanity workout last year, but my lower back didn’t survive and I had to stop half way through. I have been stretching and working on it so that I could start up again. Over the holidays, I saw a picture of my dad and it reminded me of the health problems he has experienced, currently experiences and will fight with for the rest of his life… and there it was. The determination. I can’t let that be me. So, the motivation was a desire to avoid an outcome, but one can have that desire without the determination to act on it. The determination is key, and in that moment, I acquired it.

I was ready to start Insanity again and began on January 7th. I decided to use my Wii Fit to track my weight progress and to help continue to stretch and strengthen my lower back. It helps you set a goal. The most it would let me set as my weight loss goal was 22 pounds. I chose 6 months as my time period, because I thought that sounded reasonable. 

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday… KICKED. MY. ASS. Thursday night I thought to myself, “Damn, this is REALLY FREAKING hard. If I’m going to work THIS hard, I need to make sure it is worth it.” Since dieting has been SO hard for me in the past, I was only planning on the exercise, but wasn’t planning on changing my diet because I knew both at the same time would be too difficult. The food was my outlet for stress. I was determined, however, so I wasn’t asking myself “Will I do something?” I was asking “What will I do to make sure I’m losing weight without destroying myself emotionally which will cause me to quit?”

It hit me: Eat the same old crap and eat it early.

If I can still maintain the stress relief from food, then I remove the emotional problems. I’ll just eat the same crap I normally eat, but less of it. I also decided that breakfast and lunch should, essentially, go unchanged. Being hungry makes me HATE LIFE. If I’m happy with breakfast and happy with lunch, then I can skimp on dinner and be hungry as I’m getting tired at night. Then I don’t have to live with being hungry for long, because I go to sleep. 

So, yeah, I still eat Jack in the Box and McDonald’s and Taco Bell (as well as the other, not as awful foods I commonly eat). It sounds ludicrous, right? But my thinking was “It’s math. If you’ve got a problem with it, take it up with math.” If the number of calories I burn each day is more than the number of calories I consume each day, then I’m going to lose weight. Staying happy is essential to survival. 🙂

My good friends have been using an iPhone app called MyFitnessPal. It helps you track calories for food and exercise, etc. I downloaded it and it asked me about my goals. I decided to use the same ones I configured for WiiFit, told it my height, weight, etc. It calculated how many net calories I could consume per day to meet my goal. 1950. Remember, that’s NET, which means if I exercise then I can consume more calories without exceeding my goal. I sat down and started searching my favorite foods in the large database of foods in the MyFitnessPal app. Over the next few days I put together food combinations of stuff that made me happy and made sure to eat enough to sate me for Breakfast and Lunch and then skimp on dinner. 

It’s working.

If you had told me the numbers ahead of time, I would have said you were nuts. However, I have been able to remain happy on my 1950 net calories! To put the change in perspective, I just added the calorie count in a common set of Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and Snacks for a “normal” day before I started my workout and diet… and it was more than 4300 calories. To make it even crazier, I’m NOT using the entire 1950 per day. The 1950 goal is already supposed to account for the desired weight loss, but to ensure that I’m not screwing up by undercounting food and overcounting my Insanity workouts, I try to leave 200-300 calories untouched EVERY DAY. So, really I’m living on about 1650-1750 net calories per day.. but I’m happy! Because I’m still eating the crappy food that makes me happy.

It’s counter-intuitive, I know. I’m losing weight by eating crap.

How much? Friday, January 11th was my first food/exercise diary and I was 262 pounds. In 10 days, I’ve lost 6 pounds. That sounds insane (and it kind of is), but I’m very overweight so losing that many pounds so quickly isn’t a scary thing. (and don’t worry, I’m staying hydrated, It’s not just 6 pounds of water!) I have no doubt the speed will slow down at some point, but I’m determined to continue. 

  January 7 January 21
  Fit Test 1 Fit Test 2
Weight 262+ 256 (-6)
Waist Size 50 1/2″ 49 3/4″ (-3/4″)
Switch Kicks 64 99 (+35)
Power Jacks 31 38 (+7)
Power Knees 76 90 (+14)
Power Jumps 13 17 (+4)
Globe Jumps 5 7 (+2)
Suicide Jumps 3 7 (+4)
Push-Up Jacks 6 14 (+8)
Low Plank Oblique 15 30 (+15)