Motivation vs Self Discipline

November 23, 2014 Leave a comment

I saw a meme floating around a few weeks ago saying that motivation is great for starting something new, but for keeping at it for the long-term you need self-discipline.

I went for a run this morning. I really, really didn’t want to. Wasn’t in the mood, was tired from a long day yesterday, a little sore from wearing a constricting corset-like garment most of the day…etc. etc. etc. Didn’t wanna do it. But I fucking did it anyway.

These two statements are, obviously, related. In that I had zero motivation to run today but I did it anyway because I have an abundance of self-discipline. And I really do believe that losing weight is highly reliant on motivation – you won’t even start without some motivation, and motivation can definitely see you through the short-term discomforts of the process – motivation to look good for a reunion, or a wedding, or some other finite event.

But I think I’m qualified to say that it’s not going to keep it off for the long-term. Ten-plus years later, the only thing keeping my weight in (what I consider to be) an acceptable range is the self-discipline to keep doing the things necessary to maintain it, day in and day out.

I used to think self-discipline was something you learned as a child through your upbringing. I thought this because I had a pretty harsh upbringing where I was regularly required (forced) to do things I didn’t want to do, against my will. I did them despite my reluctance because I wasn’t given a choice. So I became accustomed to, and learned to accept, the actions of doing things I didn’t want to do on a regular basis.


I have 3 siblings, and they were raised under the same regime. Are they all self-discipline badasses? No. Some are, and some aren’t. So it can’t be a “failing of your upbringing” if you don’t have self-discipline. And since that’s the case, it leads me to think that self-discipline must be either one of two things:

  1. Something you are inherently born with, or…
  2. Something you can learn as an adult.

But…that means that if it is something you can learn as an adult, you would need motivation to start learning it, and self-discipline to continue learning it. What a conundrum!

So I guess what I’m saying is I don’t know why I ended up with a  huge dose of self-discipline. I know I have it and can rely on it to get me through hard or challenging circumstances, and that the level of self-discipline I’ve had has fluctuated over the course of my life in relation to various goals. I think that it is something that works hand-in-hand with motivation in allowing people to succeed at things they may not have previously thought was possible.

And with getting my ass out on the road for a run.

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Running in the Rain

November 19, 2014 Leave a comment

I went for a run in the rain today. I’d meant to go for a run yesterday afternoon, but I was derailed by a migraine. So I kept my promise to myself and ran today despite the rain, and it was really lovely. It’s not like I care if I get wet – by the time I’ve finished a run I’m soaked in sweat anyway and need a shower, so what does it matter if a little rain water gets on me?

It’s still raining now, and boy do we need it here in Northern California. I hope it’s still raining tomorrow, maybe I’ll run in it again.

I’ve been slowly working my way back to running after a few weeks off due to an injury I sustained on my last business trip to Denver, Colorado. I fainted and bounced my head off a brick wall. That sounds really bad but it’s not quite as bad as it sounds.* It’s worse than ideal though. In any case, I was on a concussion watch and had a lot of headaches for a while there. All clear now, so I’m easing back into running. Rain isn’t going to stop me.

*Apparently it’s not all that uncommon for people visiting from lower elevations to occasionally have some trouble with the thinner air. Add in the constant travel schedule I had in October for some dehydration and just not taking care of myself by ratcheting down my workout at the hotel gym and…well…

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Try Self-Love on for Size.

November 1, 2014 3 comments

I just finished up about a month of near-constant business travel. I gave myself a pass, in a sense, because I was tired of berating myself for every decision I made. I decided to just do the best I could given the circumstances at hand, then worry about dealing with a gain once I was at home and better able to control my environment.

So yeah, my slacks are a touch snug now. But also? I’m sick of berating myself.

I was looking back through some old pictures recently, and I realized that at every stage of my life I’ve berated myself for the state of my body. I’ve always thought I was too fat or too pudgy or too wide or too whatever. I’m sick of it. I’m sick of the fact that on every happy occasion I have pictures of, I can remember also the little voice in my head telling me I should have dropped 10 or 20 pounds. That I am too big and need to work harder, I should be able to get down to a lower weight. And every time, I look at the picture now and I think, “I looked great then, why did I think I was fat? Why did I think I was too big? Why couldn’t I see myself as I was?”

I’m sick of it. I want to turn it off. I want other women to stop saying the same things about their bodies. Not just in front of me, but at all. Stop. Can we all make a pact to just stop judging ourselves? To accept who and how we are and if we need to lose a few, do it, but stop with all the body hate. I want to appreciate myself, and think I look fine RIGHT NOW. Not in hindsight, looking back at a picture 3 years from now.

I am saying this for myself as much as anybody else. No more calling myself a pig or fat or any other negative thing, in my head or out loud. We’re all a work in progress. We’re all doing the best we can.

Honestly I don’t even know how to stop it, it’s like this stupid voice in my head that has its own power source. Time to rewire the brain and turn that off. I am ready to be happy in my skin now. I am going to work to be happy in my skin now. If this is something you struggle with too, join me?

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I took a break from the gym

October 7, 2014 3 comments

Well, to be more specific, I took a break from working out last week. A whole week. It was…good. I found that I’d been working so hard to exercise almost every day for the last month or so, and not seeing any results (I’ll get more into that in a minute) that I was dreading my workouts. Just flat-out, panic-inducing dread. I didn’t want to go and thinking about going was making me panic and start down a spiral of depression. So I didn’t go. Upside: Less dread in my daily routine. Downside: I tend to get physically depressed when I don’t exercise regularly.

I spent some time reflecting on what was going on with my headspace and I think part of the problem was I have been tracking my food and exercise religiously in Good, right? Good if you have a normal metabolism. Unfortunately, my metabolism is borked (that’s a technical term). I don’t get to eat as many calories as a normal person of my size, so what was happening was I was looking at the results on the app, and it would tell me I had, for example, 635 more calories that I could eat one day, so I would think, “Heck, I better eat them! I love food! Why wouldn’t I?” Then I would eat more because the app said I could. But no, 1535 calories per day is not a maintenance amount for me, I actually gain at that level. EVEN WHEN I EXERCISE EVERY DAY. So using the app was actually backfiring. And it was super frustrating because every day it would say, “If every day was like today you’d weigh (X=10 pounds below my current weight) in 5 weeks!” But I was eating like that every day, and I wasn’t losing, I seemed to be gaining!

So yeah. If you have a stupid metabolism like mine, the standard Base Metabolic Rate calculations simply don’t apply. And that sucks.

So that’s been a bummer. I wrote an article about combating depression, because it’s something that I often have to manage as strictly as I manage my weight. Sometimes being alive is really annoying and complicated, but it still beats the alternative. I hope you find it worthwhile. Let me know, here or there, if you do. And have a great week.

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Things I Do To Maintain (last set)

September 26, 2014 1 comment

Here are the last set of articles in my series on How I Maintain over on GYFT.

#7: Never Stop Journaling

#8: Get Cozy with Food Labels

#9: Own the Festive Eating Season

#10: Fall Down 7 Times, Get Up 8

I hope you enjoy them. Feel free to leave feedback either there or here.

In other news, I’ve got a big month of business travel coming up in October – at least three of four weeks on the road, maybe more –  so I’ll get lots of chances to practice what I preach about healthy behaviors while traveling!

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Business Trip Success

September 19, 2014 3 comments

I just got back from a 5-day business trip to Atlanta, GA. As with most business trips, I had very little input into restaurant selections (I was there with a team, and working closely with the local team in Atlanta – hence, communal decisions in an area where I didn’t know the restaurant landscape), not much free time, and WAY early mornings.

I managed to lose a half a pound. In my book that’s a weight management WIN. Here’s what I did:

  • Hit the gym every single day. After I finished my work in the office for the day, but before dinner with the team there was usually at least an hour where I could go get good and sweaty, so I did. Most business-level hotels have some sort of fitness center. I was staying at the InterContinental Buckhead in Atlanta and they have a GREAT gym. As an added incentive, their fitness center had a bowl of ripe, inviting apples on the table where the towels and water sat, and I grabbed one every day after my workout to have as a mid-morning snack the next day. Since I knew I’d need some kind of snack around 10am every day, and an apple was perfect, I made it a policy to work out every day to “earn” my apple.
This is actually a thing!
This is actually a thing!
  • Ate breakfast every day, and stuck with my usual – oatmeal and coffee. I located a coffee shop down the road from my hotel where I could get both before the daily meetings started.
  • Chose wisely off the restaurant menus. Soup and salad is a good standby- it’s hard to go wrong, and it’s always enough food. One day everybody wanted to hit a burger joint, but I found a shrimp burger on the menu, which was perfect! Avoiding side orders, appetizers, free bread, and desserts is another wise choice I made every chance I had.
  • One splurge – at the Cupcake ATM. Well, life isn’t all discipline and rules! —->
  • Even with that cupcake I chose a sugar-free version. Although, thinking about it, I honestly have no idea how they made that red velvet cupcake sugar free. Stevia? Splenda? Something else? WHAT DID I JUST EAT?? Ah well, no sense worrying about it now, and it was delicious!
  • Recorded my every bite in my food journal. My numbers said I should have balanced out, and so did the scale. I love it when it works out like it’s supposed to!

Back to the grind today. I need to go for a run today in the great outdoors. Gyms are great in a pinch but I chafe at the monotony.

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Exercise: Like It, or Do It Anyway

September 7, 2014 Leave a comment

A friend asked me at a party last night if I liked exercising, presumably because I do it so often. I answered off the top of my head that I considered it to be something that I needed to do, akin to brushing my teeth or going to work every day. Something that I needed to get done every day so it didn’t really matter if I liked it or not, it needed to be done.

But, also, now that I think about it, it’s one of those things that I need to do because if I don’t I know I will feel worse. Physically, yes, because my body starts in with the aches and pains pretty quickly if I neglect regular exercise. But mentally as well, and that’s a big part of the conditioning that keeps me at it. I know that if I don’t exercise regularly I will be disappointed in myself, and I will probably have a soundtrack that will start to berate me for my neglect, and that’s no fun. I tend toward depression, so work pretty hard at keeping a positive mental space and so if one of the things I have to do to keep things positive in my head is exercise regularly, it’s worth it.

Three more of my little articles on maintaining a weight loss got posted this week over on GYFT. I hope you enjoy them:

#4: Change it up and modify the environment

#5: Getting exercise done (when you may not feel like it)

#6: Maintenance: It’s not a straight line

Last three are coming up next week and then I’d better think of some new article ideas!

So, back to my original topic: if you’ve been maintaining a loss, do you like exercising? Is it something you’ve discovered a passion for, or something you do to get it done and get on with your day?


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