One thing I’ve been thinking about lately is that motivation to stay on plan and lose weight wanes a bit as the pain of being overweight goes down with weight loss. To a certain extent I have internalized some behaviors and I do them without really thinking or agonizing about them. Take Halloween candy for example:
We don’t get a lot of Tricker Treaters at our house so we don’t need a lot of candy to give out. My daughter gave out candy and at the end of the night we had 20 fun size Butterfingers left (my absolutely favorite candy). We were going to split it and I took 7 pieces, leaving the rest for her. She made the comment to me that she thought Butterfingers were my favorite. And, I responded that they are. But, I knew how many I wanted to take to eat as snacks and really had no angst in taking 7 instead of 10 (or more) or even buying more in the first place. So, this is something that I’ve changed and I don’t feel all that tempted to go back to the way it used to be.
On the other hand, these last couple of months my weight loss has slowed. Now, some of that has been that my activity has been down, in part because of I’ve doing more fun stuff (playing World of Warcraft) on my computer. And, part of it is that I haven’t been sleeping well so I’ve been tired during the day and don’t want to exercise. Also, I’ve been eating a bit more (although mostly still within my points) because I’ve been hungrier. But, all of that begs the question.
Why have I put activity to a lower priority? And, why have I suddenly been hungrier or, to put it another way, why have I been more willing to eat higher calorie foods when I’ve been hungry?
I think that part of it — really the largest part of it — is that the pain of being overweight is now much lower. When I started back with Weight Watchers I weighed about 48 pounds more than I weigh now. I was decidedly obese. I wasn’t happy with how I looked or how I felt. I was worried about the health effects of overweight. I was worried about the health effects of being so sedentary.
I hated seeing my picture or looking in the mirror. And, I worried that the weight would have a negative effect on my health. As I lost weight, I couldn’t early on see much actual difference and I was still obese. When I started this blog last December I had already lost 20 pounds. That was great, of course, but the pain of overweight hadn’t really changed much. I didn’t see much difference in the mirror and I was still obese.
Now, things are different. Almost suddenly I see a huge difference in the mirror. Clothes are falling off of me. I am in the overweight category of BMI, not the obese category. I finally got to where I was only 13 pounds from my Weight Watchers goal. Actually, only 11 pounds away from not having to pay to attend meetings.
From a health standpoint, I feel better and feel that at my current weight I don’t have as many health risks as before. Yes, I’m still obese by fat percentage so I know I have a long way to go. But, it is a much shorter way than it was a year ago.
What I find is that the pain of being 13 pounds overweight is way less than the pain of being 60 pounds overweight. And, that does lessen motivation to some extent. Actually, that isn’t quite the right way to put it. I am still motivated to lose weight, but the critical need to do so has lessened a bit. When I started this blog I felt a critical need to lose weight RIGHT NOW. Any week without a loss was very upsetting to me as I felt I wasn’t meeting that critical need. Now, I still want to lose weight, but I don’t see it as being so critical to have a loss every week. If I maintain or bounce back and forth and stay the same, it isn’t as big a deal. So, if I’m hungry I don’t pay as much attention to what I eat. I don’t go out of my way to overeat, but I’m tending to eat first and count points later rather than planning it out in advance as I did before. This has sometimes led to a day when I was surprised to see how many points that I ate when I recorded it later in the day.
The thing is that I really need to change my behavior on this. Some years ago I got down into the 150s a couple of times and each time I stalled out. The lowest I got to was around 155 pounds. And, it was for the reason I’m talking about here. Basically, I got to that point and I started letting other things than weight loss be a priority. I still wanted to lose weight, but I let other stuff take center stage. And, in both cases, I ended up regaining as I got out of the habit of doing what brought me there.
I have to be aware of this and realize that I’m not ultimately talking about staying where I am now versus losing more. I am in danger of getting out of mindset that got me here and then ending up regaining. And, that is not at all acceptable to me. Starting now, I will recommit to putting my weight loss and healthy living goals first.