Round 1, Day 5: ADF

November 21, 2008 at 5:51 pm 2 comments

Morning again.

This is the first time I’ve actually woken up and felt hungry.  On Monday and Wednesday, the nighttime fast kept me somewhat numb to hunger until closer to lunch time, and then I started to really feel it.  This morning, I felt it the minute I woke up.

But it’s not too bad.  Andy got me some V8 Splash, so I could drink something with a little more nutrition than I can get from Grape Juice.  I’ve taken my vitamin now, so hopefully my stomach will stop grumbling soon.

I wonder if one ever gets to the point where not eating something doesn’t seem to require physical effort.  I mean, even now, I have moments that seem easier than others, but I know from experience that even once you’ve been ‘good’ for an extended period of time, it’s all too easy to slip back into bad habits once you’ve stopped exerting the applicable effort.

Considering this question has led me to debate the subject of Motivation.

Eight years ago, just after I had Zack, I joined Weight Watchers with a friend and lost about 50-60 pounds or so over the course of about a year.  That wasn’t easy, but the friend I joined with was one for whom the word ‘friend’ is only very loosely applicable.  We had just moved back to St. Charles, and I didn’t really know anyone… and this girl was a childhood friend who was very involved with our church.  She invited me to join her at WW, and I accepted… but I did so knowing that going with her carried certain risks: I believed she’d gossip about me if I screwed up and I was determined not to give her that chance.  Therefore, I was good… and I was successful.

Then I got pregnant with Noah, and I was told I couldn’t continue on WW until after he was born.  Between the excuse of ‘eating for two’ and my release from WW requirements AND Amy’s scrutinizing eyes, it didn’t take very long at all for me to slip back into bad eating habits.  I gained back up to where I was before over the course of the pregnancy, and never really lost it again after Noah was born.

I did go back to WW, though… after Noah, I mean.  The difference then, though, was that Amy had reached her goal weight and had gone on ‘maintenance’, so she wasn’t attending meetings regularly anymore.  I was on my own, and the removal of the threat of mortification by Gossipmonger diminished my motivation considerably.  I put off returning for about two months after Noah was born, probably because of that.  Then when I did go in, the receptionist at the WW office snapped at me because I wasn’t sure where my card was; apparently when you go on sabbatical they move it to a different part of the office, and when I couldn’t find it in its usual place, she seemed to feel I was being deliberately obtuse.  Admittedly, there were several other women there waiting to weigh in, but as the woman was rather brusque even under the best of circumstances, her treatment of me that day made me even less eager to go back.  So I basically didn’t.

This is where someone will step up and tell me that these are excuses.  That it is not my friend’s fault or the receptionist’s fault or anyone else’s fault that I am fat, and that the sooner I accept this and stop making excuses for myself, the quicker I’ll find success and yadda yadda yadda.  I’ve heard it all before.  Let’s just make this clear: I don’t feel my morphology is anyone else’s fault but mine.

But this not about fault.  It’s about is motivation.  Motivation is tricky, and motivation is fragile.  In the beginning of any effort like this, Motivation often has to struggle to keep its legs under it as it fights through an oppressive waist-deep river of discouragement.  It doesn’t take much at all for it to stumble and get swept away.

And I do understand that this is presumably what motivates the Personal Trainers of the world to say, “What are your reasons for being here?”  I would imagine that in their minds, that is also why they say, “That’s not a good reason.  You need a better one.”  The idea, I’m sure, is supposedly to encourage you to find a stronger source of motivation so it won’t be so easily swept away.. But this assumes that motivation can be picked and chosen, and in those early stages it really can’t.  It’s not like the promises of cute clothes, of more energy, and of better examples set for daughters weren’t there the day before that or the day before that.  Those obviously didn’t get me to the gym.  What got me to the gym was something else — my husband asked me to, a momentary surge of determination, whatever.  Even if those other things are ‘better’ in some conventional sense than what finally got me in there, kicking the legs out from under what DID get me there is dooming me to failure.

The better approach, I think, would be to ask, “What is your motivation to be here today?”  And then accept whatever the answer is and praise it, because bottom line, good or bad, sustainable or not, IT GOT ME THERE.  Whatever gets me there is good, whether it’s likely to be the same thing that gets me there tomorrow or not, whether it demonstrates a love of self or not.  There are ways to prop up the current motivation, however flimsy, without undermining it.

For example,  I don’t think I’d have minded if she’d said, “Hey, that’s as good a reason as any. It got you here, and that’s what counts.  Let’s get started.” and then at the end of the session, said, “Good work today.  Now, before you go, I want you to think about this: what you just did was good for you.  You’re doing a good thing for yourself, and you’re setting a good example for your daughter, too.  When you come back next time, we’ll try you on [insert stuff here].”   That would have left me feeling validated, and given me a push toward that nebulous ‘more permanent’ motivation she was presumably going for, I think.

I came close to success one other time, actually.  I joined Curves for awhile, and found I liked the exercise well enough once I got there, but I hated actually going.  It didn’t help that Andy, being his mother’s son, would nag me about it… and he would do so while sitting on the couch himself and watching television. I resented this, and that made me all the more unwilling to go.

So for Christmas that year, I told him I wanted us to join a gym TOGETHER.   I knew that this would work, because Andy couldn’t nag me without convicting himself, which meant he would go.  And if he went, I would go.  When your husband is doing it and it represents something you can do together, it’s MUCH EASIER than doing it alone.  You motivate each other.  I can move mountains if Andy’s moving it with me.

This actually led to the encounter with the PT… but despite my negativity about the experience with her, Andy and I faithfully went to the gym three times a week for an hour each time for a good three months before we quit.  The reason why we quit going wasn’t because I stopped wanting to go, either; it was because the childcare there ceased to be free, and putting three kids in the childcare, even at $1.00 per child per hour, wound up costing more than we could afford.   This was a dealbuster for Andy, so we tried alternating: he’d stay with the kids while I went, I’d stay with the kids while he went… But this robbed us of the whole charm of ‘doing this together’, and made the whole thing into a serious pain.  So ultimately, we quit.

So what have we learned?

1)  My motivation has to be genuine. Trying to force myself to be motivated by something that hasn’t motivated me in the past simply because it is a ‘better’ source of motivation doesn’t work for me.  If the thought of being able to get into roller coaster without worrying is what gets me here today, then hey… cheers for the roller coaster.  Viva la roller coaster!  I may have to find a different motivation tomorrow, but for right now there is no better motivation in the world than that roller coaster, because IT GOT ME HERE TODAY.

2) Social Motivation works for me. I want to be liked, I want to be approved-of, I want to feel successful.  I feel awkward enough in social situations that facing gyms and group weight-loss meetings alone makes me nervous and uncomfortable.  Therefore, if my weight loss agenda is going to involve leaving the house for any reason, I will need an ally. That ally can be either someone like a friend who keeps me motivated on threat of embarrassment, or it can be someone  who keeps me motivated because I want to please them.  Either way, without that, any social situation centering on my weight is going to fail for me because ANY discouraging experience is going to have me running to food for comfort and avoiding going back at all costs.

Fortunately, this ADF thing doesn’t require me to endure meetings or gyms, so it’s not so bad that I’m going it more or less alone.  I have friends willing to put up with listening to me talk about it here at home, which helps.

Okay… so.. time to pursue my day.  Today is going to be sort of an extra-special challenge, because in addition to the fact that I’m already dealing with hunger pangs, I also have a social engagement tonight.  Now, I had originally said that I would allow myself to swap Friday and Saturday out to accommodate such things, but the social engagement in question is Bunco.  There will be a lot of food there, but since it’s a situation in which I am surrounded by other, mostly much thinner women, I think it’s best if I don’t eat anything while I’m there.  That’s a woman thing, I think.

Besides, it’s held at Kate’s house tonight, which means most of what will be served will be chocolate.   That’s good, because I don’t happen to LIKE chocolate, which means I’ll be just fine with not eating anything. 😉

Off to face the day.  Ciao all!


Entry filed under: ADF, Successes.

Round 1, Day 4: ADF Round 1, Day 6: ADF


  • 1. Feaelin  |  December 1, 2008 at 7:13 pm

    I’m really surprised I’m the first to comment on this one. Maybe because your points (#1, #2) were dead on. You can’t make yourself feel motivated, your motivation has to be personal, it can’t come from outside. It has to come from you. As they say…you have to want it.

    Hm. If one can’t make oneself feel motivated, then a corollary is:

    No need to feel guilty about lacking motivation to do something; you feel what you feel, that is all there is. Neh?

    I’m not sure the girl would have motivated me that way…I tend to get angry if I think I’m being pushed around. 🙂

  • 2. Jennifer  |  December 1, 2008 at 9:01 pm

    I actually think I sort of agree with that, to tell you the truth.

    Guilt is a tricky business when it comes to something like this. In my experience, guilt is a motivator as long as you feel you can ‘do something’ that will negate the need to feel guilty. However, once you feel powerless to correct what’s wrong, guilt becomes an even greater source of discouragement than ‘comfortable inertia’.

    Since Motivation cannot be forced, as we said, guilt ABOUT motivation would probably become a downward spiral in a hurry, so acknowledging that there is no reason to feel guilty about a lack of motivation at least removes guilt as a potential stumbling block.


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