T Nation

Advice for Stronger Willpower to Fight Food Cravings/In General


#1

Hello. I was not sure where to post this so if this belongs in the beginner section go ahead and move there. Thank you for your patience.

Long story short, 29 years old about to finish college this semester. My father helps me with understanding my homework and as long as I make good grades, they let me live at home. I have a hard time with school without his help. I am 6 foot 2inchs tall at 320 lbs. Got down from 340lb earlier this year. I am doing well sticking to a typical powerlifting workout where it has a bench day, a squat day, and a deadlift day with assistance work. The main lifts are done with get 5 reps on the first set, then 3 reps, then 1 on the last set and if I completed that pattern, I add 5 pounds next week. Just got my squat up to 320lbs at 5, 3, 1. For cardio, I try to do either a 20 minute morning bike ride or use the treadmill for 20 minutes trying to break a hard sweat. My will power is crap and different things do not help. My parents want me to lose weight (and I want to lose fat as well). My Dad sometimes gets on me because as long as I am more than 290lbs, it makes the insurance more expensive. My Dad is skinny fat tall at 6 foot 5 inchs, not sure how much he weighs but he does not have a gut but he does have extra hanging skin. His sisters have always been overweight. My Mom keeps reminding me about my family Genes on my Dad’s side. I have two older brothers and one sister. My sister and oldest brother are at 18 to 20 percent bodyfat from healthy eating though not bodybuilder/strength athlete protein level eating. My middle brother is obese and weighs more than me but is on a paleo type diet and doing well. All of my siblings are married with children (I have a total of 4 nephews and 4 nieces). My mom is not overweight as she has no gut or hanging stomach, and she does not have huge glutes or upper body for lack of a better description nor is she fat in the face or in the legs.

Here are some things I have to deal with. First, my Mother hates low carb diets with a passion and gets on my case whenever I try it that way. She has no problem if I try to cut out sugar and junk food, but if I go low fruit and no wheat/not eat rice or sweet potatoes, she goes ballistic. Everytime I try to start one and I try to show evidence that they can work, she always says shes seen it all and yadda yaddda. She also does not like it when I eat a lot of protein (she thinks over say 100 grams is too much) but she leaves me alone on that front, though she thinks even the golden era bodybuilder look is disgusting (She likes swimmer type bodies, but she thinks Frank Zane, Arnold, Reg Park, and John Meadows are disgusting). She likes to cook and she’s fine with me cooking my own food but she will not not cook food she and my father like. She cannot stand to eat the exact same food everyday like I can. A typical week of her cooking is spaghetti one night, soup and sandwiches next night, tacos/Mexican another night, Chinese next night, Mashed potetoes vegetable and some sort of meat, go out to eat on Fridays, something easy to make like store bought fried shrimp and poeboys, and then Sunday something in the slow cooker. The point is, at most she can eat left overs the day after but she can’t stand eating the same foods every day. She also likes to have something sweet twice a week. So for me it’s a huge temptation even if I do not directly join on dinner, left overs tempt me and I know my will is weak at the moment.

That’s the first part of my temptations.
To also add, because of how big my family is, I am constantly having to go to family holidays (this includes Valentine’s day, Mother and Father’s day in addition to the normal US holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving) and birthday parties with all kinds of diet destroyers. Then I also go to church for single adults, and at the church activities which includes a weekly Monday gathering and Thursdays for religious class, the Teachers are always bringing some sort of snacks for everyone. Also, every first Sunday of the month, there is a potluck after Church dinner. Then finally my Church sometimes has extra fun parties and activities on weekends. I go to these church activities because of religious reasons and I am trying to get better social skills and date girls.

Both my parents love me and my problems are my own fault.
So in short, I have weak will power and am a push over and was needing advice on how to build up to not being a push over and resist foods. I tried reading some articles but I’m just lost and frustrated. Thanks. I know I posted on tnation some awhile back but I fell off the bandwagon so I am sorry for frustrating those who have helped me before. At least I am constant with my lifting now.


#2

There’s a lot here so I’ll just throw out what I can…

When I diet down, having one cheat meal a week helps immensely with food cravings. I LOVE FOOD, can’t say that enough. Knowing I had one meal on Thursday night that I could eat whatever the hell I wanted helped me put my cravings aside during the rest of the week. I had to earn that cheat meal. I find for me that its easier to stick to than saying “well I’ll just cheat on holidays or social events …” Because as you can see, that gets out of hand quickly.

When you are dieting there will always be naysayers among the people close to you. For many it comes in the form of friends who rib you for ordering a salad instead of a steak. For you it comes in the form of your mother. I’m going to say this as nice as I can because its obvious that you love your family very much, but you are a grown-ass man and if you want to be successful with this diet you CANNOT LET YOUR MOTHER DISCOURAGE OR ENABLE YOU. You’re going to have to deal with her comments or tell her to stop. In the end she’ll be glad her son is healthier for it.

At 320, you’re not going to have trouble dropping some extra weight to begin with. Cut the shitty eating out dude. Stick to a diet, have one cheat meal a week if you want, and stop using holidays and social events as an excuse to pig out. Have a healthy meal before you go to these things if it will keep your cravings at bay. OR don’t go to them until you can get this under control.

Lastly, stick around the forums and post updates.


#3

Hey Darthzilla99, glad to see you back posting again.

Do you want my polite opinion, or my real opinion?


#4

Thanks everyone. I will take option 3: The General Old blood and guts Patton slap across the face real opinion for someone that whines worse than Jimmy Carter blaming the public for his failures.

In other words, the truth.


#5

Sorry, I am meaning your honesty but in the most brutal way is what I need. Also, I’m just complaining too much.


#6

Fast 2 days a week (5/2 method here), youll learn quickly the difference between eating emotionally, actually being hungry, and a craving.


#7

I don’t think this is a willpower issue; it’s a priorities one. Right now, you prioritize eating yummy food over being thinner. There is nothing wrong with that; we all have our own priorities. If you decide that you want to be thinner more than you want to eat yummy food, then it should be easy to avoid the food.

It’s been my experience at least. Whenever I get fat, it’s because I prioritized pleasure over performance. These days, I don’t miss the food I’m not eating, because I like the results I get from NOT eating it more than I would the results of eating it.

I will second @max13 's suggestion for a weekly cheat MEAL though. Not a cheat day, but one meal, once a week, where you eat something that tastes good. I find this eliminates cravings and reminds me that I’m not really missing out on anything. It’s also a helpful tactic whenever I get the urge to eat something bad, as I essentially negotiate with myself and say I can have it on my cheat meal later that week. I find that, when the cheat meal rolls around, the craving tends to have passed.


#8

You have two options:

  • improve your ability to resist
  • reduce the level of difficulty to resist

Luckily, there’s lots of reseach around this. Basically, we will all fail miserably an overwhelming majority of the time going the first route and we’ll mainly be successful going the second.

So if you’re scarfing down burgers and fries and milkshakes at every meal. Going to chicken breast, veggies and rice is going to be hell that ends in failure fairly quickly.

Replacing the milkshake with a diet soda is a great first step through. Then making further small changes until you are a eating machine.

Basically, if you cant stick to your plan make a more manageable change (ie easier change). No use trying to apply more will power each time and continuing to fail.

A good approach is using a 1 to 10 scale. 1 being there will be no way I can make this change a 10 being I’ll have zero problem doing this.

For each change, score the difficulty out of 10 - be honest. If it’s an 8 or below, it’s too hard and you’ll likely fail (yup) so make it easier.

That may seem slow but it’s much faster than what you’re doing now.


#9

First I’d like to preface this by saying that, as requested, I’m giving you my real opinion. I’m not taking the trouble to write this out to make you feel bad about yourself. I’m actually pro fat-acceptance, for people who don’t have it in them or are happy with their body composition. Fat people deserve respect and compassion, just like everyone else.

If you REALLY want to change your condition, you need to toss that bullshit out the window and start looking at your condition as a problem to solve. Prioritize your success, not your feelings. I think a lot of great suggestions have already been made, and there are many paths to success, so my post will speak more to mindset.

You are basically in the exact same spot, at almost exactly the same weight that I started at. You even look like I did, assuming you haven’t changed much since you posted those squat videos last year. And you are also right about the same “out of the box” fat boy strength level I was at, where I could handle 275 for 5 reps or so not too long after I put a bar on my back. I, too, had a litany of reasons and rationalizations for why I was fat. I blamed my long work hours, enabling partner, fat family members, stress, all the usual bullshit.

You need to sack the fuck up and fix the way you think about yourself and this whole process. That starts with the person in the mirror, not your mom or your dad or your relatives or Church Lady. Your condition is your own damn fault, and the sooner you can recognize this the sooner you can start un-fucking your behavior, one step at a time.

Our bodies are a product of the accumulation of individual decisions made over time. For a healthy and able-bodied individual, this is true no matter if you are very fat, very strong, very weak, very lean, genetically disadvantaged, or genetically gifted. The overwhelming majority of these decisions, the ones that REALLY matter, are 100% within our control. The first step in controlling them is realizing that you can. Like @T3hPwnisher said, you are simply prioritizing the choices you are presently making over alternative choices that will get you closer to your goal. Be very aware of this at all times.

Now we get to the good news. You don’t need to be perfect, you just need to be good enough. When you are an untrained 320 pounds, your margins for success are HUGE. When it comes to improving your body composition by losing fat and gaining muscle, there is a spectrum of personal behavior that will determine your personal outcomes.

On one end of the personal behavior spectrum, you can be doing nothing right. You can be eating nothing but garbage, getting drunk, playing video games, eating all of the cheese, drinking straight maple syrup (Grade A Amber is my favorite) and living life from one seated position to the next while indulging in an orgy of unrestrained consumption. I’ve tried this at times, and the outcome is always fatter twojarslave. Always.

On the other end of the personal behavior spectrum, you can be doing everything right. Measuring food, hitting macros, sleeping like clockwork, training optimally and giving it all 100%. I’ve never pulled this off, but others have. Pro bodybuilders and high-level athletes live like this, or so I’m told.

That brings us to the middle, where you are doing some things right and some things wrong. Pretty much everyone lives here.

I’ve found that the key is to first identify the things you are doing wrong. This means being brutally honest with yourself. I’ve kept a log here for over two years, and in it I’ve chronicled both my successes AND my failures. The only thing I had to do to note my failures was include my bodyweight in each log entry. That alone tells a big story when you are really fat. Simply adding that piece of info to my log made me think about that number every day. For a long fucking time, I might add.

What you need to do is think about your own actions, and it is usually pretty easy to tell if the action you are thinking about taking, that you are AWARE you are taking, will get you closer to your goals or not. Church Lady offers you a cupcake? I won’t say it is a “no-brainer” because the real “no-brainer” is acting on impulse. You need to STOP YOURSELF from taking the cupcake out of impulse, and use your brain to evaluate whether that gets you closer to your goal.

When you do that, you will start to learn that these individual decisions are really quite easy to make. Of course you should refuse Church Lady’s cupcake, and tell her to fuck off if she gives you grief about it. Maybe you’d be more polite than I would, but what matters is making the right choice - right-then, right-there. Fuck off with your cupcake, Church Lady.

Think about all of the choices you’ve made recently, and then think about how often you STOP and really consider the impact they will have on your goals. You need to start thinking like this, one decision at a time.

The other part of this is building good habits, but this post is long enough already so we won’t get in to that right now. You’re already lifting weights, which is great. You definitely have fat boy strength, just like I do. You can leverage this to your advantage, if you start moving big weights week-in, week-out. You’ll fire up that furnace of yours real fast if you can put a lot of effort and heart into your lifting. Keep it up, get better at it and don’t quit on it. Just keep lifting no matter what. Even if you go off the rails on your diet for days, weeks or months. DON’T STOP LIFTING!!! OKAY?

I hope you found this helpful. I would really like to see you have success with this process. You absolutely can, but you have to choose success. You will either make progress, or not. If you are, great. Keep it up. Be proud of your good decisions, and enjoy the bad ones you are getting away with. If you aren’t, you need to start thinking critically about your choices, just like we went over earlier.


374lbs, Looking to Change My Life Before My 32 BDay
#10

perfectly said. Like x a zillion


#11

At this stage she’s right. -You just need to cut out all sugary crap etc and train your ass off and you can get down to say 230-40 pretty easily. Beyond that is when you can worry about getting extreme with cutting all fruit and carbs.

If anything dont be afraid to fill yourself up on sweet potaote and rice so you dont crave junk at other times. Avoiding binges and eating like an adult is your first priority.

The food she cooks for you sounds fine also just use it to fuel very hard workouts and you will get jacked as well as lean out.

Forget the pure low rep routine and do one of these high volume plans(which have heavy work Included) and you can see dramatic changes…



#12

@twojarslave killed it, so I’ll not waste time repeating any of that.

My only addition is that you may encounter “resistance” from friends and acquaintances in your attempts to better yourself. Action offends the inactive, as one T-Nation post from awhile back said, and unfortunately there will exist people who either passively or actively discourage you from pursuing your stated goal(s). A “passive” discouragement comes from the nice Church Lady who asks if you want a cupcake, then when you say “No thanks” proceeds to lay on the guilt-trip “But I just baked them this morning!” She’s not being mean or anything, she honestly just wants to share her delicious cupcakes. Social pressure can definitely be tough, and most people will not respond well to “Thanks, but I’m trying to lose weight” because that implies you are doing something Holy and they’re doing something Wrong by eating cupcakes, so it’s often best to leave your goals out of it and just stick with a polite “Thanks, but I’m full” or “Thanks, but I’m not craving anything sweet right now.” The more active discouragement is when someone closer to you - mother, father, whomever - disapproves of your goal (even when it’s to BETTER yourself), IE your mother disapproving of muscular physique, and working actively to sabotage this pursuit. That’s certainly trickier to navigate, and I’m not about to tell you how to talk to your parents, only that if you want to do something positive for yourself, anyone that loves you should learn to accept that.

Oh, I do have one other comment: YMMV, but once I started eating a little health-consciously (started with a Paleo framework, allow some occasional indulgences like a glass of wine or the occasional cheat-meal to fuel a big deadlift workout) it didn’t take long before some of the former bad stuff was no longer attractive. I am completely ambivalent towards cake and cookies, for example; I’d sooner eat a second helping of steak than have a piece of cake. (This is not to say that I am vice-free now - I still will happily douse a bowl of frozen berries in a tub full of whipped cream and go to town on that bad boy - only that some of your current “vices” may become sort of “meh” once you let them go for a little while)


#13

So your mom told you better off being huge and miserable better than looking like Frank Zane. I am fat man also who loves food also just went from 304 to 291 in twenty days 6,1 also but 43, i used to eat bbq, Italian, fast food entirely at the Italian joint across street they give me bigger portions then normal. Do you hook up with a lot of chiks, well look like Zane and see how that changes. My mom just told me lose weight now, as it is harder when your older, buy your own food, taper down .

dont go on some radical diet that is impossable to stick to have healthy snacks around, have a nice bag of kale chips, peanuts, yogurt, go to Trader Joe’s . I replaced cheeseburgers with turkey and chicken burgers huge difference also when I get off work I like nice omlet eggs lena ham and some salsa very very good at work instead of cheeseburgers I eat chicken breast sandwiches an apple everyday or banana I also keep hard boiled eggs around for snack much better than calling some delivery food stick to a diet you can actually do and look in the mirror what do you want to look like every time you want to eat a big bull spaghetti visualize what you want to look like more weight in the gym the more muscle less fat when you put 50 pounds on your squad and deadlift 30 pounds on your bench and just happened to lose 25 pounds of body weight in the process you will look much different it will be easier to eat better don’t know if your blood pressure ishigh

considering your size and weight it is probably elevated there are some pre workouts that are stim free will help you burn a lot more calories during and after your workout I’m actually taking one design for women with half the caffeine so I don’t elevate my blood pressure Works awesome got to go brother visualize what you want to look like every time you’re looking at a pot of spaghetti and sauce


#14

Thanks everyone. I giving the 5/2 diet a committed effort tomorrow. I will keep the sweet potatoes, fruit, and German wheat bread (I forgot what it’s called). She definitely does not want me fat (she got me super citrimax from the heath food store to help with carb cravings). I also apologize for my rant as it was me blaming my mother and circumstances plus other personal issues. She wants me to eat less and get more veggies and fruit and healthy carbs. She hates high protein and fat eating. But she is more supportive than I give her credit and told me she’s stopping on her rants on me.

As far as work out, my bench, squat, deadlift and some of my assistance work are increasing so I’m sticking for now. But once I stop making 5 lb jumps, I will give SOB program a go. I will give my current routine here soon. Thanks everyone.

I didn’t expect anyone to remember me or my old videos. Thanks.


#15

@Darthzilla99 How did week one go?


#16

Went well. Sorry about the no deadlift video yet. The 5/2 method works for me, as fasting is not hard for me. Super citri max plus zero calorie sodas like diet ones or Fresica are my best friends those days. I did it that Monday and Friday of week one. My schedule I am trying to be on is Sundays and Wednesdays. I stay off the sodas the rest of the week. To put in perspective my lifting right now, it’s based off pyramid training (or rather a mis understanding I had of it), 5/3/1, and greyskull LP. Like 5/31, I have a bench day, a squat day, a dead day, and a press day. From my understanding, the things big lifts have in common that universally work are strong abs and lower back plus massive strong lats and upper back.

Main lifts except deads are warm up sets 5 reps of 60 percent work set, then 80 percent work set that day. The work sets go 5 reps, 3 reps, then failure with 2 reps at minimum. If I make the 2 reps, I increase by 5 pounds. Eventually, I am going to buy chains to lower the increments to 2.5 lbs. If I fail to get the second rep with good tight form, I deload by 10% of that current weight that day. For general warm up on bench and press day, I use this shoulder warm up https://www.t-nation.com/training/tip-do-this-3-minute-shoulder-warm-up, then I do the warm up sets mentioned. On squat and dead days, I was using a general 5 minute bike warm up then the warm up sets, but I will change to defranco agile 8 for those days.
Bench day:
Bench: see above.
Incline: 3 sets of 8 reps at minimum, once I hit 12 plus reps I increase weight.
Extreme Decline dumbbell bench: 2 sets of 15 reps.
V handle lat pull down: 3 sets of 12 reps.
Junior gorilla gripz (got these on accident but I kept them and use them still for grip work) close grip bench: 3 sets of 12 reps.
pullover tri extensions: 3 sets of 12 reps.
Zercher holds: 3 sets of 30 second holds.

Squat day:
High bar Squat raw (no belt or wraps): see above for work sets.
Squat with belt and knee wraps: Lower the weight, 3 sets of 8 reps.
Leg extensions: 3 sets of 12 reps.
leg curls: 3 sets of 12 reps.
Foot really high Single leg press: 2-3 sets of 12 reps (to get extra glute work).

Stadium star runs afterwords for conditioning.

Press day:
Press: see above for work sets.
wide grip index fingers outside rings upright rows (Elbows stay lower than the delts): 3 sets of 12 reps.
Meadows rows: 3 sets of 8.
one arm t-bar rows: 3 sets of 8.
face pulls: 3 sets of 12 reps.
zercher holds: same as bench day.
Ab wheel: I use golds gym exercise mats up to wall as indicating progress. Currently at 5 rectangles on knees to wall at 12 reps.

Dead day:
Deadlifts: warm up: 5 reps at 20% work set, then 40%, then 60%, then 80%, then 5 plus reps. If I do not make the 5 reps, I deload by 10%. I use the junior gorilla gripz on the sets up to 60% then still double overhand on 80%, then straps. I use straps and belt for my work set.
RDL: 3 sets of 8 reps minimum.
Wide seated row: 3 sets of 8 reps.
V handle seated row: 3 sets of 8 reps.
If I do not have a seated row, I attempt to emulate on a lat pull down by leaning back until I am pulling as if I am doing the above. I make sure not to use any cheating or momentum on the two rows above.
High rep squeezing glutes hypers: 2 sets of 15 reps.

Stadium star runs afterwords.

I do not mean to not follow a set program already and ignore everyones advice, but I am still making 5 pound gains so far on the squat, deads, and benchs. Lifts at:
Squat: 325lb 5 reps
deads: 325 5 reps
Bench: 210lb 5 reps
Press: 115lb 5 reps.
These are all the last time I worked and not counting in my other work sets of them. Press is stubborn at 135lb, but since I am kicking it on the other lifts, I am not stressing over the press’s slowness.

Once all my lifts stall at a point after 3 deloads, I will switch. Thanks everyone.

Edit: I used to try Hip thrusts, but the set up took too much time in the gym and with a big pelvis, it is a pain to get the squat sponge plus elevated on two 25 pound plates set up. I said screw it all and dropped Hip thrusts altogether.

My equipment I have if this helps anyone when not at the gym:
A 100 pound band: https://www.amazon.com/Lifeline-USA-Exchange-Handle-System/dp/B0002Q0UCA/ref=sr_1_7?s=sports-and-fitness&ie=UTF8&qid=1470682577&sr=1-7&keywords=100+lb+band

gymnastic rings (I went through a bodyweight work poser fanboy phase)
A homemade t-handle from home depot
Straps
lifting belt
gloves
old cheap walmart dumbbells that go up to 40 pounds (I had a p90x phase)
Old cheap door pull up rack with those shoulder slings to try and do hanging knee ups.


I am a Kaiju Sith!
#17

What do you mean by “deload” in this context? It is a term that seems misused to me.


#18

Every time I do not make the Minimum reps of my last work sets (Ex: On squat: I can only complete 1 rep on the last set instead of at least 2 reps or on Deadlifts my top work set of that day is only 4 reps) I subtract 10% of the work weight that day and start over next week at that new work weight.

Example: I only did 325 lb at 1 rep instead of 2 reps, I would drop down to 292.5 ( or to keep the calculations simple, I round down to 290lb) next week and start the cycle again from that weight. Its the principle from Greyskull of getting rep work on the last set so at to keep progress in someway.


#19

I would say that is more a reset than a deload. It can be useful if you’re employing an AMRAP approach to training. Where most trainees end up in trouble is using resets while still employing the exact same rep/set scheme as what got them to their stall in the first place. This tends to just prolong stalling. Also, account for bad days. Some days, you might not be able to hit the prescribed reps, but resetting early when it turns out you just needed some more sleep or a better meal just retards growth.


#20

Good to hear you’ve stuck with it. Fasting for two days sounds awful to me, but if it gets you closer to your goals, I’d say it is a good choice.

Settle in to the grind, monitor your progress and adjust as needed. Might not be a bad idea to fire up that old log of yours, or start a new one.