T Nation

Cheating and Motivation

Hey T-Guys and Gals. What do you guys do when you feel like shit (pissed off at something, depressed etc…) and blow your diet and workout, how do you recover from it the next day? What kind of motivation do you use to help avoid that? Obviously I need to know cause that just happened. Thanks.

At the risk of sounding new-agey and like a wuss, I’d say just forgive yourself for it and jump back on the horse. It’s only one blown day, it won’t kill you, just don’t let it happen to often. I think people forget about the mental aspect when dealing with diets: You have been eating crappy your whole life, so don’t expect to start a diet and expect your body and brain to just deal with it. Forgive me for sounding Tony Robbins-ish, but in order to effectively condition in a new behavior you have to stop the old behavior (pattern interruption) start a new one (a replacement: when was the last time you removed a program from a computer and didn’t put anything else in it’s place: they’ll usually crash- people are the same way) and congratulate the hell out of yourself when you do follow through on your new behavior, in this case your diet. I’m serious: smile a big stupid grin after every meal, pat yourself on the back. This will condition in feeling good to dieting. The brain and your neurology in it’s entirety LOVE things that make them feel good. (I’m a licensed Prac. of Neuro-Linquistic programming- basically a science of how to re-wire your brain - if you have any questions about this stuff just ask)

After two months of experimenting I found out that one single day of pigging out ruins six to seven days of strict dieting. Since I don’t know how to eat cheat meals - if I cheat, I cheat bigtime - I simply decided not to cheat during dieting even if my life depended on that, and I can cheat once in 10-14 days when I am bulking. Actually, once I decided not to cheat, the rest was easy for me. One thing, I literally drink tons of coffee to stay sane during dieting. I don’t feel guilt after cheating days though. It is something I planned in advance.

Hey Aaron,

Thanks for the feedback. You said to ask questions so I will hope you don’t mind. Seeing as your a “brain rewirer” how about this. I competed back in '99 and was all set to make the journey towards be a bodybuilder-whether i would have made it or not is a different deal but its what i wanted to do. Anyway to try and make this short, I was hanging with some jerk who was training me. he was great b/c he did make me feel great and he seemed to believe in me when everyone else around me thought i was insane. everybody knew this guy was a dick but me and after like 3 years i found out for myself. he tried to fuck me over and no need for details i guess but i no longer speak to him. but ever since that show i’ve never been able to repeat my dedication, i always get depressed or feel shitty. i kinda think like it was him who made me. i just seem to need to feel like someone is saying that i’m doing fine, especially my dad but since he opposes everything i do its a neverending battle. i even joined the martial arts and find myself clinging to instructors for approval. alright let me stop here before i get everyone on the forumn thinking i need prozac or something. anyway whatdaya think?

hey t-bro…so you blew it. no big deal. that shit is going to happen from time to time. just shrug it off and refocus. if you just blew it for one day you couldn’t have done much damage, especially if you were already several days into your diet. to avoid this type of disaster i need things to help keep me in line. now that it’s officially summertime i do recreational activities every weekend that require me to lose the shirt, so at the end of every week there is a motivator to help me focus my energy.

cut yourself some slack bro cause if this shit was easy everybody would be a t-man. just remember…it’s all good.

If you blow it there isn’t much you can do except let that motivate you to refocus. A little saying I learned always helps, “Two tears in a bucket, fuck it!” Regroup and kick ass!

Wow!!! That’s quite a bit of info to give in so few sentences! Seriously, I had gone through the same thing of “needing approval” when I was getting my Prac. in NLP. I was always trying to get approval from my mentor and was finding the process of learning very cumbersome because I wasn’t trying to make myself happy. Read that sentence again. Consider this, if you have someone spoon feed you for 3 years and then never teach you to feed yourself. Now imagine this person was gone, never to be heard from again. You wouldn’t live long because you didn’t learn how to feed yourself. This is true also with emotions. If I tell you how great you are and then I’m gone and never teach you how to make yourself feel great, what are you gonna do? Probably starve emotionally. Your Starting Point is to realize that you are in charge of your brain and nervous system: this automatically puts you in control of your emotions. This is a big chunk to take because we are conditioned to believe that we are at the mercy of our feelings. BULL!!! Start by talking to yourself in motivating ways, this will feel weird as hell at first, but eventually your brain will get it and start doing this on its own. This is only a small chunk of info- I can direct you where to go if you are interested in knowing more. As for this guy you hung out with: hey may have been full of crap, but that doesn’t mean you can’t believe in yourself - you don’t need anyone to pump you up but yourself.

Sasa said it best – it’s a decision. Every change you make in your life starts from a decision. But followign through with the decision can be the difficult part. Ever talked to some one who’s been through AA? What do they say? “One day at a time.” The only day you have to put effort into is today. Count the consecutive days you stay on track with your decision, and when you fall, start back at zero and make your goal to stay on track ONE MORE DAY than last time.

Based on the information you supplied it seems that you get a large part of your motivation from the approval of others. It’s important to get positive feedback, but unfortunately I don’t think this can sustain you for the long run unless you have your own internal source of motivation. Your motivation has to come from within. I’m not saying that you don’t have personal motivation, but somehow you may have lossed focus.

As you know, bodybuilding is a lifestyle commitment, not just something you do in your spare time. To get through those difficult periods, which we all have from time to time, you must go within to find the desire to stay with it. What is it that you want to gain from bodybuilding? Set goals for yourself. Put it in writing. Develop a mental image of the physique you want to attain. Keep a picture of the physique you want. Start a diary to keep track of your progress, so that you have something to reflect back on. These are just some ideas to help you find your self motivation. Do whatever works for you. Once you find that internal desire and you hit one of those funky periods, you will have an image, a goal, or a progress record that will help you to refocus. One of the most important things you can do for yourself it to be true to yourself and your goals. If your goals are tied up in someone elses opinion of you, then you're not really living your life for yourself and are doomed for failure.

Sorry if I came off a little preachy, but responded based on the limited information supplied.

It’s true that nobody eats anything by accident, but I think that one day wouldn’t make much difference. I think that the best way to improve is to be consistent, and if you’ve done that, say even just for a couple weeks one screw up out of 14 days won’t be so bad. When it happens to me with training, it’s more motivation for the next time, I’ll be thinking ‘Won’t let that happen again!’.

Thanks All. Aaron if you do have any things I can read that would be fantastic. I definitly would be interested.

Greg your right, i have to refocus on what it is that i want. I just started a log and carry a pic of myself in shape in my wallet so hope this all helps.

It sucks though b/c have always been a fat guy and when i did that show for the first time i could actually take my shirt off in public and not be embarassed, as right now i wouldn't even go in a pool if others were around b/c i don't look like that pic anymore. i don't know if i'm overexageratting or not. but here is a quick story, there was a time in a bar when he actually used me as an example of the work he could do (personal trainer) to a pretty hot girl and she was impressed, i don't think i ever felt so good. so thinking back to stuff like that is depressing. I admit i was on gear(not for that show, thats why i'm so proud of it) but there was also a time when i could walk in a gym and people would want to talk to me.

as for him not teaching his friends to love themselves, thats his way of controlling people. he brings you up and tears you down and this is his control, its sad but like a drug sort of. most of the people around him can only do as hey says, its pretty embarassing that i was involved.

anyway thanks all.

Dave P - we are indeed kindred spirits. I’ve been overweight most of my life. From time to time I would diet down (the wrong way), but never really sustaining the weight loss. I eventually developed diabetes, high cholesteral, and high blood pressure. I was a complete mess and like hid my body behind as much clothing as I could. I eventually ended up in Intensive Care for three days due to complications from diabetes. From that point forward I decided to change my life. I was killing myself with food. My doctor told me that my life expectancy was greatly reduced and that she fully expected that I would end up with heart surgery within the next 5 years.

Well that was enough for me. I completely overhauled my diet, I joined a gym, and started running. That was a year and a half ago. I'm now 41 and in the best shape of my life. My diabetes is well under control. My blood pressure and cholesterol is normal and I look pretty damb good. I don't mind taking off my shirt in public now and I'm pretty proud of my accomplishments. That's enough to keep me motivated. I will never ever turn back now. Unfortunately it took a catastrophic event for me to find myself, but don't let that happen to you.

Pull yourself together man!.. There’s no crying in T-Land!
If you ask me, you are dealing with a NON-ISSUE. Why? Because
it’s NOT a diet, it’s a LIFE-STYLE!..Oh, so you messed-up your
training…NO you didn’t. You deviated!..not to worrry; the T-Board
is loaded with “deviates,” and most of them seem pretty cool to
me! Dave, you’re in it for the long haul. And if your lucky, you’ll
live long enough to fuck-up a million more times!

A good psychological tricks is to plan the cheat/rest day in advance…physically, a planned/unplanned cheat results in the same thing…but mentally a planned cheat day is a lot less psychologically taxing than an unplanned cheat day

well my fellow T-brother…you have a few choices…almost like a relationship. You can allow yourself to be dragged down by it and allow it to destroy you, or you can get DAMN ANGRY and USE that fuel. The choice is really yours…but picture yourself in that bar again…with him there…this time you are bigger and stronger than you ever were…and you can show his ass up…or even better BEAT his ass. I am not saying DO it…I am saying picture it…use the anger…use the rage…let it fuel your discipline…your desire. We are here for support…but it is up to you what you do with your emotions…they can help or hurt you…the choice is yours

As long as your not too obssessed with training, or possibly overtraining, I found negative motivation works best. I’m 37 with 15% bodyfat. My goals are fitness with a high level of strength. I also have a youthful appearance and love that I look to be in better shape than a guy in his twenties.

Do you want to be average? Or do you want to be a cut above? Just do it man! You know the answers. Motivation doesn’t matter, actions matter! If you let stress, a bitch of a girlfriend, or whatever take away from your workout; you’re having your time robbed bro! The only thing you get in this life is time, and you alone should decide what you do with it! Stress steals your time. Your training is a big FU to all the negative influences.

I guess I am the opposite of you. If I am pissed off or depressed about something, I get my butt into the gym and take it out on the Iron. I tend to blow my diet or workouts when I’m having a really good time, I think F**k it! life is short and I have been soooo good, what is one meal, or one missed workout gonna matter? Then the next day I get pissed off and depressed I blew it, haul my butt into the gym and work out even more intensely GGRrrrrr!
Anyway, it works out for me as long as I am not having a really good time too often! :^}