T Nation

Obese, Depressed, and Completely Lost


#1

Hey there, people. So, yeah. 29 year old mom of two (both under 2). Short(ish) version: was over 340 lbs in July 2012 when I started my weight loss mission. By October 2013, I was 185. Got pregnant (something I was told was impossible) in November of '13, gave birth in July '14 at 260 lbs. In November '14, pregnant again at 240. By the time I had my son in July 2015, I was back up to 297! :scream:

So this time, I started at 297 in September and I’m currently around 248/250. Goal is to get back to the 180’s but I’ve been stuck at 250 for MONTHS. Haven’t worked out much because of a bad wrist injury and just let my food slip. But after many, many cortisone shots in my wrist over the last few months, the pain is gone. :ok_hand:t2: But the mindset is still there. I’m too tired/lazy/whatever you’re gonna call it to care about calorie or macro counting, strict logging. I have no free time during the days to just go workout, so my only option is a 4 am wake up to get it in before my kids wake up. Add in the stress of our current living situation (living with family while waiting to buy/move into our house this summer. Family is full of idiots and alcoholics) and you have a perfect recipe for an excuse, I guess.

So finally convinced Husband that we needed a vacuum sealer and have since bought over $300 worth of chicken breast (only lean meat I really like) and started back at my meal planning. Hoping to start daily workouts again this week (NOT a fan of 4 am wake ups though, so getting started has been rough). Also finally ordered a TRX system and that should be here next week, so that’s exciting but also intimidating. M But getting back to lifting in my gym is more exciting. If I could ever just do it. :expressionless:

Here’s the thing before everyone jumps down my throat. I know what I need to do. I’m not a moron. I just don’t know how. I don’t know how to force the morning wake ups and workouts. I don’t know how to stop mindlessly grazing all day. I don’t know how to get myself out of this. I’ve told myself a thousand times to “just do it” and “if you really wanted it, you’d make it happen”. But it’s bull. Because I DO want this again. I want to feel good, stop hurting, enjoy my days with my kids. I’m not even sure what I’m asking here. I’ve been told this forum is the best, the most supportive and knowledgeable.


#2

Hi there. Congratulations on making some good first steps. I don’t have all of the answers, but I can share some of what’s worked inside my brain to get me out of a similar predicament.

  1. Expect more from yourself. This is vague, but you need to have a vision of where you want to be. Hang on to that and don’t ever give up on it. It sounds cheesy, but you’ve got a long road and you need to believe in what you’re doing. You also want to do something that is a lot different from what the people around you are doing. Chances are, nobody’s going to help you. Some people close to you may even try to sabotage your progress because they find your choices to be offensive. It is up to you to get it done.

  2. Learn to love the process. For me, the main aspect of this was discovering barbell lifts. It didn’t take long for me to figure out that I was much stronger physically than I had ever thought possible. Setting those first few PR’s got me hooked on the process long before the mirror started to show any noticeable progress. I’ve learned to love the work that’s necessary to get me to my goals. I love lifting, I love cooking and I take pride in the fact that I live in a world of discomfort that other people run away from. Once you get into a cycle of achievement the momentum picks up and you figure out that living the grind isn’t really so bad after all.

  3. One thing at a time. Don’t try to overhaul who you are overnight. Set small goals like “eat 1 cup of broccoli a day all this week”. Hell, simply establishing a habit of working out regularly can be a very big change. It definitely was for me when I was coming off of a decade plus of unrepentant sloth.

  4. Harness the power of habit. It has been my experience that small habits have a way of adding up. Become a person who lifts weights. Become a person who doesn’t snack on garbage. Become a person who doesn’t drink beer just because it is delicious and awesome. Become a person who gets adequate sleep. Become a person who consumes vast portions of vegetables. And each of those habits can be constructed of many smaller habits laid down over time. Taking it on in smaller bites helped me.

  5. Be honest with yourself. Don’t lie to yourself about what you want and don’t lie to yourself about whether your choices are getting you closer to those goals. You are either making measureable progress, or not. If you aren’t, it is time to take a close look at what you are doing and make the right adjustments.

And most importantly, never quit!


#3

I will share a controversial method because it’s what I use to pump myself before every work out. I’ll probably get negative feedback and I agree it is not for everyone but here we go - self hatred (in moderation). So for example, about 30 minutes to an hour before I work out I list all the things I wish I could have done and acknowledge the bullshit excuses I used. Then I pretty much mentally abuse myself saying there’s no reason I can’t be stronger then (insert peer) and the only thing in between my goals and I are the excuses I use. If you’re gripping your fists as hard as you can, you’re doing it right. Get mad. But let me clarify, this isn’t a trip to self pity city. It’s you acknowledging you’re better than your excuses and that it’s time to change yourself. I’ve done my best training session using this method.

Short story: Get mad - at yourself, at society, at your ex, at the losers in your life. After the work out, you’ll come out with a clear mind and hopefully make better life decisions in general.

The first step to a better and happier life - wake up at 4am.


#4

A very nice quote by Jim Wendler, that sums it up I believe:

“Habits require discipline, not motivation. Motivation drains you and is empty. Discipline and habits always work. They never fail.”

Very good points by TwoJarslave as well. Setting a daily routine is very important and I believe you have to enjoy what it is that you’re doing. I personally love to train and my eating and sleeping habits are all products of my love for training and reaching my goals.

I have had my fair share of hardship over the last 4 years or so and I have always gotten in the gym to do my squats, presses, conditioning and such. Training is “my drug” that turns the noise level down in my head and allows me to be clear. I believe you have to adjust your level of intensity or whatever to fit the current situation of your life. Don’t expect to be a completely different person in one day-- it takes years. Everything I do now, is a result of years of small changes and development of habits and discipline.

More over, enjoy the process. I love what I do every day when it comes to training. I love the struggle to gain strength and be better than I was the month before. I don’t have to ever psych myself up to train, it is as much a part of my life as sleeping and eating.

Diet is no different, small changes and establish good habits.


#5

This. Make one thing better every 2 weeks for a year. Its going to suck balls at the start when progress is slow, motivation is high, patience is in short supply but doubt is high. You’ll be in a far better place at the end of year one as weight is falling off you rather than trying to overhaul everything at once at the start and coming to a screeching halt in week 4 and having to beat your body into submission each day.


#6

Question: Where’s your husband in all of this? You don’t have to answer this, but is there any way that he can take care of your kids at a different time of the day for an hour while you workout?

Also, macro counting is not super hard. It is a bit of a learning curve, but you can get over it pretty quickly. Here’s one easy way of doing it. Meal plan for the week on Sunday. Figure out the macros then. Once you’ve figured out the macros for a meal, record it. Most people end up eating the same few meals over and over again. Chances are you will be able to easily plug in your macros once you get them down for the main 5-10 recipes you make (and also the occasional junk food, like takeout pizza when you’re too tired to make something). There’s also a very supportive macros facebook group for women that my wife belongs to. You might find that it helps to be plugged into a community like that.

You can also figure out why you graze. My wife used to love eating chips. She still does, but she realized it was the crunch that really got to her. So she gets flavored popcorn from Trader Joes (or wherever), or eats a few chips and salsa now and again. I used to drink lots of pop, but I eventually realized it was the fizziness that really got to me, so I went from Mountain Dew to Izzies, and soon I’m going to go down to sparkling water.

You may already know this from dieting down before, but it’s worth remembering that at first you get cravings for junk food but before you know it, junk food will have a bitter taste you didn’t realize was there, and your body will start to actually enjoy things like roasted vegetables. Oh, and on that note, don’t feed your kids junk. They’ll want it, but you will make it so much tougher for yourself if you are eating healthy and they are eating junk. And it will get even worse when they are older (teenagers) and the junk food starts taking a toll on their bodies. (don’t have junk around the house, don’t buy it). It looks like your kids are young enough that it’ll be easier to get them to eat clean now than force them to switch their diets later.

Also, don’t let the stress of idiotic family members get to you. It’s got to be tough while you’re living with them, but make sure you’ve got boundaries in place.


#7

Wendler puts it better than just about anyone else can.


#8

Yeah as Twojar and others said one thing at a time is huge. -Dont try and do perfect diet, train super hard, start taking supps, go teetotal etc all at once.
eg. Month one just get three workouts in a week.
Month two focus on diet .
Month three add supps and target one workout each week to really bring it.

As far as diet dont worry about calorie counting for now just cut out all sugar and keep an eye on carbs. Aim for 80% + of your food to be fresh meat/fish and greens/veg. Dont be afraid of having big meals and adding good fats to fiil you up so you don’t ‘graze’ later in the day.

Also check out Alphas log full of highly motivational rants to get you hungry to train


#9

We know how, we just don’t do it. Okay admittedly I’m not as big, nor do I get pregnant, which makes things much harder. I know women have it harder with a naturally higher body fat content and only muscles burn calories. In my case hormonal issues basically made me ache and now in retrospect I was depressed. Pain and Melancholy tend to make you want to eat and they certainly keep you from wanting to work out. You’re going to get great diet and workout advice from the pros here. But I think maybe it’s also good to work on that depression from a dietary standpoint. From getting outside, fresh air and sunshine. Vitamin D, B12. Good good quality food supplements. If your body’s happy, it’ll tend to make you feel better. A little more energetic a little more motivated. It’s easier to lose weight when you’re happy. My issues were primarily hormonal, maybe yours are as well? I know that’s projection but it never hurts to look into it.
The let me congratulate you. One for being a mother. And two you’ve lost weight before, you will lose it again. it’s just going to take time. work on being happy as well they You need optimism, it’s a long haul. It took you a long time to gain it, it’s going to take you a long time to lose it.


#10

Have a Defined GOAL.

My own personal Defined Goal is a 245 bench, 405 Squat and 505 Deadlift next 21 March 2017. This is two weeks after my 50th Birthday.

I am currently very much on track for this.

As many here whom I hold in the deepest regards have stated…

You will be able to do this.


#11

Sorry for being off topic here twojarslave, but your advice and points are almost identical to what zen Buddhists call the path.

  1. Self reliance rather than attachment, positive focus.
  2. Be in the moment rather than fixated on the past and imagined future.
  3. realistic advancement rather than guru-inspired notions of transformation.
  4. seeing the way broadly helps you see it in all things.
  5. not hiding behind constructs of the ego, be honest to other and to yourself.

Do you have a background in zen or taoism etc?


#12

Interesting, but no I haven’t studied either of those. I mostly watched a lot of Beavis and Butthead. Still, its pretty cool to know that I’m on the path, or at least something like that.


#13

Sorry for taking so long to respond! Toddlers and iPhones don’t mix well when there’s a tile floor around. But the replacement is here and now I can actually read and respond.

So firstly, thank you all so much for your answers and support, it means a lot. So, trying not to skip anything:

Started better planning my meals for this week. Even prepped 5 days of lunches, made a designated “snack bin” in the fridge with pre packaged snacks so I can’t use “no time” as an excuse to grab whatever quick junk is around. And dinner is going to be just grilled chicken breast and veggies again, same as I did before when I lost so much. I just get bored with the same thing all the time, but I’ll be able to get over it, I’ve done it before.

I also did come up with a quick routine for the suspension training, maybe 20-30 minutes, but it’s quick enough to get done at even the butt crack of dawn and hits some of the big groups (chest, shoulders, upper back, glutes/hams, quads for now). Back to the noob stage of soreness/stiffness, but once I’m more accustomed to it, I hope to make it a much longer and more intense workout. I DO really, really want to get back to lifting. I miss it SO much and was still getting those noob gains by the time I stopped lifting over two years ago. I’m just having so much trouble forcing myself to get in the gym at the end of the day (morning isn’t a possibility yet since the noise would wake the kids until we move and put the gym in the garage). I know I have a terrible “all or nothing” mindset, so accepting that even the quick 20 minutes every morning is enough for now just upsets me more.

Also, my husband is definitely around to help me out, but he’s gone from 6 am to 530 pm at work, plus his job is a very physical one, so when he’s home, I try to get everything done while he hangs out with the kids so he doesn’t have to and can just rest his body a while. By the time I’m done all I need to do, it’s time to get started on bedtime routines. So I’ll try finding ways to get more done during the day whenever possible? That way I DO have time to hop in the gym for a while and it won’t interfere with schedules. But with kids so young, it’s impossible to say when I’ll be able to get extra stuff done, so actually making a workout schedule (I used to do lifting Mon, Wed, Fri, and alternating Sat and Sun) is hard.

Either way, I do know the nutrition aspect is more important and I should focus on that, but as everyone knows, that part is harder. So I’m not excited about it, lol. But I look back at pictures of myself three years ago and 60 lbs less and with such a huge smile, I just get so upset. I WISH I was the type that was fueled by anger, but I’m just the opposite. :frowning:


#14

Life will beat you on any given day. So have a plan B ready. A set you can get in at home. And do not give up when you fail on any given day. Just hit it the next day, keep moving. One more thing. It is not possible to work out enough to make up for a bad diet. What you eat is the most important thing, so far as losing weight.


#15

It sounds like you’ve got a good balance in there. Just remember that when you have a rough day (any long term plan will have a few of them) to forgive yourself quickly and pick right back up.

As for the chicken…there are a few things that my wife and I have done to make frequent chicken eating more enjoyable. Roasting chicken with various spices can be quite good. More than that, roasting the veggies can make them delicious. Sweet potatoes, carrots (easy-ish to burn, so watch out), and asparagus are among the best, but just about any veggie drizzled in olive oil will come out really nice. You can also throw the chicken in the oven with a marinade. What we do is put it in some oil and and an acid (lemon juice), and then some spices in the marinade. The chicken soaks a lot of it up, and then the remaining liquid can be drizzled on it and the veggies. So long as you don’t use too much oil (drizzle for the veggies, and about 2TB/lb of chicken) then you don’t really have to worry about it. Plus, it’ll make sure that you get enough quality fats in your diet to avoid hormonal disruption (making cutting easier to do long term). One thing to watch out on pre-made spice mixes is that a lot of them are high in sodium. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but if you’re using a lot and weighing frequently, it could skew the results through higher-than-normal water retention. Some spice mixes are low sodium, and you can of course come up with your own combinations with what you have.

Roasting chicken and veggies will take a little more forethought than grilling, but it’ll also make them tastier, longer.

Good luck!