Friday, August 21, 2009

Another Look at Motivation... and Something Else

Well, wasn't that fast? Just a few days ago I declare that I am done futzing around with my weight loss and am renewed in maintaining a daily deficit of 500-1000 calories.

And that lasted... Should I count in hours or minutes?

Either way, I crashed and burned. Quickly.


Likely suspects: PMS, oppressively hot weather, general burn-out, stress (the new school year starts very soon), a certain part of my psyche saying "enough" and rebelling against the healthful lifestyle...

I'll tell you which one I believe is guilty, but, in any case, I've been hitting fast food and junk food.

Worse yet: I haven't been exercising.

It's an ugly cycle. I eat Jack in the Box and feel stuffed so I don't want to exercise. I didn't exercise, so I'm missing the endorphins so I eat bad food looking for whatever that provides. Continue in circular fashion for... 48 hours now?

I'm not sure I ever mentioned this before, but I smoked marijuana for a short period about a decade ago. (Bear with me; I'm going somewhere with this.) For the most part, it was part of my "unwind" routine after work. I would smoke out the way some people would have a drink at the end of the day.

Now, you might think that pot would have made me gain weight, but I lost weight. (I was already losing weight, so the MJ just didn't disrupt the process.) But what about munchies? I never got them. I have a pet hypothesis that, just as stimulants have the opposite effect in children with ADHD (they calm them down), pot had the opposite effect in me.

The bigger issue is that, as was discovered years ago, eating "mass quantities" of food triggers a particular neurochemical reaction in the brain. This reaction is, believe it or not, similar to the effects of marijuana.

When I learned this, I was not surprised. You see, when I stopped smoking out every night... I started binging. I continued to do that for over a month. It was the only time in my life in which I binged. I didn't know why at the time, but after I learned about the connection between consuming a lot of food and THC (the active chemical in marijuana), I realized that I was basically seeking out that same semi-euphoric relaxation.

Does it make sense that now, as I'm beginning to feel some anxiety about the beginning of a new school year, I'm seeking that same relaxation? Bottom line: I think I'm self-medicating.

Funny thing: When I relayed all this to my therapist recently, she asked whether I had ever looked into medical marijuana. I quickly chuckled it off because I was afraid it would affect my motivation and my exercise.

On the other hand, if my current behavior is affecting my motivation and my exercise... would it be any worse? Would it actually be better?

In any case, I need to get a grip. I am absolutely not willing to undo my hard work. If I stay at 190-195, I can begrudgingly accept that. (Though I would still prefer to lose more weight. It's hard to bike this extra weight up the hills.) But I am completely resolute that I will not go above 200.

I will not. Period.


Cidtalk said...

I like your honesty. I don't agree with your 'reasoning'. I could easily say that my exercising is causing more pain, stressing me out, making it harder to loose weight, therefore stop exercising all everything will be fine......but that's me not wanting to exercise and finding an excuse to let myself down, yet again.

Fight through the fog, maybe lighten up about the numbers, the statistics, and just live it all instead of it being a crusade. That's the only way I've been able to find the balance I need to SLOWLY but surely drop a few ounces at a time, then pounds, and then feeling better, less pain, less fatigue...

The best thing is, you are not alone. We are all here, learning, getting inspired, going through it together.:)

geo said...

I never got munchies either. What I did get was a weird combo of energy and paranoia. But it's relatively harmless. If snowboarders can stop mid-run to light one up, I'm sure it doesn't act as a demotivator to everybody. :)

Karen said...

@Cidtalk: Lighten up about the numbers and statistics? Blasphemer! Heretic! Apostate! (OK, I had to use a thesaurus to come up with that last one...)

You could have something, though. Exercise does, when we're pushing ourselves, create a certain level of stress. Put too many stressors on the body at once, and you have an implosion. I can see that. The question is, which stressor should one reduce? I don't think I want to reduce exercise. And I can't reduce work. ;)

Thanks for the support, though. Having people both hold me accountable and cheer me on means a lot. :)

Karen said...

@geo: You neither? And, yeah, I got paranoia a couple of times - man, that would suck. Interesting about the energy. I, unfortunately, did get a it demotivated, though. I do know one guy who would "wake and bake" and then set about cleaning his house (totally bizarre) but, sadly, I do know that I lost a bit of energy. That's why I ended up only doing it at night. I remember once going out to the dojo after smoking... only to pull over on a side road and take a nap! But it is something that I might discuss with my therapist further. Might. Ideally I'll find something that sort of replicates the positive effect of MJ... but apparently that's a major holy grail. So if I do find any such substance or activity, I can retire early!