Lethargy. How do you stay motivated?

My last few workouts have felt rather uninspiring. Add to the fact that I’m not dropping lbs as I had hoped, I’m starting to feel lost, overwhelmed, and lethargic.

When I get to my workout I can’t seem to get in the zone. I love the feeling where your brain just kind of relaxes and your body takes over, your mind almost meditating. That’s the best workout feeling ever. I can’t seem to get in that zone which is frustrating in itself.

I don’t know what the cause is. Maybe I’m not getting enough sleep. Maybe I need to eat more nutritious food instead of simply calorie counting. If I figure it out I will post about it.

How do you get in the zone? How do you snap out of a spell of de-motivation?


Got to the gym: No headphones!! Disaster! Do you rely on your headphones to pass the time?

I got to the gym this morning only to realize that I had left my headphones on my bedside table.  So much for the queue of podcasts I had ready for distracting my mind while on the exercise bike.

I’ve been loving podcasts lately, and working out has been a great excuse to spend some time indulging in them.  Forgetting my headphones today wasn’t a huge deal, as I had a case study to read for class to distract me.

What do you do at the gym to stay inspired?  Do you listen to podcasts?  Pump-up music?  Or do you like the purity of gym-style ambiance, with the whooshing of the cardio machines, and top 40s hits being played softly over the din of casual gym conversations?  What do you do when you forget your headphones?

Exercise away the bad feels!

I was having a difficult time today.

I had a rough weekend for calories. Our social interactions so often revolve around food, and I had a particularly social weekend! From Friday through Sunday I had four meals in restaurants. Not great for the pocketbook or the waistline. Before I know it I’ll need bigger pants but won’t be able to afford them!

While I very much enjoyed the food and the company, I was having a difficult time today because I knew I went so far over my calories yesterday that today would have to be very disciplined to offset my calorie surplus for this week. I ate my breakfast in the car as I knew I would be out for lunch again later.

I had a meeting in the afternoon and I got home drained and tired, knowing I would have to work out if I wanted to have a good weight loss week. I put off working out for two hours before finally dragging my sorry butt up to the treadmill in my building’s communal workout room closet.

Not only did the run help me to curb my cravings but I feel amazing. It really boosted my mental health.

Why is it so hard to think ahead to how good exercise will make you feel? Instead so often I feel the weight if my limbs and laziness and I can’t get off my sorry ars just to burn a few hundred calories.

All in all though goodness prevailed and I only went over my weekly calorie goal by 69 calories. And it just would not be fair to my manhood or middle school sense of humor to do anything to change that number.

Happy weight loss!

Fitness Tip #4. Use a weekly calorie goal to help offset bad days with good days.

It is commonly noted that it takes a 3500 calorie deficit to burn 1 lb of fat.

The best way to achieve those deficits is to spread them over the course of a week. I want to lose 2 lbs per week so I need to attain a weekly deficit of 7000 calories. That translates to a goal of a 1000 calorie deficit per day.

But looking day to day isn’t always helpful. As I discovered in my plateau post, I would be over my goal most days though still under my 1000 calorie daily deficit.

In response to the plateau I am looking at my calorie goal a bit differently. Sometimes you can’t avoid going over your daily calorie goal.

On Wednesday I was up late studying and my fiancé desperately needed a late night snack (she dances up to 4 hours per day so definitely earned the calories!!) and we opted for Dominos pizza for the cinnamon sticks as well as their 50% off student discount. I had planned to abstain but when it arrived and the aromas filled my house and I just couldn’t resist. I was over my calorie goal by about 900 calories by the time I went to bed. With pizza it doesn’t take much to add up!!

Instead of worrying about it or beating myself up, I decided to make up the difference on Thursday. I swam Thursday morning which helped a lot on gaining a jump on my daily calorie deficit. By the end of the day I was almost 850 calories under my goal, nearly offsetting all of my dominoes pizza from the day prior.

The best part is I didn’t really feel deprived.

Averaging your calorie goal over the week really helps take the pressure off day to day.

You can sin today as long as you atone tomorrow!

My Fitness Pal, which I mention a lot, has a great weekly summary tool on their iPhone app. It makes it very easy to look at “over days” and “under days” and how close you are to reaching your weekly goal.

In summary: don’t sweat the over days. Just use them as a guide for your week so you can make up for your overages on another day.

Happy weight loss!

What caused my plateau? How can I overcome it?

I’ve been in a plateau since February 15, and it is incredibly discouraging.  As I have mentioned this weight loss effort is the most recent in a long line of weight loss efforts.  This time started out very encouraging, with rapid weight loss at the start totaling 16 pounds lost in about 20 days.  Admittedly, this is fast, and I should be (and am) happy with that success.  However, the last 20 days I haven’t been able to move that number any lower, and it is very demotivating.

So what is causing the plateau?  Let’s look at my food and exercise diary from Feb 12 to now, to see what is going on.

Date Consumed Burned BMR Net
12-Feb-13 1,891 182 2156 -447
13-Feb-13 2,287 280 2156 -149
14-Feb-13 2,618 2156 462
15-Feb-13 2,163 500 2156 -493
16-Feb-13 2,961 334 2156 471
17-Feb-13 2,373 2156 217
18-Feb-13 2,439 585 2156 -302
19-Feb-13 1,923 2156 -233
20-Feb-13 3,056 780 2156 120
21-Feb-13 2,941 1,002 2156 -217
22-Feb-13 2,312 2156 156
23-Feb-13 2,369 390 2156 -177
24-Feb-13 1,785 2156 -371
25-Feb-13 2,323 501 2156 -334
26-Feb-13 2,199 565 2156 -522
27-Feb-13 3,150 170 2156 824
28-Feb-13 2,082 2156 -74
01-Mar-13 2,567 642 2156 -231
02-Mar-13 2,064 2156 -92
03-Mar-13 1,921 1,328 2156 -1,563
04-Mar-13 2,890 774 2156 -40
TOTAL NET -2,995


The evidence is clear!  Even though I have days like March 3 where I know I’ve burned more calories than I’ve consumed, I also have days like February 27, where I am way over on calories.  The two days cancel out for maintaining weight, but clearly my weight loss progress has stopped for non-mysterious reasons!

All in all I have achieved a total net deficit of 2,995 calories.  The theory is that it takes a deficit of 3,500 calories to lose 1 pound.  My ideal weight loss program achieves losses of 2 pounds per week, which amounts to a 1000 calorie deficit every day.  At this rate I’m getting a 1000 calorie deficit every 10 days, for a weight loss projection of 2 pounds every 10 weeks!

So, a change must be made.

I guess moving forward I feel better about the plateau because I didn’t feel like it was justified, but now that I look at the data I realize it’s the result of my choices.  I’ve been exercising well, that’s the good news.  What I need to work on is keeping my diet in control.  I need to exercise my willpower.

Thanks for reading, and good luck overcoming your plateaus!


Man, brunch is a beast!  Everyone loves brunch, but I’m trying to lose weight here.

I have had brunch in the last two weeks and it has been as educational as it has been calorie intensive.  Both instances I was very conscious about what went on my plate.  I held back.  Were I not trying to lose weight, man would that buffet had suffered.

On my first foray into brunch this month here is what my meal looked like:


Total Calories: 1,031

Wow!  That’s a lot of calories for one meal.  Especially when I felt like I really held back.  I mean, who wouldn’t want an ENTIRE plate of waffles, and an ENTIRE plate of eggs and sausage and beef and potatoes PLUS fruit PLUS dessert?  I’m salivating.  Brunch buffets are like Hotel California.  “This could be heaven or this could be hell”.

Determined to learn from my mistakes, I vowed to be smarter the second time around.  I would avoid Eggs Benedict. I would fill up on vegetables.  I would try to avoid “throw away” calories on things I don’t really want.  Here’s how it looked:


Total Calories: 1,375


Brunch is hard.

What I did differently though in the second instance, was I didn’t eat breakfast before hand, whereas on the first day I had eaten a 500 calorie meal of oatmeal and banana. So although I ate 300 calories more on day 2, I ended up much more favorable in the net-calories department at the end of the day.

A weird quirk of dieting is that although I’m at a net calorie deficit at the end of each day I’m actually starting to feel less hungry than when I was eating 3500 calories a day and not even caring.  It’s funny how life in moderation can end up being more satisfying.

Happy dieting, friends!

(Images from http://www.myfitnesspal.com)