Project HUGE: The Psychological Problem With Losing Weight
Posted February 11, 2007 at 12:29 PM by Ben Nadel
When it comes to losing weight, there is a serious psychological problem that I have. My problem is not losing weight (yeah, of course that part is very hard), my real problem is seeing the weight loss as a positive thing. Since I have really started watching what I eat and eating a higher protein diet (including a lot of liquid-centric meals), I have dropped from about 224 lbs. down to about 205 lbs. (according to my girlfriend's bathroom scale).
This weight loss is good, but this weight loss translates to a general size loss. For someone who is trying to gain lean muscle mass (and as someone who must have at least a slight case of body dysmorphia), seeing any sort of size loss in the mirror whether it be fat or muscle, is very difficult.
Now, I understand that fat-size is not good size. In fact, it is counter productive to what I am trying to achieve in the long run. But that doesn't mean I don't enjoy filling out a shirt a little more or casting a larger shadow on the ground (yes, this is stuff that goes through my head). What I have to realize, though, is that when I lean down AND put on some muscle, it's going to look 100 times better than I do at the same size with fat-help.
And now for some lean, mean inspiration (and what's more inspiring than chicks that could kick my ass):
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(Internal Me): Hey dude, what are you doing?
(Me): Working on my friend's web site.
(Internal Me): But it's a Sunday?
(Me): Yeah, well I'm trying to help him get his new site ready to help his career - that's what friends do.
(Internal Me): Wow, that's really nice of you. I can't believe you've been able to do all that AND fit in your workouts.
(Me): Well, truth is, I haven't really put in any workouts this week 'cause I've been staying late most nights at work to help my friend.
(Internal Me): Oh, I get it; your friend's site is more important than your general health?
(Me): No dude, it's not like that.
(Internal Me): What's it like then?
(Me): I'm just helping him this week, then I'm back on track.
(Internal Me): Right. Just this week. And what about you being busy the other weeks? What about holidays? What about that 7 months you stopped working out after you met your girlfriend?
(Me): Look man, I'm really trying here! I can't work out all the time, I have a life to work in there as well.
(Internal Me): Can't?!? Can't?!? Success comes in "Cans," my friend. The only thing that comes in "Can'ts" is laziness... laziness and fatness. Fatass!
(Me): What do you want me to say dude? I'm in the office working.
(Internal Me): Alright, well then tell me when you're working out again.
(Me): I'm working out after this, probably in about an hour.
(Internal Me): What are you doing?
(Me): I am gonna lift some legs. Get some squats in there, maybe some step ups, maybe a bit of cardio.
(Internal Me): What are you doing?
(Me): What are you talking about? I just told you what I'm doing.
(Internal Me): You told me what you're lifting, I want to know what you're doing?
(Me): Ooooh, I get it.
(Internal Me): So what are you doing?
(Me): I'm going to get HUGE, baby, that's what I'm doing!!
(Internal Me): Heck-F'ing-Yeah! That's what I am talking about. Keep it real, lift some steel.
If you want to lose weight really fast and also build lean muscle, do yoga. I lost 60 pounds about 3 years ago and manage to keep it off to this day. I don't do a lot of yoga like a use to (marriage sucks), but I do do it from time to time. Some other good benefits of it is that you concentrate a lot better so programming becomes easier, and oh ya, on the perverted side, you can last and go longer :)
Another thing I did was just eat a lot of fish and rice. You get all the protein and carbs you need from a diet like that and plus it fills you up and doesn't have a lot of calories. Hopefully you like sushi.
Hmmm... maybe naming your project "Project HUGE" doesn't help with your psychological problems either. Perhaps it should have been Project RIPPED. BTW what were the goals of project HUGE? Did it include a minimum body fat percentage?
I love the internal dialogs you have with yourself - pretty amusing stuff, he he. Good luck with your goals.
Ben, My suggestion would be to throw out the bathroom scale. Lowering your weight does not sound like what you are really going after. If you are just trying to be in better shape and better sculpted then the scale will not help you. I used to get on the bathroom scale every single day to see the results of my exercising and lifting. For one thing, you can't measure your weight daily and second as long as you lose fat and gain muscle mass (proportionally) your weight will go up. Muscle weighs more right???
I changed my measure from weight to how I look in the mirror, how my clothes fit and some distinct body size measurements. Of course my doctor would want to measure other things like cholestoral, resting heart-rate, blood pressure, etc. So I go annually for that.
Good luck man!
That's awesome to hear that Yoga worked so well for you. I have not tried it before (and nice side-effects ;). I also could do with some extra flexability - my hips and hamstrings are extremely tight. 60 lbs! Awesome!
Problem is, hugeness is the primary goal. I am just tired of never feeling lean. Who knows, as the mental issues kick in more, I might just abandon and go back to eating more / lifting heavier.
Glad to entertain :)
Yeah, the bathroom scale is lame. I don't weigh myself that often. I too agree that the mirror / self-feeling is a much better estimate of how you are doing.
I think this kind of problems are very common nowdays. so I want to have a knowlege about it.
Why u use this pic? U have no permission, I send invoice for no permission.
I am from India going through the same patch ad you did-Working heavily 4 friends,relatives etc completely avoiding myself and after that a hug from a friend and 5 days of time loss of mine.
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Another conversation I am ridiculously late to, but anywho...
I read or heard somewhere that on average, weight loss comes from 80% what you eat and 20% exercise. Now, that being said, that is FOR THE AVERAGE person...not someone, necessarily, who trains for the Tour De France. Even though this is true, if what I heard is correct, for the average person, I think maybe if you exercise a whole lot, then it increases it...it comes a bit more from exercise and a bit less from diet. But I think you have to increase the exercise, from what I remember the study saying, by a pretty substantial amount to significantly change the distribution.
In a way, it makes sense anecdotally (I know that little red squiggly thing is telling me that is not really a word, but work with me here, please), for me, anyway, because I used to run like crazy. I would run all the time, because I enjoyed it. But I had to quit running as much as I did, partly because I wanted to be easier on my knees and not wear them out so much. But I noticed after I quit running (when I was running all the time, I could eat basically whatever I wanted), I noticed after not running as much that I can do very little exercise at all and just watch what I eat more (a lot more....like, majorly compared to what I used to eat)...but still not gain weight if I just watch what I eat...or not gain much weight, at least.
Now...for the record, this is all about weight LOSS, not weight GAIN. I know that some guys lift to GAIN weight, not lose it, so I am sure that the weight-lifting and exercise probably is more effective and a higher percentage than diet for weight GAIN...but this study was relevant to weight LOSS.
@ Ben, thanks for sharing with us your inner struggle to lose weight. It is shared by many!
I enjoyed reading your inner voice....sounds rather familiar!
I hope that it has all worked out for you.
@Anna - thank you for the comments re 80/20 ratio. Really good info, which for some reason has really enlightened and inspired me. It's data like that, that makes one think about the importance of the balance between food and ecercise.
I decided to look for the psychological support for losing weight through a personal trainer! will try to keep you posted :-)
I really didn't think of Yoga. Maybe I should try it. I've been doing some boxing and it works for me but it's very rigid.