One Mom’s Journey from Fat to Skinny to Confident


Are Your Goals Getting in the Way?

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This question of the week may seem odd. I’m normally all about goals and goal setting. I think it’s really a great way to build confidence. With every goal I checked off my list the more and more confident I became. However, if we aren’t careful the goals we set may actually get us in trouble. As usual I’ll use myself as an example…

I recently posted my workout history and new training schedule. I’ve been working out with the trainer for a few weeks now. Not with the trainer as in he tells me what to do but with the trainer as in we train together. The problem is he is very focused on body building and developing a specific physique. At first I thought that’s what I wanted too.

So we started lifting and focusing on muscle groups. He started questioning what I was eating and sending me recommendations that, honestly, felt very "diet" like to me. For example…

  • 1/3 C oatmeal and 6 egg whites
  • 1/3 C brown rice and 4oz chicken breast
  • 5oz lean ground turkey and 1 C green veggies
  • 6oz white fish and 1 C green veggies
  • 4oz chicken breast and 1 C green veggies
  • 8 egg whites and 1 C green veggies

At first I was like… Ok well maybe this is what I need to do if I want to "train" but every day that I wasn’t able to keep my calories in check I’d get that "I blew it" mentality. All of a sudden, I realized I was beginning to feel like the 18 year old version of myself. Visualizing a specific physique as my goal, restricting my food intake only to rebel against the whole idea on an almost daily basis and snack my brains out before bed. Sounds familiar? It’s what I call the yo you diet cycle of hell.

Taken from my post "Why do you think people have a hard time losing weight?"

I realized all this a couple of days ago and finally had the guts to email the trainer. Here’s an excerpt…

I’m not really looking to build a specific physique as you are. I much rather set fitness goals as in running the mile faster, maintaining my long distances, doing a pull up, etc. I’m just not into body building like I thought I’d be. It had me thinking about my body shape and size too much which is what got me in trouble in the first place and honestly, I noticed my eating issues and bad relationship with food returning. I’m happy where I am and I don’t want to attain a specific "body." I want to stay in shape, have fun and challenge myself physically.

After I wrote that I felt a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. I finally feel a sense of contentment with all that I have accomplished and I was able to articulate that. I don’t need to be thinner, more muscular or meet somebody else idea of an "ideal body." I’m fine just the way I am so why set a goal that is going to compromise all of these feelings?

Nope, not doing it. I am no longer going to train for the pure face of sculpting a body. I am not setting goals that have anything to do with a specific size or shape. That may work for others but for me that goal just gets in the way.

Actually now that I start thinking about it, every goal I’ve set has been about achieving something tangible (lose x number of pounds, climb a wall, do a pull up) those are the types of goals that keep me going.

I’m not sure if my example makes sense but I know there are heathy goals that help us on this journey and there are unhealthy ones that get in our way. Considering your goals, do you think any are getting in your way of being a healthier happier person?

P.S. I want to thanks Rollercoaster for a great comment that helped me come to some of these conclusions.

Leave a comment

I’d love to hear your story or thoughts on mine.

However, to prevent the massive amounts of spam I was receiving I have turned off comments on any post older than 5 days old. If you'd like to leave me a note regarding this post or anything really try me on twitter (@RoniNoone,) my Facebook page, or even IG (@RoniNoone) I'm so sorry for the inconvenience. I never thought I'd have to do this but it's gotten way out of hand and comment management has become simply too time consuming to manage.


There are 39 comments so far.


    April 29, 2009

    I think you’re absolutely justified in not wanting to “train.” That’s fine for certain people, but that doesn’t mean everyone wants to do it. I certainly don’t have that kind motivation! If your future goals don’t include the same goals your trainer has, I think you’re on the right track.

    Erika Reiman

    April 29, 2009

    Interesting thoughts Roni. It does sound like your trainer/workout partner is following a pretty strict bodybuilder-type diet.
    I find it interesting that in his newest book “The Body Fat Solution”, Tom Venuto – as you know, a big name in bodybuilding nutrition – suggests that most of us don’t really need to be tweaking macronutrient consumption and should be concentrating primarily on creating a calorie deficit. And this is definitely where I stand right now! Overstressing about avoiding your favourite foods … well, we know where that leads!


    April 29, 2009

    Okay I’ll bite….
    I think set goals is a good thing in general. It depends on the person and how those goals translate to their personality. I tend to be a perfectionist in some areas and if it was perfect or I didn’t think I could do a perfect job, I got overwhelmed by the process and gave up.

    But in some areas I need specific, general goals. Does that even make sense?!? I needed to tell myself I will work out 3x a week. Specific. But I don’t dictate what exactly I have to do. If I’m tired, I do a yoga DVD. Yeah, go me! I did “it”. Just working out was the goal for that day.

    We want to eat more fish. But saying that doesn’t translate into action. We now eat fish every Tuesday. Specific. I’ve learned not to set myself up for failure. I’ve been there done that too many times already :)



    April 29, 2009

    I really enjoyed this post. I feel that why does dieting always have to be ‘dieting’ why can’t we just say you know what I’m not going to fail because I’m not on a ‘diet’ I’m eating healthy, and I’m going to eat healthy and be healthy for life!


    April 29, 2009

    p.s. good for you for saying something to your trainer. Lots of people just go with the flow and then get all frustrated. It’s hard to speak up and say something isn’t working for you.


    Michelle in CA

    April 29, 2009

    Good for you! Great post. I am having issues right now that I am affectionately referring to “Post Half Marathon Stress Disorder” LOL Now that I am not “training” for something, I am trying to just build muscle and yes, you do have to eat 90% of the time ***somewhat*** like the menu the trainer suggested (although I have to admit, that’s pretty hardcore. That’s similar to a countdown to a figure competition diet IMHO !!!!). AND WHERE ARE THE GOOD FATS TRAINER????!!!!

    I am trying to re-evaluate where I am headed in this quest for fitness and trying to find my happy place. In the meantime, if I could only get myself motivated to work up a good sweat … something I haven’t had since race day :-(


    April 29, 2009

    Great post Roni… this really resonated with me. For a long time now, I’ve had a “I need to lose such and such an amount to by at goal by such and such a date” and it’s fostered my already challenging “all or nothing” mentality. When I lost my 75 pounds, it was all about eating right, the process, and I had the attitude of “it takes as long as it takes”. I lost that for a while and as a result essentially ended up maintaining for 2 years, which in and of itself is not a bad thing, but was frustrating considering I’m on the home stretch.
    Now, I’m focusing again on the process, it’ll take as long as it takes (because I could have lost my remaining 40 pounds at least twice over if I’d had this attitude for the last couple of years). It’s good to have it back, it’ll be smooth sailing from here on in as long as I keep it. And the last 2 years have taught me how to maintain. There’s always a bright side!


    April 29, 2009

    Good for you Roni for standing up for what you know is you and true. My goals sometimes stand in my way when I set them too unrealistically. I have to make sure that my goals are realistic. I know I’m not going to lose 50lbs in 3 months, it’s just not realistic for me. Also, if I set a goal that is not inline with my morals or way of thinking then I will have set myself up for failure. So with you knowing that building that cut scuplted body isn’t inline with your bigger purpose you can go back to what you know works for you.


    April 29, 2009

    Great post, Roni! I’ve been struggling with goal setting, as in “I want to lose ten pounds” as opposed to “I want to run four miles without taking a walking break.” I keep wavering back and forth between the two and imagine that, neither are happening.

    If you don’t mind sharing, what did your trainer respond to your email (or to that portion of your email)?


    April 29, 2009

    Hey Roni! You know, for once you’ve confused me- in one paragraph you say “I am not setting goals that have anything to do with a specific size…” and then in the very next paragraph “every goal I’ve set has been about achieving something tangible…those are the types of goals that keep me going.”

    Well which one is it girl?!?

    I have discovered in the past year that I don’t like setting tangible goals because then I feel like a failure if I don’t reach them (even if I am making healthy improvements.) However I think we need some set standard of which to measure our progress or else we have no clue how we’re doing or if what we’re doing is working.

    I started working out last April and now run regularly (3 times a week) and alternate with weight lifting (2-3 times a week.) I still have the Weight Watchers mentality so while I do not count points, I know I am eating the kinds and amounts of foods I should.

    Here’s the kicker- I’ve barely lost 10 lbs! If I was focused on numbers alone I would be quite upset. But my body proportions have changed (hello abs, nice to meet you) and I know that I am looking/feeling much better. My clothes fit again (kinda tangible if I had changed sizes) and I have more energy (not tangible.) But when I look at the weight alone, seeing as though the weight was the reason I started exercising, then I am a failure. When I did WW I lost 10 lbs the first month. But this time it isn’t about numbers, it’s about lifestyle and habits. I know you understand that, that’s why I enjoy your blog so much. You aren’t promoting a diet, you’re promoting being healthy!

    Sorry for such a long post but I needed to get that out there. I think I understand where you’re going with this one, some times the words just get in the way!


    April 29, 2009

    Emiliy – You are right, the words get in the way. What I mean is setting a goal around something like my body more then being in a healthy weight range. And this may be where it’s all in my own head… when I set my new training schedule it was about achieving a physique when I initially started this journey it was about losing body weight to get myself into a healthy range and healthy state of mind. Ever time I (and this may be were I differ with people) interject thoughts or goals about achieving body image goals ie a specific sized body or how I’ll look in a bikini or comparing myself to others bodies it derails me. I finally realize all that is just not worth it for me at all and I’m not setting those types of goals at all.

    Does that make any better sense?!? lol


    April 29, 2009

    Hi Roni,

    I was wondering what your thoughts are about linking weight loss goals to specific time frame? My WW leader was advocating this at our meeting (like set goal to lose 15 pounds by 4 July). While that is specific and measurable, I can see myself getting very disappointed if I only get 13 pounds off by 4 July. On the other hand, if I said 15 pounds off by Thanksgiving, that’d be so far out, I’d procrastinate. Just wondering your thoughts on this!

    Thanks for your fantastic blogs.


    April 29, 2009

    There is a difference between being moderately healthy and fit and being VERY healthy and fit. That meal plan (which is basically how I eat) is for those of us who want to be very fit – but it is work, hard work, and diet is v. important. It’s ok to say that you dont want to achieve that, but recognize that “eating clean” (which is what that meal plan is) is about more than looking good – its about feeling great, having energy, a real fountain of youth, knowing you are nourishing your body as best you can, and so much more. I would look at it not as going for a “specific physique” as much as committing to making changes for your health.


    April 29, 2009

    She advocates that? I would never set a date. Well that’s a lie, I have in the past and those were the times I always failed. I wouldn’t put a time limit because certain things are just out of your control, like how fast your body want’s to lose.

    A measurable goal is 15 pounds. That’s good enough. in my opinion.


    April 29, 2009

    One other comment – that type of meal plan is EXACTLY what will help you achieve goals like:
    “running the mile faster, maintaining my long distances, doing a pull up”

    In fact that is what it is designed for in large part – to aid in training and recovery.


    April 29, 2009

    Alisa – I hear you. And I strive to eat as clean as I can (want to). I see nothing wrong with that plan except that HIS goal is doing for physique just for a specific time frame and I just can’t do that. It makes me regress to a bad place where everything was about my body image and as I said, that’s were my problems started. I’m happy just being healthy and fit.

    Thats me.

    BUT I think it’s great that you can handle that lifestyle and it works for you! Actually, I think it’s AWESOME! :)


    April 29, 2009

    Good job letting your trainer know what you want! So many people are afraid to stick up for themselves that way.


    April 29, 2009

    What an amazing post, Roni. I love your e-mail to the trainer — and your attitude in general!!!


    April 29, 2009

    Ok, I’m curious…Did the trainer reply?


    April 29, 2009

    Hey Roni! I think you are RIGHT! For me a year ago it was the fact that the WW leader at my meeting set my weight goal at the highest end of my range. I got there and wasn’t happy, but she said this would be easier to maintain, so I set it as my goal. Finally a couple of months ago I realized I wasn’t happy with it….so I set myself a goal, reached it and am sooo much happier!


    April 29, 2009

    This post and the comment by Erika Reiman really resonated with me. It’s interesting to realize that even healthy goals sometimes block our view of personal happiness and the bigger picture.

    Macro splits have recently been a big part of my daily goal but it’s one that is simply stressing me out. I have lost almost 100 pounds in just over a year but have such a long way to go. I sometimes don’t eat what I really want to eat (despite it being in my calorie goal) just to maintain a macro split and I truly don’t think that’s where I need to be at this point in my journey. The deficit is there (and the multitude of other positive lifestyle changes already in place) … and I lost my first 100 pounds without the macro stress so maybe it’s time to drop that weight off my shoulders (no pun intended) and just focus on staying the course.

    Whew! Sorry about that. Thank you for getting me thinking, Roni!

    Laura Jane

    April 29, 2009

    Interesting thoughts and the comment that inspired the post is also interesting. I prefer to set goals that I have direct control over (like eat x number of vegetables daily this week or workout x times this week) rather than setting goals that I don’t have direct control over (which I call “milestones” instead of goals – like losing x pounds or fitting into x size or x pair of jeans – even though those things are definitely controllable by me and a result of my efforts). When I focus on how many pounds I want to lose or what smaller clothing I want to wear, I get so frustrated because I can’t go out and change that today. But I focus on becoming healthier and changing my habits – now, that I CAN change – today. I may not be able to wear a size 8 today, but I can workout today, etc. And lately I’ve ditched all the numbers (as in counting calories and weighing myself) completely b/c I realized I was actually using that as an excuse for some bad habits and as a way of masking my real problems (i.e. giving into my sweet tooth multiple times daily b/c I could still eat those things and maintain a decent calorie deficit) – not that I think not counting or anything is going to be the answer by any means. Maybe that’s not exactly what you were saying in your post – but that’s what it made me think about.


    April 29, 2009

    That flow chart has defined my life for way too long. I was desperate for that “perfect body” and when it didn’t instantly happen I would think of myself as a stupid failure and would binge terribly. Its a vicious cycle. I have gotten a ton better with this, but I’m certainly not past it. Some days I use exercise as a form of stress relief (instead of bingeing. Damn I’m proud of myself when I go for a run instead of buying $20 in chocolates) other days I run because I’m disgusted with what I see in the mirror. And after that run I’m still not happy with what I see and I just end up eating. Those unhealthy “goals” definitely get in the way. They shouldn’t be called goals, goals designates something healthy and positive. But I have no clue what to call them besides a string of the most vulgar words I can think of.


    April 29, 2009

    Amen sista! I am glad I could give back in some way considering how much I have learned by following you and your journey over the last several years. I admire your courage to share so much of yourself with all of us. :)

    I think you truly honored yourself by acknowledging something was wrong, identifying what was throwing you back into your yoyo diet hell and then having the courage to do something about it! So simple but probably one of the hardest things to do in life. I can totally identify with your entire post and the feeling you got when you finally sent the email!

    I have a friend that always tells me “Don’t push the river”. That makes me laugh because sometimes that’s exactly what I feel like I am doing! For some reason that quote just seems to fit the theme of your post and the comments. If we listen to ourselves and our bodies, the answers will come.

    One last comment about the cookbook…Your recipes are wonderful and from someone who doesn’t get creative in the kitchen, I would absolutely buy your book! I love that the recipes don’t have 100 ingredients and feel totally doable. We all bring the computer into the kitchen with us to make your recipes so it would be great to have a book we could put on the shelf!


    April 29, 2009


    Thank you. Honestly it’s amazing that you wrote this. I have been struggling with not weight myself every single morning..isn’t that silly. Being on WW has, one of the negative things I’ve gotten from it, is a total focus on a weight and feeling good/bad about oneself since I have been on it totally resulting from a number on a digital scale.

    With that being said, I am afraid of not weighing myself. I am afraid of not having a goal weight or being a certain size. It’s defined me for eight years and having to honestly trust my body, my food choices w/o points or the affirmation (positive/negative) each day that I am on or off track scares me.

    I am struggling a bit to let go of this mentality which is destructive at times. However, I need to focus on other goals…I am going to think about this over the weekend.

    Thanks so much for writing this and thanks for taking a stance against boring rice and chicken.


    April 29, 2009

    SO TRUE. Do what you feel is good for you. Personally i value general stamina and health over the glamour side of the body, i.e. the sculpting side. I want to feel good IN my body, not feel good about others judging my body. I want to be healthy, not obsessed. The modern day view on what the pinnacle of bodyshape is, is not a natural one imho. If bodybuilding is your thing, fine go ahead, but please do not get succered into believing that the best body is an overly muscular one. Bodybuilders die young, so do most top athletes. Exercise is healthy, but as with every other thing in life, do it in moderation.

    Love that you were able to spot the warning signs so quickly. Good for you!


    April 30, 2009

    Your example makes perfect sense and i can totally relate. Whenever I get too focused on a specific diet or exercise regime I get sucked into a tunnel of thoughts that end up sending me in spiraling in the wrong directions. It taps into old thoughts/feelings of yo-yo dieting days and always looking for the right answer outside of myself rather than tuning into my body.
    It never fails to amaze me that I can still be sometimes lured into a “dieting” pitfall but i am grateful to be able to catch the signs pretty quickly:).


    April 30, 2009

    I can relate to this post on soooo many levels! Thanks so much for sharing the diagram – that’s me too! Good luck with the trainer :)


    April 30, 2009

    oooooooooooooh. perhaps you do wanna read my book outline!!


    April 30, 2009

    Roni, I love how you keep it real and remain true to yourself, your ideals, goals, and expectations of yourself. I know how much you enjoy working out and I was actually just curious if you have heard of/tried crossfit? If you haven’t heard of it, it is a “strength and conditioning program that uses highly varied, random functional movements performed at a high level of intensity.” Many military, police squads and sports teams partake in crossfit to train and condition. There is a heavy focus on muscle confusion and functionality so the workouts are intense and incorporate aerobic, anaerobic, olympic weight lifting, running, pullups, kettlebell, body resistence, core stabilization, trx suspension training, you name it. anyway, i just wanted to mention it because i know you enjoy working out for the fun and challenge of it and crossfit definitely provides both! i love it! Take care…Kim


    April 30, 2009


    It takes a lot of guts and heart to know where you need to be to be happy (if that makes sense.) I am happy for you. And I agree with you that it is all to easy to fall into wanting to be other people’s ideal of anything because that is what we think they want, and we want to make them happy.



    April 30, 2009

    Great post – good for standing up to yourself. We all have different goals and it’s terrific that you know yourself well enough to say “I would like to work towards this kind of goal, not that kind.” This makes me wonder exactly what I want out of my workouts. I think mostly it’s for stress relief (running) and extra strength while lifting things (strength training)!

    Mary Jo

    April 30, 2009

    Hi Roni, My husband and I were just talking about kind of the same thing the other night. When we he met he was really into body building, just ripped. Then life got in the way, we have 5 kids, he got promoted to the office, and we both packed on the the pounds. I started Weight watchers in October and have lost 30 pounds to date, he joined my band wagon and with my help he has now lost 17. He told me he really feels good and happy, and honestly he didn’t feel any better when he was training so hard to try and maintain that body. Body building is hard, a lot of work and commitment and you really have to eat more protein for muscle building and carbs for energy. If you feel great and healthy, just keep doing what you are doing for yourself, not changing because someone else thinks you should be doing what they are.


    April 30, 2009

    I have my issues with weight watchers, but I love the fact that they don’t give you certain amount of protein versus carb versus fat ration. I can’t follow the strict guidlines. I don’t like meat and can’t stomach eggs at this time, truthfully I only eat meat when I have to. So I get most of my protein through milk and soy products. It works for me, I’ve lost 52 pounds since July. So six egg whites would kill me and give me a horrible stomach ache. I believe that you can get amazing arms or legs through a BALANCED diet, cardio, and weight lifting. I hate body builders mentality of all protein, it just is not healthy. I was recently on a body builders website who was trying to give a “clean diet” help to the common dieter. She said don’t eat pineapple it has too much sugar. Hmmm, really? Pineapple has awesome benefits and I could eat it everyday and still succeed. I believe you should be able to eat any fruit or vegitable that you wish! In moderation as everything, but to give a reccomendation like which fruit to avoid? Pissed me off!
    Oh, I love the point system, just get aggitated with the fact that they don’t urge more exercise. My leader the other day told a member I don’t exercise and I never have or will basically. Not a good example, makes me very sad.
    Thanks, Nichole

    LG the Second

    April 30, 2009

    I just wanted to cry after reading this post. It couldn’t have come at a better time.

    I’ve plateaued for months, partly due to Jan-Mar stress on buying a house, moving, etc. All April I’ve had trouble getting back on track, and I joined a new gym, read some magazines, and thought I’d kick-start getting back on track with jumping into a stricter regime I found in a gym magazine. It wasn’t so far off how I was eating before getting so off-track, so I thought I’d be okay. Also same number of points as in WW, just more vegetables and fewer simple carbs than I normally eat.

    I bombed.

    Made it through each day and then came home scarfing down cookies, etc. I was feeling SO crappy about it, and then I went to my daily websites and found this post. I’ll repeat: COULDN’T HAVE COME AT A BETTER TIME.

    I told myself all these things, triggered by your post:

    1) I’ve kept off 20 pounds for 4 years and an additional 20 pounds since starting my plateau last September (after doing WW since Feb 08).

    2) Even all the crazy eating and no exercising in the first four months of this year caused me to gain only a couple of pounds (I normally fluctuate about 3-4 pounds)–nothing really out of the ordinary.

    3) Even though the eating plan was similar to my “losing-style” of eating earlier, I can’t expect to jump from high-sodium, high-fat, high-sugar foods to the exact opposite and be successful immediately. I did it gradually the first time, I have to do that again.

    4) I’m back on track with exercise, and that’s what counts more than anything.

    5) It takes two weeks to see weight benefits from more exercise, and I’m being impatient.

    6) I made a commitment to lose this weight in the right way for my lifestyle NO MATTER HOW LONG IT TOOK. This eating plan was an aberration from my lifestyle, and therefore from my goals. I was setting myself up to fail.

    7) I’m putting extra pressure on myself because of the weather changing and realizing I need to break out the skimpier clothes–this always happens every year. I need to back off.

    THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU Roni for inadvertantly reading my mind and posting the exact right post at the exact right time. :)


    April 30, 2009

    Roni, what did the trainer say? Good for you, speaking your mind. I’ve switched to P90X and the Shred vs. what my trainer gave me; I am happier working out from home, though I will still go for cardio. I like the flexibility, and I didn’t want to follow her 1300 cal regimen a day. I am far too active for that!! We need to/ought to stand up for ourselves, amen!

    And best wishes for the job opp!! :)


    April 30, 2009

    Ok, sorry… Trainer response…

    he was just like… “Ok, well let’s just workout when we can.”

    Made me feel like I over thought the whole situation, as usual! LMAO


    April 30, 2009

    After reading this, I talked to my friend Kayde who’s a figure/fitness competitor who’s hoping to get her pro card this year. Of course, when I first read it, she popped out in my mind because no matter how amazing she looks, she’s always very critical of herself. Her glutes aren’t big enough, her left tricep is bigger than the right, etc. But I thought I would post one of her food diaries she has up on her blog.

    BF – 2 ALR Hyperdrive
    – 2 Beverly International Lean Out
    – 3 Beverly International Ultra 40
    – 2 Beverly International Muscularity (I usually do 2, but I forgot to reorder, so I’m rationing!)
    – 3 Beverly International EFA
    – 1/2 Cup Oatmeal with Splenda and Cinnamon
    – 3 oz. 99% Fat Free Ground Turkey Breast, 1 Whole Egg and 3 Egg Whites

    MS – 2 Lean Outs
    – 3 Ultra 40
    – 2 Muscularity
    – Multivitamin
    – 2 scoops American Whey chocolate protein powder w/ water

    L – 2 Lean Outs
    – 3 Ultra 40
    – 2 Muscularity
    – 5 oz. chicken breast, 2 cups spinach, 5 oz. sweet potatoe with splenda

    AS – 2 Lean Outs
    – 3 Ultra 40
    – 2 Muscularity
    – 2 scoops American Whey w/ water

    D – 2 Lean Outs
    – 3 Ultra 40
    – 6 oz. lean steak, 2 cups steamed brocolli

    And that’s what she eats almost every day. She’s obviously very disciplined, and I completely admire her for that, but it’s definitely not for me. I just thought it might be helpful to give you a peek into the lifestyle. ;)

    Now, I’m going to shamelessly promote her blog:

    The reality is that motivation takes a big part in your meal plan. Sure you have a well-balanced diet but if you lack the determination to reach the goal, you probably won’t even notice that you’re not following the plan.