One Mom’s Journey from Fat to Skinny to Confident


Do you say "only" a lot?

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Question of the week

"That’s great! I only managed 4 miles today."

That was one of the comments I received after I posted about finishing the 10 mile race on Sunday. As soon as I read it I knew what the Question of the Week needed to be. I’m so guilty of this it’s not even funny and I know some of you are too. How many times have you uttered a phrase similar to this…

"I ONLY lost 1 pound this week."

Every time I see that I want to say…

"WHAT?! You better own that loss! You WORKED for it!"

When we use words like "only", "just", and compare ourselves to others we undermine our own efforts. Think about what that original commenter did. She totally disregarded her 4 mile run. FOUR MILE RUN! A run, any run, should be celebrated. The fact that we get out of bed in the morning should be celebrated. Every time we chose an apple over chips OR make dinner instead of ordering in OR go for a walk instead of plopping in the front of the TV OR when we stop eating when we’re full. ALL OF IT should be celebrated.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think we need to call mom up every time we make a good choice but if WE don’t recognize our own efforts who will? Some may say it’s gloating, I don’t think so. I think it’s got everything to do with attitude. If you you don’t feel good about the choices you are making, if you aren’t proud of them then what motivation do you have to continue down a healthier path? Why bother?

Let’s rewrite our "only" comment to change it’s tone…

"That’s great! I ran 4 myself! Aren’t we AWESOME!"

Now…. isn’t that better? There’s no need to undermine an amazing accomplishment like a 4 mile run! If you are being so kind to support someone and lift their spirits then do yourself a favor and lift yourself up as well. It’s not a competition, we are all in it together.

OK, now it’s fess up time… Are you guilty of undermining your efforts? Do you sell yourself short? Do you say "only" a lot?

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There are 32 comments so far.


    April 7, 2009

    I’ve definitely done this one. The other one I tend to do is to be disappointed in a loss, always wishing it could be more “I lost 2 pounds, I was aiming for 3, or it should have been 3, but..etc etc”. This instead of being satisfied with the numerical manifestation of the progress of I’ve made, of the huge accomplishment of having made good, consistent choices instead of going for what’s easy, or wanted in the moment.

    It also drives me nuts when people put “just” in front of anything, Like “hi, it’s just me”, etc. We are none of us JUST anything.

    You are absolutely right, we need to celebrate our positive choices, our worth, our progress. It builds momentum and motivation.

    I resolve to focus on acknowledging my day to day accomplishments.


    April 7, 2009

    Wow I did this tonight after my weigh in. “I only lost a pound.” I was hoping to lose two pounds for a 4 week total of 10 pounds. Instead of being proud of myself for losing consistently for 4 weeks, or being thrilled that I lost a pound, I acted disappointed.

    Thank you for pointing this out. I do it far too often.


    April 7, 2009

    I don’t have the same counters as lots of the other people who come here – no weight loss or anything. But I realised that I was disappointed with myself for not going to a fitness class (circuit) on Saturday, even though I went to two other ones this week!

    The place I DO try to use ‘only’ is when I’ve got something to do and I’m trying to psych myself up, eg it’s only three hour’s work, I can do that.



    April 8, 2009

    I’m guilty of this as well. Like Suzyn said above, I’m always using the word “just” when describing my accomplishments. I frequently have to step back and realize how far I’ve come in the big picture. All those itty bitty positive steps have added up in the long run. No one wants to brag or boast, but we should definitely be proud of our successes!


    April 8, 2009

    “You better own that loss” – what a great message. OWN instead of only! Thanks :)


    April 8, 2009

    oh dang…. I think it was me that said that. Guilty. And yes also guilty of turning my accomplishments into zero’s. I said it in my story, it’s not the pounds that have been the struggle it’s my internal dialogue. I’ve lost 40 pounds and work out 6 days a week. I’m as small a size as I’ve been in 15 years and I’ve NEVER been this active as far as concentrated exercise effort and yet, yet, I still look at myself somedays and think, “well if I could ONLY just lose 5 more maybe I’d lose my tummy.” OR “Well I used to run 10 miles but now I can ONLY run 4.” Yeah guilty. Thanks for making me think once again…


    April 8, 2009

    Guilty as charged, but this is really in the past for me now. I’ve been working on being more positive, being my own cheer leading squad. I do a post each week, 5 Things I’m Proud Of, it’s totally cheesy and at times very hard to write, but I persist because I need to see the good things that I am doing, it’s what keeps me going. If I focus on the negatives or what I think is lacking, then that’s where I head, and I’ve been down that road many times before and it ain’t pretty. I’m with you…. I’m learning to OWN every little achievement, and it’s awesome!


    April 8, 2009

    I am so guilty of this, and I think it goes hand in hand with being uncomfortable accepting compliments as well. I try to have a positive outlook on things, like running a 5k and what an accomplishment that is, but there’s always the but or the only creeping in. I did this, but… or Thank You, but…. I think it’s a mindset that takes time to correct, and I really have to work at not qualifying my accomplishments.


    April 8, 2009

    Roni, what a great reminder to be proud of every accomplishment! I think in the past, the “I only” mentality has been partially responsible for my lack of success. By constantly telling myself and others I should be doing better, I wear myself down to the point of quitting.

    I think Weight Watchers meetings have really helped me start to overcome this problem. When I step on the scale, the WW instructor will say something like, “Great job, Lauren! You lost 1.8 this week!” Then I’ll say something like, “Well, I was hoping it would be more, but {insert excuse here}.” But the instructor will always remind me that a loss needs to celebrated, and I remind myself that as long as I keep losing, even if it’s only little by little, I will eventually get where I need to go. And that makes me feel stronger and more confident, less likely to “I only” myself into giving up.


    April 8, 2009

    I tend to use “only” and “just” way more than I should. I liked your statement about “owning” our accomplishments and that we are all in this together. Being proud of what we accomplish, big or small, helps to make us even more motivated for the next accomplishment. Thanks for the wise thoughts and the wake up call…


    April 8, 2009

    absolutely. this is one of my downfalls when attempting anything! I tend to excuse myself by telling myself it is due to my competitive nature – I always strive to do more that I have done (therefore using the word “only”)… but I AM trying to work on it and attempting to “catch myself” and omit the “only” in the sentence is helping… little by little.


    April 8, 2009

    I think this is SO true. I think it all stems from a long battle with negative self talk. I think some of us have such a hard time taking compliments from others, we would NEVER take a compliment from our self. I am such an optimist for others and I need to learn to be an optimist for me. I am trying so hard to do daily affirmations and stop abusing myself with the constant barrage of negative and self-doubting comments. For example, I have had some amazing workouts this week, I was so excited about my homemade low fat meatball and pasta dinner last night. I was starving, portioned out my helping AND I could ONLY finish half….yeah me!!! That is one time where only was a good thing for me.

    Thank you all so much for sharing your thoughts and giving me the strength and confidence to keep TRYING!!! Thank you Roni for all of your work and dedication. You make a big difference to so many people.


    April 8, 2009

    This is a great post and something I know I’m guilty of. Oddly, when others use “only” or “just” I tend to be a huge cheerleader, “What do you mean, you ONLY ran two miles?! That’s great!” whereas to myself it’s, “If you could only lose these ten or fifteen pounds again …”


    April 8, 2009

    Wonderful question for this week. There arent too many things that make me step back and look at how I treat myself but this was one of them. It was like an AhHah moment. Be nice, it is what I tell my three daughters a hundred times a day but I never tell it to my self. Its my third time around down this road and I am commited to making it my last. I may not be losing quickly (only 8lbs, in 8weeks) but I am learning to take it one day at a time instead of looking 30 lbs down the road.
    Only was definetly my word, I only walked 3 days this week, or I only was able to stay on track for a few days.


    April 8, 2009

    Oh man do I undermine my efforts. A lot. It wasn’t that long ago a mile killed me. A MILE. Now I can get out and run 4 miles, no probelm!

    I’ve even taken the step and started working with a personal trainer, even though I know I’m going to make a complete fool of myself on occassion.

    My husband is proud of me, people are proud of me and that is what matters to me. I have become more self-confident, esp since that has been in the toilet since birthing my first born!

    GO ME! GO YOU!


    April 8, 2009

    Thanks Roni for pointing this bad habit out. I tend to use “just” to negate my accomplishments, “oh I just walked 2 miles today…” same idea though. So now I’m going to really try to work on eliminating that negative thought process. Hey guess what? I walk/jogged 3 miles today!
    (really I did even though it was an extreme effort to get started ;)

    Lola Fierce

    April 8, 2009

    Yes, all the time. And I definitely needed to read this today. Thank you.


    April 8, 2009

    One of the things I love most about you Roni, is your ability to point out what should be obvious. Reading this column was definitely an ‘A Ha’ moment. I say this or think this many times a day, and always in an apologetic way. Why should we be downplaying our accomplishments? You have given me a lot to think about today.
    This is your best column ever


    April 8, 2009

    I probably use only a lot more than I even realize. Especially on weeks where I feel like I did everything right and still “only” lost 1 pound.


    April 8, 2009

    I definitely do this, especially on weeks with a small loss. I think “I only lost a half a pound” instead of thinking “that’s another half pound gone that I’ll never see again”. I’ve tried over the past couple of months to celebrate my accomplishments rather than focusing on what’s still to come, but it’s a struggle sometimes.
    I’m trying to do the same thing with running. I am just starting out so I’m trying my best not to compare myself to others but it’s difficult when I can’t even run a km without a break while others can do that and more. But I need to remember that a year ago I probably couldn’t even have run 30 seconds so I’ve come a LONG way, even if I’m not running long distances yet.


    April 8, 2009

    All the time, I undermine myself and my efforts all the time! Great post, thanks for opening my eyes..


    April 8, 2009

    guilty as charged, this phrase does utter from my mouth a lot. I need to catch myself next time and be thankful for what I did do. Thanks for the reminder.

    Guilty as charged. Yep, I say only a lot. Thanks for the reminder to own my successes and achievements! After all, they are MINE and I DID WORK FOR THEM!!!


    April 8, 2009

    Ido this alot.. I am walking at 3.8-4.2 pace and I look at my neighbour and she has been doing a 8.0 at 6% incline for the past hour and I feel mine’s nothing compared to her’s.

    Why do we do that?

    PS: I have been trying to find your email address and cant. :)


    April 8, 2009

    Ahhh I had to hide it! LOL check the last FAQ. :)

    Laura Jane

    April 8, 2009

    Thanks for pointing this out. I hadn’t really thought about it, but it’s so true. I’m definitely guilty of this. I think sometimes I think (subconsciously) that by saying things like “only” and by undermining my accomplishments, it will make me work harder. Like I’m afraid to own a true accomplishment, however major or minor, for fear I will accept that as enough and not push myself further. In fact, the opposite is true. The more major and minor accomplishments I truly own and celebrate, the more wonderful it feels, and the harder I want to work to create even more accomplishments!
    As always, thanks so much for your thoughtful and inspiring post!


    April 8, 2009

    Great post. I think it comes all down to treating yourself as well as you treat the people who are important in your life. Would you ever say to a friend that he/she ran “only” four miles? Probably not. Don’t you celebrate every ounce your friends are losing? Don’t you acknowledge them for every healthy choice they make? And aren’t you genuinely proud of them? It’s about time we treat ourselves as well as we treat others in our lives! Thanks for the great reminder to acknowledge what we accomplish and to be proud of ourselves!


    April 8, 2009

    I haven’t done the “only” thing in a long time. It’s been a long process to get out of that habit. I do, however, compare myself to others a lot. And it is very unfair to myself.

    I think comparing myself to others (which, like I said, I do ALL the time) is dangerous. I always believe someone else is doing it better than me. The fact is, they may be doing it better than me, but why should that affect me?

    This happens a lot when looking at someone who doesn’t have a problem with food. I might look at them push away from their favorite food because they are full and wonder with longing why I can’t do that all the time. The fact is, I just can’t. Not right now. Someday I might be able to, after I work through this process for a while, and I sure will enjoy it when it happens. But it’s unfair to me to compare myself with that right now. I’ll just have to be happy with being able to push my favorite food away when I am hungry sometimes.

    The fact is, someone will always be better at everything than I am. I could downplay my achievements in comparison to them. But I really should only be comparing myself to myself and basing my success on that.

    Great question, Roni. It really made me think :)

    Debra Graybeal

    April 10, 2009

    Great post! I’m guilty of this too. Thanks for the encouragement!

    scale junkie

    April 10, 2009

    Love the positive self talk message. I give that message to others so often that its stopped me from saying it to myself.


    April 10, 2009

    I still do call my mom! Hee hee!

    I’ve noticed I do say only, but as in “I only had to run 4 miles today. Yay!” In comparison to running 10. I don’t mind admitting, I am super proud of myself, and think it’s great anytime I can fit a workout in! :)

    Great post!


    April 13, 2009

    I absolutely LOVE this post. I am definitely going to try to OWN my successes instead of using the word ONLY. You are so right – we need to be proud of what we have accomplished instead of always thinking that we should have done more. Thanks for the reminder!!