One Mom’s Journey from Fat to Skinny to Confident

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How Bad Do You Want it?

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I hate the question:

How bad do you want it? 

Despise it.

I find it condescending and it never, ever motivated me to do anything, especially lose weight.

How bad I wanted it” almost seemed inversely related to what I wanted to do for it. Being preoccupied with skinny led to me eating more and moving less. Not the other way around.

How bad do you want it? is, for me at least, a mechanism of guilt, not a phrase to inspire.

Even to this day when I turn to food for comfort or eat something I think I shouldn’t have (yesterday’s chocolate chip cookie-gate comes to mind) I punish myself by thinking,

“Well, I must not want it bad enough.”

The guilt cycle continues.

It’s not healthy!

I’m a big believer in “framing” — at least that’s what I call changing the way we think about things.

For example, you can look at trying a new class at the gym as a scary, out-of-your-comfort-zone annoyance you just don’t want to do OR an out-of-your-comfort-zone  fun, adventure that may be intimidating but worth a try.

When I lost the weight (9 years ago) it was the first time I framed it as a learning experience to get healthier and find balance instead of a short term, I-want-to-be-skinny-at-all-costs diet.

When I started going to the gym 7 years ago it was the first time I framed it as a reward for being healthy instead of a punishment for being fat.

For me, framing made ALL the difference and I don’t think it’s coincidence that once I started looking at things differently my new habits stuck.

So my question for you this week isn’t How Bad Do You Want it? because I’m going to guess you want it (whatever it is) pretty bad.

I’m going to frame my question differently:

Are you willing to give up _______ to reach your goal of _________.

It’s NOT a matter of wanting it bad enough. It’s a matter of evaluating our priorities and making guilt-free decisions.

Guilt. Free. Decisions. 



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Discussion

There are 28 comments so far.

    Kate Sloan

    January 22, 2014

    Thanks for that Roni. I’ve been a long time reader and this is my first comment and it’s because this really rings true to me. My mother used to say that to me all the time “you must not want it badly enough”. Well, I damn well did and still do want it but that has nothing to do with it. Anyway, thanks for that and thank you for the amazing work you do with this site. I have gotten so much motivation and great information from you and I really can’t thank you enough!

      RoniNoone

      January 22, 2014

      You are so welcome. I’m glad it makes sense to someone other than me!

    Tara

    January 22, 2014

    Roni, I just have to say a big THANK YOU for being a voice of reason in our diet-obsessed culture. I love your positivity, your thoughtfulness, and your down-to-earth attitude. I love reading your blog. It helps me realign my mindset that is too easily distracted from dwycwyc (did I get that right?) to a binary “on diet/off diet.”

    Love you, love your blog, and I love that you’re writing a couple of books this year. You go, girl!

    Donna

    January 22, 2014

    That is a fantastic way of looking at it- really makes me rethink certain decisions… thank you!

    Pantea Vaziri

    January 22, 2014

    This is brilliant. I never realized what is exactly conflicted when I hear that. You nailed it. It creates guilt more than anything. Good post.

    Paula

    January 22, 2014

    I feel the same way about that phrase. I always felt like a failure because I figured I must not have wanted it bad enough. Thanks for making look through another view

    LisaM

    January 22, 2014

    …Being preoccupied with skinny led to me eating more and moving less… I never thought about that being true, but it soooo is. Brilliant!

    Tara

    January 23, 2014

    Yes! So TRUE! My sister and I both struggled with infertility due to PCOS, we knew losing weight, eating healthier would help us to get pregnant. We often would say to ourselves “we don’t get it, we obviously don’t want it bad enough” and then the horrible feelings, stress eating would ensue. We have since really learned a lot about ourselves and know that it isn’t because we didn’t want it bad enough. (we both ended up getting pregnant 6 weeks apart! And our babies are just turning 1!) Horrible phrase. Not motivating at all. I have tought my sister and myself your phrase! Do what you can when you can!

    Martha Glantz

    January 23, 2014

    I must have turned some amazing corner because for me it’s no longer a question of wanting to maintain my weight bad enough that I won’t eat or won’t eat certain foods or will only eat certain foods. My mind has shifted to something like “I choose to eat this way because it tastes delicious, makes me feel good, look great, and keeps me healthy.”
    Guess I have reframed the whole thing.
    Another week at maintenance – Woo Hoo!

    Kimberly Whittaker

    January 23, 2014

    This is the truth! Thanks for re-framing this mindset, Roni! I have been in a viscous cycle of these types of thoughts lately. THANK YOU>

    BarbK

    January 23, 2014

    Love this!

    Laurel

    January 23, 2014

    This resonates with me sooo much. The guilty feelings that actually lead to *more* eating. For the past couple years, I’ve discovered the joy of exercise – something I didn’t believe existed – and recently, I’ve been strict with myself about carbs, which I know are my kryptonite. I’ve had well-meaning friends say, “Don’t you ever want to reward yourself with a treat?” My response is that my health and weight loss *are* my rewards. To tuck into a nice brownie wouldn’t be good or bad, but at this point, it would be to deprive myself of the long-term rewards I truly want. I’m not saying I won’t ever have a nice big brownie, but I’ve changed my internal conversation about goals and rewards.

    Mehgann

    January 23, 2014

    It is a form of symbolic violence against the overweight.

    Suzie Kornblum

    January 24, 2014

    Reframinig is such a powerful tool! Thank you for giving an alternative phrase for those of us on the weight loss/healthy living journey to use going forward.

    FitBegins

    January 25, 2014

    Thank you Roni for posting this. I have two very fit brothers who use this line on me all the time. Each time I have failed at losing weight or gained weight back, they have told me I must not want it enough. Sigh. Long time lurker here, so I just wanted to say I love your blog!

    Robby/FatGirlvsWorld

    January 27, 2014

    “How bad do you want it” just sets people up to fail. And also, it should be an adverb. How “badly” do you want it — because “bad” refers to the verb want. So I disagree with the sentiment and the bad grammar.

    I disagree with any sentiment that basically tells a person that they are less than committed to any particular venture if they take the time to take care of themselves or to put the breaks on for a bit.

      Tammy

      September 10, 2015

      FYI…..It’s brakes…..not breaks. JS

    ezweightlosssecrets

    January 28, 2014

    Something that works really well for me is to set goals/plans and make the firm decision to carry them through. I make plan A, and I go for it. No plan B, C or D. Those are all 2nd best and not worth even 1% of my focus when I could be focusing on making plan A happen.

    Decide right now whether you want to lose weight. Now decide whether you are GOING to do it. And now seal the deal (and write it down!), right now in this moment. Not tomorrow, not in 5 minutes, NOW. There may be things you’re going to have to give up but that’s good, because the reason you have to give them up is that they’re holding you from your goal anyways!

    Bottom line, do what you want to do, become who you want to be and ditch whatever prevents you from doing so!

    Olavi
    www.ezweightlosssecrets.com

    Javier Lozano Jr

    February 17, 2014

    Though I may not agree too much with your statement of “how bad do you want it”, as it’s always helped drive me to achieve my goals, I do like your substitute for “are you willing to give up _____ to reach your goal of _____. If anything, I took both of those statements in my personal life and applied it to the things I wanted to achieve in my life. Either way, great article to create a discussion.

    juicerworldhq

    February 20, 2014

    So true. Your words are inspirational. Thank you for baring your soul.

    David

    February 21, 2014

    Truly said, Women should look it as a reward rather than a punishment.

    Thank you
    http://www.thebodyretreat.co.uk

    Evan

    February 24, 2014

    Great read here…motivation can be the death of so many people when it comes to fitness…that question always comes off as “you don’t want it bad enough” when that’s not usually the case…it’s more finding the right route fro you!

    http://bellybegoneforgood.blogspot.com

    aaron

    March 3, 2014

    good Horrible phrase. Not motivating at all. I have tought my sister and myself your phrase! http://www.qijingwen.com

    Sammy Carton

    March 23, 2014

    Sammy Carton – Thanks for this article, its very educational and I strongly agree to the content. Desperate people that wanted to lose weight should not be insecure or be afraid; working out is a good start that one should be looking forward to. You may also visit this site for related topics http://fitbodyfulllife.com

    Brenda

    June 3, 2014

    It is a great article! But I think for most people who want to lose weight, it’s not a matter of “how bad you want it”. I’m sure everyone who’s overweight wants to get in shape. Instead, it’s a matter of finding a program that fits and that works. I tried dozens of different diets and when I finally lost weight, it wasn’t because I wanted it more than I ever did, it was just because I found a diet that actually worked for me (I did the “eggplant diet” http://www.amazon.com/The-Eggplant-Diet-never-seen-before-FOREVER-ebook/dp/B00KPOEOIK) and it changed the way I look at food.

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    November 17, 2014

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    Kyle

    September 8, 2015

    I find your attitude defeatist. It IS how bad do you want it. Mental discipline. It’s why I only eat clean food except when it’s time not to. I don’t eat things I am not supposed to. Food is fuel. That is it. Eating that cookie IS a complete and utter failure if your goal for that day was eating healthy. Period.

    You can use all the fluffy positive nonsense all you want but the reality of it IS you weren’t willing to do what it takes. Eating that cookie didn’t destroy your physique or your body but it did destroy your goal for that day.

    It’s not okay to fail if you have set a goal in your mind. If you do fail, it truly is “you didn’t want it enough”. Reality isn’t always nice. You are making excuses for behavior that isn’t conducive to reaching your goals.

    So excuse away the cookie or the pizza but don’t try to convince me that is okay. It isn’t. Every piece of food you put in your mouth that is unhealthy is doing harm to you and your goals.

    Stop over-complicating things. Do you want to achieve a certain level of health or achieve a certain look? If so there are certain steps that must be took to achieve it. Every step you take off that path (cookie) is a falter and redirection is needed. Why not just use your amazing brain to focus in and do what must be done? It’s much simpler.