One Mom’s Journey from Fat to Skinny to Confident

JOURNAL

I Find Your Attitude Defeatist: A Response

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There’s an aspect to blogging I sometimes forget about and it has to do with who I’m writing to.

I often say “I write for me” and this is true, especially when I’m journaling or using a post to help me get out of my own head. However, even though I write for me, to help me, there’s a second person (well, lots of people I suppose) in the equation and it’s you. I’m writing TO you.

Now, I always imagine “you” as the “old me.” I know this is not the case, of course, but when I write and share my thought processes around weight loss, body image, exercise, etc., it’s coming from a place of “this is how I used to think” (Old Roni) vs “this is how I think now” (New Roni).

I’m really not sure how else to describe myself except “old” and “new” becuase for 30 years I approached weight loss and my body one way, which kept me in the yo-yo dieting cycle of hell. Then, after Ryan was born (10 years ago), I worked really hard to change my relationship with food and my body, which ultimately led to running and fitness and who I am today.

That’s a really long intro for a response to a comment I wrote. The comment was left on an old post called How Bad Do You Want it? — click here to read it.

In the post I talk about how I hate the “How Bad Do You Want It?” question as a motivational tool. It always made “Old Roni” feel like a failure because of course I wanted it bad (to be skinny) yet I always self-sabotaged my efforts to diet and exercise.

However, when “New Roni” started to frame things differently I was able to make the positive changes I wanted.  Shifting from a “How bad do you want it?” mentality to a “Am I willing  to give up _______ to reach my goal of _________?” mentality helped immensely to stop the guilt cycle I was in.

When I originally wrote that post many people commented and understood exactly what I was saying. I can only assume it’s because they also felt that way one time or another.  Being preoccupied with skinny led me to eating more and moving less — not the other way around — and I think this is fairly common which is why I sometimes write what I write.

However, not everyone agrees. I was going to reply to this comment personally but then decided to share my response in a post because I think it’s an important topic to discuss.

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.

My response…

I find your attitude elitist.  Just because it is easy for you doesn’t mean it’s easy for everyone.  As I said in the post, that attitude, your’s specifically, never helped me reach my goals. Ever.

As someone who finally realized it was that very approach (just get over it, stop making excuses, be more mentally tough, yada yada) that was holding me back. Why wouldn’t I share the shift in my thought process that did help me stop the failure cycle and reach my goals? If it helped me maybe it will help someone else.

How in the world can you find fault with a strategy that has actually worked for someone. You may not agree with it but you don’t have to, you’re not looking for help. You apparently never struggle, never have and never will.

Well, news flash — some of us do.

Changing “How bad do you want it?” which may be motivating to you but insulting to someone else (me) to…

“Are you willing to give up ____ to reach your goal of ______? is a simple reframing tool. It’s doesn’t complicate, it clarifies.

The truth may be you are NOT willing to give up that cookie to lose weight (or whatever) and what’s wrong with that? As long as we are making conscious decisions and working toward our goals in a way that is healthy and makes us happy then what’s the problem?

Why not use your amazing brain to be more empathetic and try to understand we aren’t all built the same way. It’s much nicer.

When I get comments like this I initially get defensive because maybe it should have been that easy. Maybe all I did need was more “mental discipline” to lose weight, but then I look back and see all the small changes that got me to where I am today. Weight loss and fitness weren’t something I strong-armed myself to do. It was a series of baby steps over time that built up to massive life changes.

The ability to make these positive changes were always inside me — I just needed to approach them from a different angle. Some people will never understand that unless they have struggled similarly.



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Discussion

There are 23 comments so far.

    Agnes

    September 10, 2015

    Wow…just wow. I think the person who responded is a robot. I can not even comprehend that sort of thinking. Obviously there are probably people like that out there. Who don’t eat cookies or pizza because they are bad. But that’s a bunch of bull! What exactly is bad about a cookie? No one got here (unhealthy, overweight, etc) by eating one cookie! Some of us have trouble with cookies and pizza and other things. But if we adopted that attitude that eating a cookie equals failure I think we’d be a lot worse off! At least I would be! Thank you for doing what you do…and sharing your struggles and successes and for showing us that the world is not just black and white! That is really success!

    Meg

    September 10, 2015

    What a total moron. Yes, it COULD BE that your viewpoint doesn’t resonate & motivate others. True. But when you write things like this:
    “Food is fuel. That is it.”
    I dismiss you as a troll & can’t take it seriously. Food is ONLY FUEL? Uh huh. So she NEVER puts ANYTHING in her mouth that isn’t totally health & is just enjoyable? Somehow I doubt that. So she’s a bleeping LIAR.
    & no, it is NOT EASY FOR HER… So when she says “food is ONLY fuel” she’s lying. I’ve never met a human who didn’t find joy in the flavors & texture of delicious food (healthy or not.) NEVER. I suppose they exist, but they are so super rare, it’s way more likely she is lying.
    Well… LYING TO HERSELF. I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt & think she WANTS TO FEEL THAT WAY. She is telling herself it’s the truth to try to CONVINCE HERSELF that food is only fuel to her. But, again, it’s incredibly unlikely to be the truth.

    “Eating that cookie IS a complete and utter failure if your goal for that day was eating healthy”
    This is the part I think isn’t worth dignifying with a response. By her logic, eating total crap all day long is JUST THE SAME as eating totally CLEAN otherwise and having ONE COOKIE. How can anyone in their right mind think those 2 things are equivalent?!?
    Moronic. It’s completely moronic.
    & all of that aside, SCIENCE PROVES HER WRONG. It IS healthy to indulge occasionally. It IS good to eat food you find delicious & yummy. It makes it easier to stick to eating clean. Food CAN BE BOTH CLEAN AND YUMMY! It’s why I eat my eggplant as baba ganoush vs. just steamed. While both preparations are healthy, the former is delicious as well – so I eat it that way!

    “It’s not okay to fail if you have set a goal in your mind.”
    Clearly she’s too much of a moron to comprehend WYCWYC. Your goal IS NOT to eat 100% perfectly clean! So it is NOT an issue of “failing at your goal” when you have a cookie.
    I’m getting nasty myself, but someone is being hurtful in general, as well as insulting to my friend, so it’s making me mad. And she deserves it. ;)

      cheryl

      September 10, 2015

      Go to my site and see what eating/living healthy means.

    Tracy Hansen

    September 10, 2015

    Congratulations to the perfect person! It must be great to live in a place where you make no mistakes and never falter. For the rest of us, we will do our best and find our own way, but thank you for sharing how “easy” it is for you.

      cheryl

      September 13, 2015

      yeah it’s pretty sweet over here on the other side!

    Christina Paul

    September 10, 2015

    Thank you for your response it was spot on!!! I been reading for the past 7 years you sharing your change in the thought process has always inspired me to adjust my thoughts and attitude to a way that works for me. Thanks again and please keep up the great work.

    jennifer p

    September 10, 2015

    amen, roni.

    Heather

    September 10, 2015

    I was going to say it sounded like the post was written by a guy. And after looking around, it appears it was.

    Linda

    September 10, 2015

    Thanks for your response to the rigid “my way is the right way” inflexible robot who tried to bully you & change your thinking…..I agree with what you wrote, I also agree with Agnes, Meg, Tracy, & Christina….It’s that unyielding kind of attitude that damages those who read it & wonder if they really did do something wrong….What a load of horse-puckey. I have a daughter with two little ones who picked up that ‘black or white’ attitude somewhere along the line and ended up in counseling to get beyond it. I recently gave her your “WYCWYC” book & it was a huge help in assisting her to see life differently…she even quoted it to me yesterday! That book is a major life-changer for her; helping her to hear those encouraging words & ideas from someone besides family makes a big difference! Thank you for putting yourself out there and sharing all you do; even taking cr@p from others online. I admire you and value your ideas and opinions…don’t ever stop! Blessings!

    Dukebdc

    September 10, 2015

    You know, there are plenty of examples on the internet of bloggers who make a strict meal plan, eat one cookie the second day, decide they “failed” and dive headfirst into self-loathing and overeating because they can’t be perfect. THAT is why the mindset of this poster isn’t workable for many people trying to lose weight. How hard is it to acknowledge that it’s OK to take a different route to the same destination? Science can barely agree on what is or is not “healthy food” – eggs used to be the devil, now some say carbs will kill you, etc., etc.

    Alissa

    September 10, 2015

    Big eye roll at that person’s comment. Seriously? It sounds like someone who has never had to deal with a weight issue ever. And who never eats a cookie? Psh.

    Maggie

    September 10, 2015

    Roni, That was an awesome response. You are so insightful, thoughtful and frankly so kind to those of use who struggle with weight and fitness. Nobody’s perfect, and nobody should be, but we can all try to keep ourselves healthy in whatever way that works for us, inspired by you. Thank you!

    maryann

    September 10, 2015

    I don’t subscribe to the attitude that any mistakes or slip ups result in not meeting your goals. Mistakes, accidents, and failure are part of the journey of life. What is important that you make a deeper understanding of your mistakes to better yourself and set new goals and attain new knowledge and new successes. It’s part of being human.

    In science, it’s well known that unsuccessful experiments often lead to better understandings. Mistakes uncover new knowledge. Failures are what start a different path to different success.

    Deanna

    September 10, 2015

    Well done! Amen! And a big fucking thank you – it’s not as easy for some of us, and your sharing your mentality was a big deal for me, and helped me achieve many accomplishments!

    Melissa Koeppel

    September 10, 2015

    Excellent response. I have a lot of friends who will benefit from this – sharing.

    Vicki

    September 10, 2015

    Thank you for this post. I am struggling really hard this week. I have worked for 3 years trying to lose weight. I have lost 40 pounds but I was not under 200 pounds yet. I wanted to bad to get under 200 pounds but as you said “must not have wanted it bad enough.” At Christmas 2014 I had lost the 40 pounds and I did not lose below 200 until this past month and I got to 196.8. But what did I do? I ate like crazy for this past week and I am back up to 201.2 this morning. Beating myself up and wanting to cry. Yet I did good with my eating all day until this evening and I have ate over my calories once again. I love the idea “Are you willing to give up ____ to reach your goal of ______? ” But I struggle so much that I don’t even know that I can keep this promise to myself. Still searching for the click that makes me to want to be healthy. For me it is not about being skinny I just really want to be healthy with less heartburn, less knee pain and less rolls hanging over my pants. I am in a funk this week and I am praying that I can dig my way out by Monday. I know you don’t have to wait to the beginning of the week to start over but I think it will take to then to get back on track.

    Shannon

    September 11, 2015

    I love you! Somehow you seem to be speaking right to me. I couldn’t agree with your reframing.

    Bearsmama

    September 11, 2015

    Hi Roni-Long time reader here (infrequent commenter). I absolutely agree with you 110% on this. I find it soooo annoying, and quite frankly, offensive, when folks ho have never had food issues of any sort say things that make it all seem easy. It would be like me, a non-alcoholic, saying, “What’s the big deal? Just stop drinking.” I don’t say things like that because I don’t presume to know what anyone else’s struggles are like.

    I so appreciate your blog, your realness, your writing. Keep on keeping on! :)

    Sarah

    September 11, 2015

    I love how you reframed this way of thinking! I have been struggling with my weight since I was an infant… after 31 years, I am finally coming to realize that you cant hate yourself into loving yourself. As much as I absolutely HATE to admit it (b/c its what I’ve believed my whole life), things really aren’t black and white. This journey is NOT about perfection, its about persistence. Never giving up is what makes me successful, even if I never hit my goal weight! I am learning to take care of myself in a healthy way I can feel good about, and that (to me) is the most important thing. But, boy do I wish I was perfect and disciplined and never had a slip up like the original commenter! lol

    Noelle

    September 12, 2015

    I think that black or white thinking- failure or success is very judgmental. Eating a cookie isn’t a failure if cultivating a healthy relationship with food is the goal- and it’s almost always the goal when someone is trying to lose weight.
    The either/or, failure/success sets a person up for more psychological damage if goals aren’t met than any cookie would do.

    And even if a cookie was failure, so what? So someone failed at not eating a cookie. That hardly seems worthy of all the judgment that followed in that person’s response.

    Lighten up. It’s just an effing cookie.

    fastweightlosstactics.com

    September 13, 2015

    Great article!!

    Silas

    September 16, 2015

    I am getting so tired of people on the internet who start spouting what they believe to be wisdom, to the dismissal of every other idea or point of view. Condensing down the struggles of millions of people – believing that everyone’s mind works the same way – is arrogant, self-centered thinking.

    Roni, what I LOVE about what you are posting is the idea that you don’t know what works for everyone, but that you do know what worked for YOU, and hey, maybe, just in case the other isn’t working, just maybe it might work for someone else.

    Keep it up. You know what you’re doing. Thanks for BOTH posts, and your responses.

    -Silas

    Melissa

    December 19, 2015

    The thought process of the person who wrote that comment is what’s wrong with our society today. It’s a very narrow minded attitude that is selfish and self righteous. In fact, the only way humanity will evolve is #1 to accept the fact that we are all different, and have different thoughts and ideas, and #2 that we have to think differently otherwise society will stagnate. Obviously, this individual is in favor of stagnation.

    They way you have reframed “How bad do you want it?” actually helped me tremendously. I received an email from a friend on Instagram who said something very similar in response to my problem with Oreos (if I saw them, they were in my mouth, that was the problem) and it made all the sense in the world. I haven’t had oreos (or donuts or candy) since!

    So thank you for thinking outside of the box for all of us who battle with weight loss. :D
    Mel