Sunday, October 2, 2011

All About the Attitude

I rejoined Weight Watchers meetings. Again. I’m not sharing this because I’ve actually lost any significant weight yet, or because I want to reveal my shameful top weight for all to gasp, but because the reason why it’s working this time is the reason why anything works. Writing. Exercise. Running for president.


It’s all about the attitude.


Poor attitude is like the inbred cousin of Inner Critic who picks on every bit of your writing (or efforts in anything). The Inner Critic criticizes things that are going on, efforts you are actually making. Attitude can cut you off before you ever do anything—and that is a real problem. If you continue to do nothing, nothing continues to happen. Or worse, you continue to gain weight (guilty) or your writing becomes even more difficult and your goals become even further out of reach (guilty). Doing nothing is actually very, very dangerous and demoralizing. You should stop doing nothing right now.


I’ve joined Weight Watchers in the past in support of a friend and then I promptly lost nothing because my attitude was less than ready to be a success. Then because I wasn’t in the right frame of mind and did not follow the program (the structure), I was demoralized by the lack of success I achieved and quit. Really beyond stupid; and deep down I knew it was because of my attitude and not because of the strictness of the program’s structure.


I can even tell you the Kiss of Death for me, and it’s not even Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. It’s the all-or-nothing attitude. Perfectionism. I have to be perfect on plan in order to succeed. If I fail one day or one meal, I need to trash the whole effort and stop trying. Unfortunately this all-or-nothing attitude is just as detrimental in writing as it is in weight loss.


So what’s the difference now? It’s meetings. There’s something about a group of people you’re reporting to about your success (or not-so-success) that makes you put a bit more effort in it. When I was trying to do it on my own, I would report to one or two key people, but people who knew me and would let me off the hook. When you’re reporting to a lot of people and you don’t know them as personally, you’re a lot more willing to put in the effort so you don’t lose face in front of them. I suspect the same is for writing. When you’re writing for your CP—and they’re like your best friend—your best friend will let you off, but if you’re writing and presenting pages at a group, you put a bit more effort in it. You don’t want to lose face.


Shame is a great motivator.


I’m hoping the same shame (and competitive nature) that keeps me on plan for the Group will also keep me on plan with my writing.


Share: when has shame worked for you? How has the writing been going? Anyone else doing Weight Watchers? Any tips to counter perfectionism?


Di R said...

Thank you, I really needed this! I haven't really touched my WIP in longer than I want to admit. I'd been cruizing along, and gave my cp's several chapters and asked them to read them for consistency-were there glaring errors, did it make sense? Well one of them did an indepth nit-picky edit.

I so wasn't ready for that, it was barely more than rough draft. So to hear over and over "this isn't very good", "you need to do more here", etc. was very demoralizing.

BUT, I'm putting my big girl panties on and getting back to it.

As for the diet, I'm disappointed that I didn't lose more weight over the summer, but since I really damaged my knee at Nationals, I'm overjoyed that I haven't gained any weight while I've been sitting with my knee up with ice.

Shame doesn't work for me, it makes me not even want to try.


Di R said...

Soryy Hellion!

I called you Bos'un. Ugh! I knew when I read it, that it sounded like you, but my fingers typed something elss.

Hanging my head in shame.

2nd Chance said...

Congrats on using WW to achieve your goals! Been there, did well...then I didn't and left. I still follow the basics and I'm getting it down, bit by tiny bit.

Good comparison! I do think having others hold part of your accountability will push a person a bit further along. Don't just say you're going to enter The Golden Heart. Tell as many people as possible and remind them and they will help you keep it going and actually do it. And you'll remind yourself because you don't want to make a liar out of yourself!

After Moonlight&Magnolias and the Bo'suns tempting me with fried cheese...not sure I'll have much of a loss this week! In fact, the scale is a bit intimidating at the moment, but I still weigh in tomorrow...

Hellion said...

Shame doesn’t work for me, it makes me not even want to try.

I hear you, Di! *LOL* I think shame has to be used judiciously. If you're already feeling a bit depressed (and I frequently am), shame won't work. But if you've already gotten to the point that you're going, "This is ridiculous. You're better than this." and started to do a bit of "kick your own butt" mentality, then The Shame Factor can work. But I admit I have a secret. I *KNOW* I can do it already.

A lot of us get demoralized and quit because we haven't done it yet, but if you know you can complete a novel or you know you can lose weight when you set your mind to it--then you will.

Maybe this blog is about being less depressed. *LOL* Because depression is totally legitimate--and there's no talking yourself out of it, you sorta have to let it run its course and know you'll eventually come out the other side--but once you're on the other side, you should take advantage of the new mindset and get some shit done, you know?

Thanks for commenting!! :)

Hellion said...

Mo, have you tried the new program since they've made fruit "free"? I wasn't sure I'd like it. In fact, I was very much, "This isn't going to work.", but it's worked okay so far. I hope this week works. If not, I'll keep plugging. I've only lost a few pounds, but I already feel thinner, which is a better feeling than what I felt when I weighed in at start and nearly started crying. Demoralizing.

My new favorite blog is YUM food. I've made two of her recipes already and they're the BEST!

The Golden Heart is a great one to use. Though I said I was going to enter it twice and still haven't...for the same book. Yeah, I don't want to think about that actually. We're going to focus on my new found momentum. *LOL* Going to eat less and write more. That's the goal.

I don't think you can tempt Bo'sun with fried cheese. She's odd about the stuff she won't eat. I however would be tempted with fried cheese. *LOL* Where do you weigh in now if not WW?

Hal said...

there’s no talking yourself out of it, you sorta have to let it run its course and know you’ll eventually come out the other side–but once you’re on the other side, you should take advantage of the new mindset and get some shit done, you know?

So, so true, Hellie. I'm a procrastinator, a bad one, and I think my problem is often not that I don't *want* to do something, but that I'm worried I *can't* and therefore don't try.

Shame is an excellent motivator for me, provided, as well, that I'm not already horribly depressed. Then any shame just gets lumped into the *Why Hal should crawl under her desk and stay there* category.

2nd Chance said...

Hey, she tempted me with fried cheese. Fried mozarella!

I'm part of a group my medical center started for pre-diabetics. Concentrates on low fat, which is really working for me! I weigh in every Tuesday for Romance Biggest Winners also...

And I'm gonna enter The Kraken's Mirror in the's a long shot, but it's my first book so I'm gonna do it...

I did try the fruit is free stuff and it was fine, I just needed something without so many ways to justify snacking... ;-)

2nd Chance said...

Oh, Hal...the I can'ts are almost as vicious as the I shoulds... My Mom is really one for not taking the risk for fear that if you fail it will hurt. So much easier to stay home and not risk the pain.

When I started submitting her first words were 'What if no one wants to publish you?' ... She was so worried about the rejection factor for me. Sorta sweet...but if you don't try then yeah, ti's all about crawling under the desk and having a very small world...

2nd Chance said...

And time for me to head to the airport! Have a loverlee blog day, Hels! And btw, there are some really nice pics of Terri and me on the Romance Dish. That PJ goes nowhere without a camera!

Donna said...

I tend to avoid the things that I think are going to be unbearably unpleasant. . . and then discover they weren't half as bad as I envisioned. LOL Not that that revelation stops me from ducking my head in the sand in the future. Sigh. It's definitely way too ingrained now.

Motivation and determination seem to ebb and flow, like any other "mood" related things. On the days when they're in full force, it's hard to imagine they won't always be there. On the days when they're weak and puny, it's tempting to believe they won't ever be strong again.

I guess I like seeing the progress, whether it's clothes that fit a little looser, or pages stacking up on the WIP. I also hate the thought of just slogging through life, doing the "have to" stuff and getting to the end and finding out the stuff that really mattered never got accomplished. That is the best kick in the pants for me. :)

Marnee Bailey said...

whoo... long post.

Marnee Bailey said...

When has shame worked? I think shame is a cousin of guilt. And both of them seem to make me feel sick.

Don't get me wrong, they can be powerful motivators. But the assumption when you feel shame or guilt is that at some point in the past you made a mistake. When it comes to weight loss, I don't think it's about having made a mistake and rectifying that mistake. Eating is tied to our psyche, to comfort, to feelings of well-being. It's not just a physical activity, like brushing your teeth. When we feel bad about something linked with our psyche, it can make us feel like we're "not right" in some way. Not productive when trying to loose weight.

I think that gaining weight isn't just about feeling like you did too much eating (something you could control). I think it's feeling frustrated that you can't "control" it. We kick ourselves, thinking "why can't I step away from the chocolate/pie/cake/greasy food? It should be as easy as choosing not to brush my teeth." But it isn't. Because food makes us feel good. Evolution did that so that if we were reduced to living in the wild, we'd search it out to keep ourselves alive. Damn you, evolution.

I've been up and down with my weight a lot in the past decade, a lot of that due to fertility treatments and pregnancies. My advice to conquer the perfectionism (this is really pot/kettle stuff, since I'm a HUGE perfectionist) is to forgive yourself for not always being in control. And accept that sometimes it's okay that you are out of control and that tomorrow you'll have yourself back together again and can start over. We all have rough patches/days.

Anyway, think I've thought of this much? *from Marnee, still wrestling with last ten pounds of baby weight

As to the writing.... I hit my black moment a couple weeks ago. And it was bleh. I wrote about it on my blog. So, I went back and pinpointed some revisions, particularly from the midpoint crisis on. Now I'm working through that and hoping that when I hit the black moment again, it doesn't suck.

On an up note, I entered my manuscript in the Golden Heart last night! I changed the title to AFTER THE SCANDAL which I think fits the book better, though who knows? Titles are so rough.

Entering the Golden Heart's weird though. I said this on twitter last night but I'll say it here too: It's fun and nerve-wracking. Kind of like playing a sport you're not sure you're good at. A good time, but you're not sure if you look foolish.

Hellion said...

And I’m gonna enter The Kraken’s Mirror in the RITAs…it’s a long shot, but it’s my first book so I’m gonna do it…

DO IT! It's a wonderful book!!!

I don't know if I'd say WW justified snacking. *LOL* But I do actually get hungry between breakfast and lunch, and so I'll have a banana; and then I'll need something around 3 or 4, so I'll have an apple. Might as well. Not having as many veggies as I should anyway!! :)

But I'm definitely a volume eater. I'm far more concerned about quantity than quality most of the time with my food. It's like I'm rarely ever full. *LOL*

Hellion said...

So, so true, Hellie. I’m a procrastinator, a bad one, and I think my problem is often not that I don’t *want* to do something, but that I’m worried I *can’t* and therefore don’t try.

Me, too, Hal, me too. I blame college though. I would actually attempt to write my papers before the deadline, crank out a couple of thoughtful drafts and I'd get B's on them. But if I'd crank out the paper the night before, I'd always get an A. Tell me where is the justice in that? Why wouldn't I procrastinate then?

Except it doesn't work now. Cranking out 400 pages overnight simply doesn't happen. *LOL* It is one of those things where you need to pace yourself. *LOL* You need at least a month. *LOL*

Hellion said...

My Mom is really one for not taking the risk for fear that if you fail it will hurt. So much easier to stay home and not risk the pain.

I can't blame her. It DOES hurt. And it DOES take some time to recover; and sometimes you never do. Some people can let stuff go and move on; and some people simply cannot. I usually fall into the latter category--so I really get it. It's hard to get attached to anything if it's only going to hurt you.

Though you have to give your mother credit. She did have children. That is definitely a category where you're going to fail and it's going to hurt no matter what, but she still did it.

Hellion said...

I tend to avoid the things that I think are going to be unbearably unpleasant. . . and then discover they weren’t half as bad as I envisioned.

OMG, if this isn't me all over! *LOL* Well said!

I also hate the thought of just slogging through life, doing the “have to” stuff and getting to the end and finding out the stuff that really mattered never got accomplished. That is the best kick in the pants for me.

AMEN, Donna. Thanks for the reminder. I don't want to get to the end of my life and not have written as much as I wanted to, just because I was doing all the daily grind stuff first. All the time. :)

Hal said...

Marn, I LOVE that title. well, I love everything you said :)

Good luck with Golden Heart. It is an awkward thing, isn't it? lol.

Hal said...

Donna, I'm so with you there. I had this one task, that required calling the registrar where I go to school, get a form filled out, and have them fax it to the student loan people. I put it off for THREE MONTHS, sure I was going to end up crying and begging for this HUGE favor. Finally called, the woman said, "Sure, no problem." That was the end of it. *sigh*

I'm an idiot some days.

Hellion said...

I agree, Marn. Shame is a cousin of guilt--and because it is, it can't be good for being productive in much of anything. (Except maybe failure--I'm sure it's very productive for that. *LOL*)

And I do love the comfort of GOOD food. But I also love the feeling of feeling sexy--and looking in the mirror, I don't feel very sexy. *LOL* I just feel chubby.

Evolution and I are not pals. Because the stuff I crave is not stuff I'd find in the wilderness if I was starving, you know? *LOL* Linguini Alfredo is in short supply in the middle of nowhere.

But I do know that I am more productive with my weight loss when I have a big group to hang with than just a few. Maybe it's not a shame factor then; maybe I have it wrong. Maybe it's the difference between writing among a few friends--and joining RWA and really participating on the national level. The constant motivation of being of the group, that's you're REALLY A WRITER, is the same as when you belong to WW--a part of the group that contributes to other people's success and that makes you a success too. *shrugs*

Hellion said...

And I agree, Marn: I *LOVE* that title! That's a TITLE that makes you want to snatch it off the shelf, I'm not kidding. I have good vibes about this one.

Hellion said...

*LOL* Hal!! *LOL*

Marnee Bailey said...

But I do know that I am more productive with my weight loss when I have a big group to hang with than just a few. Maybe it’s not a shame factor then; maybe I have it wrong. Maybe it’s the difference between writing among a few friends–and joining RWA and really participating on the national level. The constant motivation of being of the group, that’s you’re REALLY A WRITER, is the same as when you belong to WW–a part of the group that contributes to other people’s success and that makes you a success too. *shrugs*

This makes sense to me. I joined WW at one point in the past. It made it "official" or something. LOL!!

And wait, if I were in the wild I couldn't have Alfredo sauce? Evolution took away our tail but couldn't fix the lack of Alfredo sauce in nature? The universe is unbalanced I tell you!!

Hal - thanks! The GH is awkward. It's been a few years since I entered. I guess we'll see.

Hellion said...

The Universe is definitely unbalanced. But that's another blog. *LOL*

Donna said...

Marn, I think it's a great title too. It definitely makes me think, "Mmm, WHAT scandal?" and then I instantly think, "What DOES happen after that?"

Fingers crossed for you in the GH. #stilldecidingwhethertoenter

Donna said...

Hal, I do that ALL the time. Build it up in my head until it could be a multimillion dollar disaster movie. . .and I'm ready to do battle. . .and then it's a simple little two-minute thing and I'm flailing around trying to figure out what to do with all this angst and adrenaline. (Hey, I may have just come up with my next book title! LOL)

Hellie, the daily grind stuff does wear us down. I worked 11 hours yesterday (not counting the 1.5 hour roundtrip commute), so today I just feel like being a lizard. Heck, I'm BEING a great lizard today. I've got to find some motivation, but at the moment motivation keeps telling me, "I'll be here on Wednesday. Take it easy today." LOL

Janga said...

Interesting subject, Hellie! The group thing you like about WW is the reason it never worked for me. I hated the meetings and attended only as long as a friend who was a member shamed me into it. As soon as she moved to Texas, I stopped attending. For some of the same reasons, I don’t do well in writing critique groups.

I tend to think of shame and guilt in terms of the distinctions between shame cultures (Ancient Greece, Japan, etc.) and guilt cultures (American). Shame is not motivating for me. It makes me want to crawl in a whole and hide because shame says I’m bad based on what other people think of me. Guilt, on the other hand, can motivate me in healthy ways because it says not that I’m bad but that I’ve done something bad based on my particular values. It lets me be sorry about my bad action, bad choice, bad words, etc. and to do better the next time. So yesterday, for example, I felt guilty because I ate a piece of chocolate and because I didn’t write a word. I regretted both, and today I’m feeling good because my morning snack was Laughing Cow cheese and I’ve written 6K.

Irisheyes said...

Perfectionism has been my big downfall more times than not. I also have a little of Chance's mother's attitude, too. But I think that the "I won't try cause I might fail thing" ties in with prefectionism. It's taken a lot of years and a lot of self talk over the years to give myself permission to not be prefect, or should I say my insane idea of what everyone else thinks perfect is. The bottom line is definitely attitude. I'm probably going opposite of your philosophy in your post but I've learned how to get rid of the guilt and shame instead of using it to help me. Cause honesly, it never did - I would just go crawl in a corner and cry. I was never one of those people who could be shamed into doing anything. Feeling better about myself is my best motivator. De-cluttering, cleaning, writing, cooking (which I hate to do) - I do all of that because when I'm done I feel better about myself.

I'm sending tons of good luck vibes your way for WW. The DH tried it a couple of years ago right after his heart surgery and it was a success. He did it online (not big on the meetings). Just holding himself accountable for what he was eating and actually seeing how many points certain foods were kind of educated him on the really bad stuff he was eating. He let it slide and is back to his old weight again, and then some. I really believe that the WW route is the way to go, though. You can eat ordinary food and it is a good way to transition yourself into just making the right choices on food for the rest of your life. I think once you're on it for a while you get a sense of what (and how much - that was a big thing with him) you should be eating.

Janga said...

I forgot to say that I love the new title, Marn, and tons of GH luck to you and Rita luck to Chance.

Irisheyes said...

*LOL*, Janga! My sister in shame!!!

I remember my brothers and then (early on) my hubby trying to shame me into playing a game or sport better. They would tease and call names thinking I'd get mad enough and do better. Instead I just walked away and cried - gotta know your subject. Now they, on the other hand, can be shamed into doing anything! Has come in quite handy over the years. :)

Hal said...

haha, Irish. That sounds like my husband. I do the same thing - run off and cry, and then he feels worse, and the whole thing spirals. Knowing the audience is very important.

Hellion said...

Janga, I think all of these things can work and none of them can work for me on any given day. *LOL* Some days, shame works; other days, guilt does; and others, a good challenge works. You know the kind, tell me I can't or won't do something, and then I say, "WATCH ME." Right now, the Shame Factor seems to be working...or the sense of community, whichever.

I think shame works more for me because I hate letting other people down. Guilt is like letting myself down--which I'm used to doing. :) I think I'm such a freaking people pleaser, that part of me thinks I'm impressing these people I don't know by sticking with the program. Does that make sense?

P. Kirby said...

Shame rarely works on me. Largely because I'm ruled by my inner teenager. My reaction to any kind of shaming, anything that smacks of authority, is to go all, "Yeah, What-evah. You're not the boss of me," and to continue down my destructive path.

Those meetings might work on me for another reason. Competition. I'd want to be the one who lost the most weight.

Um, now, I'm one of those evil, hateful bitches who's never really struggled with the weight issue, but it seems to me that the people who were successful w/weight loss, started out with reasonable goals, doing a few simple things. As opposed to the people who said they were going to spend a zillion hours at the gym, cut out all fats and sugars, etc. The latter group was usually so miserable within a week that they gave up (or went on a workplace shooting spree.)

Hellion said...

Now they, on the other hand, can be shamed into doing anything! Has come in quite handy over the years.

NAUGHTY! I love it! *LOL*

Hellion said...

Feeling better about myself is my best motivator.

I'm sure this is actually the best policy. *LOL* The modern, well-adjusted theory of how to accomplish things. I think I'm just old fashioned. :) But I really like your plan to love yourself first, then the rest will come. (Well, at least I think that's what you're saying.)

Hellion said...

P. Kirby, *LOL* I can kinda see you as the competitive type. *LOL* Whatever works, my friend. And yes, doing the ALL or NOTHING approach (cutting out all fats, all sugars, all carbs, all exercise all the time) does not work. Because as you said, it leads to a shooting spree. *LOL* Or a Ben & Jerry's Spree.

Totally off topic: Have you heard about the brouhaha with B&J and the Sweddy Balls flavor? I totally want to try it, and some parents are totally up in arms. Come on....

Marnee Bailey said...

I think the brouhaha is a made up brouhaha. Don't buy it if you don't want your kids seeing it! Sheesh. Chances are that your kids aren't going to get the joke until they're old enough to think it's funny anyway. No innocent mind is going to be ruined. To get the joke, your mind's got to be ruined already!


I don't like rum flavor in my ice cream or I might. I could go for some haagen daz though. Soon.

Bosun said...

I'm home! I've read the blog but I've yet to read the comments. Excellent blog though! Off to catch up.

Marnee Bailey said...

PS, thanks everyone for the votes of confidence and the squees on my title. :) I think I like it. :)

Donna said...

A few weeks ago I saw a new B&J flavor at Whole Foods, called "Clusterfluff", which I thought was a hilarious name. I was trying to tell some folks at work about it, and tried to look it up on the B&J website, but couldn't find it -- turns out they had changed it to "What The Fluff" or something that wasn't half as cool.

So their naming department seems to be running into a few obstacles of late. LOL

Hellion said...

I've eaten the Clusterfluff (before they toyed with the name *LOL*) and it's GOOD!!!! Yummo!

Hellion said...

Do you think Bo'sun passed out? I knew she partied too much this weekend.

Bosun said...

I'm awake, but barely. I had to shower and then I had to make (read: order) dinner and then I had to start the laundry. I've been reading these comments for a couple hours while watching Amazing Race. Sorry, was distracted.

First off - I love fried mozzerella and you had THREE CHEESE STICKS. That is not enough to throw you off for the entire week. They weren't even thick cheese sticks! I don't see you whining about the calories in those rum runners. LOL! How many of THOSE did you have? (And I had nothing to do with those.)

I think shame must work for me, but I don't like being made to feel guilty. Too much Catholic guilt stuff in my upbringing so forced guilt makes me rebel and then my inner teen comes out like Pat's. But putting myself into a situation where I'm accountable to others and would actually let them down if I screw up does work.

Like this morning when I was worried I was supposed to put up a blog and didn't. I didn't want to let the other pirates down. So I have to be held accountable and am always worried about others' feelings.

Echo the comparison between attending the WW meetings and attending RWA functions. I couldn't possibly give up on the writing now. The time and travel and money spent CANNOT be for nothing. It WILL NOT be for nothing. I bet paying and attending WW meetings would do the same for me. (Not that I'm going to join WW any time soon.)

LOVE Marn's title. Perfect for the story and both characters. Three words that apply to every element of that book. And I'm with Donna on getting to my last days and not wanting to look back wishing I'd done more of what I wanted to do.

My kiddo is the one who imagines events will be horrible and always ends up surprised they weren't so bad. You should have seen the day they had to draw blood. Oy vey.

Hellion said...

Your phone call was hilarious by the way. I remember thinking, "What does she think she's going to do? Pull over and post a blog?" and also "Dude, she knows I know she's out of town. Doesn't that mean she's not doing the blog this time?" But it pays never to take anything for granted. *LOL*

And there's nothing wrong with thinking everything is the worst, then being pleasantly surprised when it's not. *LOL* We enjoy it more. *LOL*

2nd Chance said...

Ah, if only the two airports I spent the majority of Monday in...due to flight delays...had offered free wifi!

I only had two rum runners... ;-P

Yeah, it rained in San Francisco and they all but shut down the airport...gah!