Thursday, February 18, 2010


Last week I blogged about support teams. You know, those people who keep you motivated on this weight and writing journey. Family, friends, workout partners, critique partners, dogs, magazines, etc...

We came up with a pretty solid list of support, didn't we? And it felt good.

But what about the opposite? That anti-support? You know what I'm talking about -the roadblocks. Roadblocks that deter us from our path. They're there in our quest to create a writing career and in our quest to be healthy writers.

Some are harmless enough. I mean, gramma's only showing her love by making my favorite meal when I come to visit - and I only get to Idaho about once a year, so this is one of those adjustable roadblocks, isn't it? Easy to find a way to overcome (as in, exercise before and/or after dinner - no way I'd miss that meal! I mean, we're talking gramma's cooking here. Stellar stuff!!!)

Others aren't so harmless, but they aren't personal. One of my local RWA chapters provides breakfast of sorts at the meetings. Bagels, fruit and donuts. I'm a big girl, I know I can avoid that tray of donuts. But man, oh man, its hard. Again, I can overcome this roadblock, though, right? I can avoid the donut (and the back of the meeting room to avoid the continuous temptation until all the chocolate covered old-fashioneds are gone), I can eat before going to the meeting so I'm not hungry, I can arrive late, I can skip the meeting altogether. Or I can even give into the donut, factoring it into my weekly caloric plans and exercise accordingly.

Then there are the not-so-harmless, very personal roadblocks. Oh, you know the ones. If you're a writer, you've probably met them up close and personal, right? Contest judges with their poison pen. Reviewers who gleefully wield a shredder. Writing friends who don't think you 'deserve' whatever rung you're currently standing on. Its hard not to take those personally, isn't it? Even though, really, the issues at hand aren't ours.

Maybe some of the roadblocks are family. The hubby who just doesn't understand why you are trying to kill him with all this rabbit food. The friend who's pissed that you won't meet her for Friday night drinks anymore (but wont' meet you for lunch at the salad bar). The snotty little skinny gal at the gym who rolls her eyes at your form and makes passive-aggressive suggestions that you need a lifelong gym membership if you're ever going to get that butt in shape.

So how do you get past THOSE roadblocks? What do you do to work around the people or situations in your life that keep adding to your challenge to meet your fitness and health goals?

Tawny Weber writes hot, spicy stories for Harlequin Blaze. In January 2010, her novella, YOU HAVE TO KISS A LOT OF FROGS, was out in the Blazing Bedtime Story anthology and her next full length Blaze,, RIDING THE WAVES, will be out in September 2010. Come by and visit her on the web at


Sally Kilpatrick on February 18, 2010 at 9:28 AM said...

These are great questions, Tawny. I'm seriously considering joining Weight Watchers because I have trouble losing weight on my own. I lost 30 pounds in 2008 and gained 13 back in 2010. My doctor told me that it would be ridiculous to join Weight Watchers because I would simply be paying someone to count my calories for me. My question to him is, if I know I need help, shouldn't I get it?

I know I eat emotionally. I know I have a lifetime of bad habits that I'm constantly trying to rearrange. Like everyone, I'm dealing with budget and time restraints. (Anyone else tend to gain weight at the end of the pay period when you're out of the healthy stuff--especially the fresh fruits and veggies--but can't afford to go to the store just yet?) And, yes, I have people in m life who, for whatever reason, want me to eat this or that. Telling them no is really tough.

As for the twig at the gym, though, smile broadly and say, "There but for the grace of God go you." Or spike her protein shake with lard. Okay, so don't do anything mean, but there's no limit to what you can think about doing while on the elliptical--fuel for burning those extra calories.

Michelle Butler on February 18, 2010 at 11:03 AM said...

Sally, I didn't join Weight Watchers to pay "someone to count my calories for me." (I'd tell your doctor to shove it.) I joined for support and accountability.

I love what I get out of attending the meetings. I always feel more motivated when I walk out the door at the end of one. My meeting leader is brilliant. He can also "force" us to confront potential roadblocks and come up with a plan to deal with them. Some folks joke that it's cheaper than therapy. It's also cheaper than hiring a coach. I also like what I learn from listening to the others in the room. I'm a big fan.

Michelle Butler on February 18, 2010 at 11:13 AM said...

I find the anti-support of people who are close to me and supposedly want the best for me the most painful to deal with. We talked a bit about this in the comments on Friday's post. I think the way I deal with it is recognize what is happening, recognize why this person is reacting this way (my positive changes and success somehow threaten her/him and their definition of self that somehow relied on being "better" than me in certain areas - e.g. I'm the "fat" one), and recognize that I don't have to react negatively to this - or allow negative emotions/hurt/anger make me overeat. Sometimes, if I'm getting too angry, I may have to step away from that relationship or person for a moment. Friday, Linda mentioned you have to be willing to feel discomfort, and that's true. Again, it's something that gets easier.

Have you really had some skinny young woman be mean to you at the gym? Wow. I've been going to gyms for the past 10 years - and most of those years I was more than 200 pounds. I might have been self-conscious about being the biggest in the room at any given time, but I've never had anyone be mean to me. Perhaps been overlooked or slighted (someone thinner and cuter served before me) but not outright confronted with verbal ugliness. In some ways, people are extra supportive.

Re: donuts at meetings
I try to remind myself that my issues are my issues - I can't expect the whole world to stop eating donuts bc I have food issues. Kessler's advice to have rules for yourself is helpful. For example, I've given up sweets and candy for Lent. (Yes, I realize this is only day 2.) But, that's my rule for the next 40 days - I can't have this stuff. That debate over what will be my treat that day is gone. If I see donuts/other sweets, I don't start debating should I have this - I shouldn't - but I really "want" it - or worse I "deserve" it. I know I can have it, so I just walk by it without pause or feelings of deprivation (which is even more important).

Michelle Butler on February 18, 2010 at 11:23 AM said...

That last line is supposed to read: I know I CAN'T have it, so I just walk by it without pause or feelings of deprivation (which is even more important).


Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) on February 18, 2010 at 2:21 PM said...

It is so incredibly important to have support in whatever endeavors we undertake. And it's amazing how little it takes to derail us. I don't have any great insight other than to just be determined to succeed, to overcome whatever roadblocks pop up. Since the Olympics are currently on my brain, it's like Lindsey Vonn -- a couple of weeks ago, she had such a painful shin injury that she couldn't even put on her ski boot. Yesterday, despite the pain, she muscled through that roadblock and won the gold medal. I really admire that.

Tawny on February 18, 2010 at 2:52 PM said...

Sally, I believe one of the most important things any of us can do -whether it's in writing or weight or any endeavor - is figure out what we personally need to succeed, then find a way to make that happen. If you need group support and like-minded people to help you make your goals, then WW (or RWA) or a bunch of friends- or something- are the answer. WW is based on so much more than 'counting calories' (grrr to that dr). They teach a lifestyle change, and thats not something most people can take on alone.

You comment about the quality of food and the amount of money in the bank made me laugh. I finally had to stop doing the grocery shopping (dumped it on hubby) because the cost of eating healthy vs the cost of eating pure crap is so astronomically out of whack, I'd rant for hours LOL.

Tawny on February 18, 2010 at 2:56 PM said...

Michelle, I think you have an incredibly healthy handle on how to, well, handle people who are in the way of your goals :-) And often, yes, it requires decisions and realizing the why - why are you after this weight, or this book sale, or this healthy choice. If we have a solid answer to the why, when we're faced with all that negativity, its a lot easier to keep it from derailing us.

As for the gym gal, no that wasn't something I experienced myself *g* For myself, I know if I'm going to workout regularly, I have to do it at home. The extra steps of getting babysitting, to the gym, etc are too many personal roadblocks *g* Besides, I'm a loner when it comes to exercise and do better pushing myself. A friend did get treated that way, though and it horrified me. Me, personally, I'd have been just as rude right back to her *g*

Tawny on February 18, 2010 at 2:57 PM said...

Trish!! YES -it all comes down to what do you REALLY want, how bad do you want it and why? Doesn't it?

Obviously, she wanted it really bad :-) And she got it!!!

Michelle Butler on February 18, 2010 at 3:08 PM said...

Thanks! I've worked on it, Tawny. Like most women, I'm a recovering people pleaser whose efforts to please were not always in my own self-interest. Heck, the first person who called me a people pleaser had to explain what that is. :)

In some ways, the weight pushed me to figure this out bc it was an outward sign of inward issues. I've had to do a lot to figure out my emotions and how to handle them. Writing has been a big part of this whole journey.

Tawny on February 18, 2010 at 3:58 PM said...

I think our weight is often a mirror for inner issues. We're really good at hiding from the, so we don't have to deal. Maybe the weight is our sub-conscious' way of forcing us to deal *g*?

I'm so glad you're overcoming and triumphing, Michelle!

Sally Kilpatrick on February 19, 2010 at 3:54 PM said...

Michelle and Tawny--thanks for the support on Weight Watchers. I'm seriously thinking about it because the first step is to admit you need help, right? Any thoughts on cost? Best I can tell, I could sign up for the $39.95 a month pass and that would be it--am I missing something? After my experience with the charlatans at L.A. Weight Loss, I'm wary about any type of program. Those heifers really gave me some trust issues.

Michelle Butler on February 19, 2010 at 4:23 PM said...

I just pay $39.95/month for the WW monthly pass and can attend unlimited meetings and access everything online. I think it's the cheapest way to go. They sometimes have a registration or joining fee, but they are often waiving that. They may always waive it with the monthly pass.

A less expensive option (but one that I've heard is similar to WW) is TOPS (taking off pounds sensibly). I've never gone, but a friend of mine has and likes it. It has weekly support meetings and weigh ins, etc You can google it, read about it on wikipedia, etc.

If you do go to WW, you may want to consider "leader shopping" and find the one that works for you. In other words, attend a few different meetings and find the group leader who speaks to you.

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