Willpower is a Four Letter Word

cal2nhyv.jpgbl4_after_landingpgtrio.jpgI have to admit that I’m hooked on the Biggest Loser reality show.  When I first heard of it, I thought, “No way, I’m watching that.”  I had preconceived notions I must admit.  And then I watched one episode.  

And boy, what a powerful, inspiring, heartwrenching 2 hours a night it is.   I’m amazed that I haven’t missed an episode this season, thanks to the invention of the DVR.   It’s reality TV sure – with all the drama, but once I got past all that, I learned a lot. 

I can honestly say that I don’t consider myself overweight.  But are any of us truly happy with our weight?  I’ve had those extra pounds of “pregnancy” weight now for years. And when my doctor confirmed that for every decade you live, you usually gain 10 pounds, I cringed.  Why on earth have I struggled with losing 10 silly pounds?   Losing 10 would make me happy, 15 would put an eternal smile on my face. I think my body has “settled” and likes me right where I am. It’s a constant battle and let’s face it, as we age, gravity works against us.

photo_bob_tall-bob-harper.jpgSo, I watch The Biggest Loser and I see these incredible people drop 5, 7, 10 pounds a week and I’m in awe.  They workout hard, for six hours a day.   They have drive, willpower, macho and moxie.   And when that fails them, they have Bob or Jillian, the personal trainers, with an emphasis on PERSONAL.  I have grown to love these two people, whose style of workouts and philosopy are sooo different.  They really bond with the contestants.  They become family.  

Since watching this show, I have never felt better in my life.  No, I don’t have a personal trainer, but I have an inphoto_jillian_tall-jillian-michaels.jpgternal voice that yells at me and tells me to get up off my butt and get on the threadmill.  When I’m relaxed on the couch, watching the boob tube, that same voice pushes me up. I work my weights and do pilates and think of Kelly, who is, I’ve decided my favorite on the show.   She’s one of the two women remaining and clearly the underdog.  I remember how she couldn’t make a walk up the mountain when the show first began.  And now, since being on the show 15 weeks, she’s completed a triatholon- swimming, biking and running. 

I have willpower when it comes to writing. I sit my butt in the chair and write, because it’s my passion, my job and my life.  But I was never one to enjoy exercise.  NEVER.  It was always a chore.   And my willpower waned and waned.  I came to think of willpower as a four letter word – something I never wanted to face when it came to exercise.  I made up excuses and rationalized why I couldn’t exercise that day.  And I’d get an occasional walk in with my husband at night and feel justified that I’d gotten my dose in that day.


So now, I’m inspired.  I move every day. I find time, though that’s my biggest obstacle. When I’m on a tight deadline (like now) it’s hard to leave the computer when the words are flowing  to walk into the next room and climb onto that threadmill.  Most days I do it – I find the time, but when I don’t – I work out at night, if even just for 20 or 30 minutes. I do pilates, lift my hand weights, do my squats and keep moving.  

Willpower is much easier attained with motivation.  The winner of the Biggest Loser gets $250,000. 00   Now that’s what I call incentive.  But these once overweight, unhealthy, unmotivated people’s lives have changed forever. They all say, even if they don’t win the money, they have gained years on their lives.  Priceless.  

Willpower comes into play not only with exercise but with healthy lifestyle eating.  I’ve learned that food isn’t the most important part of my day.  I’ve also learned that I can eat as much as I want, but I need to put the right things into my body. That’s basic.   We eat lots of chicken and shrimp and salmon.  I eat fruit every day.   I’ve learned to love salads.  Not the boring, lettuce and tomato salads, but ones that include healthy things that I love.  Sundried tomatoes, artichokes, olives, almonds and veggies. Put a few squirts of spray salad dressing on, add a slice of pita bread and I’m good to go.  

Normally, people only eat 7 or 8 grams of fiber per day.  To stay healthy and lose weight you need 30 or more grams. 

Here’s a list of snack foods I’ve found that help me make it through the day . I never feel deprived.  They’re delicious and nutritious:

Vitalicious muffin tops  (highonlinevitalicious_1995_623939.gif in fiber, delicious, sold online )

100 Calories Packs (the ones high in fiber, low in sugar – gotta watch out for frauds)

100 Calorie Popcorn (only the high fiber ones)

Weight Watchers 1 point cakes (carrot and chocolate)

Weight Watchers candy  (1 point only- I love the chocolate mints)

Quaker “Take Heart” instant oatmeal (Omega 3’s and many flavors)

So for me Willpower used to be like a four letter word, but thanks to one television show, I know I’ll always be on the track.  I’ve lost weight and feel great. There’s the reward. 

What about you? Do you have willpower or not? What’s your biggest obstacle, not just for weight loss or exercise, but in life?  What inspires you to keep going? 


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28 thoughts on “Willpower is a Four Letter Word”

  1. Ach, not a willpower blog!!!!!!!!

    Charlene, no!!!

    I’ve been dieting lately and it’s going pretty well. I’ve lost about 12 pounds. That’s ONE decade’s worth of gain taken care of. Too bad I’ve got a lot of decades left to deal with.

    I need to add exercise. I am so, so sedentary, terrible lifestyle. I need to exercise so badly!

    I’ve got an elliptical machine…a very dusty elliptical machine. I’m planning on starting… tomorrow.

  2. AND, just checking but……

    Isn’t being on national TV in your underwear sort of a classic nightmare?

    Right up there with hunting, hunting, hunting for something.

    And the nightmare about, ‘it’s the last day of the semester and you realize you forgot to go to some class all year and now you’re going to flunk’

    Maybe there’s a reality TV show in THOSE nightmares, too.

  3. Hi Mary – Congrats on losing 12 lbs!! That’s great, really. My son used to call my threadmill, the coat rack. Now, it’s used daily. I find it helps when your spouse is into exercise too. Just seeing my husband’s weight loss and his muscles, well … it’s a good incentive for me too.
    It’s brave of those women to expose their bodies on national TV. They started out with major bulges and now they are firm and fit.

    Sorry about the Willpower Blog. Someone had to do it. 🙂

  4. Hi, Charlene (and btw you looked great on the last photo you published). As for me, I love to excercise, am happiest when I’m moving. I belly danced for years, finally switched to yoga and pilates classes. When the weather’s decent I walk and hike. Show me a mountain and a trail and I’m in heaven. What taxes my discipline, believe it or not, is sitting still and writing. Even after a long, long career, gluing my butt to that chair and staying there is torture. And it doesn’t get any easier. Thanks for an inspiring blog.

  5. Hi Elizabeth – Thanks for the compliment! I “wish” I loved exercise. You are really lucky that you do. Belly dancing? Wow, I’ve always wanted to try that. You must be in fantastic shape.
    I guess I only like to exercise when I’m playing… like tennis or bowling. Then I love it. But the good news for me is that now … I don’t HATE exercise. It’s tolerable and I feel like I missed out if I don’t do it one day.. so that’s a good thing.

  6. Hi Charlene, I have battled depression alot with in the last 2 years so willpower and motivation?what is that anyway? i do actually have a motivation and that’s my 2 children instead of taking medication i force myself to perticipate in life you know what they say “fake it untill you make it” that’s why i took up reading and it’s been wonderful therapy for me..the best! I have recently started excersizing again for my health I need to loose weight but it’s not from overeating it’s been due to lack of being psyically active I can stop eating and will not loose weight unless i excersize. I didn’t make the mistake of jumping into a 45 min. walk on the tread mill i’ve had to many changes i’ve had to indure in the last couple of years so i’m trying to make life changes i will stick with. I have been very incouraged by this show to see what others are capable to do and it shows how things don’t come easy and you have to just keep on even when you think it’s not working I’ve dealt with this threw depression as well i get up at 5:30 every morning and i keep myself occupied untill i go to sleep that night I check P&P every morning between taking the girls to school I’m determined not to give into what my mind wants me to and that’s to go back to sleep and not perticipate in life that day. instead I perticipate I clean my house i do my excersizes i read, I find a reason to go places, I make myself available to help other people that have trouble helping themselves, i cook all this may be the normal for some and was for me to plus a 60 hour a week job but i’m getting back on track and alot of it has come from watching this show to see what others are willing to go threw. Great post.

  7. Hi Charlene, I am NOT an exerciser but I can see that by sitting at the computer day in and day out, something needs to give and if it isn’t going to be widening my chair, than it better be me getting up and out of it. Thanks for inspiring me. I have joined a Tai Chi class because all that slow, deliberate movement looked easy enough. Ha. Ha. Not so easy afterall, but I am enjoying it a lot more than the really heavy duty physical workouts (and it’s only once a week, so that takes away my guilt at not doing anything).

  8. Hi Lori – Thanks for the touching post. I’m so glad you’re helped by the show. It’s quite amazing how others can inspire. Depression is a hard thing to overcome, but you seem to be doing a good job of focusing on what’s truly important -your children. It takes a lot of strength to battle through the day. And reading, got me through a lot of rough times too, deaths in my family that were hard. I can relate.

    And I’m like you, I can only lose weight if I exercise. It took me a long time to realize that my cutting calories won’t do the trick. My metabolism refuses to budge unless I jumpstart it every day.

    I’m so glad you’re a regular member of our Petticoats and Pistols blog. It’s encouraging and heartwarming to all of us to know our posts are helping. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Hi Carol Ann – If I’ve inspired you, I’m honored. I heard that Yoga can be more strenuous than a hard aerobic exercise. I’ve never done Yoga, but advanced pilates is incredibly hard (I’m not there yet) . Tai CHi? Sounds so much like that yummy tea. I’m not familiar with it personally, but I see people doing it in parks and though it looks easy, I know it’s difficult. Harder to hold a position for a time, than to move a lot.

    Thanks for posting today!

  10. Charlene, congratulations for having willpower and losing those pounds! I’m so in awe of people who can stay on an exercise and diet regimen. I wish I had the drive to get off my butt and get into shape. I’m not a lot overweight, only about ten pounds, but I’m not losing it sitting all day. My sister talked me into joined Curves but I don’t go regularly. It’s difficult to get into the car and drive over there. It’s so much easier to sit. 🙂

    I used to have a treadmill but it became a dust catcher and clothes gatherer so I finally got rid of it. Besides I couldn’t take the guilt everytime I walked by it. 🙂

    Best wishes for keeping your willpower strong! I’m glad someone can.

  11. Hi Linda–I think there’s lots of us who don’t enjoy exercing. I belonged to a gym and I didn’t have time to go.It was such a waste, so we got the treadmill and now finally, we’re using it a lot.

    As far as dieting goes, I’m not. I’m changing how I eat and it’s going to be a lifetime change. That’s what makes it easy. Now I know the choices I have to make. But don’t let me kid you, I sweat each pound. While my husband has lost 10 pounds since we started exercising and eating right, I’ve lost 4. My clothes fit better and I feel great, but I have a ways to go. It’s soo true that men can lose it easier and faster, plus I’m taking HRT, and my Dr says that makes it harder to lose weight too. Just great, right? 🙂

  12. Oh Charlene, you are so always my inspiration! I have been such a slug lately and my lower back is feeling it today. 🙁 But I promise to get into shape before RWA!

    I have a great exercise recumbent bike that I ride while reading, and I’m into Taming the Texan so far (My, my Clint is a bad boy LOL.) so I’ll be back in the saddle soon as things settle down.

  13. I am absolutely the worst when it comes to weight,
    exercise, and willpower! First the weight crept upon me when I wasn’t paying attention! Then I couldn’t dredge up the willpower to keep exercising, I tried but no luck. Now this was
    all happening some three years ago. At this point, I got food poisoning, one of the worst times of my life, except that I did lose some weight. At this time, my doctor had just
    diagnosed my diabetes. This called for an entire
    life style change, which I am still continuing. The result: I have lost 54 pounds. I’m still not into exercise except for lifting my thirty-pound
    grandson on the days that I care for him. I will
    keep trying to exercise, who knows, that four-
    letter word might finally find a home in my brain
    and in my heart!

    Pat Cochran

  14. Hi Pat – Does your grandson like to take walks? A great way to fit a little fun exercise in. My father and son would follow the gutter stream of water, floating leaves down and have races – that was my father, he made a game out of everything.

    You lost 54 lbs though- which means you stuck to the diet the Dr, prescribed and that takes a load of willpower. I hope your health has improved because of it.

    But boy, I can relate to those extra lbs creeping up. When did this happen? I would ask myself. I could eat anything in my younger days and not gain an ounce. After having children, that all changed. 🙂

  15. Wow, congrats, Charlene! As for willpower, I’ve got none–zero. That accounts for all the stuff lying around the house I can’t get rid of 🙂 And boy, maybe I wouldn’t be so out of breath going down the street if I worked out occasionally… 😉

    Yay for you and everyone else who’s been sticking to the program!

  16. Hi Fedora – I just finished a round of pilates! Now, don’t you feel like taking that walk down the street and back! I know you can do it! Small steps as they say… thanks for your honesty. But I bet you have willpower in other aspects of your life.:)

  17. The last time I got on my elliptical machine It took me two minutes to have a pulse and respiration rate that was not compatible with life.


    My husband who works hard, ranching, at physical labor and is skinny all the time, the brat, says I really ought to at least try and get in shape enough that if I had to walk, like if the car broke down, it wouldn’t kill me.


  18. I had a swimming lessons teacher (for the kids) tell me once that if a person would tread water for 20 minutes a day they wouldn’t be able to keep weight on. The perfect, low impact, all body, high calorie burning exercise. Plus kind of fun.

    Not that it’s particularly convenient for me…living in the country in Rural Nebraska, hello? In the winter the nearest swimming pool is a 45 mile drive.

    But maybe for someone else, who is in a gym or near a convenient swimming pool it might work.

  19. Wow Mary – I didn’t know that about treading water. I’m not a water person. But I know 1 minute of treading water would do me in. It’s extremely aerobic -takes a lot to keep your head above water.

  20. Charlene,

    My health has improved: BP is in normal ranges,
    my cholesterol is excellent, and my A1c which
    is a most important diabetic reading is 5.8
    for the first time since I don’t know when (over
    6.0 qualifies you as a diabetic.) Now that the
    weather has warmed up, we just might start out
    for some walks!

    Pat Cochran

  21. Oh, dear Lord–twenty minutes of treading water, Mary?? A minute, maybe two, tops! If I fall in, the rescuers better be quick! 😉 Thanks for the encouragement, Charlene–I’ll fit in a brisk walk some time this weekend instead of sitting the entire time with snacks 😀

  22. Yay! for Patricia and Fedora!

    So glad your health has improved Patricia.

    And good for you for taking that walk Fedora.
    The weather is warming up, perfect for a brisk walk on a nice day!

  23. That is my problem I don’t have willpower. I try to exercise but I want stick with it daily and you can forget eating right. I love pasta to much and my hubby wants everthing fried. I don’t have a fighting chance because I cook every day and you can’t cook with out eating the food. At night I want to snack not good. No matter how many time I tell myself not to do it I will. My hubby works 12 hour shifts so we don’t eat until about 8 at night then I think I still need a snack later on. I am doomed, no willpower.

  24. Hi Virginia – Night time snacking is something I have trouble with too. Check out the list of relatively good snacks above, chocolate cakes and candies that you can have. Popcorn or those muffin tops are great with a little sorbet on top. They help me. I need something sweet every day – don’t go a day without some snacks. It’s hard when your hubby likes a certain kind of food too.
    Thanks for posting. Have a great weekend!

  25. HI Charlene!

    I enjoy walking in new areas I have never been before. In particular, walking nature trails…especially this time of year! There are amazing spring wildflowers in bloom right now and you can only see them for a few weeks! That is motivation for me to get out there and start walking! 🙂

  26. Oh Mary i think i found your 12 pounds and they
    are not wanted ok about half of them left here this week.

    I love the biggest loser but i like the aussie one better except they are meaner to the contestants sometimes. we have it one 6 days a week and 3 days its a 1 hour show the other 3 days a half hour but we get to see more of what they do in the week.

    i have willpower but i need to work harder on it.

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