Turns Out That Bribery is No Substitution for Will Power

Back in November, I did a post announcing that I was going to participate in the Holiday Weight Loss Challenge at my work.   (Click here to read that post.)  Well, mid-January has passed and my weigh-in is history.  How do you think I did?

  1. Held my own – nothing lost, nothing gained
  2. Failed miserably – hello hips!
  3. Lost a few – lightened my load

By some miracle (or near starvation) I lost four pounds – c. is the correct answer.  My teammate also lost a couple pounds, so we succeeded at the challenge, according to the rules of the contest. 

Before you get too excited, I have a confession to make:  I didn’t change my eating habits drastically until the last week.  The challenge acted more like a speed bump; it slowed me down a bit, but didn’t stop me.  Of course I inflicted a respectful amount of guilt upon myself every time I ate something sweet or snacky.  During the last week, I ate mostly salads.  If I didn’t have a partner, I probably wouldn’t have even done that much.

While I’m unburdening myself, I’d like to also confess that I have not tried any of the exercises that I clipped out of my October issue of Health magazine.  That’s right; I have not done even one of the exercises once.  The dog-eared pages have been waiting patiently for me to visit again, and I have failed them.  Yet I can’t bring myself to recycle the magazine because I *might* try them someday.  (This is the same argument that I have when it comes to evaluating the clothing in my closet:  I can’t get rid of “X” because I could still wear it.  It doesn’t matter that I haven’t worn it since 1999.)

I have to admit that the challenge has taught me one thing:  bribery cannot take the place of will power.  Since I have no will power, I’m left exactly where I started – or worse, because I didn’t win any of the prizes in the drawings, and this is how I celebrated my meager weight loss:

I didn’t think it was possible, but yes, I have sunk to a new low.  I devoured a medium Oreo Cookie Blizzard.  I’d say that pretty much cancelled out the four pounds…but what a yummy way to gain 🙂  I’m hoping that I show more will power with working on my second novel in 2011.  On that note, I’d better get writing!

What’s your most successful way to get on track after straying from your goals?


18 thoughts on “Turns Out That Bribery is No Substitution for Will Power

  1. 2blu2btru January 28, 2011 / 7:20 AM

    I took up a challenge with another blogger to focus intently on writing this year. Usually having an accountability partner works well for me until it becomes a habit. That didn’t work with NaNoWriMo, mind you…

    I bought a digital recorder yesterday. I initially bought it to work on a specific project, but I did some practice recordings last night…and I am in love! I had a breakthrough on one of my works in progress, and I still have it on record–unlike what usually happens. Usually, either I don’t get to pen and paper in time to write it down, or it won’t come out right because of how slow I have to write so I can read it later. This has gotten me back on track quickly.

    Lastly, my characters. Some of them surface in my brain and nag me for days, teasing me with things they want to do or say to someone. I know I have something when a character just won’t go away.

    • jannatwrites January 28, 2011 / 9:32 PM

      Ooh, the recorder is a good idea, 2blu2btru! I’m glad it’s helping you with your story. I’m notorious for jotting down notes only to find I have no idea what I was trying to get at when I look at them later. I like the idea of an accountability partner, too. But for me, there would have to be a penalty or something at stake or I’d probably just blow it off 🙂 Thanks for sharing your tricks to get back on track!

  2. Tori Nelson January 28, 2011 / 9:15 AM

    Haha! That IS a super sweet way to gain. I fight the urge to blizzrd daily.
    I, like you, suffer from my poor will power. I’ve found that NOT expecting or demanding anything of myself is typically when I make the most progress. For instance, I lost weight when I committed to “thinking” about being healthy. I noticed without the pressure I would exercise and eat better. The minute I put restrictions on myself I’d flee to the pantry and absolute savage snacking would take place.
    In writing, I avoided taking the post a day challenge because I know myself too well. I would end up not writing for weeks because the prospect of writing everyday would freak me out. Now, burden free, I write (almost) everyday.

    • jannatwrites January 28, 2011 / 9:36 PM

      “Savage snacking” huh? That sounds great! My snacking happens after everyone has gone to bed and there are no witnesses.

      It’s funny how the mind works because you’re right – we could do something regularly and then just as soon as we’re told we HAVE to do it, or commit to doing it (thus taking our free will/choice out of the equation), things don’t get done. Sorry. I think I’m over-analyzing this behavior now…

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts, Tori!

  3. suzicate January 28, 2011 / 10:24 AM

    Congrats! I become my own worst enemy when it comes to weight loss. While I can do more activity, I start obsessing about food, and I’m not even hungry!!! I wish I had will power!

    • jannatwrites January 28, 2011 / 10:16 PM

      Yep, I think I’m right there with you, Suzicate. As soon as I start thinking about all of the things I shouldn’t have, that’s when I HAVE to have them. I like to think that I could have will power if I wanted to attain my goal badly enough. (That makes me feel like there is some hope for me ;))

  4. nrhatch January 28, 2011 / 10:27 AM

    Congrats on moving in the right direction.

    I find that losing 1 pound a week is a slow and steady target for me~ one that I can sustain without feelings of extreme deprivation.

    500 calories a day x 7 = 3500 calories (or a pound)

    When I’m committed to the idea of shedding a few pounds, my mantra becomes: “Nothing tastes as good as being thin feels.”

    Except for medium Oreo Cookie Blizzards, of course. 😀

    Visualize yourself a size smaller . . . wearing nothing but a BIG smile.


    • jannatwrites January 28, 2011 / 10:22 PM

      Thanks for putting in the disclaimer about Oreo Cookie Blizzards, Nancy. I was going to have to argue that one

      I think I can cut a few hundred calories a day. I’m going to have to quit seeing Famous Amos, too. (Those chocolate chip cookies in the vending machine at work call my name. It’s terrible…)

    • jannatwrites January 28, 2011 / 10:36 PM

      Thanks for the suggestion, and links, Keshav! It looks like an interesting program. I’ve never liked running before, so I need to get my mind in a more positive state before I attempt it. (If I go in thinking I’m not going to like it, I won’t.) I’ll check into it closer in a week or so. Thanks 🙂

  5. Carol Ann Hoel January 28, 2011 / 2:06 PM

    I don’t know how I’m ever going to lose weight, at least not right now. I’m too happy. I eat when I’m happy and starve when I’m sad. I want to lose weight, but I don’t want to wish away my happiness. Silly, isn’t it? Why can’t I just quit stuffing my face? 🙂 Congrats to your weight loss. Blessings to you, Janna…

    • jannatwrites January 28, 2011 / 10:53 PM

      Carol, if you’re happy then you don’t need to change a thing (but that’s just my opinion :).) I can relate to the starving and sadness because I don’t eat when I’m upset. Thanks for the well-wishes. I’ll see if I can’t keep it off….and you just stay happy!

  6. Aligaeta January 28, 2011 / 6:21 PM

    I sure hope I can get back on track with my reading and writing. As for exercising and dieting, I occasionally get off the chair and I try not to eat anything that comes in a bag, like cookies, candy, or chips and when I do I feel guilty so I don’t eat much. I do this so I won’t need to go on a diet. Although, as I get older I am getting gushie, in other words losing 20 pds and exercising is something I consider… that’s right I have considered doing this but then I think ‘come spring I’ll turn the dirt and plant my massive garden and I’ll be as thin as I was four years ago’. After all, I need to have something to work off. How’s that for rationalizing : )
    If I only lived by the beach…

    • jannatwrites January 28, 2011 / 10:56 PM

      You’ve got a good argument going on there, Aligaeta. You’d better eat this winter so you don’t waste away to nothing when you start planting in the spring! With my eating habits, I should be in worse shape than I am. I need to back away from the sweets – that’s my downfall!

  7. Brown Eyed Mystic January 28, 2011 / 11:07 PM

    Oh Janna. All I can is you’re not alone. I don’t like to run and I don’t like to go gymming. All I like is to sit at my desk and clickety clickety click away the time. 🙂

    And I agree. True will power beats the hell out of the hardest, dullest task. It’s an asset after all.


    • jannatwrites January 28, 2011 / 11:56 PM

      I guess we do have will power on certain things. BrownEyed. I mean, I can sit here at the computer for hours when I’m determined to finish a piece – nothing can stop me. That same drive just isn’t there for physical activity. I’ll have to think of a way to fake myself out, because I really do need to get in some exercise!

  8. pattyabr January 29, 2011 / 8:48 AM

    Actually 3. is the correct answer LOL. My weight loss challenge before the holidays hit was to hold my own. Which I did not and gained 5 lbs. I have now lost 2 of those 5. I am working on the last 10 lbs which is going to take a whole other focus. Vegetables and fruits are my main stay. Thanks for you post. I just came from my WW meeting that I have avoided for two months.

    • jannatwrites January 29, 2011 / 8:26 PM

      Hahaha! Gotta love Word (where I draft blog posts) my lettering changed to numbering but I didn’t fix the paragraph below. Good catch! I could go in and fix it, but I think I’ll just leave it alone because it’s an amusing error 🙂

      Weight Watchers meetings are great because they keep you honest with the frequent weigh-ins. You may have lost a little ground over the holidays, but it sounds like you’re on the right track now. Good luck losing the last of your holiday weight!

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