2011/365/060: Is Attitude What It’s All About?

I want you to do me a favor. As you read through this post, think of something that you have been trying desperately to change in your life. Maybe it’s procrastination, or some form of addiction (food, nicotine, alcohol), or a health-related behavior. Whatever it is, make the next five minutes personal.


In June 2000 (yes, that was nearly 11 years ago), I walked out of my doctor’s office, beaming. He was absolutely thrilled with my extreme makeover that I had achieved over the previous 14 months. My blood tests were all normal, I had dropped over 80 pounds, and I had cut my HDL levels in half. My life as a vegan had paid off in every positive way possible.

So what did I do? I went out to celebrate by going to a pizza joint and, yes, eat lots of pizza loaded with extra cheese.

Since that afternoon, I have started, stopped, failed, and repeated the ugly cycle of trying to manage my weight–over and over again, so frequently that I genuinely believe I have trained my body to just wait it out. Soon enough, I’ll give up, and obesity will win once more.

If you search my blog for words like “diet,” “exercise,” “weight,” and “obesity,” you’ll see the ugly truth. Genuine starts, abrupt stops, and abysmal fails. Over and over and over.

Pathetic, I know.

What is different about that stretch of 14 months and every other attempt made since then?


Don’t give me some song and dance about getting older. I’ve got plenty of friends who have overcome their weight issues. They are running 5Ks, half-marathons, and participating in extreme mud runs and trail rides.

Something just snapped in each of them. They struggled for years and then, suddenly, they are walking endorsements for some magical product that helped them along the way.

I mean, that’s how it had to happen for each of them, right?

I’m thinking wrong. If they are anything like I was in 2000, they have something that they are immensely proud of, something that separates them from all the rest of us.

It’s attitude. And not just an upbeat, let’s go-get-’em attitude. I’m talking an attitude that is laced with obscenities and gestures too heavy for my family-friendly blog. An attitude that dismisses all temptations and embraces only what contributes toward that end goal: Perfect Health.

It has to be that. Right? I mean, what else can it be? I’ve tried everything these past 11 years. Various diets, exercise routines, trainers, counting calories, low carb, vegan, vegetarian, high protein. You name it, I’ve put my body through it.

The one thing that’s missing from all of these things is Attitude, a genuine desire to do whatever is necessary to meet that goal.

Now, think about that thing in your life that you want so desperately to change. Have you met with success in the past? And when you did, what was the final ingredient that made everything come together for you?

Was it Attitude?

I haven’t had that these past 11 years, and I am hoping that, with the right attitude, I’ll be able to meet with success again.

I have to be in boot camp, military-style. I need to stay the course and not be persuaded or derailed in any away by the suggestions, the temptations, the skepticism.

In other words, I need to find that attitude again that I had in 1999/2000. Nothing and no one got in my way then. Ever.

I need to get that swag back. That tone in my voice, that attitude that offers no alternatives but meeting my goal.

Is this the only way I’ll ever be able to get control of my own obesity and health issues?

I want to start March 4, the day after my birthday, and just run with it. I want it to dominate my life and make me healthy again. I resign to it all and put my full faith in that attitude to get me through the obstacles that have stopped me countless times in these past 11 years.

Attitude. Did it save you? Do you think it can ever save you again?


5 thoughts on “2011/365/060: Is Attitude What It’s All About?

  1. Ok so Rus, mine is FEAR. Fear of starting something that I want and then not finishing for reasons that may be out -of- my -control. SO, I let the idea that the out- of- my -control ideas will dominate the choice to get started. What kind of idiotic attitude is that? But it’s one I have!
    If this doesn’t make sense, it’s because it really doesn’t make ‘good’ sense to the rational mind, therefore I must be irrational.
    Logic trumps my thoughts every time.


  2. Good luck on your new journey. I hope your new attitude helps.

    Losing weight is so hard! There are so many temptations out there, and the food industry doesn’t help with all of the fat-laden (aka tasty) meals which get super-sized. Then there is the proliferation of things like high fructose corn syrup, a cheap replacement for sugar which tends to be addictive…

    I guess you need to take on the “attitude” that “I want HEALTH MORE than I want that cookie, etc.” When you change your mindset from “dieting” to “creating health”, things really can change. When you choose to create health, it influences every other decision in your life. Of course this includes what you put in your mouth, but also how you live (exercise, managing stress, etc.) You will no longer think of it as having to “give up” something because you are pursuing a bigger purpose – living a long healthy life, and being around for your family.

    Of course, this is all easier said than done; we are all works in-progress. I try not to beat myself up anymore when I want to eat that cookie! I just try not to eat the whole box!

    I definitely have other areas of my life where I need to get a new “attitude”, but it is hard to know where to start….we should talk sometime.

    BTW, I have NEVER been able to run any kind of distance, and I think I’d like to try. Want to be my partner in training? Trust me, it will take me a LONG time to build up to it.


  3. Kick ass. Take prisoners. Don’t let the beast win. You are better than it is. French fries are good, but being fit and healthy enough to hike or bike or run is better. Replace one with the other. You can do it! ❤


  4. I have to agree with Kelly. The mindset change from “I’m on a diet” to “I’m leading a lifestyle that contributes to good health” has been the overriding factor in my experience. When you think about eating from the perspective of dieting, you (I) feel like you are denying yourself something you want. “It’s not on my diet” assumes a negative perspective, and negative thought never produces the positive feelings you want toward food. Instead, you have to look at what you really want (good health) and, when making food choices, ask yourself whether each item contributes to that main goal or not. “This choice is a healthy choice” is a much more productive mindset.

    There are also a number of good tools out there that can help with your goal. The website healthydiningfinder.com can help you find the healthier choices out there in many of the restaurants you may visit. I also ask chain restaurants if they have a nutrition guide before I order – sometimes the salads are the worst things on the menu, loaded with calories and fat. And when you get your iPhone, there are a number of apps that offer that kind of information (like Restaurant Nutrition). And you may want to consider consulting a nutritionist – for me that was one of the most life-changing choices I have ever made. She helped me to realize what I was doing with regard to portions and the composition of nutrients, carbs, fat, etc. – and how best to change my approach, stay satisfied, and adopt a healthier attitude toward food. I’m happy to share contact info with you if you want to go that route.

    The other aspect that can’t be ignored is exercise. That doesn’t mean that you have to have a fancy gym membership or that you have to run a marathon. Building up slowly to a higher level of fitness, and recognizing that you will see improvements over time if you remain committed, will net you a great result. I’ve found that keeping a log of everything I do helps a lot. I don’t log everything I eat anymore, but I know I’m eating right now. But I still log every workout, every mile, and I track my weight and body composition over time. Being able to look back at where I was a month, 2 months, 6 months ago is the greatest motivator, because it’s the trend that counts. You’ll see days where you feel like you’ve gone the wrong direction. But when you look at a month’s worth of data (provided you are doing the right things), you will see the improvement.

    I’m so glad you’ve decided to adopt a healthier lifestyle, Rus. You know you can do this. Your family and friends are here to help. Lean on us and we’ll give you all the support you’ll need! And anytime you want to go for a walk, run, ride, or whatever, just let me know.


  5. To all of you, I thank you for the solid, informative, and supportive comments. I am grateful, too, that you have made these thoughts permanent here so that I may revisit them again and again for support, especially during moments of weakness, which are inevitable.

    Cindy, I had that same fear on Friday when I started this, and I could feel the negativity welling up in me, encouraging me to abandon this stupid, stupid idea of losing weight. But I pushed through it, and on Saturday, I got on my bike and beat the negativity out of me by doing two loops around Goucher’s campus. It was more of a victory over that fear than a full workout (though the little hills seemed like mountains to me). Following that little workout with a baptismal 10-mile ride in the rain before sunrise sealed fear’s fate. I am totally on board now to make this a lasting change.

    Kelly, I would love to be your partner in training! We can talk more about this in the days and weeks to come, but knowing that there’s somebody going through the process with you is a big, big help.

    Thanks, Amy–You’ve already shown me this week that you are there unconditionally. We want the same goals… ❤

    And Brad, your response is so eloquently presented…It could be a stand-alone piece! Thanks so much for the story behind your success. It gives me great encouragement. I will certainly be calling you for those walks and runs, especially after these first two weeks are over. I feel like that's what it's going to take to burn this routine into my body and get through the initial shock of the lifestyle change.

    Thanks again, all. Greatly appreciate your words and support.

    ❤ Rus


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