Where Is Your Focus?

Where's Your Focus?Sometimes when my children are drifting off while we are working on a school subject I jokingly tell them, “Focus people!” We all laugh and try to focus on the task at hand. Focusing on school is an important part of their future success. If they don’t learn their math, grammar, and history now then they will have to learn it later. And speaking from personal experience, Trigonometry is hard to relearn at my age! So learning to focus on important things early is of great benefit.

It’s funny because I realize looking back on my ten years of obesity that I was very much focused on my weight. How much did the scale read that day? 289 pounds? I’d vow to do something about my weight that minute, but had lost my focus by about 9:30 a.m. and was right back in the pantry eating cookies and chips by the handful. The next day I’d turn the focus again to my weight on the scale, vow to do better, and fail.

Where did I go wrong all those years? I could focus on the children’s education, our finances, and decorating the house, but couldn’t seem to find it in myself to focus on what was bothering me so much. I fretted about it, cried over my inability to fit into chairs, and fumed when I was left out of friend’s plans. To no avail.

Looking back, I realize that when I focused on some goals for myself rather than just the number, things began to turn around. Yes, I still wanted to weigh less than 300 pounds, but I realized there were also other things I wanted to do with my life that weren’t all about weight. Here were some of my life goals that I felt my weight was getting in the way of achieving!

♦ Have more children

♦ Feel like an attractive young mom rather than a big water buffalo (sorry, it’s really how I felt!)

♦ Contribute to the family income

♦ Protect my long term health as much as I could

♦ Have enough energy for life

♦ Quit thinking only of myself

I know they aren’t earth shattering goals like: Change the world, Bring about world peace, or Minister to the nations, but in my own way they were important life goals to me. Once I took the focus solely off my weight and shifted my focus to include the bigger picture, I started to experience some success. I looked at each day as an opportunity to advance my life goals while at the same time achieving a greater level of fitness. That shifting focus helped me emotionally much more than sitting on the couch day after day feeling like a big, fat failure.

What is your focus? Do you think that focusing on some life goals rather than just weight goals helps you have success?  Have you set some life goals for yourself that you’d be willing to share?  Diane

45 thoughts on “Where Is Your Focus?

  1. fat[free]me says:

    Firstly – hooray, I am getting your blog feeds properly at last – yay!

    Also, yes, I am still working towards my goals, many are activity based, another is love-life based and the main one is job-based. All are a lot easier without having to worry about my weight, lol!
    .-= fat[free]me´s last blog ..Weigh In Wednesday =-.

  2. Miz says:

    I totally think you are right (as usual) that when the focus is in overall LIFE change and success the weight piece can more easily fall into place.

    while Im sure many might think my focus is getting my book pub or DVD released or somesuchworkthang my focus is simply raising an amazing child.

    I thought about you a LOT yesterday…how do you do it with seven?!
    .-= Miz´s last blog ..Personal Training with Jackie Warner (video/giveaway). =-.

  3. Yum Yucky says:

    Weight loss goals always stress me, but life goals make me optimistic and look forward to the future.

    After 37 years, I just started focusing on me. This is my first go at it. It feels weird. I have to keep reminding myself that it’s not selfish to focus on me.

    It’s not healthy to give all of myself away and be totally drained when I go looking to give back to myself.
    .-= Yum Yucky´s last blog .."Tasting!" V-8 Spicy Hot Veggie Juice =-.

  4. Leslie Erickson says:

    I love this post, Diane. It touches on the huge egocentrism of an addict! The whole notion of getting outside ourselves and regaining perspective that we/I
    aren’t/am not the center of the universe. But it’s paradoxical – we do have to take care of ourselves in order to focus outward. It’s about balance. Makes me think of one of the “great” Commandments – after Loving God, we’re to love others AS we love ourselves. Pretty powerful! Have a great day. I’m climbing out of my murk and appreciate your comments and support so much.
    .-= Leslie Erickson´s last blog ..Courage to Change =-.

  5. Deniz says:

    I really get what Yum Yucky says about focusing on ‘her’ being hard. That’s how it was with me too. I concentrated on pleasing other people and buried ‘me’ in food (and got fatter and more unhappy by the year).

    It was only seeing that I needed to change my life in many ways (not just worrying about the weight loss) that got me motivated to try again and keep on trying until I saw some real success.

    Your point about setting specific, non-food related goals as well as looking at the numbers on the scales is spot on. For me the biggest one was my long-term health as things seemed to be getting into a long downwards spiral in that respect. I guess my increasingly embarrassing (to me) dumpy appearance was also a factor. Rediscovering the fun side of ‘me’, who had got pretty well buried, was another goal.

    One little goal for the future (but important to me) is to ride a horse again. I was never a good rider, but love horses and one day…
    .-= Deniz´s last blog ..A pretty good day =-.

  6. Susan says:

    When I was overweight, it was ALL I could think about when I was out with my friends. I was constantly tugging at my clothes wondering if they could see my belly rolls, if I was the “fat one” out of the group. Now, it’s the last thing from my mind. My focus is no longer on how I look when I’m with others, but instead I can just focus on the people I’m with. Probably one of the greatest side effects of losing my weight. It’s been incredibly liberating.
    .-= Susan´s last blog ..A Speedy Start to December & A New Set of Goals =-.

  7. Sara N. says:

    Focus is paramount in the completion of any journey, from weight loss to life. And I really like the idea that we must focus on life goals rather than just goals that are weight related.

    My life goals are to get in better financial shape, improve my relationships with my friends and family, and find a job I love.

  8. Monica says:

    I think this post is so timely for me. I have a hard time in both directions. Sometimes I focus too much on myself and get in a cocoon and other times I can’t seem to find time to do what I know I should be doing.

    I’m going to think about my life goals. Can I email you with them?

  9. Lori says:

    I agree with Susan that my “overweightness” has always been my focus, and it’s hard for it not to get obsessive for me. A lot of times, it’s what I’m thinking about. I’m trying to move to “balance,” though that’s been a pretty big challenge for me. I have a goal of being able to run 2 miles, so that’s been something I’ve been trying to achieve. Thanks for the post. 🙂

  10. vickie says:

    You said:
    “Here were some of my life goals that I felt my weight was getting in the way of achieving! . . .
    ♦ Quit thinking only of myself”

    I agree with that. And I did that too. But I think we weren’t actually ‘thinking only of ourselves’ – we were FRETTING (like stuck in a loop, fretting) about ourselves. When we switched to action about ourselves – is when everything changed. And yes, we had to think in order to act.
    .-= vickie´s last blog ..Goal Week – Bra Replacements =-.

  11. Diane says:

    Bravo ! I think there is an abnormal focus when we are overweight, and it often gets replaced by an equally unbalanced focus when we make the move to change that state through lifestyle changes. Everything in our focus becomes what will be best for our program, how to work the program, putting our program first and being crushed when that scale number is not what we want to see. In truth, our weight is just one part of who we are, and all those other parts need and deserve our equal attention. Sometimes even more so. One of my goals outside of weight loss is to become a Naturopath. For a variety of reasons i have not officially enrolled in courses yet, but in the meantime I do all I can to learn. My appetite for knowledge of the workings of the human body, herbal medicine and nutrition is greater than any appetite for food !
    .-= Diane´s last blog ..And then there is exercise =-.

  12. Lori says:

    You can actually order my book from several places online– Amazon and Barnes and Nobles being 2 of them, but I’ve never really done anything with it, as far as promotion. With having a free publisher, that’s something I have to do on my own. 🙂

  13. Gina Fit by 41, Maybe 42 says:

    Wow, you are on target. This has been on my mind lately, and I was trying to think how I could form my feelings into words.

    I can focus on short-term goals that give results, but the long-term goals get lost.

    I think I’ve subconsciously had long-term goals. Maybe I could solidify them more, write them down, make them real. You’ve (again) given me something to think about.
    .-= Gina Fit by 41, Maybe 42´s last blog ..TOFUmbled =-.

  14. Jody - Fit at 52 says:

    We both wrote about focus today!!! I love your points on your focus!

    I do agree, sometimes we have to change the focus from weight loss to toher things to really see what is important in the scheme of things!

    Well, I am still trying to be a reader model… I guess the mags don’t think I have what it takes to look good in them… but I keep trying. I have some other goals but keeping mum for now. 😉

  15. Rebecca @ Durch Dick und Duenn says:

    I’ve had the most success this time around because I fit my “diet” into my life instead of making it my life.

    I came to realize that going out, socializing and having dinner will always be a part of life and should be enjoyed.

    I was just making myself miserable secluding myself and it didn’t motivate me to take the weight off.
    .-= Rebecca @ Durch Dick und Duenn´s last blog ..Glazed butter cookies/Bunte Buttersterne =-.

  16. Bearfriend says:

    Hi Diane. First of all I love your snowman banner!

    I think you hit on something really important here.

    The thing that got me going initially on my walking program was the fact that I had pains in my chest and was starting to have breathing problems because I was so unhealthy. It was getting scary. Out of all the negative things about my weight that was the one that did it.

    The thing that keeps me going when I get ideas through my head about bingeing is the fact that I want to be able to be outside without feeling embarrassed about my size. I know my confidence will increase as my size decreases and I am really looking forward to it. It will make a huge difference to my life.

    Thank you for all your support Diane – you are a constant inspiration to me!

    Best wishes,
    Bearfriend xx
    .-= Bearfriend´s last blog ..Day 16: Thoughts on rigidity, chaos and "normal" eating =-.

  17. Deb Willbethin says:

    First–LOVE the new page design. Fun!

    Second–Focus. From the start of this latest trek down the Highway to Thin, I’ve said that it’s not about the skinny jeans, it’s about regaining health.

    But, what I said had shallow roots! I really was pretty focused on the numbers on the scale. It has only been in the last few weeks, that my initial statement of true focus has begun to grow. In fact, I wrote my own post with the title, “Where is Your Focus?” about that time.

    Just recently, that concept has really, really gained ground. That’s why I changed my twitter name from “willbethin” to “JoyArises” the other day. Rediscovering joy has always been in the bio, but now I am increasingly aware that this is about achieving a LIFE change, not just a weight change.

    Their will be many lessons to go before I sleep, to fracture a line from Robert Frost. 🙂 Thanks for this
    post–it helped to crystalize my own musings.

    .-= Deb Willbethin´s last blog ..Who Says I Can’t Be Free?! =-.

  18. Jenn @ Watch My Butt Shrink! says:

    I totally agree with this. My focus has always been on the long-term health benefits and being a good model for my kids. Yes, I’d like to see a certain number on the scale, but ultimately if I’m fit and trim, I’ll be happy!
    .-= Jenn @ Watch My Butt Shrink!´s last blog ..Poser =-.

  19. Fran says:

    I don’t have life goals, my only goal in life is to enjoy every day even if it’s a hard day and to be good to my hub, friends and family.

    As for my weight loss journey, seeing the number going down is a goal but also exercising enough and eat healthy as many days as possible. I step on the scale once a week on Thursday morning because I don’t want to get obsessed by my weight every day. I try to look at the big picture: a healthy lifestyle.
    .-= Fran´s last blog ..A day in my life: Tuesday December 1st 2009 =-.

  20. Leah says:

    I love the snowman and blue color scheme! 😀

    I do have a hard time staying focused when it’s time to stop eating, but sometimes I’m too focused when it comes to my weight. I find I can get so focused on wanting the weight to come off that I’ll spend too much time pondering, reading and analyzing my weight and weight related issues that I don’t do anything else.

    I’ll have to think on the goals thing.

    An ongoing goal in my life is to be the woman God wants me to be in all areas – marriage, motherhood, home and beyond. This takes time and focus as well; and just like in weight, I feel so much better when I’m focused and doing what I know I should be doing.

    Good post, Diane! Great timing.
    .-= Leah´s last blog ..Listening To My Body =-.

  21. Mia says:

    I like to eat when I’m stressed. If I’m not liking what the scale is saying, I get stressed and subsequently, want to eat. (I’m not saying that I do, just that stress brings on a false sense of hunger.) Therefore, it is better if I don’t weigh myself regularly but instead focus on eating healthy foods which after 47 years I know what that means, and exercising. Really, I focus on lifestyle, a lifestyle that I can maintain for life. Not just a style that I live until the scale moves.


  22. Michelle@Eatingjourney says:

    I love this. I actually am finding myself slipping back into the ‘I want to lose weight’ focus..which only makes me hate the weight that I am at, hate how I feel in clothes and frankly forget how far I’ve come.

    Shifting focus:
    1. Enjoy my time with my family and friends
    2. Heal my body with the food that I eat
    3. SMASH the triathlons and races I am signed up for
    4. Keep my faith in my heart

    Thank you. What a great way to wake up.
    .-= Michelle@Eatingjourney´s last blog ..I want to cry…A Bake Sale and Ice Cream!!!!! =-.

  23. Pam says:

    Focus is everything…when I lose mine, the scale does not move. I do have some other goals in mind, but the only thing that is getting me through this time of year is focusing on achieving a few close range, attainable goals. I figure if I focus on something a little closer to being reality, it will sustain me through the weight gaining season, you know?
    .-= Pam´s last blog ..I Sneaked a Peek =-.

  24. Karyn says:

    It has been a catch 22 loop for me. I am unhappy and frustrated with my weight, so I bring that unhappiness into my family life. When my family and home are in a mess, I am even more frustrated and unhappy which leads to binges and depression (means no workouts or happy hubby). So I need to find a balance in what I focus on, some focus on me and some focus on family. It helps to have kids that love being active so I can focus on that aspect of myself and still be able to have the happy quality time with family. Everyone wins then.
    .-= Karyn´s last blog ..Only 30 days left–Hot 100 update! =-.

  25. Marcelle says:

    shew, lots and lots of comments here, but them I’m a little late.

    I have to shift my focus as I find it’s only on my weight – I need to go out and take photographs and do the other things I love, am not able to work in germany so have to find things besides internet and tv to keep my focus.
    .-= Marcelle´s last blog ..Did I really?? =-.

  26. Debbie P says:

    Great post, Diane. I totally agree. Although I do focus the majority of my time on my weight issues, I have found it helps to shift my focus on the more important things in life, such as strengthening my relationship with God, my husband and son. Another focus of mine is improving my overall health, and to be able to participate in the daily activities of a nine year old boy!

    This next summer our plans include going to Six Flags (not a big deal to most, but since I haven’t been able to fit in the rides it’s a big deal to me). Also, we’re planning a trip to the gulf coast this next year. Previously I wouldn’t have been caught dead in a swim suit! I’ll still be huge, but really don’t care….it’s important to our son!

    I’m finally beginning to get excited about life again for the first time in years!

  27. Taryl says:

    Oooh! Your list and mine are almost identical. My main reasons for losing weight have to do with being a better (and more capable) wife and mother, more than personal vanity. I do think my husband deserves a beautiful wife and I want to be one, but it isn’t nearly as potent a motivator as caring about my health turned out to be!

  28. Mia says:


    I so agree with you. When I tried to loose weight to look better and wear smaller clothes, it never worked! But as I aged and became less vain and more concerned with my health, I finally became successful! The other thing that I learned with age was to have more patience. Weight loss is not an overnight occurrence. (Which was often how long my motivation lasted, if that!) I learned it took perseverance and patience!


  29. mamajuliana says:


    It sounds strange, but my life goal is really a life goal. L-I-F-E

    My mother died at 48 of suicide
    My sister died at 49 of breast cancer
    My grandmother died at 49 of pneumonia.

    I am 48—I plan on being 49 next May.

    And I want the world’s best 50th birthday party in May of 2011.

    THAT is why I am wanting to live healthier.
    .-= mamajuliana´s last blog ..I made a snowflake! =-.

  30. John W. Zimmer says:

    Ok, now you done it… at 52 I still don’t know what I want to do or be when I grow up… I mean I go one direction that makes sense with all of the data and a year or two I’ll modify it a bit with new data.

    If a major change happens, I might modify it a lot but in the final analysis I always have short-term and medium-range goals. Long-range is to retire well with our (my wife and I) having good health.

    For a glimpse in the early 90’s I had just lost a well paying (I thought) job and finally I decided to go to college! I had muddled through life trying to work harder to make ends meet. I was able to provide for my family by working two paper routes, a new full time job and going to college full time in the mid-ninety’s.

    I don’t know how I made it through that time but about halfway through college I landed a good job and have worked my way up the latter. I graduated with my associate’s degree in 1997.

    It is funny that I had lost my weight before I started college but the extra stress put the weight back on. It took until just recently that I got my act together again.

    I’ve since gotten my bachelor and masters degrees and have tried to work on being a good role model for my children.

    Sorry I got a little wordy but in short, life gave me lemons (really it was me) and I made lemonade!
    .-= John W. Zimmer´s last blog ..Body Weight Exercises with Dumbbells =-.

  31. Kat says:

    Diane this is a great post, but then I always enjoy your posts. I am really shifting my focus on balance and being healthy. The daily exercise gives me some concrete steps to make progress toward my health goals. I can really relate to the feelings you had prior to your weight loss. I felt much the same way before I started losing weight.
    .-= Kat´s last blog ..Hot 100 Challenge – Update #7 =-.

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