Wednesday, June 2, 2010

It only gets harder....

I have spent the last two days in training as preparation for my job realignment (gained new responsibilities last Friday). Part of the training was on change management and as I am sitting on the plane (greetings from somewhere over Iowa I think) digesting what we just covered, it has me thinking about this whole weight loss journey.

I came into this really naive. For everything I thought I knew to expect, very little of it has panned out as I expected. The two that seem the most relevant today are, I believed that:

1) This would get easier the further along I went, and...
2) That once I was given the knowledge I needed, that like just about everything else in my life, I could do this alone.

And I find great irony in these two the further into this I go.....


I knew when I started this it was a marathon not a sprint. Despite what you see on "The Biggest Loser" or any of the zillion infomercials, losing weight, changing your lifestyle, is a long road. It is measured in years not months, weeks or days. And I expected that. But what I didn't expect is that the longer you are at this the harder the journey is. I thought this was something you fought to get started with, but as you did it longer you got better at it and it got easier and became more natural. That is not happening for me.

I started out with it being what I would consider a slight challenge. The first 4 or so months, looking back, were a lot easier than I thought they would be. It was easy to eat what I needed to (well as easy as eating ever is for me) I didn't really resent the things I needed to give up like I do now, it was easy to get myself to the gym and I looked forward to it. I did better keep myself on plan, making good choices and just being committed to this.  And around months 3 and 4 I truly thought I had this beat, I could do this, "piece of cake". Boy was I wrong.

In the last 2 months this has become a harder journey not an easier one. And as we talked today about long term organization changes and why they work and don't I started to put this in that context. Here are the reasons I came up with why this is getting harder (in no specific order except my random thoughts)....

1) The first weight you lose is the easiest to lose.
As with my other misconceptions I believed that it would be hard to get my body to start losing, but once it "got it" we would be off and running. Just the opposite seems true. The more I lose the harder it is becoming to get my body to let go of the remaining weight. I have circled/yo-yo'd around the same five pounds now for weeks and it is incredibly frustrating.

2) The grief to benefit ratio changes.
This is one of the topics we talked about today with in regards to our clients. For most organizations change only happens when the struggle of staying the same is harder than making the change!!!!! I am realizing it is the same for people trying to lose weight.

When I started this journey in November I was confined in life by my weight. I couldn't walk far, I couldn't climb stairs, I couldn't shop where I wanted to, I couldn't do what I wanted to. And that drove me to keep moving forward on this journey.

As I have lost more and more weight I have regained more and more of my life. Things now are so much easier than they were. And the easier they become the harder it is to eat what I am supposed to and not cheat, it is harder to stay committed to working out, it is harder to make "good choices".

While I am NO WHERE near where I want to be with my weight, and I know my life can be even more. I have to admit the ease of life now compared to how it was before is sabotaging me. In some ways, I wish I hadn't done some of the things I have already. I wish I had put off my trip to Israel, walking those hills already was a factor here. I wish I had been able to put off buying new clothes, shopping in real stores is a factor here. I wish I had put off some of my food cheats, being able to get away with them and the scale not going up is a factor here.

3) People around you lose interest.
This is the irony to me, and I will address it more in the next section, but lets face it, people stop being interested in things when they aren't new and exciting any more. That is human nature. When I started this all my friends were excited by each new milestone, they were willing to work around my food issues, colleagues were understanding when I said I had to work in time to go to the gym, my trainer was patient with my roller coaster of emotions and my meltdowns.

But more and more these days I see the change in the people around me. My friends are sick of talking about it and hearing about it, the people who feed me as a guest or who go out to dinner with me are getting more frustrated and making digs about it, my colleagues are more impatient with me needing the time for me and the tolerance of the professionals helping me gets shorter and shorter. And I get everyone's reactions, I don't fault them at all, I am sure I would be the same if the shoe was on the other foot, but it's not.  I can't give up, I can't get bored, but I have to admit I do feel more and more alone in this every day.

Needing other people

This has been the single hardest part of this journey, and the one I am really fighting with this week. Before I get into that, let me give you some history on my approach to life, an approach that may not have been totally by choice, but I have made work.

I have had a full time job since I was 13, I put myself through college, I dealt with my medical issues for a decade pretty much on my own (there were people in and out of helping but at the end of the day it was mine to solve and cope with). I have always had jobs where I was pretty independent and had to solve my own problems and find solutions. Handing the world alone is my strength. I have always held the view that having other people in my life is great and something I want, but I never want to be in a position where I NEED people there. That I should never be so dependant on someone that if they walked away I couldn't handle things just as well without them as with them.

In full disclosure, this is partially a reaction to how I saw my mom as I was growing up. She was in a bad marriage and felt trapped there because she didn't have the skill set, the confidence and the tools to leave and handle life on her own. I vowed that would never be me and for most of my life I have stuck to that. And the one time in my life when I didn't (a relationship while I was figthing PTC in the 90's) ended badly and I have regretted it since.

So I came into this journey with a very strong commitment to handling this alone, at least from the emotional point of view. I knew that I would need people like Gui and the nutritionist and others to help me with the practical information and learning what I needed to learn. But beyond that I had every intention of finding all the support and strength to do this alone. And just like other things I mentioned up above, that worked well for a few months. But these days it isn't working.

And here in lies the great irony...the farther into this I go, the less capable I feel of handling this alone, yet those that I would turn to seem less and less interested in providing that support and encouragement that the longer it goes.

And again I don't fault them, if anything it makes me angry at myself. I don't get why my own internal satisfaction with what is going on isn't enough for me and why I need others to be proud of what I have done (and get upset when they don't seem to be)...that isn't me. I don't get why when I get off track emotionally I can't seem to right myself...that isn't me. I don't get why I can't keep myself motivated (on food or working out)....that isn't me.

I have mentioned many times in this blog before all the changes to myself I don't recognize. How I eat, how I dress, my interests. And those I am good with, but these other changes, to who I am at my core, I am really not ok with. It sounds horrible to say, but I don't want to NEED people. I love the people in my life and wouldn't trade them for the world. But this feeling of dependence I really don't know what to do with and it is scaring me to a point I am really uncomfortable with and don't know what to do with.

I am sure many reading will say like the other things this is a good change, but I really don't agree at this point. I feel very lost and alone and it is not a feeling I am used to, comfortable with or know what to do with. And I have to admit it is dragging me way off track. I find myself questioning if I continue this journey because I feel so out of control of things that are going on and I don't know what to do with that. This is not the kind of new territory I expected to be in!

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