Sunday, March 18, 2007

I'm almost afraid to post this *putting on brave pants*

So I took the advice of my two wonderful readers who commented on my last post (BTW I really LOVE when people comment on my blog so if you're a regular lurker or reader come on out and say hi sometimes, it helps me to know I'm not just writing this for my own sake this goes for everybody except my friend Keith who comments ridiculous things all the time... he can stop commenting although they usually do make me laugh) and did some soul searching as to why I sabotage my weight loss when I should be going at it gung-ho. (hehe I said ho).

***Disclaimer: I realize that by typing out what I'm about to type out that I will seem crazier than I have in the past. Even crazier than conjuring up an image of Fat smoking a cigar poking fun of me at the gym. Please don't let this deter you from continuing reading. If you would meet me you would never guess I was this crazy in my head, so I'm imagining we're all this crazy, I'm just putting it out there for you to see.***

I reverted back to "the book" and remembered a section where Dr. Phil talks about payoffs. He says that you continue your habits because in some way you are getting something out of it. It's some sort of little reward or satisfaction that keeps you bound to the habit.

I'll be real honest. I didn't spend a ton of time on trying to figure out what my payoff of remaining overweight was. I did try to think about it but I really couldn't come up with much of anything. I didn't like the way I looked. I didn't like the way I felt. I didn't like the health risks. I didn't like constantly feeling so full that I was miserable. I wasn't afraid of intimacy, so I wasn't staying overweight to keep people away. I wasn't hiding behind my fat as I'm pretty open to just about everybody. So what sort of sick payoff was I getting out of doing this to myself?

The first step to finding my payoff was realizing the pattern that my sabotaging took on. I actually picked up on it pretty quickly this time around which means I can nip it in the bud just as quickly (I hope).

So I was at the gym on the elliptical machine with my head phones on but the music off. It was a perfect time to get lost in thought. What was I getting out of putting weight back on after working so hard to get every single one of those 60-ish pounds off?

It wasn't long before a little thought crept into my head, poked its face around the corner of my brain and showed itself. It just was a quick one armed wave 'hello' but it was enough to get my attention.

"If I don't really try the I can't really fail".

That was it. If I wasn't really trying to lose weight then I couldn't really fail at it either. (this is the part that gets bizarro and I don't know if anybody else will every really understand what I'm going to try to explain)

I chewed on that thought for a few minutes wondering if this was really my payoff. I took myself back to Liz's wedding and thought about how I was feeling at that time in my life. She was doing a wonderful job at losing weight and although it wasn't a competition at all my weight seemed to have been coming off slower. So I just stopped trying. When her wedding came around I didn't make myself feel bad for having to stuff myself into my bridesmaid's dress because I knew I didn't even try. So in a way... I didn't fail.

Then I thought about my own wedding day. I'd love to say I felt like a beautiful bride on my wedding day and how magical it felt to be in my dress but I'd be a liar and I hate liars. I felt like an enormous white cow. I even gained so much weight between fittings (which were literally about 5 days apart) that the part of my dress the seamstress took in should have been let right back out again. I sabotaged my own freaking wedding. (wack-o!) My feelings of udder cow-ness (get it...udder) was only magnified when one of my dear friends T.J. took the liberty of asking me if I was pregnant... in the middle of my reception...on my wedding day...making me feel like the biggest fattest bride that ever walked the earth. What was he thinking? I have no idea but I know what I thought... Jesus how can I do this to myself? (in T.J.'s defense he may have only asked that because Marco and I got married rather quickly, after knowing each other only 9 months, so maybe he was not referring to how I looked in my dress but rather the speed of our relationship but of course I took it to mean I looked pregnant. I'm assuming now that I was assuming the worst then, but you know what they say about assuming.)

So that was twice in the past 5-ish years that I can remember such exciting, emotionally heavy events that made me totally sabotaged myself by gaining weight.

As I've said before, I'm going home to the US very soon. In 12 days to be exact I will be "home". I am very emotional about the entire trip. Not weepy emotional but a whirlwind of excitement. I love my family and friends so much that I feel like a child the night before Christmas every time I think about landing at O'Hare and driving on down to my mom and dad's house. Every time I go home for a visit it only takes me a few hours before I feel like I've never left the place. It's such a welcoming, comforting feeling and I am greatly looking forward to it.

I weighed 301 pounds the last time anybody there saw me. I now weight 60(ish) pounds less. Everybody knows I've lost weight. Most of them read my blog (I hope) so they know to expect a change in me when they see me this time. So why in the world, in the last few weeks before arriving home, would I be so crazy as to start sabotaging all over again?

I really honestly think it's a fear of failure. I think, in the way far back chambers of my messed up little mind that "If they see me at this weight now then what will they think if I do gain any of this weight back when they see me next time? They'll know I failed."

So my payoff for packing on the pounds (ok so I haven't packed on anything, I've just been hovering around 60 for far too long) is not ever having to say I've failed at weight loss.

I've tossed this idea out at Marco to get his thoughts. He pointed out to me that I haven't failed. I've lost over 60 pounds... why in the world was I thinking about failure?

That's a valid point I guess and I can see where he's coming from. I've actually succeeded or at least been successful thusfar. And failing really isn't an option for me so I don't know why the thought that I will fail is even there. I cannot go back to how I used to live it's just not a box I'm able to tick.

I guess it's kind of like waiting for the other shoe to drop. I've done really well so I'm just waiting for something to happen that throws me back into the downward spiral, swirling around and around until I have no choice but to give in to it. Little did I realize that it was ME who was dropping the other shoe right on my own head. The 'something that is going to throw me into the spiral' is my own f-ed up thought process. It's my own fears that I'd never acknowledged that have sabotaged me in the past.

So I've taken steps to stop that process this week. I've passed up the temptations of unhealthy foods and binging by literally telling myself "why would you do that to yourself, you have to break the pattern". It's been working but it's a lot tougher than it seems. Sometimes I have arguments in my head back and forth but for the most part good has won out over evil.

I feel pretty good about my progress this week. It's been one of the best weeks mentally that I've had in probably a month. I feel back on track, centered and focused. We shall see on Tuesday if I've beaten myself at my own little mind game.

p.s. T.J. I still love you!

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sarah,
I'm one of those who reads your blog religiously but rarely comments, but since you asked, I'll comment now.
Your journey has been an inspiration in so many ways. I totally know what you mean about not trying so as not to avoid failing. I haven't yet mastered how to overcome that one, so I'm not going to try to offer you any pearls of wisdom on that one. But I sincerely hope you keep trying, and pushing forward, and succeeding.

Looking forward to where your journey will take you,

Almitra

Kari582 said...

Sarah,
I'm also a "lurker" but I've never posted, so here goes.
I love your posts- I feel like I'm often reading my own thoughts. Just a few weeks ago I read 'the book' you did with Dr. Phil (or I can assume it was the same one) but I haven't really made all the changes I should. Why haven't I used all the important info to benefit my health and lifestyle- I have all this knowledge but I'm not using it. What you said about not wanting to fail- bingo. Hit the spot! I got married last year-and I felt like a fat white cow as well. Wouldn't the happiest day of my life push me to lose weight? No, I think I gained a few pounds as well. I still had a wonderful day. I know my husband loves me no matter what- but I wish I had felt healthier that day.
I'm sure there are so many other readers out there rooting for you as I am- know that we are behind you every step of the way, and we are here to walk with you through this! Not to scare you- but you're not just doing this for you, you're doing this for all of us as well.
God Bless!
Kari

Anonymous said...

How much does it suck to have little wars with your own mind? You don't sound stupid or wacko or crazy. You are in the midst of changing something that has been with you longer than the new habits. IT'S A DAILY BATTLE SARAH!! A daily struggle between yourself. And you often wonder, 'Why am I fighting with myself?' Because you are fighting against the urge to do what you have been doing for YEARS. And the new habits aren't as big and strong yet to kick the old habits ass! But they'll get there. And they will take over and [big announcer voice] RULE THE WORLD!! [/bav].

Keep up the great work and keep fighting the good fight. I am right there with you, and still haven't found out completely why I sabotage myself sometimes.

Have fun back home. :)

-Your fellow Nestie (who happened to feel the same way on her wedding day ;) )

jacodi

Lily T said...

How very insightful of you! Acknowledging your fears are the first step towards overcoming them. I'm a lot like you with this fear of failure and I'm still trying to overcome it, but I think the more we acknowledge it the weaker it gets? That's my theory anyways.

Good luck with your internal struggles! Here's hope that good wins.

Anonymous said...

I felt exactly the same way on my wedding day! And I just realized why I sabatage myself during the last couple of weeks.

Mine is because food is a comfort to me. I've had some really bad medical problems that left me feeling like an old woman for the last few years as opposed to young, twenty-something I am. And when I feel bad, sugar can always make me feel good (at least for a while, but by the time I crashed, I was was usually asleep.) I loved BBQ, sweet and sour chicken, honey BBQ chicken wings, cakes, and anything with tons of sugar. Now when I feel badly and, in a daze, consider ordering delivery (because I usually don't even feel like stumbling to the kitchen to microwave that healthy meal from the fridge) I remind myself WHY I'm wanting delivery and somehow force myself to get up and heat up the meal. Although I don't get that initial extreme energy rush, I do regain a normal amount of energy and feel like a healthy human being.

Whew! This got long. Sorry, I just had to let it all out. Also, I need some advice. I am tempted to read "the book" but Dr. Phil seems so harsh to me. I've never heard him address that minority of us who are overweight because of a medical issue and honestly do try to lose weight but don't or if we do, it's super slow (think .5 lbs a week.) Is he really like this? Does he ever show any sympathy?

sarahaarssen said...

For the person who said:

I am tempted to read "the book" but Dr. Phil seems so harsh to me. I've never heard him address that minority of us who are overweight because of a medical issue and honestly do try to lose weight but don't or if we do, it's super slow (think .5 lbs a week.) Is he really like this? Does he ever show any sympathy?"

I wanted to tell you that there is a difference in being overweight because of your own life choices and being over weight because of health reasons. "The BOOK"is definately geared more towards people who are fat by choice.

Why don't you go to your local library and check out the book. Then you haven't invested any money in it but you can see if it's something that you feel can help you.

I've never thought of Dr. Phil as harsh or unsympathetic. He doesn't sugar coat things that's for sure but I like his honesty, it's something that drew me to his book over others out there. He shows compassion for his patients in the little snippets and stories he shares throughout the book. I think if I ever find something he says to rub me wrong it's usually because it's speaking to me in a way that makes me ask myself the hard questions which can lead to unfomfortableness.

Anyway... feel free to e mail me if you have further questions at sarahaarssen at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

Thanks for that response, Sarah. I guess the reason I see him as harsh is the very first thing I ever heard him say was "People are fat because they choose to be fat. Period." Never liked him since. That's not exactly addressing those with medical issues.