A Measure of Success; An Admission of Failure
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
"It's the end of the of world as we know it, and I feel fine," so the song goes. REM's going too, if you've read the news lately, but I digress.
It's not the end of me OR my world. Even tho' I've had a really hard emotionally trying day. You know why? Because I learned something about my personal food eating triggers today - something I sort of knew, THOUGHT I knew, but I didn't really KNOW. And now, "I can see clearly now". OK, no more song lyrics.
Some background here - I used to be a paralegal. Wait....let me clarify: I used to be an "employed" paralegal with an ever growing waistline. I could wax nostalgic, but if you read my other blogs you'd know that I hit rock bottom in work, relationships, food intake, etc. All that knocked my self-esteem and false sense of stability right into the gutter. Somewhere in all that, I started laying on the pounds big time.
Fast forward almost a decade. Self-esteem slowly built back up from many small successes and a few big ones. New job, new friends, new realizations, etc. Weight loss from all the lovely stuff found on SparkPeople.com. So I am at goal again, and I have rediscovered self-esteem and got my confidence back. Maybe it is best to say that things are back to a realistic level.
Here's the tripping up part that you've read this far to get to (and bless you for this): today, at traffic court mitigating a ticket which I didn't altogether deserve, I felt I failed miserably because my well honed yet somewhat rusty paralegal skills didn't manage to argue me completely out of the ticket. Nevermind that the judge kindly informed everyone in the courtroom before it all started that NO one was going to walk out alive. Still, I managed a considerable reduction in the fine. Should be a success, right?
I didn't see that small success. I saw the "perceived" failure instead. I went home licking my pretend wounds. The licking didn't stop. First it was the Hershey's. Then it was the Cheetos (where'd THOSE come from? I don't buy Cheetos...). Then it was old jelly on stale crackers. I was telling myself I deserved all this stuff as a reward for the pain of failure. When I got the plate of fajitas, it clicked.
Hmmmm. Let's do the math, shall we? In the past we have a paralegal under incredible familial and emotional stress who in all that, gains weight. In the present, we have a traffic ticket that doesn't get argued away by the aforementioned paralegal. In either time line, we are looking at a somewhat uncontrolled eating for solace. What two things look like the other?
That's where the proverbial fork hit the floor. I thought my triggers were boredom and abandonment issues. I just figured out it is all tied together. Never made the connection. Ok, ok it looks like it was all kind of apparent, but really, knowing something isn't the same as realizing it. This is a neverending, beautiful journey called Life that I am on, and I'm wasting time on the stupid little paper cuts of small failures. And I'm binding those paper cuts with bandaids of old jelly and stale crackers. This must stop.
So here is the moral of the story: my friends, when you find yourself having a bad day, remember there are two sides to every cracker....er....coin. Allow yourself to pamper with non-food related items and allow yourself to do it flagrantly and consciously. When you are stressed out, take a breather, and see that piece of cake as the lame band-aid it really is. When you feel like you have lost all your self-esteem, give yourself a little pep-talk and remind yourself that your successes far exceed those very few setbacks.
OK here's more: that Hershey's bar will not provide a future - it goes in and comes right back out. What ever reward there is in food, it can only be by its very nature a transient and hollow one. Except, of course it leaves unwanted weight in its path.
What are your triggers? Are you willing to face them all even if they crop up at inopportune moments? When you find those triggers, remind yourself of what you are, of who you are, of how far you've come. You being aware of all your positive points and acknowledging them openly and consciously at least to yourself is IMPORTANT to see and conquer those triggers, whatever they may be! Seeing how those tiny failures have only occasionally tripped you up is important too, because you have to realize that they helped you become a stronger person.
So we fail. None of us are perfect. Big deal. All of us have lessons to learn and it won't stop just because we reached our weight goals. Let's make it a GOOD thing by seeing it in a positive light, stepping over those now much shorter obstacles, and keep moving ever forward. THIS is the ultimate reward.