I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but I seem to have a strong dislike for competition. Not against myself, mind you. I love competing against my personal best and excelling there. It's against others that I never like to compete.
Because the vast majority of competitions have one winner and many losers. If I should win, then a whole bunch of people lose. If I don't fight to win, and cause all those people to lose, someone else will win.
I noticed that this showed up in the Spark Team I co-lead. I've been trying to provide some Team Goals and Team Challenges. This month's challenges are steps (5,000+) and freggies (min. 1 each daily). I set the basic levels low because I want them to be inclusive of as many people as possible. And I didn't set it up to be a "who can get the most?" challenge or a "break into teams and see which one gets the most" challenge. Instead, I'd want to reward EVERY Teammate who accomplishes the goal.
In a similar vein, while I've joined a couple of challenges (10-minute fitness, 5k Your Way, and Team Leader), none of those involved competing against others. Ditto for the Team Goals and Challenges I choose to take part in.
This isn't new, either. I hated competing in school. Thinking back as I write this, I remember a third grade classroom game. We each were given a dictionary. The teacher gave us a word and we had to find it as fast as we could then raise our hand. I'd been reading since I was three, where many of the other students learned basic words in first grade. I won easily, multiple times, then quit trying and pretended to have trouble. It was SO unfair to the rest of my classmates. That's not even something an adult told me. No, the teacher never said "let others have a chance." It was purely my distaste for standing out that way and keeping others from winning.
Maybe that's part of it. Sometimes things seem to come too easily. When I can see others working ten times as hard as me to achieve the same goal, I hate to cross the finish line ahead of them and "negate" all their effort. Instead, I can seem to trip, stagger, sabotage myself and let them cross ahead of me - happy inside with the knowledge that I did well and not needing to be first across the line to know I could have chosen to be. They can wear the blue ribbon and I can be happy I beat (or could have beat) my previous best time.
Hence my title. It's like my motto for this life is a Non-Compete Clause.
For those unfamiliar with the term, that is part of a legal agreement when someone leaves a company that states they will not directly compete against that company for a period of time. An example might be a morning DJ not being allowed to go be a DJ at another local, directly competing radio station. He might be able to go outside the local area or work for one with a completely different audience (go from hard rock to country formats, perhaps).
Where does this lead? I've been having to fight the strangest urge to sabotage myself because my ability to lose weight has been so easy. Thankfully, I've been able to ignore the mental fidgets so far, but it is disconcerting to hear my inner voice arguing for eating more because I don't want it to frustrate others who don't have the same level of progress.
I noticed my ticker today and boggled.
Somehow in 6 months I've hit 45 pounds down and halfway to my original goal of 160.
I'm almost back under 200. I remember 199 - 200 for two key points. One was 2 weeks past my due date with my oldest, DDb. I weighed 199 at the doctor's appt. the day before she was born and was amused that even pregnant I didn't exceed my "I never want to be heaver than 200" rule. (She was 8 lb. 15 oz. so I definitely dropped back down right after. =P ) The other was after I'd made my decision to gain weight - I remember my mother reminding me of my 200 rule and me shrugging and saying it didn't matter any more.
Why has it been so easy for me?
1) I've mentioned it before, but I am not an emotional eater. I do have issues with emotions, they're just not food-related.
2) I'm not (nor have I ever been) anorexic, bulimic, or a binge eater. I don't suffer from depression or any chronic ailment that impacts my ability to eat as I please or engage in most activities.
3) I deliberately gained weight. While I was probably mildly overweight from about 19 (first pregnancy started) until a couple years after my divorce, I usually was around 175-180 at the top end. Only from around the late 90's did I start eating more food generally, eating more sugar, eating out more and doubling up what I ate. And even then, I wasn't consistent. I spent a few years bouncing around 195, a few more around 205, several in the 225 range, and a few more at 235. Only in the last couple years did I hit 240-245 and my highest ever of 250.5.
4) I didn't become completely sedentary. I walked to and from work daily - a 0.65 mile route - in about 12 minutes. When it was most stressful, I went walking on my 15 minute breaks and 30 minute lunches to clear my mind. At one point I was going up and down the flights of stairs in the building during my 15 minute break. I walked and bused everywhere, carrying loads of groceries.
5) I didn't yo-yo diet. Amusingly / sadly, I've done Slimfast shakes - not to lose weight but to boost my nutrition and/or be an easy breakfast. (In fact, a big reason I mentally could not buy into any of the weight loss industry was because almost every method had fine print that "combined with a exercise and an otherwise healthy diet". Well, no kidding, Sherlock. What do I need this product for if exercise and a healthy diet would already do the job?) This also means I don't have a long string of trying to lose weight and failing or losing it and regaining that linger as examples of what I'll do again.
6) I have no issues eating rationally around others who eat to excess. The owner of the company I work at is obese, quite possibly morbidly so. Our Christmas dinner's in years we've had them were at Maggiano's and involved a multi-course meal in which she pushed us all to eat as much as we could and ask for more so she could have leftovers boxed for later. I ate bread, one salad, a couple of meat entree's, a veggie dish, and a dessert. Peer pressure is just not a consideration.
7) I now live alone. I shop solely for me, I cook solely for me. My side of the family does not do holidays, nor do we meet up often. So family gatherings don't exist outside of me meeting up with DS and DDa. With them, I may eat more richly for that one meal, but I balance it to the day and week and stay easily in my average ranges.
8) While my "wicked" step-mother and family dinners around my father were the epitome of the clean plate club, obscure and distorted rules, and more, my mother was into Adelle Davis' book "Eat Right to Live Well" and taught me a love of whole grain bread and other such foods. And I naturally love vegetables. So even when "pigging out" and eating lots of sugar, I also ate plenty of protein and was more likely to add a salad to my order of a large burger and a shake than fries.
9) As mentioned before, I'd already spent the last year or two applying similar principles to my finances as I'm apply now to my weight. I strengthened my self-discipline and willpower, practiced my goal-setting, in that realm first.
10) I'm a spreadsheet gal. I track things all the time. In the MMORPG (World of Warcraft) that I play, I have records of levels in professions, levels in gear, levels in reputations, all recorded in spreadsheets so I can figure out which character might be able to use something. I have dozens of characters I track. I've tracked my food, every bite, for six months now without ever thinking it was extra work.
11) I have free time. Copious amounts compared to some people. I get up around 7:20 am, leave by 7:40 am, bus to work and start at 8:30 am. I eat lunch at work and get off at 5:00 pm, riding the bus to the gym. I work out 40+ minutes daily then head home. I clean my room, do my laundry and shopping, and go to the gym on the weekend. The rest of my time is used how I choose. I do fill it, but other than arrangements to meet with DDa or DS, it is purely filled at my whim. ( I ~LOVE~ my empty nest!)
Whew, okay, that went a lot longer than planned.
The key point of all that is this: PLEASE, OH PLEASE, DO NOT COMPARE YOUR PROGRESS TO MINE!
Unless all of those points apply equally to you, you'd be comparing apples to oranges. Or possibly apples to zucchinis - since at least apples and oranges are both fruit.
This has been absurdly easy for me so far. In fact, I keep edging my calories higher to try to keep from losing so fast. (Because SP uses sedentary as the baseline BMR, I think I burn more than they account for during my non-workout time.)
Yes, it could be as easy for others IF ...
... IF all the obstacles that otherwise make it challenging did not exist or were eliminated.
Some of those obstacles can't be eliminated. Depression can't just be turned off until the weight is gone. Fibromyalgia might allow a few easier days, but when a flare hits, there's no magic pill to get rid of it. Whether mental or physical, those things slow one's progress down. As do injuries. As can some medications.
Even things that can, with a great deal of effort, be tackled - are still there to slow progress until they are. Mindless snacking, binges, clean plate habits, lack of portion control, heavy carb cravings, and so on.
DO NOT put down the progress you are making because you see others, like me, cruising along.
I agree completely that it is NOT fair.
Were there any way to take away the obstacles and difficulties that get in your path, you'd already be doing so.
BUT let me end with:
This is not a race in which only one person can win by crossing the finish line first. If it were, NONE of us would have any reason for being here. Because who knows who the first person to have to work to lose weight was. Probably someone in early history, maybe an Egyptian living on a diet of grain.
This is a journey in which every one of us has the ability, so long as we keep redirecting ourselves in the right direction, to someday eventually pass landmarks such as "overweight, not obese", "healthy BMI", "ideal weight", "average or better on fitness tests", "able to touch toes", and so on. Hundreds of thousands may have already passed those landmarks, millions may pass after you, but that won't diminish the excitement and thrill of passing it yourself. You'll get there!