I have been mentally floundering for the last few weeks.
Not all the time.
If my attitude was a graph, it would be very intense, closely spaced jagged points up and down and up and down. Some of it is situational, having to do with the emotions and hormonal swings going on around me.
I live in a household with three teenage girls. Nuff said.
But truth be told, most of it has to do with the number on the scale.
I know. Another blog about weight. Goodness, you would think that’s all anyone around here ever thinks about.
My problem: Successful Sparkpeople.
So, what do I do when I honestly feel that positive examples, peppy phrases, pom poms, parades and the success of others around me not only fails to motivate me, but instead brings me down and serves annoy, agitate and make me anxious?
When I read about people losing 100 lbs in a year when you can seem to lose 25 lbs in a year?
When I join a challenge and feel like I am peddling in place and doing nothing but disappointing myself by my inability to find a program, get with the program, stick with the program.
Or then I do find my groove, work like a dog...and yet still there is a painful lack of any significant activity in the one realm that seems to matter the most: the intimidating, menacing, panic inducing number on the scale with ONEderland alternately beckoning me and mocking me.
What I do is I check out for a bit and...check into myself.
I became a Spark Lurker.
The other day, I changed my page to darker tones, placed the phrase “Trust Your Struggle” in a prominent place and said “I was doing something that scared me...” because I was really struggling. However, I was not struggling with the “normal” things like eating the right food, or exercising enough, or drinking enough water. All that has become easier and easier over the last six months. Thanks to my efforts here at Spark and all the great encouragement, and all that positive motivation of other Spark People (pom poms and parades do help most of the time!) these positive life changes are the “new normal” for me. (yeah me!)
Far from the “normal” struggles that most have, what I have been doing over the course of the last 10 days was trying to embrace my struggle and reconcile my desire to weigh less with my abject terror of it.
Yes, I’ll say it again: my utter dread of getting into (and staying in!) ONEderland.
I have been stuck at the edge of "ONEderland" for months (actually years if I count the yo-yo spikes) and realized recently (or a least fully accepted it as truth) that my inability with releasing the additional weight has more to do with my internal squeamishness and discomfort with several things:
First, the idea of being slender and thus potentially more attractive to men.
Second, the potential of being opened to being noticed and having to "compete" and be judged by women....after all, I’ll never be thin enough, right?
And lastly, (God forbid) having to maintain that lower weight...forever.
Crazy, nutters, foolish, non compos mentis. I agree. But there it was.
A little over a week ago, I began to check into myself and try to figure out why, despite what I would deem as Herculean efforts to lose weight, I was essentially spinning my wheels. And I became aware that every time I thought about being less than 200 lbs, my breath would hitch and I would literally....stop....breathing
.....for just a split second.
It was not an overt ****GASP*****
No. It was a more muted, subtle form of what might occur when one is startled, a little alarmed, or mildly shocked. It was so faint and indistinct that I only noticed it after I began to re-listen to some Inside Out Weight Loss podcasts. These are my “go to” therapy sessions about solving my “inner crazy” weight loss issues.
So there it was; that little, mini pause when my mind wandered to the idea of attaining what I thought I wanted.
With the realization of this disturbing behavior, that I’m sure I have had for years, I decided to take a different tact. I've spent the last 10 days "breathing through" these feelings and calming the inner child who is afraid of everything, but mostly afraid of being noticed. Please be assured that there is/was no abuse component to my issue. As a child, I was just painfully shy and always wanted to be "in the background.” People scared me. I think I would have been diagnosed with mild Aspergers had anyone cared about such things back then.
I’m no longer a painfully shy child, but truth be told, I don’t really like to be noticed. I don’t like to be judged. It makes me uncomfortable. I also came to terms with the fact that what I write on my Sparkpage about not being afraid of anything...is mostly true...but not completely...
And that is something that I needed to work on if this whole weight loss thing is going to pan out. And the internal work I’m doing seems to be paying off.
Ten days ago, August 26th right after I got back from vacation, I weighed:
A few days later on September 1, I saw this (finally!!) on the scale.
This occurred with no tracking of food, or any additional exercise other than the same sorts of things that I have been doing for months. Breathing exercises and meditation while I walked the dog were the only significant change to my routine.
So, after I got done doing cartwheels of joy in my head over this achievement of 199.0 lbs (yeah me!), I found myself lost and alone in ONEderland. Panic was circling the edges of my brain as I wondered what to do next. I did not initially want to share my “success” on Spark, because I was just not yet able to fully see this as a victory.
But I kept trying to work thru things and on that same day, I come across a blog that mentions Tara Brach, her book, “Radical Acceptance” and the fact that that this particular Sparkie felt that “... she’s writing about me and ya know what I am NOT CRAZY.”
I was not even sure what kind of crazy he was talking about, but I was craving some of that re-assurance too, so I check out her web site and the first thing I see is this:
"In any moment, no matter how lost we feel, we can take refuge in presence and love. We need only pause, breathe, and open to the experience of aliveness within us..."
That was the point where the Cheshire like grin of the Universe appeared and let me know that everything would be OK. I felt that presence and love and peace spread right through me and unbidden, the thought came: “It’s alright. Trust your struggle.”
And today, my Red Hot Heartbreakers Challenge weigh in day, I see this on the scale:
It is only a few ounces less, I’m sure it does not a make a wits difference to how I looked yesterday, but it finally feels like a victory because I can see it and not feel (too) stressed or uncomfortable. It is starting to become the “new normal.”
So where does that leave me?
Laughing at myself and wondering with awe at the “ask and ye shall receive” nature of the Universe, part of which has manifested itself in my IOWL podcasts, which led me to this Spark Community which has helped me to get this far.
And I’m going to continue to “do one thing that scares me” everyday:
I’m going to keep doing the good things that will eventually, bit by bit, over the long haul, in their own good time and when I’m really ready...
....cause me to lose the weight.