I've never had much of a support network before, and I wonder if that has anything to do with how much I've struggled in the past. Oh, sure, my mom has always been there to commisserate, and my husband talks a good game...but when push came to shove, they were right there with cake and ice cream.
But something has changed. I've been at this for a long time, always stopping and starting and generally coming up with any excuse to eat what I want and not exercise. But since my hip surgery rehab showed me what I was capable of doing, I got excited. And then when my knee injury knocked me back down, I got angry and then depressed. Nobody said a word as I ate my way back up to 260 pounds.
Now I'm healed and have been fairly consistent since late January. I still have days where I can't tolerate eating anything other than pizza for dinner, but they are fewer and farther apart. I have always been the decision-maker on what gets eaten in my house, and at work. And I've really been making an effort to eat right, even when those around me want garbage. So imagine my surprise when a previously unknown support network started to emerge...
Last week, I had a horrible day. I didn't have time to eat breakfast and I had 5 hours of back-to-back meetings. When someone told me they would be 15 minutes late to a meeting, I grabbed my work buddy and ran for breakfast. I got a bowl of fruit and a doughnut. (I know, I know!) I ate the fruit on the elevator but didn't get to the doughnut until lunchtime. That afternoon, when I was finally free, I grabbed the same work buddy and said I wanted either a brownie or a rice krispie treat from Alterra. She replied, "Do you need an intervention? You've been doing so good, I'd hate to see you fall apart and undo all the progress you've made. How about a Fiber One bar instead?" Whoa. What was that? I was taken aback for a moment. I WANTED that brownie, and who was she to suggest I shouldn't have it? But then I realized that she was just looking out for me, and that she was correct - I have been making good progress, and a brownie was not going to help me reach my goals. So I got the Fiber One bar, and it was quite yummy and satisfied that sweet craving while still giving me some nutrients. And it was at least 250 calories less than the brownie. And now I know my friend has my back. She's not going to let me fall apart now that training season is over.
Then this weekend, my husband asked if we could reinstate my active weekend policy. I had tried forcing this issue in the past, and it would work for a couple weeks, but we'd always fall away from it. He said he misses going out and having fun with me, and since I'm not in training any more, it would be a good way to stay active and keep my momentum up. Wow! I'm not used to anyone else thinking about what I need to do to stay healthy in the off-season. We went golfing this weekend - it was a lot of fun!
After golf, we were both starving. He wanted ice cream, I wanted burgers. So we compromised and went out for steak and stopped at the grocery store to get fat free frozen yogurt. It was so nice to have someone help come up with ways to fill the cravings without going overboard. The steaks were yummy and much healthier than a giant, greasy burger (which probably would have had cheese on it). Plus, I got to try a new veggie - patty pan squash. So yummy!
Today, another co-worker stopped me in the breakroom as I washed an apple for my morning snack and said "I just have to be blunt here. How much weight have you lost? How are you doing it? My wife and I love Biggest Loser and it's fantastic to see someone I know make such great improvements. Your face looks amazing!" Now, I wasn't on the verge of making a horrible decision here, but you better believe hearing that made me want to double-down my efforts and kick some major butt. Me? Making progress like Biggest Loser? Really??
So to all you Sparkers out there, build your support network! Let people know what you're trying to do. Let them help you. Listen when they make suggestions. They may not have the same level of knowledge you do, but outsiders can see patterns a lot easier in our behavior than we can. They can help you when your motivation is flagging, and reinvigorate you when you least expect it.