I had taken a bit of a self-imposed break from writing for a while, and I had actually prepared a “welcome back to the blog” post, but something isn’t right with it and while I want to share all the amazing things that have happened over the last seven weeks, today I choose to post this one instead. I wrote it a while back, but I think there’s enough of you out there right now that have been contacting me about my journey – and while I’m no shrink, I wanted to post this as a response to your questions. I would have never gone through this thought process two years ago but I do offer you a chance to sit with yourself a while and really understand why you want to make those changes in your life.
I haven’t talked about this in depth as of yet, because quite honestly it’s really embarrassing and sitting on this thought as long as I have, has made me realize the importance of writing about it.
The other night (again these posts are from a few weeks back), I was messaging a friend who is on her own weight loss journey and has been faced with a fork – I call it fork, she may call it roadblock; quite honestly it’s all in the eye of the beholder. Nonetheless, she was at a perfect standstill that we have all be at before, feeling, in her own words, “lost”. I immediately related. So we continued to chat. And feelings came out… Ugh. Don’t you hate that?
I confessed to her that over 8 months ago, a family member accused me of putting my head in the sand – that this “exercise thing” that I was doing was merely a distraction in order to not have to deal with the real shit that has been going on in my life. WOW. I immediately dismissed this because it was clearly bullshit and moved on. Now, it has taken 8 months and someone else close to me asking, “Well, are you distracting yourself”, for me to realize this whole journey (until February at least) has kinda been a series of small distractions (with some pretty amazing results) in order for me to avoid what has really been going on!
As always, my writing is more stream of consciousness than anything, but I always attempt to needle back the threads to somehow have a few stitches together that make sense, so bare with me.
The Blog. The Social Media distractions. The lack of movement forward in my fuel and activity. Broken relationships. All, kinda, sorta may be larger distractions in the greater need to be with me.
I started this journey without a why (see previous post – Counter Sex & Other Limitations). Strike 1? Maybe…
I continued this journey without any real education or interest in changing my eating habits. Strike 2? Possibly…
I did certify as a Personal Trainer, but for what reason? Ugh, I don’t know. Strike 3? Most likely…
We are then brought back to where I am now. What the conversation with my friend lent me to truly believe is that any change in life needs to be for YOU. Not your husband and his ability to lift you up on the counter for sex. Not your wife so she loves you any more. Not even your kids (even though this is a great motivator)… Because remove those ‘distractions’ from the equation, and guess what, you’re left with you. And unless you are doing it for you, the journey wont be much of a journey.
We can also call these distractions pure circumstance. Hearing from a fellow weight loss survivor, his external motivator at the beginning of his journey was an attempt to repair his broken marriage. Circumstance. Remove that distraction/circumstance, what is he left with? Him. And he needed to believe his worth of this new life. And with my friend, I wondered if all the attempts of ‘doing’ were just mere distractions and circumstance and by no means a way to get to the real why.
So we are left with, then…
Circumstance vs. Desire. Do I do something because it’s convenient or apparent at the time or do I do something because every cell in my body tingles at the thought of accomplishing it?
Mine – circumstance.
In July of 2011, I won a Makeover Contest at a local women’s health studio. I was at my heaviest, just having given birth a few months prior to my second blessing. I was awkward and uncomfortable. And with the changes in my body after my baby, I was diagnosed with arthritis in my right knee. I was almost immobile at the age of 35. I lived the better part of my mat-leave days on the main floor of my house because stairs were impossible. I accommodated my disability and continued to eat to numb and stay fairly immobile.
I was elated that I had won this. It was my chance. But as I sit here a couple years and months later, I wonder where I would be today if circumstances had not presented themselves.
Would I be over 300 lbs today? Would my knees be so terribly bad, walking my kids to school would literally be impossible? And a run? Not a chance in hell. If I was ever faced with a zombie apocalypse, I would be the meaty-bodied woman with the delicious smart brains they could easily feast on. Would I be so heavy and disconnected with my body that I would still be depressed doing a job every day that I knew was sucking the last breaths out of my already deteriorating body? Maybe.
I am thankful for the circumstances of that contest, and quite honestly, for what it gave me. Confidence in losing my first 20 lbs and the knowledge to continue on my own; courage to leave my job; interest in pursing another career and all the opportunities that have presented themselves to me up to this point. These are ALL good things. No doubt.
The embarrassing thing is, 70+ lbs later, I have been stuck for a long time because it was not my DESIRE that fueled my journey, but quite honestly, the commitment to my circumstances that moved me forward. The foundation, for me at least, wasn’t right. So the continued journey could no longer go on.
God, don’t strike me down for typing that. I know I have inspired a few people around me to continue to do better for their health and I am so honoured to have been a part of that inspiration (but only you have the motivation to continue). I feel like a little bit of a sham though, a con artist who up until this point, was not doing this for the right reasons.
Did my circumstances outweigh my desire? The answer to this is yes.
I got a glimpse of a weight loss surgery show the other night and circumstance for this particular person was that she had the funding for the surgery. She had the surgery and her caloric intake was such that it was very restrictive, but she found herself going back to the old way of eating. Now, I don’t judge… but I do know, clearly from sitting in the confessional with you a few times through this blog and here today, that if your desire is not greater than the circumstances that surround you, no possible fix will work.
Find the desire. Find the fire that makes every decision lend in favour of you and your goals.
I have seen some people succeed greatly, like super greatly. Fitness and weight loss goals set and met. Nutritional boundaries never crossed. Backing out of relationships that no longer serve them (which is brave). And all because of circumstance. An opportunity. And I commend you for your success. But my worry in this is until the mental work is done, until the WHY is the desire to make change, where will you be in a year? Or two?
Where am I today? I have taken the lessons of my 70 pound loss and the bumps along the way to find out my WHY and for me it’s about living a life without limitations. And that’s my desire now. Circumstances will never win over what I want most. Circumstance is the social event that is only serving pasta – well my desire won that night. I ate the entire serving bowl of salad. Circumstance is having wine and beer around you when your family is over. Desire is sticking with water and lemon. Circumstance is having a hang over and wanting to sleep in. Desire is still getting my tired ass to the gym to sweat out the cocktails from the night before. Circumstance vs. Desire. Find it and learning the difference is pretty amazing.
So back to putting my head in the sand. Maybe the last two years HAS been a distraction, but I know where I am now. And while my life is far from perfect, I am learning to face fears that I would not have before. Say good bye to those who need to hear it. Put myself first. Accepting things I have no control over. And taking responsibility for the only thing I can really in life – me and where I’m headed.
There are a lot of mental cobwebs that need to be permanently cleaned out before you are able to make room for anything positive in your roladex of greatness. Once the cobwebs are gone and the nooks and crannies of your life are clear and free, desire, true gut-wrenching, get the fuck out of my way, desire will take control. And man, you better watch out.
It is good to be back. I have lots to share of where I am today vs. February 6 (when I broke up with myself). I will share soon! And thank you. Thanks for staying loyal to at least the spirit of my blog and message and I hope you continue to find a little something in what I have come to realize is just one girl’s experience on a long road towards change.
And it’s always worth adding a little Will Farrell…
Thanks for reading,