Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Cleaning up the mess

So you know that I went to Asheville this past weekend with Amy (my sequoia!) and we had a great time! Obviously, we had a lot of really good heart to heart conversations. I'm always trying to draw things out of her, but she kind of turned the tables on me this weekend! She pointed out that I'm always trying to fix other people but that I should be focused on fixing me. Since this is something I've been trying to do, I really appreciated her pointing this out to me. It's not that I didn't know what she said, just that I wasn't able to see it. She really held a mirror up in my face. She told me that I really needed to see all the beauty in myself that others see. She pointed out all the nice things about me (physical and otherwise) and really helped me to see that I needed to stop being so critical. She pointed out some of the things on her own body that she didn't like and I couldn't understand how she didn't like her body b/c she's thin and beautiful. Amy pointed out that ALL people (especially women!) are critical of their own appearance. But she turned it around on me. She said just like I don't notice all her faults (I take the over all package as she is), others don't see all my faults like I do. They accept ALL of me and it's high time I do the same. Easier said than done, of course! But I started looking back over my life at all the things I've nit picked and even when I was a teenager and actually was thin, I still didn't like what I saw. So what makes me think that I'm going to like what I see this time around? If I'm not happy with ME, then it's not going to matter how thin I get...I still won't be happy.

One of the things that frustrates me the most about where I am in life is that I'm never happy...never thin enough, never have enough stuff, never have enough time, never enough this or that. It's very plane for me (and others) to see that I'm not happy with MYSELF and that's why I'm never satisfied. Nothing ever fills that void because I haven't found peace in my own heart with who I am. I'm always trying to do more to make myself feel better but never achieving that. "Maybe if I just lose X pounds. Maybe if I just buy X thing. Maybe if I just have X number of friends. Maybe if I'm involved more in X activity." I feel like my life is passing me by because I'm to busy with X! You know what I realized? When my kids are doing my eulogy one day, they're not going to stand up there and say "Geesh, I sure am glad mom got into those size 10's! She looked so much better!". But if I focus on health (not my reflection), what they will say is "My mom got out in the yard and played with me (hiked, biked, whatever)." because losing weight for health will allow me the energy to do those things. Taking up time with my kids is what's going to make the impact on them...not losing weight (or keeping the house clean, or buying them new stuff, etc). I'm so focused on the future...on the things that I want to do...that I don't live in the here and now. I'm tired of doing that. I'm tired of filling my life with all the things that don't matter and won't make me happy.

One of the things that Ron has pointed out is that while Wwight Watchers is a great program, you're constantly thinking about food. You're always having to weigh and measure and write down points so it's always on your mind. You can just live naturally. And for someone (like me!) who's addicted to food, always having food on the brain isn't such a good thing. Before I had Amy, it didn't bother me because my focus was on ME, not the weight. But since I've had her, my focus has been on getting back into my 14's and losing the pregnancy weight. Every time I write my points or weigh on the scales, it's a constant reminder of my failure (gaining 60 lbs while pregnant) and of the fact that I should be farther along than I am in my loss. I'm stressing out about it so much that it's making me resent the process. And we all know what stress does to the body...stops/slows weight loss! Kind of the opposite of what I'm looking to do! So I've decided to take the next few weeks off and not count points. I'm going to take the next few weeks to focus on get inside my head and work out all these issues that are coming to the surface. I'm going to pay attention to my body cues and choose good for you foods, but I'm not going to stress about keeping up with the points and weighing in. I started this yesterday and I did really well. At the end of the day, I thought through my day and realized that I actually came in under my points by 2 or 3! I was able to do what's right just for the sake of doing what's right and it felt really good! I'm going to take a look at things in 2 weeks and see how I'm doing. If I feel like I've gotten my focus back (and for the right reason), I'll go back to counting points. But if I don't feel like I'm there yet (or if I'm still losing anyway), I'll stay on this path a bit longer.

I'm not "falling off the wagon" fact, I'm not only still ON the wagon, I'm trying to take over and start DRIVING the wagon! For too long now I've felt out of control and I'm tired of that. This soul searching journey I've been on has really brought a lot of stuff out of hiding. It's very exhausting to go on this journey, but it's well worth it. It's kind of like when you have start a new cleaning program and it makes your skin worse at first because it draws all the impurities out of your skin. That's where I'm at. It may get ugly for me before I start to get healing, but I've got to face some of these demons first and I can't do that if my focus in elsewhere. I know this may delay my loss for a couple of weeks, but I feel like in the long run it will help me because I will be doing it for the right reason, which will help me keep the weight off.

I feel like I'm on the brink of exploding in personal growth and it's very exciting! Almost like reaching enlightenment! OK, so maybe I can't fix all the world's problems, but at least I feel like I'm getting a handle on my own! It feels like the light bulb is coming on and I can finally see. The more light bulbs that come on, the more I can see. It's going to take a lot of work for me to clean up the mess, but once it's done, it will be all worth while!

Monday, April 19, 2010

At Arms Length

You know those rare and precious moments in life when you find a friend with whom you can share your inner most secrets without facing judgement? Someone with open arms with whom you can expose all of your weaknesses, your faults, your insecurities, your hopes, your dreams? I shared one of those precious moments this weekend with my friend Amy. At her request (or rather, demand!) and with much protest from me, I opened up and showed Amy a side of me that I always keep hidden. And what she showed me in return has changed my life.

I am, by nature, a pusher; I want to probe into the deepest parts of who you are and how you work. I don't wade in the shallow waters; I dive in deep right off the bat. I try to draw out the best in people, to help them see how great they are, to fix their problems. I am every one's savior, their therapist, their mirror, their friend. I want people to dig deeper; to develop relationships that go beyond the surface. But in order to do that, they have to open up to me. Yet, despite my relentless pursuit of the inner workings of my friends, I still keep them at arms length from ME. Why? Because I am afraid. I am afraid of what they might see; of what they might not like; of how they might judge me; of being abandoned. So instead of risking judgement and abandonment, I keep people at arms length; just close enough that we have fun, but not so close that I risk losing their friendship.

Until this weekend, I had NO IDEA how uncomfortable being called upon to dig deeper truly is! This weekend, Amy called me out. She said that I wanted to know the real her but that I wouldn't let her in to see the real me, and that's not fair. She called me on the carpet for holding back and hiding secrets; for being shallow and not digging deeper in my own life. And you know what? That's got to be one of the most uncomfortable feelings I've ever had in my life. To have someone waiting, arms crossed and toes tapping, for me to spill my guts. It was a terrifying experience! "What if I share these things and she rejects me?", I thought. "I can't just give up that much information about's just too raw." But you know what? This is what I call on other people to do all the time. So I did it. I poured out my soul to her. And much to my surprise, she didn't reject me! For the first time in a really long time, I allowed someone to come into my life and see all the nasty, dirty secrets that I hide. I've kept Amy at arms length, always holding back just a piece of me...just enough to keep her from coming in and seeing the mess that is the inner workings of my life. But not any more.

This weekend, I let open the flood gates. And when the flood of my emotions came raging at her like a gushing river breaking a dam, Amy stood tall and strong. She did not waver, anchored like a mighty Sequoia in the midst of a raging storm. And when the flood receded, there she stood...untouched, unfazed...and still my friend. You cannot imagine what an amazing experience that was. To pour out my soul and have her understand and affirm me, despite my mountain of faults. But more important than her standing by me, was what she showed me. Sometimes, you have to be weak to be strong.

I have put up so many walls of protection from other people that I find it difficult to even know and understand my own inner most workings. I've put up so many walls that I've blocked out the one person I seek the most...ME. I cannot understand who I am this way. I know the "why"...why I do or think some of the crazy things I do. But I don't know the "how" to fix ME. But I caught a glimpse of the "how" this weekend thanks to my dear friend Amy. I've learned that it's OK to not have all the answers. It's OK to not be perfect. It's OK to fail. But I have to love myself in the process and strive for continued learning. And I've got to let other people love stop keeping them at arms length. That doesn't mean that I've got to share every deep, dark secret I have. Just that I've got to start breaking down the walls and letting people in. I've got to do the very thing that I call on others to do...dig deeper. Only then will I be the person, the friend, the lover, the mother that I desire to be. Only then will I find ME!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

My Ah-Ha Moment!

Do you ever watch Oprah? I have it set to DVR, but rarely watch a full episode because I don't usually take the time. But the other day, I was folding laundry and didn't have anything else to do so I decided to watch the episode that was recorded. And boy am I glad I did! The show was on past guests and following up on their stories. The first story was of a lady who lost 175 lbs back in 2002 and then gained almost all of it back! She kept if off for almost 7 years and then through various circumstances, gained 150 lbs back (and has since lost 100 of those lbs). Oprah asked her why she thought she gained the weight back and the lady said that she realized that all that time she was trying to earn people's love and affection by her outward appearance because she didn't feel worthy of being loved if she was fat. She said that she realized that she didn't love herself and she projected those feelings of worthlessness and being unlovable onto other people. That's when I had it…my Ah-Ha moment...I HAVE THE SAME PROBLEM!! My BFF, Jada, has been telling me this for years, but until Monday, I never understood that! What really hit home for me was when that lady said that she thought her husband would leave her when she gained all the weight. I totally related to that because I share the same fear. But her husband didn’t leave because he loves her for who she is on the inside, not how she looks on the outside...the same thing is true for Ron…he loves me for who I AM not what I look like. I've always been insecure that Ron would leave me (or cheat on me) because I'm not thin enough or pretty enough or whatever. When the fact of the matter is, he loves me because of what I have to offer as a person, not for my physical appearances (or the lack there of).

Through various circumstances growing up, I felt that I didn't measure up and that I was not worthy of so many things. I felt like I wasn't good enough no matter what I did and I translated that in my head as "you don't deserve X, Y and Z". I've lived my life since then always doing for others in the hopes of doing enough to earn their love or friendship, etc…hoping that if I do enough STUFF that they’ll accept ME. But what I've realized is that I'M the one that doesn't love ME! I feel unworthy of love, success, friendship, etc. and the physical manifestation of that is in my weight.

Before I got pregnant with Amy, I had lost 70 lbs and was only 23 lbs from my goal weight. (In fact, the weight loss was the reason I conceived Amy in the first place!) At that time, I thought I had it all figured out. But much to my dismay, I gained 60 lbs while I was pregnant! I felt all those emotions of failure resurfacing and found myself feeling quite unlovable. Since Amy has been born (3 months ago), I’ve managed to lose 43 lbs, but hit a mental plateau in the process and couldn’t seem to get my head back in the game. As I’ve done some soul searching, I’ve found that I the reason I've had such a hard time getting my head back in the game since Amy was born is because I saw myself as the failure I projected myself to be. And I felt like I had to "earn" Ron's love and affection by losing the weight again. I started to resent the process and felt rebellious in my spirit. I resented having do "stuff" to earn Ron's love and approval. The reality is, though, Ron already loves and approves of me and I don't have to do anything to keep him in my life except just be me. “I” am the one who does not approve of “me”!

For the longest time, I have allowed the number on the scale to determine my self worth. I need to focus on learning to love ME and taking care of my body because that’s what’s right for me…not because that number defines me (because it doesn’t!). I was talking to a friend of mine about this realization (that I don't love myself) and she shared that she feels the same way, but hers is manifested in a different way. She asked me "Now that we know what the problem is, how do we go about learning to love ourselves?". I haven't quite figured that out yet, but she suggested if we could some how step outside ourselves and see ourselves the way others see us that it might make it easier to learn to love the core of who we are. And you know what? I think she’s right!

I would never in a million years think of mistreating or being so negative to anyone the way I am with myself! If it's not OK for me to treat others that way, why in the world would it be OK to treat myself with such disregard? People don't love me (or hang out with me) because of how I look (or don't look)...nor do I love or hang out with them because of how they look. So I should not project on them my own feelings of inadequacy! I am always very good at pointing out and praising other people's positive attributes. I need to do the same in myself. I need to stop allowing the negative talk in my brain to take root and acknowledge in my own mind that I AM worthy, I DO deserve love and success and I CAN have the things in life I desire! I need to love ME!!

It's a work in progress, and I don’t have all the answers yet. I know the “why” now, but I still don’t know the “how” in fixing the problem. But I can say that already I feel like I can breathe again for the first time in I don't know how long! I feel like a burden has been lifted from my shoulders. That I can be myself with myself and not judge myself. (Does that make sense?!) I've realized that people around me aren't expecting perfection from me and I need to stop expecting perfection from myself as well. People just want me to be ME! I've got to stop beating myself up for the little things and I've got to start saying "No" to the things I don't want and "Yes" to the things I do want. If I learn to love myself, I will treat myself, and therefore my body, with respect. The result will be a more natural, long-lasting weight loss. The last time I had an Ah-Ha moment (before Amy was born), the weight just started falling off because I was no longer sweating the loss iteslf, but was just focusing on ME. I lost sight of that with my pregnancy but now I feel like I've to it back. The last two days, I've actually found myself WANTING to eat the right things, instead of just making myself do it! I'll tell you what, it's been quite liberating!

I have also realized that this journey of losing weight is as much about discovering who I am as it is about getting the weight off. Because the more weight I lose, the more I uncover the hidden layers of who I am and why I hid behind the fat in the first place. (Think Shreck – onions – layers!) I've also realized that there will be many more Ah-Ha moments as I journey to discover the real me. I will be constantly learning, growing, and changing and the minute I think I've got it all figured out is the minute I'll gain it all back and lose sight of myself again. But along the way, I've got to remember those very important Ah-Ha moments...I have the power to choose to do the right thing…I deserve to make the right choices for ME…I deserve to be loved my others and most importantly by ME!!

Whew! That's a mouth full! I'm still learning how do all this, but just the knowledge of understanding what's going on inside of me has been so freeing! I've been on this soul searching journey for a few years now. It's surprised me at how long it's take for me to truly SEE the things that seem so obviously laid out before me. I know I've got a lot of issues and even more that will likely surface, but I'm taking it one Ah-Ha at a time! This has been huge for me and I know that it will help others as well. As soon as I figure out how to really love ME (heck, I'd settle for just LIKING me right now!), I'll let you know! And if you figure it out (or already have) you let me know too!

This is who I am!

I have been on a journey to lose weight over the last couple of years and have discovered that, for me, the act of losing weight is about finding out who I really's a soul-searching's about finding me...finding Christy! As the layers of fat go away, new layers of ME are surfacing. I don't yet know who I truly am buried under all the facades, but I invite you to join me on my journey to discovering all there is to know about me! As always, I am an open book. I lay my life before you and offer all that I am. This is just me...plain, raw, and honest. This is who I am. Here's to the journey of self-discovery!