The Story– I’m sitting in the parking lot, looking at fellow gym goers walking through the front door or doing their laps during their classes and I sit there and wonder. Why am I not going in? I need to suck it up, get out of the car and walk in. So what if I’m a few minutes late. I drove all the way just to sit in the parking lot. What is going on? I made the commitment to get here why is this invisible wall of anxiety keeping me in my car? It’s because I’ve gone weeks eating and sleeping in isn’t it? Come on, you can still save the week. Just one hour in there and you’ll feel so much better. But the people that know me, they know I’ve been gone and now seeing me sporadically is just a norm. I’m fitting back into my old clothes and walking into that class is almost embarrassing And not amount of ‘New Day, New Beginning’, mantras are helping. I’m sitting there debating what should be an easy action- get out of the car and walk in the gym- and before I know I’ve eaten up half the class time. I can’t go in there now… another day wasted. Then the urging and encouragement just turned into frustration and guilt as I turn on the car and drive away letting the shame wash over me. That’s the thing about shame, it doesn’t play fair. It uses every argument and tactic to win; and in the absence of self assurance, it usually does. So I drove away and let the guilt turn into angry tears.
The Confession– This has been going on for weeks. I’ve been eating, slacking, feeling like crap and hiding it but I need to get over it and just fess up to the truth that my weight loss journey has come to a dead halt. In fact I’ve taken some big steps back, I’ve gained weight; about 30lbs or so or muscle have been switched with fat and I’m terribly embarrassed by it. This isn’t so much a confession so much as me throwing my hands up and admitting I have a problem and I need help. I’m not asking to be rescued though, that’s not how this works. I’m saying that I’ve been making bad choices and in my efforts to cover them up I’ve isolated myself so much I’ve made the problem worse. To the point where I’m worried about my health and my sanity.
What the heck happened?! I know, I was doing so well right? I mean, everything looked like it was going in the right direction, Then all of a sudden I come down with: BOOM! LOOK EVERYONE I FAILED! As you can guess this didn’t happen all at once. Instead it was a slow, almost imperceptible shift at first which then accumulated until I could feel myself spiraling out. But I can trace this epic fail back to a few moments over the past weeks.
–Less gym time– I gradually started going to the gym less. Waking up at 4am became a problem and slowly started to skip the gym for more sleep to the point where I stopped going all together or just once a week, which is basically not going. Why? Back in January I started dealing with a heel injury that forced me to slow down and took the wind out of my BEAST MODE sails. Additionally I became complacent. I was satisfied with the progress I’d made to that point and truth be told I was please with the attention I was getting, so I started slacking.
–More food– Without the motivation that came from regular exercise I bean slipping into my old eating habits. An overindulgence here, a heavy meal there and before I know it I’m caught in that old food addiction cycle of loving/hating food and constantly thinking about what I’d eat next.
–Life got complicated– As it happens unexpected things came up in life that threw me and my family for a loop. We had to deal with some health issues and loss in the family. While we all tried to be helpful and support each other I found that my eating compulsion became a magnified coping mechanism. I ate, a lot. I mean A LOT. Food I hardly found appetizing, it just fulfilled the impulse to eat to control, and eat some more. These family things have settled down some but it did highlight that my way of coping with turmoil by using food an isolation which only made things worse and compounded the negative self talk.
–I became obsessed and the self-hate followed– How do you deal with someone engaging in all kinds of destructive behavior? You’re standing there watching this person inflict self harm, begging, sometimes screaming at them to stop and they don’t, it’s like they you’ve gone invisible. That’s what happened when my compulsive-ridden will power was confronted by my inner voice. It feel kind of like this:
Which then creates irrational feelings that go something like this:
As you can see, it’s not a pretty or rational train of thought which makes it so difficult to get out of. A big reason for this self destructive loop was because I became obsessed with fixing this problem. So I started thinking about it more without seeking help and internalizing the mistakes as a character flaw. This lack of balance between my actions, my thoughts and my life led to this really warped perspective. My inner voice was no longer motivating and self assured but instead it took on a frustrated and angry tone. It wasn’t “come one you can do it!” so much as “Come on, will you get it done already!” and once I started telling myself ‘this is pointless with you, why try” everything went downhill.
Overall I had a bad combination of unfortunate events and poor coping skills that landed me in this pace I am now. Beleaguered and admitting out loud in a public forum that I disguised bad decisions, that I’m feeling lonely as a result and I’m in a low point. There, I said it.
On the plus side, I was completely wrong– So I’ve admitted the problem, and that’s a step in the right direction. I’ve reached out to some family and friends about this and it’s made a huge difference and their encouragement led me to this post. They show me that all that ugly self-talk is hugely unfounded. Everything that I saw as a problem is completely fine, in fact better than I realized.
My family is doing better. Things are settling down, we are there for each other and I know they love me and want me to be happy and productive. They are proud of what I’ve done and they’ll love me no matter what I look like but they’ll support anything I want to do. That feels pretty damn good.
I’m not alone. My friends are out there and they have shown me, without prompting, that they care, that they support me and miss me since I went all self-hating-hermit on them. This is just as true for my blogging friends and gym buddies. Without knowing any of this they’ve come out and told me how proud they are of me and encouraging me to keep it up (that is, get back at it). That’s meant the world to me and I love all of them for their encouragement.
The gym is not judging me. I went to my trainer and friend to admit my failings expecting to get a scolding but instead I got a pep talk and a hug. How awesome is that?! He assured me I had no reason to feel ashamed to show up to my gym where people are nothing but supportive and he’s totally right.
This all sounds so easy when I write about it. I felt bad, then I didn’t feel bad and everything is fine. Well everything is not perfectly fine. I’m admitting I’ve got a problem and I’m working towards getting back in on my path.
There’s always a chance to keep trying– Good news is I can’t say I failed, because you don’t really fail until you give up. I’m not the type to give up, I’m just prone to big set backs. I fall down a lot, hence the ever growing Fail Blog portion of this page. It happens though, and my experience is the same as so many people out there trying to reach their goals. I want this to be an honest account of this process, and sometimes this process is hard. At times it feels impossible. I’ve got millions of people in this country who know what I’m talking about. But that’s what I want, an honest account of this whole process.
So what am I going to do about it?– First of all PHEW! I’m glad I got that off my chest.
The good news is I’ve been working my way back into my routine and so far I’ve liked the results. Most notably of which is the negative cycle of bad thoughts. It feels good to talk to myself in caring terms AND it makes a difference in the way I act. The eating is back to normal and the exercise is back in my life. Which I missed so much! Five years ago no one would catch me saying that. Talk about a 180.
I’ve got some more posts on the way. This was a ‘mea culpa, I need help but I’m getting better’ post. I took some time to give myself some love and care and it’s done me good. Sometimes I need to learn the hard way that there is always another chance to do good for yourself.
Until next time,