What does it take to stay committed to a process whose rewards can be ephemeral and whose accomplishment remains a daily struggle? After I lost my job in 2002, I felt as though the rug had been pulled out from under me. Had I known then the road that lay ahead, I’m not sure I would have been able to go on. But at the time, I had a couple of major priorities that I took day by day, week by week, and they kept me going. One of them was to pay my mortgage. The other was to maintain my weight loss.
Now that I’m working again, and money is not the overriding issue it was, I’m amazed to look back at the 2 year period I was looking for work and to think that I never missed a single mortgage payment and I managed to avoid regaining all of my weight loss. On the monetary side, I struggled mightily, borrowing when I had to, making compromises, and relying on the support of my partner and my family. On the weight-loss side of things, I think the struggle was equally difficult, and was facilitated by many of the same people and factors.
Lately I’ve been mad at myself for gaining some weight and not being able to find the magic key that would get me back to my healthy goal. My sense of ‘failure’ can be debilitating and my self-judgements are strong and negative. I struggle fo find the positive energy I need to stick with my plans and move forward.
At the same time, when I look at my very small bank balance and my very large credit card statements, I feel nothing but relief. When I think that it will take me two years to pay off my car and other debts, I feel proud and resolute. I know that as long as I stay employed, I CAN put my house in order. How amazing that I went through a monetary crisis like that and came out the other end without losing house and home!
I wonder why it is when I look at the scale, and I feel the pinch of my clothes, I don’t have that same kind of patient, positive reaction. I mean, if it takes me two years to get back to my goal, why does that make me feel like a complete failure? Shouldn’t I despair at my lack of progress and self control? Shouldn’t I just go on a rapid diet and drop all the weight immediately?
I guess my challenge for this week is to embrace some of the amazingly good things about my food and weight situation. For one thing, I’m running farther and stronger than before. For another, I’m learning the value of patience and forgiveness. When I overeat, its invariably due to stress, boredom, anxiety or fear– not slothfulness or ignorance. The choices I make have repercussions which I understand, even if I can’t always control them. If I could learn to manage my emotions, bit by bit, over the next 12 – 24 months, that would be a payoff that would last a lifetime.
So when I get home tonight, I’m going to balance my checkbook AND I’m going to review my food journal. There are lessons to be had, even if the answers won’t show up overnight.