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A bit of an ah-ha (to put it mildly!)

Posted Nov 28 2010 12:00am

Tonya , and was very honest about the fact that after reading this blog for over a year, she sees a pattern.   She took a risk, because she wasn’t sure how I’d react to so much honesty, but I am so glad she did.  It was exactly what I needed to begin to figure things out.

She’s absolutely right about that pattern. I get gung-ho about something, do well for a few weeks, sabotage & fail, only to try something new, and repeat it all, including the failing part.  If you look back over this blog and read it from the beginning, you’ll see the same thing.  Over and over and over again.

But it’s not just with dieting.  I’ve done similar things in my life away from dieting, too. Not quite as quickly, but I’ve done it with jobs, with cars, with apartments, and with friends.

When I was in college and had part-time jobs to help pay for credit card bills and going out money (I lived at home throughout college, and was lucky enough to have my parents pay for college, as well as all of my essentials), I would give the job my all, but once I started to see that the boss was unfair, or the requirements would make me choose between school and work, or whatever… I would get a different job and quit the first one.   I thought it helped make me a well-rounded person, because I’ve had so many different kinds of jobs and worked with so many different sorts of people, and I could bring those real-world experiences into the next job and ultimately to my career.  Even teaching follows that same pattern.  When I first began teaching I was in a bad placement (for me) where I was dealing with highly “at-risk” students who had been former gang members, had been in juvenile hall, etc.  It was much more emotionally draining than I ever expected and rather than teaching the literature that I loved so dearly, I was helping to teach them about life.  But at 23 and 24 years old, I could barely figure life out for myself, let alone trying to guide others through it, so I decided to stop.  I didn’t  simply stop teaching there, but I stopped teaching altogether.  I got the opportunity to work at Yahoo! and have never regretted that decision, because experiencing the Silicon Valley “boom” was one of the best things I’ve ever done in life. And the I lived out a lifelong dream of living in The City (San Francisco) and working at a law firm.  (In high school and college I had gone back and forth about whether I wanted to teach high school English or become a lawyer. So I thought I’d try my hand at seeing how a law firm operated so that I could decide whether I wanted to invest the time and money it would take to go to law school).  After 5 years away from it, I went back to teaching.  But I moved around a bit, because I didn’t want to find myself in the wrong placement again.  So I was at 3 different schools in as many years, but rather than thinking of myself as flighty, I think I was smart.  I knew that I would eventually find the perfect fit for me.  And I have. I’ve been at my current school for over 7 years and I love it.

People are always amazed at how many different cars I’ve had.  I’m not.  I don’t get overly attached to cars, and sometimes they serve their purpose and then you’re done with them.  Or you get into an accident and they get totaled.  Or you go through an awful relationship where the person steals from you to pay for a drug habit and you don’t have enough money to pay the loan and it gets repossessed (mid-20s).  I’ve had 11 cars in the 23 years that I’ve been driving.  Some would call that excessive; I just call it variety.  Although I love this convertible Beetle to death and I don’t see myself changing cars anytime soon.

As much as I love nesting and putting down roots, I have lived in a ton of different apartments since moving out of my parents house after college.  For quite a stretch I’d move every single year when my current lease was up.  I saw it as a way to find the right setting, to figure out which neighborhood I wanted to live in. To find the right combination of amenities, rent, and neighborhood.  Until I realized the moving sucks, and that I wanted to start creating a home for myself, not just an apartment.  I lived in the last place for 4 years, and plan on staying at this one until my life takes a drastic turn (marriage, etc).

I’ve done the same thing with my friends.  Now I have some friends that I’ve known since high school who will be my friends forever.  And I have other friends that I’ve met in the last few years that feel like old friends as soon as I meet them, and I know we’re going to be friends forever.  But then there are those people that I’ve met through work, through rekindling old ties, through mutual interest that I don’t keep for very long.  I get very interested in them at the beginning, and spend a lot of time with them, and then they do something that disappoints me, or shows me who they really are or that we really didn’t have as much in common as I originally thought, and I cool things off.  “Break up” with them, as it were.

See, the pattern extends beyond dieting.  And I don’t think it makes me a flighty person.  I think I’m someone who isn’t afraid to give her whole heart to something or someone.  I jump in head first.  But at the same time, I’m not stupid, so once I see that something (or someone) isn’t meeting my needs, I move on to the next thing.  And in many cases, doing that was the right thing to do.  And I do eventually find the thing that fits me well.

I know that one reason this pattern continues is my intensity. I can’t maintain my all or nothing attitude forever. And when I’m not perfect (or the job isn’t what I expected, or I get bored of the car, or I want to live somewhere else, or the person has shown me they aren’t who I perceived them to be), when I’ve failed (or the thing or person has failed my expectations), I stop. I move on, start over, etc.

My relationship with my family is something that never waivers, through all my trials and errors of everything else in life.  My long-standing friendships are the same way.  And look at Lulu.  Sure times were tough when she was going through potty training.  There are still moments that are difficult, but I would never in a million years think about giving her up.  I love her more than I knew I could.  My love and loyalty has been rewarded with these relationships, so I’m able to maintain them over the long haul.

Also, I quit smoking and haven’t looked back since.  I’m very proud to say that it’s been over 3 1/2 months (110 days, to be exact!) that I’ve been smoke free.  It was difficult and every now and then I get a bit of a twinge, but overall, I stuck to it, and have been successful. So I do it.

Even with dieting, Scale Warfare and I have been sending each other daily emails every morning with the previous day’s food journal.  We’ve done this almost every single morning for over a year without fail.  And in doing so, we’ve become such close friends and dieting partners.  Our support of each other is unwavering, even though our attempts at weight loss might be.

So how do I sustain this healthy lifestyle long enough to see success? Because from the examples above I can see that once I feel successful (have my love reciprocated, feel appreciated at work, love my living environment, achieve my end goal), I continue with something.  I will give it my all – give it every bit of me – until I’ve completed the task and met the goal.

This is where I need your help. I obviously don’t have the answers, because if I did, I’d be to goal by now.  I am committed to undergoing the lap band surgery, because I know it is the tool that will help me be successful with losing and keeping the weight off.  And I need to lose over 30 pounds in order to get on the list to be scheduled for the surgery.  So please, offer any suggestions that you think are appropriate for how I can lose those 30 pounds the most efficiently (quickly, yet safely).

.  Although that’s the one that Kaiser outlined for me to follow and I wanted to do my best to do as they asked of me, maybe MargieAnne is right, especially for this time of year.  I think for the month of December I’ll go to 1400-1600 calories per day, but in easing up on the calorie intake, I want to make sure to get in my 4 hard workouts a week.  And then in January I will go full steam ahead with something, whether it’s Slim Fast or something else is To Be Determined.

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And as far as Tonya’s secondary comment about talking to a professional to figure some of this out, as luck would have it, my sister is coming over today, so I can talk to her about all of this.  LC is a licensed, clinical social worker.  She holds a BS in Psychology, as well as a Masters in Social Work, with an emphasis in Family Counseling (MFCC).  Who better to try to help me sort all of this out?

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