Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Today is my weigh-day and I am happy to report a loss of 1.4 lbs. (.6 kg.). This brings me to a total loss of 112.4 lbs. (51 kg.). I now weigh 167.6 lbs. (76 kg.). This is the biggest loss I've had in one week in a good, long time! My BMI is now 25.5 so I am still technically overweight for another 4.6 lbs. (2 kg.). I don't know if I'll ever get there, but I feel fine with where I'm at.
I've been thinking about perfectionism lately. I posted a comment on someone's blog yesterday and I realized that the things I was saying were things that related to perfectionism that sort of jived (jove?) with some of the things I've been trying to write about. I think the concept of perfectionism (or lack thereof) really explains where I'm at these days.
I used to be a perfectionist. I grew up in a loving, but very rigid household. When I was on my own in my teens and early 20's, I struggled with bulimia and feeling out of control much of the time. I had a very demanding job and my boss was a difficult man to work for. My coping mechanism was to attempt to follow a very rigid set of rules about food, appearance, exercise, work and pretty much everything else. When I deviated from these rules, I was "bad" and I punished myself in various ways. If it was food related, like I ate something I shouldn't eat, I would purge or starve or compulsively exercise. I was thin (118 lbs. (53.5 kg.) was my lowest low), but I was seldom happy. I couldn't meet my standards most of the time. My life was also very small. I didn't date much and I lived alone with my pets. I had some friends, but my relationships were very one-sided. I didn't let people get close to me so I had relationships with people who needed a lot of my attention, but there wasn't really anything left for me.
As I grew older I changed a great deal. Life became bigger. I met my husband and we got married pretty quickly. We lived in Mexico for a while and I made new friends there. I was still very reserved, but the bigger my life became, the more I realized how little control I really had of things. I hadn't engaged in bulimic behaviors for many years except the occasional binge. I weighed more, but I was a normal weight. I quit that job for the jackass boss which was one of the best things I'd ever done. And then I got pregnant.
Pregnancy and having a child opens your life like few things can. Just the process of being pregnant and giving birth puts a person into situations a reserved, control-freak like me would never otherwise have been in. Strangers see and know intimate details about your body. It is very obtrusive. But I didn't count on the fear. I worried and fretted about this new little creature I carried and birthed in ways you cannot imagine. I feared she would die in her sleep and if I thought about her, I would have to get up and check on her because I knew that if the worst ever happened, I'd never forgive myself if I had worried about her and NOT checked on her. But over time I learned to relax a bit. I started letting all those rigid rules loosen up. Because I realized that we're never 100% safe and in control. Nothing we can do will guarantee that we won't suffer and experience pain in this life. In fact I think we are pretty-much guaranteed that we will.
My world got even bigger. I had another daughter. People I loved died. I went back to college. I worked. I was active in church and relationships. Perfectionism and control became farther and farther from my day-to-day reality. Sure, I still like to do a good job. Yes, I did graduate college Magna Cum Laude with straight A's. I still expect a lot of myself and those around me, but I have adopted a philosophy of moderation rather than one of constant perfection. Because that is, of course, impossible and any control we think we have is an illusion.
How does this affect my relationship with food? Before WLS it didn't really affect it that much. I was still trying to do all the old things I'd done over the years that had worked to keep my weight normal, but didn't seem to be working any longer. Except for binging and purging. I gave that up a long time ago. But post-WLS, I begin to apply all of the things I'd learned over the years in my regular life about moderation and not beating myself up for mistakes. I eat all foods that I want and I've lost a lot of weight. Portion control was apparently my problem and the band takes care of that for me. I try to eat healthy foods most of the time, but I also eat what sounds good and I make room for treats. I watch my calories a bit, but I'm not anal about it. I don't have a calorie limit. I usually eat about 1,450 calories a day, but sometimes I eat more (like when I drink a bunch of beer).
I've noticed from reading these blogs that often times when people feel like they've eaten something "bad", they beat themselves up and have a difficult time reigning themselves in after the slip. Sometimes they'll talk about wanting to eat a specific food that they think is "bad" and then eating something else, but then eating a bunch of other foods afterwards. They weren't satisfied by the original thing they had because they wanted the "bad" food. So they eat and eat to try to feel satisfied or to punish themselves for the original "bad" desires. I can relate. Although my typical M.O. back in my bulimia days was to purge or starve after overeating, I sometimes continued binging as a means of self-punishment. Until I realized that if I just ate the stupid thing I wanted and let myself enjoy it, I could be satisfied. Duh.
Dang, this is a long post! If you're still with me, thank you. I am so happy with the place I'm at these days. I want to sing it from the rooftops that I have hope! I found a way out of the self-imposed misery I used to live in. I realize that what works for me may not work for you. We are all different. No one has walked the same path as me, but I hope that sharing my experiences may help you as a cautionary tale or a good example. Happy Wednesday!