It was bound to happen and it finally did. After doing so well over the past several weeks, one of us finally cracked and splurged on the chocolate. I was standing at work talking to our wonderful support staff when my wife texted me with a confession: “I messed up… I had candy… sorry for slipping.” My first feeling was my heart cracking as I realized my wife must be hating herself for breaking such a wonderful track record. I quickly responded, “I love you so much.” Then I added, “You don’t need to confess, but I’m glad you are holding yourself accountable.” Turns out, she had been comparing our weigh ins and was feeling extremely disappointed and vulnerable. Then, later in the day, our good buddy Chocolate started whispering out his usual promises of comfort. Who wouldn’t be tempted to say, “Screw it,” and give in?
If you’re one of the lucky ones that have never struggled with your weight, you may not understand. The rest of us know, however, that the process of making life changes is so difficult that the changes are often abandoned quickly enough that the phrase, “It’s not a diet. It’s a life change,” has almost become a tired cliché… even to us! Ever heard someone make that statement and you silently groan and wonder how long it will last this time? Yet, that is what this entire process has been: a life change (more like EXTREME LIFE MAKEOVER). It has been 11 weeks since I quit smoking, 9 weeks since have had soda (or any liquid calorie other than milk), 9 weeks since I had a taste of whiskey (I know – liquid calories, but I’m proud), and 9 weeks of eating fresh foods at home. In those 9 weeks, I’m proud to announce that we have lost a combined total of 73.4 pounds!!!
But why has the idea of a life change become such an irritating phrase to hear? After years of diets and exercises that only worked temporarily, I can tell you that CHANGE is hard… VERY HARD. More than once already I have been tempted to take a quick drive thru on the way home as both of us were getting home late from work and the idea of cooking/cleaning left a sour taste in my mouth. It’s no wonder that over 95% of people that attempt this journey have failed!
Moments of weakness can become patterns of behavior if we allow ourselves to give in and, FAR WORSE, allow guilt to keep up trapped in a negative cycle. When my wife texted me, I sensed that she was terribly disappointed in herself. When I shared I was writing this today, she expressed her irritation as the guilt of that moment still seems to be plaguing her. Yet, when we got home that night, my wife’s moment of weakness was two fun size pieces of candy and she was still WITHIN her calorie limit for the day! (Yes, she has reviewed the completed post and has given her blessing.)
As I think back to all the times I have tried to change my life or lose weight, I recall so many times that guilt and disappointment led to the unraveling of my progress. Stress, anxiety, disappointment, anger, guilt, hunger., etc., all present so many attractive doorways to temptation and it is SO hard not to take one when you feel like all your efforts are literally doing no good. Then, we are left feeling worthless and guilty as we revert from a victim of our circumstances to a failure for giving in. The cycle is paralyzing and can easily send anyone back to the patterns they are trying to leave behind.
Let me tell you something, it is virtually impossible to wreck your entire process of change in one day. Unless you allow your emotions to keep you stuck and your incident of failure becomes a pattern of failure, one terrible day will cause nothing more than a lightly felt bump in the road. The best thing you can do when you give in is to accept it and move forward. False guilt, shame, feelings of failure, etc., will only exacerbate the problem and set you back. That’s the beauty of having a partner that is taking this journey with me. Together, we were able to accept her “failure” and move on. In our case, there was no damage, but there could have been if guilt and shame were allowed to take root and begin the unraveling of such a beautiful journey.
For now, though, it’s back to taking my life back…
- September 11, 2016: 450+pounds
- Today: 404.6 pounds
- Total loss: 45.4 pounds (17% of my total excess body weight)
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