The last six months have been really difficult for me. With weight-loss still my main goal, it has been hard to manage my emotions through the setbacks with my thyroid medication. It takes a long time to get it right, and when it’s off, it means weight gain no matter what I do. And while I never even considered quitting (who quits healthy), I have battled feelings of failure and shame. Failure because not only have I not lost weight since March (that would be a blessing in comparison) but I have actually gained weight. Shame because that is the underlying emotion which is tied to my extensive history with weight issues in general. I have been doing some hard emotional work with my therapist, which has been an essential step in my recovery, but would be hard work even if I was still losing weight – having the added physical challenge has just piled on to the hardness of it all. But one thing I know for sure is that I am exactly where I am supposed to be, and that if I jump, the net will appear. And I have a big Project Healthy Body net.
shamefulconfession: I am 10lbs heavier than I was at the beginning of the year.
The fall season of Project Healthy Body started this week, with Coach Jennifer leading over 100 women (veterans and newbies) in a rousing kickoff call that left many of us in tears. Even though I have been a PHB client for more than a year and a half, it is always helpful to re-engage, recommit, and review the program basics – and the kickoff calls ALWAYS leave me excited and inspired. This one was particularly well-timed and moving for me.
Lessons from the kickoff call
Who quits healthy? It’s been a rough six months, but on the kickoff call I was reminded that the difference between then and now is truly #whoquitshealthy. I have fallen off the wagon on every single “diet” I have ever tried. And as soon as I fell off, I hopped back onto what I call the “f*ck it” diet until I hated myself enough to pick myself back up and try again. The difference between now and then is that I haven’t been on a swear word diet since I started working with Jennifer almost two years ago. Moreover, I haven’t been on a “diet” period! If that isn’t progress and something to be proud of, I don’t know what is. I am fairly confident that my swear-word diet days are behind me forever. I say fairly confident because one of the important hat option has been squashed forever. Instead of throwing up my hands and blaming the world and my circumstances, I now seek solutions. I am my own health detective and I am backed with an army of experts and women who share my same struggles. I do it because I am resolute in not ever going back to where I was two years ago. Knowing what I know now, I can’t. Because who quits healthy?
Self compassion. I still battle with perfectionism and wanting to be the best at everything I do – the best worker, wife, parent, daughter, friend, coach, client, and blogger. When things are going well, my perfectionism plays to my strengths; when things are not going well, my perfectionism surfaces feelings of shame and failure. When things get hard, I need to remind myself to have compassion for my experience. I need to remind myself that I am working very hard on my health. Having stops and starts is part of the process and the harder that I try to control my way out of a tough spot, the longer it will take me to get out of it. Also, there is no deadline that I am working to meet when it comes to my health and weight-loss. My path is not straight to the top. It has plateaus and some dips, but the long term trajectory is upward, and that is progress. To get through the emotional muck, I am learning to be more self compassionate. In some ways, the heavy lifting has shifted from PHB to the work I am doing with my therapist. I am learning to identify and feel my feelings, and then apply compassion to help me work through them. It’s new, and it’s hard – but I know that “in the muck of it all” is where I am supposed to be.
Community. This week’s kickoff call reminded me that I am not in this alone. Not by a long shot. I have the support of my health coach (Jennifer), I have Craig and my family, I have my friends and coworkers, I have my therapist, I have the other amazing PHB coaches, and I have this growing community of PHB clients who share the same experiences. Sometimes I put pressure on myself to course correct on my own and then share my story once I have it figured out. I don’t lean on my community enough, partly because I don’t want my own clients to wonder why they should look to me for guidance when I clearly don’t have it all figured out yet. When I type this, it is absurd. I know that part of what makes me a good coach is being able to relate to my clients on their level. I am not a skinny person who has always been a skinny person who is telling overweight people how to be more like me. I am a real person who still struggles with weight-loss, but I have found the solution in PHB and I am sharing it. I am living it, and I am sharing it.
This week’s call reminded me that I am resilient. It reminded me that hard only means failure if you quit. It reminded me that I have a huge community of support backing me. This week’s call made me feel excited for another great season of doing good work with the PHB team. And this week’s call reminded me that this journey is on its own timeline, and like we say at Facebook, it is 1% finished.