Thursday, April 01, 2010

Counseling

I have yo-yoed my whole adult life with losing weight. We all know how that works. Go on some diet, deprive yourself of a certain food group, lose significant weight, start introducing that food back into your diet, gain all your weight back and then some, repeat process, just this time pick a different means to do it in.

I’ve done Jenny Craig, Adkins, A fitness Camp, Adkins again, Slim Fast, Weight Watchers (incorrectly) off and on since 2003, shakes, and a number of other diets. On November 8, 2008 I had enough and went back to Weight Watchers, vowing to do it correctly. That means I would track what I ate, count my points, and NEVER miss a meeting. I also hired a coach this time to help me with my working out, and for the first time ever I got a counselor. Yes, you heard me right, I go to counseling.

I haven’t missed a Weight Watcher’s meeting since that date in November, I kick butt in my workouts, and I have taken my counseling very seriously. This time I am having success. To date I have lost over 80 pounds. I have found that when people know I have lost that much weight , they start to ask the same questions. The first question is always, “How much have you lost?” The next question to always follow is, “How long has it taken?” Next, “What Diet are you on?” Once they hear about my journey I get asked, “Why do you think you are having success this time around?”

They don’t like my answer. My answer makes people uncomfortable. I proudly say, “The reason I am having success this time around is because I am in counseling.” I am finally dealing with the why’s of my weight issue. I didn’t become 306 pounds just because. There have been underlying reasons. They are issues that have been there since my childhood, since my teens, and my adult life. I am learning so much about myself and that is why I am having success. This is not the answer that people want to hear.

Counseling is still taboo in this country. It’s really sad that this is the case. I’m finally ok with admitting that I can’t figure this all out on my own. I need help. If I didn’t I would have figured it out years ago. There is no shame in counseling; there is no shame in needing to take medication. There is no shame in any of it. Yet, it’s still shameful because that is what this country has made it. If you need counseling or have mental illness then something is wrong with you. Well, Duh, if there weren’t something wrong with me, I wouldn’t have weighed 306 pounds.

I have decided, in my own little way, to do something about this. I have decided that I am going to be open about my counseling journey. I will not share all the specifics that I talk about, but I will share different aspects of it. I know that if I am dealing with these issues there is someone else out there dealing with the same, or similar, issues. Talking about it will help me work through everything and will hopefully help those of you out there struggling, but maybe too ashamed to talk about it. My wish is, if I’m open, you will not feel ashamed of needing help and getting the help you need.

I know that the title of my blog is "My Journey to Ironman Wisconsin 2012." You might feel that talking about my counseling is not something I need to talk about on my way to doing Ironman Wisconsin, but it is. Training, getting to the start line, and completing an Ironman is more mental then it is physical. Anyone can train and physically be ready to toe the line, but what are they going to do when the 150 things that can go wrong, do?

If you've been reading my blog you know that I had a very scary swimming accident in high school that made getting into the water and swimming next to impossible. I've been working on that fear and have overcome it in the pool, at least. I will now have to mentally prepare to take what I have learned in the pool, and transfer that to swimming in lakes, and then in triathlons. For me, that's a mental battle that I am working on. My accident happened in a lake, and my swims in my triathlons will take place in a lake. In the past, I would have just avoided this, but now I am facing it and kicking it's butt. I will overcome my mental blocks to toe the line and finish the Ironman.

With my training and counseling I am facing a lot of fears. I just realized that I avoid things when I'm scared. I sabotage my efforts. I decided to talk to my counselor about that. I am having success on my weight loss journey, but at the same time I sabotage myself. I hit another 10 pound mark, and then it takes me FOREVER to hit my next 10 pound goal. My coach, Bob Mitera, challenged me this week regarding this. He asked me why am I scared of success? Am I worried people won't love me still? He told me I need to let go and just do it. I've known this, but it just really hit home this week. I had a HUGE breakthrough on the killer hill he had me run. (You can read about that hill in my last post).

This is just one way I have let my fear rule my life. I sabotage my weight loss. I avoid the doctor. I don't apply for jobs. All things that when I look at them, mentally I know it's silly, but my fears don't think logically. For all of you that know me I have had stomach issues for a long time. I have decided that I need to get this taken care of. I went to the doctor, got an order to go to the doctor, and haven't followed through. My mom died of cancer, colon cancer, that spread to her liver and lymphnods. I don't want to die that way, so why don't I follow through, I don't know, but I don't.

I finally got my teaching degree. I love working with kids. I love the idea of having my own classroom. I love that I will be able to make a difference in a child's life, but I haven't fully completed a job application. I'm scared. The application is overwhelming, I fear the interview process. I know I will do great. I know that the right job will come when the time is right. I know my kids are ok with me working, I know I will be GREAT at what I do, but I let my fear take a hold of me. The fear of the unknown.

I talked to James (my counselor) about all these issues this week. I don't want to let my fears dictate my life anymore. The time has come to take care of this. He gave me some great things to think about and I want to share those with you.

We talked about what do all these situations have in common, at first I thought avoidance, because when I'm scared, I avoid, but then I realized, that the bigger picture is that FEAR is what all these have in common.

He made me realize that when I have fear I have other symptoms.
My symptoms are:
*Avoidance
*Shame
*Numbing my Fear. This is where addication can come in. My addiction was food. I'm not turning to food anymore, so that is why this is all coming to the surface.

Avoidance and Shame are the two big ones for me, but mainly avoidance. I refuse to avoid any longer. I want to face these fears and overcome them. I will face my fears and overcome them.

With my weight loss and sabotaging myself, James helped me realize that I'm scared that people will treat me differently when I'm thin. Through our talk he helped me realize that I'M CHANGING MY EXTERNAL NOT BECAUSE I WANT PEOPLE TO LIKE ME, BUT TO LET PEOPLE KNOW I LIKE ME. I was also afraid that I would change. He helped me realize that I want to be healthy and becoming thinner will help that, but that thin is not my goal. My goal, #1, is to be healthy, live long, and be a productive person, but also to help others in their journey too. With that being said I do not want to change who I am, I JUST WANT MY OUTSIDE TO REFLECT WHO I AM INSIDE. I also never want to become judgmental and prideful regarding my weight loss, so James said, WHEN I'M TEMPTED TO BE PRIDEFUL-REMEMBER WHERE I CAME FROM and that will help me come back to reality.

What I took most out of my session yesterday was this. . . .

I need to let myself have my feelings, but not stay there.

I need to say to myself,

"I have fear, but I also have hope."
"I have anger, but I also have thankfulness."
"I have sadness, but I also have joy."

Today I have decided to move out of the darkness and into the light.

I am going to allow myself to have my feelings, but then I will transform those feelings and be a more productive person. I will not let those feelings rule my life any longer.

4 comments:

Lisa said...

Wow!!!! Fantastic post! Thank you for sharing.

Mommymeepa said...

No problem Lisa. Thanks for reading.

Athena Misty, aka "GeekGirl" said...

Good for you. I'm a counselor, and I'm IN counseling right now. We can always benefit from having someone outside ourselves help us examine our patterns of thought and behavior. Often other people can see things that we don't see. Good luck to you!

Julie said...

That is one good post you have there. I believe it`s great you can share your thoughts this way since you may be helping a lot of people with your words. Some might be feeling down thinking that`s only something that happens to them and here you are, prooving that we all go through similar things in life.
I see you`ve talked to your counselor and he gave you interest symptoms to think about. Shame is something you should never feel, on the contrary you should feel proud of being able to recognize your problems and being brave enough to deal with them. There is also some Online counseling I can recommend which may complement the one with James.
Congratulations on your work, I know you will overcome any obstacles if you really set your heart on it.
Cheers
Julie