Who am I?

It’s been a tough week.

hitting-the-wallI’ve been thinking lately that when we alter our life style so drastically it can whip us up into a tornado of fast paced change and progress that we get carried along in and whilst that seems to be a good thing we have to be mindful that there could come a point where that tornado dumps us, from a height, flat on our faces on the ground again if we’re not careful. I feel I’m at that dumping point, I’ve hit a wall, I’ve been dropped on my face.

I always talk about step by step… it taking one small step to start a long journey… to make small changes because they add up to achieve the whole. I really believe that’s the way to win this battle and yet I feel that I’ve forgotten my own mantras and started to not only stride along the path but to positively leap along it. I images (1)fear I’ve hit a point where I’m just totally exhausted, knackered as we Brits like to so eloquently put it. Not in a physical way but mentally.

I am doing so many positive things that strangely it’s started to be counter productive. I’m not talking about weight loss, that’s happening as it should as are all of the other physical health and wellness benefits and the aesthetic improvements but not my emotional and mental health. I think that my body is moving way faster than my head is prepared for.  It might take a fellow addict or another person who has had a lifelong struggle with obesity to understand this because it just sounds such a messed up concept… that doing too much good is bad for you. But I do think it can be true, I think it IS true in my case for sure.

I’m calling to mind a post by Debs over on her blog  who worried if she was somehow afraid of being slim and healthy and felt kind of safer as the fat girl. I thought I knew what she was talking about when I read it and I did to some degree, but now I’m starting to understand what she was talking about in a very different way or at least to relate to it in a very different way.

I think for some of us who are fat because we’re comfortable and safe that way, we use it, wittingly or not as our shield, we might find catapulting towards slim and healthy scary at some point. I didn’t think I was one of those people, I didn’t think I could be one of those people but I think that I am and wonder if we all are.  I think the important words back there were ‘at some point’ because that point might come anywhere along the road for us and for different reasons. For me I think I’m scared that I’m heading there too fast and that I’m getting there by substituting addictions.

I’m feeling very low of mood, bordering on depressed and as someone who has battled depression I’m not using the word lightly. I’ve always said that this fight is won in the head not the mouth or the stomach and for me that is so true and I think I’ve reached a point where my head is getting a bit uncomfortable with the pace of change. At least that’s how I’m self diagnosing this out of the blue way I’m feeling.

download (3)Because of this acknowledgement of the discomfort with the pace and asking myself why it’s happening, I’ve realised that I’ve gone from being addicted to food to being addicted to exercise. I’ve just replaced one addiction with another and neither are healthy. I can’t sleep if I’ve not done at least several hours of rigorous exercise a day and I mean rigorous as in nearly throwing up from physical exhaustion. Is that any different to not being able to sleep knowing there’s a cake in the fridge or nearly throwing up because I’ve stuffed my face beyond my body’s capacity to cope with it? I don’t know it is although on the surface it appears far more healthy, is it really?

I’m a total maniac, there is no other word to describe it and I’m making myself laugh now because that’s exactly what I am now that I just took a second to look at myself from the outside in (I love that blogging allows you to do that, even forces you to do that sometimes. Excuse me a minute while I go and enter a post on my music blog sharing Maniac from Flashdance as it’s so apt for how I see myself right now and it’s a song I love).

Back to the subject now even though I feel better for that moment of light relief: I’m a woman possessed, to get through a movie of my day quickly would not require a fast forward it’s just super fast forward as it is.

I really think I need to curb it a little, I think it’s doing me harm rather than good. I think it’s too much too soon, I’m feeling like I’ve been caught up in that tornado and I’m out of control and I really need to be in control of myself, that’s what this is all about. images (2)Addictions happen when we lose control or when we want to control too much and all I’ve done is gained control in one area and lost it in another. I need to be moderate. I need to be in a place where everything doesn’t have to be all or nothing,  where things do not have to be taken to extremes to be valid. I need to be able to eat what I need and exercise enough.

I really believe that if I’m to emerge from this healed and well mentally and physically I need to notice when I’m developing addictions and when I’m losing control or taking too much control and take action to moderate whatever it is that’s the problem. In that respect I’m glad that I’ve noticed this, I’m glad that in spite of things going well in my life, I’ve developed this sad feeling to indicate to me that something isn’t quite as right as I might think it is.  I do feel this is the problem, I’m over doing it, I’m exhausting myself. Feeling like I’m coping is an illusion brought on by the high of the addiction, the high of having my ‘fix’ which masks how ‘the drug’ is really affecting me. Just like it was back in the day when I thought food was making me happy.

Thinking back to Deb’s post I think what I’ve done without realising is dressed up the fear of heading towards a new me to look like enthusiasm and the very fact that I’ve allowed myself to lose control shows that it isn’t all enthusiasm, it’s still fear.

I still believe that the key to alleviating the fear is to take it slow, step by step, to get used to the new me. We change in so many ways on such a long life changing journey from super morbidly obese to normal weight. It’s not just about the outside but the inside. For once in my life I have not turned to food to comfort me when I’ve been feeling down and that is fantastic, it’s great it’s what I’ve always wanted but it’s so unusual for me to realise that, to have lost my appetite when things are bad rather than want to stuff my face, it’s just not me.

It’s a shock when something is just not you, more than you realise. It’s like you wave good bye to a part of yourself you’ve known your whole life, even if you’re glad to see it go, it’s a change, a huge change.

images (3)We experience so many changes we find ourselves thinking so often, that is just not me… I’ve experienced it with clothes I’ve bought, wearing bright colours and patterns is so not me. I love it, I think it looks great but it’s a huge shift in who I have been for so long, dressed in black plain clothes from head to foot. Looking at colours and patterns and feeling it’s OK to buy them to wear them now is such a huge change. It sounds crazy but it’s really not, wearing them is not me but it’s becoming me.

I’ve had my hair dyed back to my youthful blonde and had it cut into a style that just is not me. I love it, it looks fabulous and I see that it suits and flatters me but it’s not me and it takes getting used to when I’ve worn my hair the same way in the same colour for so long, scared to draw attention to me, hiding, trying to blend in. That decision to change it, to change me was a scary one, it took courage and every day I look in the mirror now I’m still surprised to see that hair colour and style on my head. It’s not me but it’s becoming me.

I swim and run and those things are just not me, I don’t do them and I love that I do them now but they’re new they are alien and take getting used to and sometimes when I’m in that pool in my swimsuit pushing through that water with other people around me and I realise I don’t care I’m also reminded that it’s not me. It’s not me to not care, it’s not me to be this big still and to be comfortable in public in a swim suit, it’s not me to be pushing myself through so many lengths in the morning before I go to work, I’m the person who swims for fun, couple of lengths, some breath holding, jumping the waves, falling off an air bed, serious swimming, powerful, aware of my muscles working, that’s not me, but it’s becoming me.

I have learned to let my man spoil me and pamper me and arrange surprises for me but that is just not me to be out of control and not to be the one making the arrangements and surprises and as much as I love it it isn’t me but I’m enjoying it and it is becoming me.

I’m starting my own business, it’s not what I do, what I do is work for other people and images (4)get frustrated by it but the confidence I’ve built from losing weight had made me change and made me believe I could be happier as a business woman working for me. It’s not me but it is becoming me.

You see where I’m coming from? I hope so. All of these changes are happening in one tumultuous short period of time. I’ve been me for 47 years, I’ve been this version of me for a few days, weeks, months and it’s scary. Daft as it sounds it is scary and it’s a lot to be happening at one time. My over zealousness is my way of  coping and I’ve worn myself out. I need to rethink and re-plan my regime and factor in some down time.

I had a word with my trainer today and he was shocked when I told him what I do every day, he said that I need to rest, I should have days where I rest completely and I don’t even have hours where I rest completely. He reiterated that if I was preparing for something or wanted to reduce or tone up fast then I can step my efforts up but for steady progress and over all kindness to my body I should be exercising less.

I feel like it’s one thing after another, I cure one thing and another one pops up but then I am not letting it get me down any further, I know there are lots of things to cure or resolve and it’s good that I’m doing this and making the progress I’m making and ultimately I will reach my goal healthy and strong in body AND mind. I need to spot my issues, I need to notice them and contemplate them and work them out so that I can find MotivationSteppingStonesQuotemy way to a better place where I can feel happy and healthy and stay that way. I don’t want to self destruct anymore, I don’t want to go back to the size I was, I don’t want to fall off the wagon before I reach my goal and being aware of all of my issues and hang ups is important to ensuring I succeed.  Sometimes stumbling blocks are actually steps up to the next level, to the next phase of the journey, they just take a little readjustment and setting straight before we can climb up on them that’s all.

 

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13 thoughts on “Who am I?”

  1. Wow, Michelle. This is a very brave post and I think it’s wonderful that you have realised what’s happening. They do say that if you remove something that was a huge part of your life FROM your life (in our case, food), you do need to replace it with something. You have done this with exercise and I would heed the words of your PT, because if a PT says you are doing too much, you really must be. I suppose I’m lucky in a way that hasn’t happened to me because a) I wouldn’t be game to do manic exercise with my heart issue and b) I may just be lazier than you, but I have definitely struggled with the “replace it with something else” concept. At the moment I am back aboard the wagon but it is a day by day, sometimes hour by hour battle to find something else to do other than eating. One of my distractions IS exercise in that I’ll go for a long walk, usually quite fast, but the maximum I’d do is 90 minutes. So I have no idea what to suggest but just try and be kind to yourself. You’ve done such a brilliant job and you shouldn’t be feeling sad, but listen to that inner voice and trust it.

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    1. Thank you as ever for your understanding and support. It’s so reassuring to know that people out there get it, which is probably what makes me so brave when I post my wobbly posts and why I don’t think I could do this without blogging.

      I mentioned a while ago that I’m setting up my own business which will allow me to retire from teaching but will still involve lots of training and support for young people so will combine what I do well and what I enjoy. I haven’t been giving that as much attention as I could have and am behind schedule on getting things in place so that I can resign my job in November. I’m thinking that I will keep my exercise to a max of 2.5 hours a day and have 2 rest days per week where all I do is transport myself either on foot or bike to where I need to be which is in line with what my PT suggested. It’s still more than enough to keep me going down and I’ll plug the gap with some solid work on this business.

      I’m realising more and more how obsessive I am. I’m an all or nothing person, I do things to excess or not at all and anything which I am forced by external pressures to not do my absolute best in I feel very anxious about. I’m starting to see that it’s all part of never feeling good enough, always trying to prove myself, always feeling like I have to evidence that I’m putting my heart and soul into something. I don’t think it is even about being the best, I don’t feel and never felt that I had to be the best or the winner or first but looking back I think I have always felt a need to show that I’m doing all I can.

      It’s interesting to me and I was just talking to Nick about it, that people always see me as a very competitive person, except those who know me really well, I’m not competitive at all other than when there’s a purpose and then it’s always in good humour and I’ve always wondered why people have that impression of me. I see now that it’s more than likely because of this need in me to do my absolute best and to give my all. People must assume that is a determination to be first or be the winner when actually it’s a will to be accepted. When I’ve won awards for my work, even when I achieved my degrees I have never been to a graduation ceremony and will not go for my masters this month as I feel almost embarrassed by my successes, I don’t work hard at anything for outward glorification I do it out of my own compulsion and for my own satisfaction and I’m glad I understand now why people see me as competitive, I thought they were being horrid, they weren’t they just couldn’t see the full picture.

      I’m learning so much about myself and it’s true that I’m becoming a new person and I need to get to know myself and in so doing I’m kind of finding I can form links with all stages of myself right back to childhood and some of those links once formed are fantastic to break cleanly on my terms and others are important to keep in tact.

      When I ever get to the end of this I would love to try to give something back to the world and maybe volunteer coach or support other women through this, I may have a wealth of knowledge to draw upon by then. I would love to be able to support someone through this minefield. I think age has given me some insight that I never had as a young girl/woman and if I could help someone who could have a better life, a better youth by dealing with this problem then I’d be over joyed.

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    1. Thank you. I guess I’m discovering that I’m an obsessive kind of person, I didn’t realise. I always knew I had an addictive personality and fortunately that’s only ever manifested itself with food but when I think about the way I raised my kids even I took it on like a project that I had to give my absolute all to and in so many ways that’s been great for them but there wasn’t much left for me, if that makes sense without sounding like I resent or regret any of it. I was so compelled to do it right. But then I guess knowing my family have waited with baited breath for my children to fail at anything and everything they’ve done just like they have with me was always there in my mind and that wasn’t good. I perhaps put pressure on the kids. When I talked to them about it they said if I did they were not aware. Maybe I’m also hyper critical of myself. Haha, see I’m a loon! Gosh I’m happy, they’re happy that should be all that matters right?

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  2. You had to reach this point; and it’s a very real stage in your progress.
    You could do a great deal worse, Michelle, than have a talk to a clinical psychologist – not because you’re mental, but so that you can understand what’s going on in your head. Couldn’t do any harm, after all …

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    1. You are so right M-R. I’ve friends who are in the field and I’ve worked in the mental health field and I have always thought I didn’t need it but to be honest, just lately I have been thinking I could do with talking to someone. Letting my thoughts out on my blog has helped hugely but you are so right, I think it’s time I let someone ‘in’. I don’t see it as a sign of weakness, which I would perhaps have done a couple of months ago, I see it now as an essential next step and a real sign that I’m ready for it and that I’m healing.

      Thank you for your advice, I really appreciate it… and I know I’m a little bit crazy, aren’t we all? 😉

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      1. Michelle, you’re not even remotely crazy. You’re in the process of turning yourself into somebody else, and that’s the bottom line. I know you realize this; but I think you’re not as much on top of it as you were a while back. So an intelligent chat or two will lift you right back again. I remain full of amazement and praise.

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        1. Thank you once again M-R. You are so right. I think what has changed it all for me is this love relationship thing that I was not in the market for, nor was I ready for and I think it kind of rocked my world and deflated my bubble when really it should have enhanced my life because it IS good and HE is good. But for a planner like me who thought I had it all mapped out it was a curve ball that I didn’t see coming and it kind of made me an emotional being again which I struggled with as is documented, but which ultimately I’ve relaxed in and come to enjoy far more and to be far more easy with. BUT all the same it has changed me in an emotional sense and that new kind of state of exposed emotional existence is taking some getting used to when I’ve lived as a closed book for so long and it has brought me to a place where I have to open up and address a whole new can of worms which I think I was increasingly using exercise to avoid.

          I have just emailed a friend to ask for a recommendation for a professional to talk to, it needs to be a stranger to work I think.

          I think I’ve been strong for too long and feeling vulnerable is freaking me out 😀

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          1. DEFINITELY someone who’s a total stranger. Not only will you be more at ease, but there’ll be everything to discuss from the beginning,
            I think you’ll enjoy it ! 🙂

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  3. I think through your struggle you’re also learning who you are. Take your own advice, follow your instinct because I believe you know what to do.

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