Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Long term recovery with or without support?

I have a really great topic today that I want to talk about, and I'm hoping that some readers will weigh in too. (Pun intended!)  I want to talk about support.  I'm talking about support from either family, a loved one, friends or from a group.  Specifically I want to talk about support with weight loss, but this I think can also be applied to eating disorders, addictions and other areas where recovery is the goal.

Now obviously I am still on my journey.  I still have weight to lose, but I also think I have gone through a lot with this weight loss and the stress of being a binge eater.  Here's my two cents on support.  (More like 5 cents, heck even a quarter since this might be a long post!)

To be completely honest and frank I don't like it when people rely on support to meet their goals.  Don't get me wrong, I think support is important. But there is a difference between using someone to meet your goals and using them only when you will fail and you absolutely need someone.  For instance when I first started out on my weight loss journey, I relied on Dan for absolutely every decision.  I told him that I could not make healthy decisions and that if I was left to chose between healthy and junk I would chose junk every time.  I told him that several times actually.  I would be bawling my eyes out wanting to order junk food so badly and telling him that he has to make the decision because I couldn't make a healthy one.

Now, I've bee there.  It seems like an okay thing to do, when you're vulnerable and you're not able to make the right decisions to ask a loved one to help you out.  If I could change things about my weight loss, I would change those times that I asked Dan to make those decisions for me.

Eventually he ended up telling me that he wasn't going to make any decisions for me.  That I was a big girl and if I was going to eat badly then I will and that he wasn't going to make that decision for me.  Nor was he going to force feed me broccoli in order to help me meet my diet needs.  This was probably the best thing he could have done.  Sure, I was angry at him for doing that, in fact I'm pretty sure it ended up as an argument! But now I know that was one of the best things he's ever done for me.  Why?

It's up to me, not anyone else to get my life on track.  If I rely on someone to help me, then how am I learning anything?  What happens if that person is no longer in my life?  Dan is still awesome support for me, but now the hardest decision I ask him is "if I have this small snack tonight do you think I'll be hungry later still? Or do you think I should eat this more filling snack instead?".  The difference is, I still make the decisions, I just ask his opinion.  I often ask him if he thinks certain meals are a good idea, because he often has insight as to what might strike a binge trigger or what wont fill me up.  I have learned to rely on myself and self motivate myself to get going.

In fact when I used to rely on Dan to help me make decisions, to motivate me it was quite tiring and straining on our relationship.  We had lots of fights because he wasn't a mind reader.  He would try to decipher what I wanted and what the inner binge eater wanted and was trying to communicate between the two.  Nobody should be asked to do that, except for maybe a professional.  I can't tell you how to self motivate yourself, all I can tell you is that it takes time to trust yourself and to trust that you'll be just fine without bad food.  

This is also why I don't go along with the bandwagon of inspiring quotes and photos that you see everywhere on Pinterest, Facebook, gym walls etc. (I know I have some on Pinterest, but I'm not reliant on them.  I hope the distinction is clear!).  For instance,  I used to browse SparkPeople for hours reading peoples pages.  Especially the ones that lost significant amounts of weight.  Especially while eating a healthy meal.  Then I'd work out to The Biggest Loser.  It was motivation for me.  But then I got bored of looking at the same old photos and I had watched all the episodes of The Biggest Loser.  Right away my motivation ran out. I would quit eating healthy and I'd quit working out.

I'm not saying it's wrong to find those things inspiring, I'm just saying that self motivation is the key to long term success.  What happens if you can't workout to The Biggest Loser?  Do you think about skipping your workout?  I did.

I'm not an expert at self motivation.  I'm a terrible procrastinator actually.  I just know what I want, and what I want is to live a long and healthy life.  What I know is that it took months for cravings to slowly go away, and to get to know my body and it's craving cycles.  It takes a long time to get new habits in place, but really I couldn't be happier.  When people say it takes only 1 month to install a new habit I'm pretty sure they're lying.  It takes longer than that, plus a lifetime of commitment.  But it's damn worth it.  I'm worth it and you're worth it.  

I guess I finally feel like I'm worth it, maybe that's why I'm self motivated.  As cliche as it sounds, it's absolutely true.

Now I want to take a break from the serious talk and introduce my support.  My wonderful husband, Daniel.  The reason I'm doing this is because a)He's my husband, duh.  b)He's gone away from home lots working and I'll probably mention it frequently so I may as well give you a little background.

Daniel first of all is amazing.  He doesn't always know what to say when I'm in the throes of a binge, or I feel like a binge trigger is apparent.  But he always has a big hug for me to cry into if I need it.  

I think he made this to work on Chain Maille one of his many hobbies 

So anyways, I said Daniel is gone lots!  That's because he drives a big Vacuum truck.  It's oil field rated so he is usually out doing jobs on different oil field-related sites but he'll also do smaller jobs too.

Not his current truck, but similar to the one he drives now. They're HUGE!
So he can be gone anywhere from 8 hours to several days.  I would say he averages 12-18 hours day and up to 20-24 hours a day in the wintertime (or 100 hours a week).  In the spring he's usually home a lot more.  (This spring he pretty much didn't work at all).  He's "on-call" 24-7 and goes out when he's called.  He does get 2 days off every 2 weeks however they're usually days I'm working! Hah!

Usually I don't know when he'll be home until he's either very close to home, or walking in the door.  He is also usually out of cell phone range, or not able to take calls all day so I very rarely know where he actually is or what he is doing.  His job can be dangerous depending on what he's doing.  Sometimes he deals with H2S, invert and a myriad of other chemicals.  He also has to drive on back roads that will make your hair stand up.  He has a ton of courses under his belt in order to do his job safely and I'm damn proud of how hard he works.  I swear he is the only person on the planet to come back from working 24+hours straight hard labor and to come home smiling just because I was at the door to greet him.

Dan is amazing and the hardest worker I know.  Plus he makes his own lunches, even after working long shifts.  How I got so lucky we will never know.  Then again, someone has to keep the house clean and the fridge stocked, right? : D

Anyways, if I complain that a week was hard because Daniel was gone, now you'll understand.  It's not only that he's gone, but usually I don't know when he'll be home.. or heck, I probably don't even know where he is and probably haven't even talked to him!  Because he's gone so much, I'm so glad that I am able to do this on my own.  

So what are your thoughts on support from families, friends or support groups?  This could be support for recovery in any addiction or ailment.  Or, who has supported you?


  1. I've had some support and some non-support... but I feel like I'm doing it mostly on my own.

    A huge lack of support from professionals - doctors, nutritionists, etc. - so I don't even know where to start, which stresses me out, which causes me to eat, then cry because I ate crap, then eat more to feel better... etc...

    So I don't really kno wwhat my thoughts are

    1. It really sucks to not get support from professionals, but I mean there are always other options. Lately I've talked to two doctors offices who would not/could not help me so I'm on to a third doctor to help me on my path to having a baby. You just have to shop around for the team that's right for you! It really is as easy as that.

      Getting started is the easiest part of weight loss, staying on the straight and narrow is where you really test your abilities. Good luck :)