Weighty Matters

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Self Pressure and Expectations for Self

on April 18, 2013

I had a great conversation with my boss, a woman I greatly admire for her insights and forthright attitude.  She commented that I looked like I’ve lost more weight.  “I have,” I said, “but not enough.”  Realizing that I seemed discouraged, she asked me what was up.

“I have a doctor’s appointment at the end of next week and he’s going to think that it isn’t enough because I’ll only have lost 20 pounds in three months.”

As soon as the words were out of my mouth, I knew that my thought process was screwed up and she knew it too.  We started to work through the process and how, based on my last conversation and appointment with the doctor, thought I should have lost 30 pounds by this upcoming appointment.

She told me everything that I actually know but that I’ve been mentally and emotionally veering away from.  That 20 pounds in three months is still a significant loss.  That I’ve lost 155 pounds since my surgery.  That I’ve changed my way of eating and living.  That 155 pounds is a great success and I’m still losing.  Not gaining.  Not staying in the same place.  Still losing.  It’s natural that the pace at which I lose is slower now but I’m not going backwards.

My boss helped me clarify that I am putting all of this pressure, and fostering negative thoughts about my progress because I’m wrapped up in my doctor’s expectations.  He sort of acknowledges how much I’ve lost but always qualifies the acknowledgement with reminding me that I still have a way to go.  I know I’ve discussed this before but, clearly, I haven’t worked through it yet as an issue.

I’m really chewing on it now, I can tell you.  I’m really musing and working through what I can reasonably expect of myself at this stage of the game.  What is my assessment of where I am and where I’m going?  I have questions that I need to mull over and answer.  Am I pleased with my progress thus far?  Am I eating in more healthful ways and, for the most part, not falling prey to my compulsive behavior?  Am I satisfied with my weight loss enough to let it stand as is?  Do I want to lose more?  Does it matter so much that I lose at a more rapid weight as long as I continue to lose?

So, that’s my homework.  Mull the questions.  Answer.  Internalize.  Most of all, I need to check in that I’m living to my expectations for myself and not putting undue pressure on myself to please someone else’s expectations.

7 responses to “Self Pressure and Expectations for Self

  1. Hope says:

    Twenty pounds is more than my baby weighs! You’ve lost an entire LJ, plus an extra 3 pounds!

  2. Susanne says:

    The key here is are you satisfied with your progress? It’s easy for the doctor to have certain expectations, but you are the one who needs to be satisfied. For what it’s worth, I think it’s amazing what you’ve done, and how much work you’ve put into living your life differently.

    I think back to some of your blog entries, to your struggles, to your joys, and I think to myself, “So much over such a short time!”

    And jeez, look how you are MOVING!!! That’s a tremendous step.

    I’m going on an internet detox, so I won’t be commenting here very often. Know that you’re in my thoughts, and I’m cheering you onwards.


  3. Mary Stella says:

    Everyone, thanks for the thoughtful and supportive comments. Susie, you’re winning, day by day. Hold onto that. Skye, you’re so right that maintaining my awareness is important. It keeps me from knotting myself up. Marti, the surgeon just looks at the BMI which doesn’t take into account that I’ve replaced a lot of the fat with muscle. My new scale helps me track that too, however, and that helps me when I get discouraged by slower losing of overall pounds.

    Paula! Great to see you. Funny timing since I was watching my Phillies lose to the Cardinals while I typed this. Your point is valid about the physician having his expectations. I think that a couple of other things might be at play, like the fact that there’s an ongoing research study. I agreed to participate when I signed up for the surgery. Also, I bet that there are patients who come as far as I have, are incredibly happy, and then decide that they’ve done enough. So, he wants us to keep pushing forward until we reach our goal weight.

    I feel much better and more focused tonight after reading your comments, reflecting more on the conversation with my boss, and having a great “catch up” phone call with my sister-in-law.

    Tonight I’m happy with my progress, encouraged by the way that I’m managing my weight, fitness activities, and life changes, and determined to press on. I’m also determined to not let someone else’s opinions or expectations make me feel bad, like I’m not achieving well enough!

  4. Paula says:

    Been reading your blog for a while but this is the first time I felt it necessary to comment. And this might apply to Kipper’s comment as well.

    Congratulations on all the progress you’ve made, but honestly it wouldn’t matter if it was 100 pounds or just one. You did it and you did it for yourself, not anyone else. So get up and happy dance your tushies off.

    That being said.

    Been surrounded by a whole battallion of doctors lately; skipping all the pop-psycho babble, and I know better, on the early follow up visits I found myself wanting to be better, not just for my own health but to justify all their hard work.

    Part of that thinking is all on me, like I said, I know better. Not saying this applies to your particular physicians, but maybe, just maybe because we’re all human. they are basing their skill and worth as a surgeon on a set of expectations they have in their heads and not being your number one cheerleader for all your accomplishments.

    Ok, wrapping up the rambling, the bullet point is, celebrate any and all progress.

  5. So, does it count that, along with all of the weight you’ve lost, you’ve gained SO much more muscle? Muscle weighs more than fat; is there anyway to separate the two issues for a more realistic look at what weight was lost?
    By the way, 30lbs is pretty significant, I’m glad you were able to sort that out! Give yourself a pat on the back!!! ❤

  6. Skye says:

    I’m so glad that you and your boss had the enlightening moment at the same time and could discuss it. I think it’s great that you realize you’ve been running yourself into the ground to please someone else rather than just yourself and that you need to really examine your expectations.

    You are doing wonderfully. You are working hard. You are staying on track with your eating plan. You exercise hard and regularly. And you manage to not only keep a hold on your compulsion, but you stay Aware of all of this most of the time. It’s when you lose that awareness or forget that you get all tied up in knots for not losing this much more or that much more. You are doing the best that you can and that is enough.

    You are winning.

  7. kipper43 says:

    I know exactly how you feel and what you are going through. I beat myself up for losing only 98 lbs at 6 month mark, I tried really hard the week before to get to 100. What happened I gained 3 pounds first time. It has taken me two weeks to loose that. My last doctor visit he said I should have list more. I know he wi say the same thing this time. It is hard staying in track, I am not eating anything wrong, just too much and not enough exercise. I am back on track but weary of dr visit thank god I have a group meeting two days later they always help.
    You are working through this, you have come a long way and never going back, so the scale is slower moving down stay focused. You feel so much better and can move and have more energy. Channel the energy positively . We will win this battle and war!

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