I've been thinking a lot over the past few days, and all of it is due to my wife and her wise council.
It's should come as no surprise to you, if you've been reading this blog, that I've been fairly discouraged and frustrated for a while now. I mean, this is a blog chronicling my efforts to lose weight and get into shape, but I've slowly gained weight since January. That is a hard thing to face.
"You need to give yourself grace," my wife told me. "It's been a really stressful year." And it had been. Between my test, and my grandmother's death, and some excitement involving family health, things have been really stressful. But I didn't want to hear it. I was frustrated, and I interpreted "give yourself grace" as "just accept that you're failing", and I got cranky and defensive and more stressed.
Clearly, this is not what my wife meant. And I think I've finally realized that. Because she explained it, and explained it, and explained it, and explained it, and finally I actually listened to her.
This has been a really rough seven months. Consistent exercise has been difficult. Stress eating has been a (poor) coping mechanism. And guilt and frustration over not hitting my goals, and fear that I'll backslide and gain weight and be back to 420 pounds again has become a very real thing. Real enough that I refused to really acknowledge the fact that, despite all the stress, I've only gained back 20 pounds.
That's only. Not "only". Things got rough, and while I maybe could have done better I also could have done a whole lot worse.
It isn't easy, letting go of the guilt and frustration. There's no easy fix. But the first step is acknowledging – really acknowledging – my successes and the reality of the situation I faced. The second, as my wife said, is to forgive myself and accept myself. After all, I wouldn't treat my son this way if he was struggling with something. So why should I treat myself that way?
I won't say I've mastered this. Not by a long shot. But I'm working on it.
Next, of course is… no, not "getting back on the wagon". I mean, yeah sure. I do need to do that. But, more importantly, I need to develop a stress management plan. Some of the stress from the last several months won't be going away any time soon, and I need a better plan than "eat and then yell at myself". That part is a work in progress.
Also, I need to get back on track. And I'm working on it. But I doubt it'll be really effective until I manage to fully forgive and accept myself, and then get that stress management plan together. But once I do? Well, once I do, losing weight will be easy.
I have an amazing wife. I should tell her that, more.