From what I can piece together after many conversations with friends and family about this experience is that I am a woman who has spent over 22 years either overweight or obese - I literally don't recognize myself. Sometimes I look in the mirror and I only see the flaws, no matter how hard I try to appreciate all of the work I've done. Those tend to be the days I either go into hiding and don't talk to anyone - or they're the days I reach out for help from others. It all depends on how quickly I can catch on to my patterns and correct them before they continue to reinforce my bad habits. I'll never be an expert or perfect at anything at all, but I really enjoy all of the benefits I have received as a reward for what I think of as "good behavior".
I'm getting a little more into my habits and thought processes today, so bear with me if you're into this kind of stuff.
I often go back and read a book called Transactional Analysis Made Simple by Claude Steiner that my grandma Wilma gave to me several years ago. The book is written in a textbook style with diagrams and stories to give examples of various concepts. This book is basically saying that our egos are split into three ego states: the child, the adult, and the parent. When I started thinking about my various moods throughout any given day, I wondered what ego state was responsible for my current mood. I really started paying attention to my most and least favorite parts of the day.
High points to me included things like singing, walking outside, my husband, my dogs, music, writing, yoga, video games, etc. Knowing these things helps me to be mindful and make time for the things that make me happy. If I know I have free time, I try to relax and "do nothing" for a while so that I can recharge a bit before jumping into a new task. If I take these breaks as well as take time to do activities I enjoy, I am calmer and less anxious on those days.
My least favorite parts of the day would include things like encountering bad drivers, waiting, electronics, dirty housework, etc. Some things are just unavoidable - like, I can't get to all of my errands without leaving the house at this point, so I have to drive or be in a car nearly every day. So, I started trying to come up with ways to make myself less anxious on the road, like driving the speed limit or less. By not speeding, I do not feel triggered into thinking I'm in a hurry, and thus more irritable at others when they may hinder my speed. I also practice relaxing my body as much as I can while driving or as a passenger. Turns out that a lot of drunk people don't get as hurt in car accidents because their bodies stay limp through an accident, whereas sober folk often attempt to block pain by tensing up and even putting their limbs out to protect the body instinctively. I actually think the yoga I've been doing for the past 3 months or so has been helping me practice releasing muscles that aren't needed to perform an activity. For example, while I'm driving I don't need to be tensing up my shoulders and neck. I end up with less neck and jaw pain, as well as headaches.
What I get out of all of this is an ability to look at my behaviors and assign them as the child Alicia, or I call her my childhood nickname "Peasha" (does the PuzzlePea name make a little more sense to some of you?), the adult, which is just Alicia. Or the parent, which I will call "Mamalicia". When I'm getting pissed off because someone is merging onto an interstate while texting, I am habitually inclined to let Peasha get the best of me and throw a little tantrum. Alicia isn't interested in dying in a car accident, so she wants to tell Peasha to knock it off and stop being a baby. However, Mamalicia knows that Alicia is only panicking and doesn't know how to stop Peasha from having current control of the situation. Peasha being in control, while focusing on throwing a tantrum, isn't the best ego state to be in while operating a car. She will miss or have a much slower reaction rate to any potential danger ahead, just as the texting driver would. So, Mamalicia steps in and we have a conversation between the three. I tell Peasha that I am sorry she is upset by the bad drivers, and that I agree they do suck, but reality says that it is inevitable that I interact with others on the road and maybe some day I'll even be in an accident, but we can lower the odds of that happening if we let Mamalicia drive. She can take time to relax, breathe, drive slowly, and have the fastest reaction time possible.
This kind of method to dealing with changing habits has really worked well for me. It is clear to me that if I keep going about my life in this manner, I may as well reach many of my life goals. My current active life goal is to be more mindful of the present, and to practice happiness and contentment.
Things that I am focusing on include positive and negative thoughts I have. I don't like it when I expect too much of myself too soon. I do like my home life. I don't like lingering on the one negative comment out of a thousand compliments. I like being a role model.
I'm collecting data at this point. Observing my behavior and identifying patterns so that I may figure out the core of an issue. Just as I had to discover that Mamalicia is the best driver of my three egos, I must discover which ego state is currently at the helm, and which would be better suited for the task.
They're all equally important. When I go to a water park or Valleyfair, Alicia remembers to take some Bonine so that Peasha can go wild for an afternoon!
For the past couple of weeks I have also been trying to figure out ways to see myself the way that I am now. Not 160lb Peasha, or 260lb Alicia. This is someone I haven't met before. This is Mamalicia. She didn't even have a name until I started writing this blog. Giving Mamalicia the control over my health is the reason I got thin. I am shocked at how well I was able to stick to my guns and make this a lifestyle change, rather than attempting yet another "lose weight quick" scheme. A year IS quick, in my opinion. It's like, holy crap, kids are starting school already... summer is freekin' over in a few weeks. It all goes by quickly because I'm doing stuff. But I really enjoy doing stuff and taking the time to take care of myself every day. It's like my husband said, time is going to go by whether or not we choose to do something. So I'm choosing do something.
This something is going to involve looking at myself in the mirror every day and finding something about my body that do I like, and starting to acknowledge and accept the parts that I don't. It may take me months or years, but damn it, I love future me. She deserves to experience happiness beyond the comprehension of my present self. Afterall, if I didn't think about future me last year, I wouldn't be this woman now.
I may not look fierce, but I sure feel like today after cleaning and organizing the entire garage today! Strong like BULL!!