A letter to my fat self!

Here I am half way through the week of a new diet and yet again I have fallen at the first hurdle. I was stressed yesterday so struggled to stay on track and then today I am bloated and have bad water retention. This happens each time and I get sad and then eat even more. I am so fed up of being 3 stone overweight but I just can’t seem to keep the momentum going of losing weight! Hubby suggested that I start with apologising to myself about the weight so I thought I would try writing a letter to myself like I did before so here goes:

Dear Jen,

My first instinct is just to tell you to stop eating through your emotions and problems but I know it isn’t that simple so I won’t. I know it annoys you so much when other people say that and then they tell you to stop making excuses. But I understand your bad relationship with food. I know that it’s not really food to you. It is a reward for a hard week at work, a way to relax in an evening, a way to be sociable with your friends, family and husband, a way to suppress those horrible emotions, and most importantly a way to make your stomach feel better. I know you can’t tolerate the feeling of being hungry at all as it makes you feel so rough and eating helps. Eating little and often is the key but I know you struggle to come up with what food to eat and so just eat junk or don’t eat at all and feel ill. But it’s ok to feel like that, don’t beat yourself up about it.

I know you are finding it hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Whenever you lose a big amount you then fall down and it all comes back on. Trying to imagine being skinny, with a baby and a house is just the hardest thing ever. If you were going to fall pregnant then it would have happened already surely? But you need to stop thinking like that. You need to realise that losing weight is what is going to help you have a baby and make you a happier and healthier person. I don’t know what I can do to help you see that. It is the same with the safety seeking behaviours, you need to realise that stopping doing those will help in the long run. But they both feel like such huge tasks that it is easier for you to just not do them and try and carry on with the way things are. It is easier to look for other things to do, or to sit in front of the telly stuffing your face than it is to get up and do the things that are going to help you. I know that you feel stuck where you are. Stuck without a baby. Stuck being fat. Stuck in living in a flat for the rest of your life instead of having a nice house with a garden. Just stuck in general. I know your husband feels the same way to. Everything that you want is out of your reach.

You need to realise that you don’t have to eat like food is going out of fashion. Just because you have decided that you aren’t going to diet on one day, it doesn’t mean you have to eat everything in sight. It isn’t the last time you are going to eat it! You also need to realise when you are really hungry and when you are just craving something nice. You need to learn when you are full up as binge eating is just making you fat and ill.

Just keep focusing on those reasons why you want to lose weight and why eating those yummy looking things are just not worth it in the long run. You’ve got this. We’ve got this.

Love, your internal thin girl xx

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I’m in charge 

I realised this morning that I have been struggling with my desire for control recently. Not to the point where it has affected my mental health but I have definitely been feeling it. I want a baby so much and it frustrates me that there is nothing I can do to control that. No matter how hard I try to will myself pregnant, it will happen when it happens. In fact, trying that hard makes it less likely to succeed. But it goes so against my nature to ‘just let it happen’. So when I thought about getting a house it felt like something that I could control. I changed my job (as I have said before) and am on probation for six months so we have had to take a break from trying for a baby. This seemed like such the perfect opportunity to look for a house as we could buy a house and move in and then have the baby there. I have been worried that I would be stuck in a two bed flat for years and years so tried to control that situation. If I got a house first then I would be all set for when my magical two babies arrive. But of course, I may never have children and I could be in a home that I am not happy with without those children. I need to just let these things happen in life and use my secondary control to cope with them. Rather than worrying about housing etc. perhaps I should concentrate on something that I should be able to control which is my eating habits and exercising? I need to stop blaming external factors as the reason I don’t do these things and just do them. 
I’m annoyed at myself for slipping back into my bad ways of thinking but I have caught myself before it got too bad. Perhaps that is what is holding me back as well? I need to believe in myself, believe I can cope and believe I can achieve everything I want in life even if it doesn’t go exactly the way I have planed it. 

What is holding me back?

I’m lacking faith in myself. That’s the issue. I don’t believe I can live without doing those safety seeking behaviours. I don’t believe I can cope with the anxiety and uncomfortable feelings. I don’t believe I can lose weight and get fit. I don’t believe I will ever have a baby as I don’t believe I will fall pregnant. I don’t believe I know what I’m doing at work. This is not thriving like I should be. I don’t know why I can’t get over this last bit. I guess it’s because every time I try to stop the safety seeking behaviours I feel so uncomfortable that I quite straight away or I don’t even get as far as not washing my hands etc. What is holding me back? Laziness?

Laziness – is there such a thing?

I once read an article that says there is no such thing as laziness. If you come across as lazy, there is usually a reason why you are avoiding something. I have been known for most of my life as having an excuse for everything, but what deep down is the reason why I don’t do the things that I know are best for me?

Pretty much anything that takes me out of my comfort zone makes me procrastinate and find thousands of reasons as to why I can’t do it. This never affects me at work, (where I thrive on a challenge) but when it comes to doing something that will make my life better (such as exercise!), I just shy away from it. If I don’t get instant rewards and gratification then I will avoid doing the task required, or at least not carry on if I ever manage to actually get started. Take losing weight for instance, I have a really good week and only lose 2lb. For me, I struggle to see that as a good thing because my stomach is still larger than I want it to be or my trousers are still too tight. So instead of getting the fight in me to carry on, I take the flight option and run away from the task. Whilst I know there is a reward in the long run, if at the time the reward seems low and there appears to be a low risk to my life if I don’t do it, then I simply won’t do it. I struggle to see the reward as it is far in the future and it’s a difficult challenge so I just don’t do it. At work I get the satisfaction of having completed something difficult and, at my current job, the gratification of my boss and my colleagues. But the only person who would be grateful if I lost weight is myself. The only person who loses out if I don’t, is me. Same with challenging the black and white thinking and working through the avoidance and safety seeking behaviour list. I am the only one who will benefit and I don’t praise myself for doing the little things. (side thought – perhaps I should allow myself a reward like a spa day or something once I achieve a certain weight or a certain number of things off the list?).

Perfectionism is a big part of it too. I don’t want to purposely make myself feel uncomfortable. I want to feel perfect all the time, in fact my anxiety disorder and my life has been about making sure I feel perfect. I know in the long run it will make my life better but from this side of things, it all just seems difficult and scary. Doing these things I am not very good at means risking failing. They are a huge task to me and so why would I risk doing something that could make me fail when I could do something else instead? But then I am not being perfect by not doing it which makes me miserable!

There are some tasks that I (and everyone else) just don’t want to do. Things like cleaning the toilet or doing the washing up. But you do it because otherwise it just won’t get done. But when you have someone around who will do those things if you don’t, (in my case my husband), then you are never going to do them! I tell my husband this all the time. If I have done some cooking or something and haven’t done the washing up straight away, I will get round to doing it as there is no way I am going to leave it there. But he gets impatient and so huffs and then does it for me. I know he thinks he is helping but he is also the person who gets annoyed that I don’t do it and calls me lazy. I am never going to be the type who gets up and does chores straight away but I will do it if I have to!

The final reason that contributes to my ‘laziness’ is just being so damn tired. Everyone has every day struggles that make them tired but add to that the constant battle to try and control everything and you have a sleeping machine! My husband says I am lazy because I struggle to get up in the morning. But honestly I am in such a deep sleep that I don’t hear alarms and it takes me nearly an hour to wake up! It’s not because I am lazy, it is because I am so tired all the time (even when I go to bed early), that when I am finally asleep, it’s hard to wake me.

What are your thoughts on laziness? I think it is a term used to describe a lot of other things going on that make you give up the fight. I’m not trying to make excuses for the fact that I don’t do those things, I just know that if I treat the real issue rather than the symptom (being lazy) I will get better. I think labeling myself as lazy is also very external. Understanding the reasons I make myself lazy and doing something about them, is very internal.

Party season or vomitting season?

I wrote this in December but it didn’t post… grrr

It is this time of year when I can feel my anxiety starting to creep its way up on me. 

Those stupid adverts don’t help either where they say about germs being spread on doorknobs etc. 

With stomach ache at this time of year anyway I can’t help but keep wondering if I have the bug as well even though I know it is my IBS and the worry making it happen! I think I can control my desire for control by knowing that eating healthy and washing my hands before eat is going to give me a strong immune system but also that this is something that I can’t control but I will have the strength to deal with it if it happens. Anticaptory anxiety is much worse than the actual thing anyway. But I can’t help having the thoughts that I have avoided it for so long because I antibac my hands etc. 

I think it is quite normal to think that every twitch etc. in your stomach is a bug when you know it is going round. Charlene told me that as her daughter has been sick, every time she gets a feeling in her stomach she stops and thinks ‘uh oh’. But then it goes and she gets on with things. She doesn’t sit there worrying that it might happen and what she can do to stop it. That is the difference. 

If I am sick I can cope. There is no point trying to control the uncontrollable. 

Trying to conceive!

Trying to conceive (TTC) is an emets nightmare. Or at least a recovering emets nightmare. Not because of the fear that I might get morning sickness. It surprises me but since completing Thrive that doesn’t faze me that much. Today I felt a bit sick and I just told myself to get on with things and I did. Just like a non-emet would. Not it isn’t the feeling but that is the nightmare but the fact that you can’t control anything about it! Not when it happens, not what gender your baby will be, not what effects your hormones are going to have on you. Nothing!

Suddenly I feel like my body is being controlled by my hormones. Yes this is true but I mean like I have no control over anything! My face is covered in spots and it feels like I can’t do anything about it. Obviously I could if I wanted to. I could take the contraceptive pill which would clear my skin right up but I have chosen to come off it so I can have a baby. But that hasn’t happened yet and it has been nine months so far! Yet something else that I can’t control. My husband and I can only do so much (if you know what I mean!) and even that doesn’t guarantee anything. There is something stupid like a 25% chance each month and it decreases with age. I will be 31 soon! I just fail to see how this month or the next will be any different from the nine that have already gone before. What will make those different? I get that it is all down to being in the right time at the right place and the boys and girl growing into a baby but with all the talk about luck and mumbo jumbo of homeopathy around, it is easy to feel down about it without that blanket. I can feel my internal locus of control wavering as I try to understand why it hasn’t happened yet and how I can ‘make’ it happen this month. Once again I searching for a way to control the uncontrollable. Sound familiar? That is exactly what Emet is all about. Trying to control every aspect of your life because the one thing you really want can’t be controlled. I am trying to protect myself from failure and stress by doing everything I can to avoid that which only makes me more stressed which in turn doesn’t help me get pregnant! With an external locus of control and a high desire for control you feel the need to control every single aspect of your life as you try to get control of things that you believe you can’t. I hope that makes sense! Take for example germs on a door handle. My black and white thinking tells me there is definitely germs on the door handle to the library because the public use it. They will all be bad germs and will definitely transfer to my hand when I touch it and I will get sick. I can tell myself that some of the germs on the door handle may be good bacteria but that won’t make me believe it. I can tell myself that there may not be any bad bacteria on the door handle but that won’t make me believe it. I can tell myself that those germs may not transfer to my hand but I won’t believe it. I can tell myself that even if those germs are there and do transfer to my hand, it doesn’t mean I won’t get sick but it still won’t make me believe it. That is black and white thinking and is a particularly bad way of thinking when you have a strong desire for control.

When it comes to trying for a baby I just think that I would have been pregnant by now if I was going to be. There is nothing I can do to change the outcome. The positive mental attitude isn’t there and I struggle to remember that having that will have an impact on whether or not we do conceive. Everyone tells you that it is when you stop thinking about it and relax that it happens and I 100% believe that. If I could just tell my desire for control this and it would make life a lot easier! Lol

Anyway that is a quick rant about trying to conceive when you are an emet or recovering emet. Or a control freak as I have been calling myself! Maybe that isn’t the right terms as freak has many bad connotations to it. I need to think of another term. I wouldn’t call myself an emet anymore as this isn’t about being sick and never was. I wouldn’t say I have OCD either really as the not touching the door handle is all about control. I guess it doesn’t need a label (again another Emet trait, trying to tie everything up in a nice little bow!), but I must stop using the word freak!

Chance, luck or fortune

As part of the Thrive programme there are 30 locus of control questions that show you if you have an internal or external locus of control. You then need to work through the ones that were external and turn them into internal responses. One of the questions involves the belief in luck or fortune.

For me it seemed obvious that some people were lucky and others were not. Surely it had to be luck that meant you would win the lottery or bad luck if you got into an accident? But that was just my human nature trying to explain something that couldn’t be explained. You see luck and fortune are just man-made concepts. We have a need to explain why something happened (this is particularly true of Emets). Everything has to fit nicely in a little box , something can’t simply just happen. But, things just have to go one way or the other. You will either win the lottery or you won’t; you will either fall down the stairs and break your ankle or you won’t. There is no supernatural reason behind it. This is what chance is but you could also think about it in term of probability or odds.  What are the odds that you would fall down the stairs? If you really looked at it there would be many factors affecting the odds but in simple terms, there is a 50% chance that you will fall down the stairs. In other words, you will either fall down or you won’t!

Another way of looking at luck is that it’s something we create for ourselves. ‘Luck is preparation meets opportunity.’ If you believe that you are lucky then you are more likely to go out looking for opportunities that would make you seem lucky. For example, if you believed that you were going to win competitions because you were lucky, then you are going to actively enter competitions believing your ‘luck’ will make you win. But all this is doing is increasing the chances that you will win. If you believe that you are never going to win anything, you won’t enter the competitions. This will mean you won’t win and that will reinforce the idea that you are unlucky.

Your belief in whether you are lucky or not can also affect other people’s reactions to you. So if you believed that you were lucky and would get any job that you had an interview for, you will come across as confident and this will give the interviewer confidence in you. But if you believe that you are unlucky and would need a miracle to get the job then you will come across as confident, you won’t get the job and that will reinforce your idea that you are unlucky.

So, to answer the Thrive question, ‘do I believe in Luck?’  The answer would be no. It is just a matter of how you perceive chance and how you process what happens to you in your life.