Being transparent and honest, and writing a blog is a two sided coin. My last post had several folks concerned. I even purposely did not post on Facebook that I had a new entry. I just didn’t want to appear that I was milking sympathy, and to be honest, I was a bit ashamed. I remember hitting ‘publish’ thinking maybe I should not post it. I’ll end up with people on my doorstep that what to fix me. But I am glad I did.
Sean called me, (the dear friend I co-facilitate the weight loss group with) offering a generous offer. He said he would take over the group for the next 8 weeks alone, so I could just be a member and get all my wheels back on track. My defensive response was, “Oh, so you and Coach Gerri have been talking about me.” I was not really being as snarky as it seems. but being needy, and weak and having friends rally around trying to think what to do with me, feels weak. It threatened the few things in my life I still have control over. But it was that very control that was so self distructive. It is so hard to be a leader and still save myself.
I had this same sort of struggle 20 years ago while I was marketing tool for Richard Simmons products. I specifically remember the morning of January 1 of 1998. I was in Philadelphia getting ready to go on QVC with Richard that morning. I had been on New Years Eve the night before on live TV celebrating the new year pitching his products. It was glorious, I was that moments “Golden Child, in that bizarre world of Richard Simmons. My friends and family were watching me on live television all over the country, there were friends, fans and staff of Richard Simmons all over the place, and I was the star (only in my own mind of course) The pressure was enormous, and I am so ashamed, I did not handle it well. I went to my room about 2 AM, and had a deep craving to binge eat. I had been at at party right after the show with all the staff and friends of Richards and there was plenty of healthy food, but I never ate a thing. I never binge in front of people. When I got to the room, I binged on all the snack food in the mini bar fridge. QVC and Richard’s marketing company were footing the bill, but I can only imagine what the cost was. That mini-bar snack food is very pricy. I went to bed in a fog, and woke up the next day in a fog with wrappers strung around the room. I had to get all dolled up to be on the air again by 9:00 AM. I felt like such a failure and hypocrite. I had only gained back less than 10 pounds of the 200 I lost, but it may as well have been the whole 200. I knew deep within, I was spiraling, and I had to keep my secret, because too many people depended on me for inspiration. The pressure was enormous! I couldn’t break free from my shame to ask for help. Today is different, when I seen I may be in trouble I catch it before it becomes too self destructive.
I have put in place an extra amount of support, and surrendered to doing what I can instead of what I should. It’s no secret that exercise or just movement is one of my biggest struggles. So I have decided to walk around the local grocery store 3 times a week. I have not been in a grocery store in at least 7 years. My groceries get delivered. My friend Pat and I went there and is all I could do is walk up and down the produce isle at first. I was kinda sad I couldn’t do more. But my friend Jordan, who has lost over 160 pounds assured me my stamina will come back quickly. So I will be walking again tomorrow. I have an exercise ‘thingy’ my friend Pat gave me to use between the walks at the grocery store. The bonus is, the store has a coffee shop and I get a cup of coffee and a little socializing afterwards.
I believe I have a small degree of Agoraphobia, Fear of Leaving the House. I did not want to admit it to myself, let alone my friends, but as I got fatter and fatter and never left home, when I did make an attempt it became harder and harder to go out. Then the mobility became an issue, and a deep fear set in. My brain thinks of things you could not possibly imagine. Being fat in a skinny world is hard enough socially, but physically is beyond explanation. Chairs with arms, the walk up to someones home, across a parking lot, steps, being winded, the pain in my whole body, and knowing if something happened to me like a fall, I could badly hurt myself. And then there is the fact that I have no living relatives who care to be part of my life makes me even less apt to venture out or take a risk. This also makes me feel unloveable, and not worth much. So, laying in bed watching TV was the only activity I had for years. And of course binge eating. It was the only thing that did not give me immediate pain, but the after effect left me with a pain so deep, I couldn’t save myself.
I am rising above all of this. It is no surprise losing over 300 pounds were going to have some bumps in the road. But I’m doing it! The humility and shame have been the hardest part to break through. But I believe I am not alone. Many of you reading this may be in the same place I was in April 2015, 20 months ago. If you can identify with any of what I am saying, the first thing you need to do is complete honesty and transparency. I am talking about a bare naked honesty that will have you shaking in your boots. The biggest part of this kind of honesty is being honest with yourself. Shining light on our flaws, fears and shame disintegrates it. And you may find out in the process that your situation is not as unusual as you think. There are many of us.