Sunday marked the one year anniversary of one of the most emotionally-exhausting, uncomfortable, but also honest and amazing, days of my life. The day my family had my "Fat Intervention". To commemorate the passing of a year, I had the...somewhat misguided...idea to interview my family about it. I asked them to be completely honest - and I think they were - and I appreciate it. It wasn't entirely pleasant to read everything, but it was an entirely unpleasant experience - so that seems about right.
Below are the questions I asked them. I didn't know exactly what I was going to do with their responses - but I decided I would do a summation of the four of them - parents and two sisters - rather than listing their actual responses.
Q: How did it all get started? Who brought it up? Please share details from prior to FI - meetings, conversations, etc.
It sounds like my sister Wendy got the ball rolling. The responses ranged from as far back as 10 years ago. I heard about people, places and things that brought my extreme weight to issue. From uncles, a grandpa, furniture, uncomfortable conversations about my limitations, etc. The one constant was that it appeared everyone was concerned about my weight. The other constant was the fact that I was a raging bitch. Whether it was directly, or indirectly, caused by my weight - it was a fact. I was much more grating than any person needs to be. I was unbearable to work with.
I can remember, specifically, reacting in entirely ridiculous rages when I felt uncomfortable with anything relating to my size or lack of being in shape. Because of my size, and my extremely unhealthy lifestyle, even short walks would be too much for me. I couldn't, and still can't, fit into a lot of public seating. I don't know what I was hoping to accomplish by acting like a complete bitch - but that was my reaction on more than one occasion. For anyone involved in those instances, I apologize. I am certain anyone around me at the time was wondering what the hell just happened. It was just a really unhealthy girl, reacting to the fact that her life wasn't what she wanted it to be.
If only I could have focused that crazy, insane rage on the treadmill....
If only I could have focused that crazy, insane rage on the treadmill....
Q: Biggest concern(s) prior to FI?
I think the standard concern - beyond my health, and the fact that I wasn't going to make it much longer doing what I was doing - was that I'd be hurt or angry. Completely legitimate concerns. I mean, who wants to have their family sit them down and tell them they are certain you'll drop dead in 2 minutes because you are so unhealthy? I can't think of a person.
My weight had been a topic of discussion before...and I had lost a decent amount of weight about 6 years before...but it came back, and then some. It is hard to talk about uncomfortable topics. It is even harder to gauge how the person you are intervening with will react. I have heard there were tears prior to our meeting. There was concern that I wouldn't talk to them, again. But I can honestly say - there isn't a part of me that wishes they hadn't done it.
Q: What is the biggest change you have noticed about me?
Overwhelmingly - happiness was the top answer. They also mentioned:taking more pride in myself, more open (no joke!), more easy-going (sometimes....), hair and skin look better.
Now, this is not to say that I am nothing but rainbows and butterflies these days - I still have moments of being a crank - but I am hoping they are becoming less frequent. I think writing this blog, and making a choice to be open and honest about what I am going through has helped tremendously. I think a lot of the "rage", or "edge" as my sister called it, was brought on by trying to keep everything in. Now it is out there! My ass doesn't fit in those chairs! Before I would just get mad if we'd get somewhere with chairs that caused a problem, rather than using my words and being like: this caboose needs more room!
I'm trying to grow emotionally while I shrink physically...
Q: What change do you think still needs to happen?
This is where things were divided a little bit. A couple of them recognize what I have done, and see that - although I may have moments of not being 100% committed - I am still committed. I haven't completely given up, and gone completely off the rails.
The other two are more focused on the numbers. The pounds I've lost, the calories I eat, the inches around my ass. It is understandable. A number of the things I want to be able to do, and a lot of the things I edited out of my life, are based on my size. I tried to take all of this as a positive - that they care about me and love me and want me to be able to get everything out of this life that I can - instead of taking it as another example of how I have once again failed to be the person they want me to be.
Trying to lose weight, and get healthy, is an extremely personal thing. Every person reacts differently. There are those with iron will power who decide one day that they are going to lose weight, and just do it. They never look back, they never gain the weight back - they don't take a hiatus. They make a decision to do it, and it is done.
Then there are people like me. People who have tried, and failed. And tried again, and failed. And repeat that cycle about a thousand times. Then one day, something clicks. They know they want to improve their quality of life, and they work at it. And sometimes they work harder than others. And sometimes they seem like they're backtracking. They gain a few pounds back. They don't work out as much. They aren't as dedicated. But before they let that glimpse of a new/better life completely fade away, they pull it back together.
And that is where this time is different. In the past I would have gained back 20 pounds, and completely stopped. (It probably also wouldn't have taken me 6 months to gain that weight back - I would have done it in a month.) I would have given up on myself, as I have a hundred times before. But I didn't. I am now back to my lowest weight since leaving FC, and I am back on track. May I have more times where I completely stall out? Yes. Could I have lost more weight by now? Definitely. Am I proud of the fact that I am stronger than I have been in a long time, and am back down to a total of 60 pounds lost? Absolutely. Am I going to continue to lose weight, and shrink the size of my posterior until I can sit anywhere I want, and do anything I want? Without a doubt....eventually.
Q: How have your lives changed, if at all, because of me & FC?
For my parents - they seem to be happy that I am happier, and my mom doesn't have the constant fear that I am going to have a heart attack or stroke. For one of my sisters - our relationship dynamic has changed. I am capable of being involved in her life in a more well-rounded way. I have the energy and self-worth now to be a bigger and better part of her life, and the life of her kids. The other sister has found herself worrying about me, and my actions, more than she did before - because we have also gotten closer.
All of these are completely legitimate, and I do feel the same. I think, through them having to sit me down and have this really uncomfortable meeting, we are all able to be more honest with each other. I love that. And we've all heard that you have to take care of yourself before you can take care of others, and it is true. I think I am a better daughter, sister and aunt now than I was a year ago.
Q: What did you think would change, that hasn't?
My mom is worried about a job for me - legitimately so. Aside from the weight a couple of them thought I'd lose, and haven't - it doesn't sound like there's much. *wipes brow, relieved*
Q: If you could go back, would you do anything differently?
As I'm sure you can guess - they all would have done it sooner. I think any time someone makes a positive change in their life the first reaction is to second-guess the timing. "Of course we should have done it sooner! I could have felt this great 2, 5, 10, 20 years ago!" But this world is about timing. Things happen, when they happen, for a reason.
I want to thank my family for indulging me, and answering these questions honestly. I hope my "summaries" were a reasonable representation, and didn't piss anyone off. =) And don't worry - I won't be asking questions at the 2 year anniversary. I have learned that this scab is probably better left unpicked.