Thursday, October 1, 2009

Progress, not perfection

I have been in a really foul mood for the past few weeks. I wish I had one of those bright dispositions, but I was not blessed with enthusiasm of spirit. Having grown up with addicts, and been attracted to memoirs and resources for addiction, I know my self-criticizing sounds very similar to an alcoholic or drug abuser. I eat to quiet the self-criticizing person inside me. This person (let's call her Candice) will quiet down while I enjoy the numbness of feeling that food brings me. The moment I am finished, Candice will be in shock about the amount of food I just ate, and every single mistake I've made that day. Her favorite thing to say to me is, "I hate you." I tell myself this (uh, I guess Candice tells me this) every day. Forgetting to call someone is a hate-worthy offense. So is not doing laundry, not packing my bag the night before, or any of the many ways I am not perfect. Her disgust with me is overpowering, and compels me to quiet her the only way I know how - by eating.

The most common feeling I have toward myself is disgust. I am a perfectionist, and I feel overwhelmingly guilty when I don't get everything done perfectly the first time. When I think about my weight loss, I think about the slowness of this year rather than the fact that I've lost almost 40 pounds, 30 of which has been since January 2009! I worry about reaching my goal of 52 pounds by my birthday. I don't celebrate the fact that I am much smaller than I used to be, because in my mind that progress doesn't matter; only my failures matter.

A friend of mine - who has had a much more successful weight loss journey than I have had - told me his family had a saying. "Progress, not perfection." I'd really like to adopt this saying, but Candice is there laughing her ass off; I have been at the same weight for the last month or two. What progress?

I know I should celebrate my accomplishments, but I'm having a really hard time of smiling and being the passionate girl I used to be. Quieting Candice with food at least made me able to focus on other things than my self improvement. At least then, while I wasn't happier, I was having a lot more fun.

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