Wednesday, December 30

What do you want your life to look like?

**I apologize in advance (and am warning you) - this is going to be a long, deep post.**

As a self-pay patient, I was not required to do the psych eval before surgery, but because I am determined to be successful, and because I am a head case, I decided I should do therapy while going on this journey. My first appt was two days before my surgery, and it was your typical "get to know your therapist and let them get to know your history" appt.

However, we did touch on one of the things that I think has contributed to my weight issue - my career. Well, really, my lack there of. I currently work for a non-profit doing communications/PR/marketing. I'm woefully underemployed, seriously bored, and even more seriously and woefully underpaid.

To back up a bit, I've pretty much always excelled at anything I've tried. Not to be braggy, but I was always the head of the class, the leader, in charge, first place. Valedictorian, national merit scholar, magna cum laude in college, graduate assistantship for grad school, magna cum laude for grad school, GREAT job working for Accenture right out of grad school. And I never really studied much or worked that hard. It just kind of happened for me. And as a result, I never learned how to work hard or study.

Post-9/11, I got laid off. Five months later, I finally found a job working for a small non-profit. I LOVED what I did, but I was making less than half of what I had made before. And the job wasn't nearly as glamorous. No laptop. No travel. No company car. And so on. Suddenly, I wasn't the most successful among my friends. Suddenly, there was no career ladder for me to climb. For pretty much the first time in my life, I wasn't leading the pack. And while I was overweight at this point, it was nothing major. It was really at this point that I started packing on the weight.

Fast-forward about ten years, and I am still in virtually the same spot career-wise. New non-profit, new field, but pretty much the same - without a ladder to climb. And this has really bothered me for some time. A huge part of my identity and self-esteem has always been tied to being the leader, the smartest, the most successful. It's who I am - or perhaps I should say, who I was.

So last time, I left with this question to ponder, "What would a better job mean for me?" I've thought a lot about it and have been unable to really determine what it is. More money? Prestige? Success? I like all those, but they aren't quite what I am looking for.

OK, so today, we talked a bit about this when my therapist hit me with the question that about knocked me over:

What do you want your life to look like?

I had never really considered this. I felt like I had been slapped upside the head. You mean I get a say in what my life looks like?

I've not been able to stop thinking about this, and I doubt I will for the next few weeks.

This is the first time I've ever considered that maybe I don't want a high-powered job. Maybe I want to be making a difference at a non-profit while being able to be home with my family every night. Instead of feeling like I have no choice because I can't find a better job, maybe I am CHOOSING this job. Hmmmm, this is so monumental for me, I can't really put it into words.

What do I want my life to look like? How exciting to contemplate this! I get to decide! I'll definitely be writing more about this as I consider it. I'm sure I'll be boring you with it for a long time to come...

However, this question also relates to my weight loss journey. As I see it, I have two choices:

1. Diety - count calories, measure food, journal, work out at 5 am every day. Lose weight quickly. Be the poster child for lap-band. Have my surgeon rave about me and how I'm his most successful patient ever. Be exhausted every evening. Not enjoy meals with my family. Turn down invites to go out with friends. You get the picture.

2. Lifestyle - follow the band rules but don't consider any food off limits. Incorporate more activity into my family's daily lives. Lose weight slowly and steadily. Get to goal eventually, or not. Perhaps hover 15 lbs above goal forever. Enjoy meals with my family. Indulge occasionally.

I think I want my weight loss life to look like #2. But either way, I get to decide. Me. I am in charge. What a concept.

If you've made it this far, thanks for reading! The support of this online blog community is amazing.


  1. loved this post!
    I opt for #2 as well :)

    I count my protein more than calories :)

  2. I would go for number 2 every time: and since I think you are already successful in all ways you can only keep striving. xxx

  3. Amy, I am trying to find that balance too. I am really new at this and to start I began measuring, counting and journaling. However, after a while I noticed that I have that "diet" feeling and it started to get me down. And honestly we have been on a diet - a strict pre-op and post-op diet. And it sucks :) But it is over (or will be soon).

    I personally want this to be a lifestyle change and not a diet. Now that I am onto regular foods I decided to stop counting for a couple days and just live (still following the basic band ideas). I am now back to counting, but I feel much better.

    I think I am going to continue to mix it up (counting vs not). I want this to be a lifestyle, but doing a few days of measuring and journaling reminds me of the concepts. It also "resets" my idea of what my new serving sizes and calorie counts really look like.

    I haven't firmed it up yet, but I am thinking of doing at least 1 full week of journaling a month. Then maybe a couple days a week during my off weeks - if I think I need it. This way I am living lifestyle I really want, but I don't lose the reinforcement of the diet mindset.

    Hopefully, whatever choice you make you will feel great. If not you can always change your mind - and change it again and again as your life and needs change :)

  4. I go for #2 as well Amy! Sounds like you are beginning to see yourself the way you would like to see yourself long term & that is great.

    I haven't really been counting calories, but I do try to get in the right amount of protein. I too would rather lose more slowly & enjoy what I am eating than lose really fast & feel deprived!

    Happy New Year!!


  5. excellent post... i am where you are right now with #2. but i do like TJs compromise. in the short time i have "known" you i think it is interesting how you have changed. even contemplating #2 is a change for you in my eyes. don't forget you are the girl who was soooooooooo strict on her extra long pre and post-op eating plans. you are the girl who prided herself here many times on "following the rules". congrats on the swift that will probably help you be the most successful!

    i have also been going thru some contemplation about what i want to be when i grow-up/am healthy.... i am at that high powered job you once had. since i am a solo-parent/single income house i have been making changes and plans slowly so i can eventually leave and do something for substainial at what will be most likely half the money. i bought my new (used) car in cash to eliminate a car payment for example.

    we have a long journey ahead of us and i am glad we are doing it together!

  6. Yep, an excellent post-- and Amy: we are definitely birds of a feather for sure.
    I am so glad you're in therapy to talk all of this through (and with us on the blogs) as you lose weight. Because I am already realizing this isn't really about weight-- the weight is a symptom of some deep unhappiness, even if life is generally happy on the outside.
    I agree with 1.5 as a reasonable compromise, knowing you-- looking for a way to get the weight loss going WHILE making these choices part of your lifestyle would be idea.

    I wish you the best of everything in 2010 and consider you a 'soul' mate in some ways. Cheers to you for your progress so far and looking forward to joining you in 2010.

  7. Isn't it something to realize you can choose how you want to live your life?!?! Good luck with this tough decision, I made a similar one a few years ago when I decided to stay home with my twins. Sometimes it's really hard (less money, which often leads to more stress, less "me" time) but the benefits outweigh those things in the end.

    I have also opted for #2. The great thing is that I can do this with the band. Previously I haven't been able to eat "normally" because it was such a slippery slope for me, and before I know it I'd be off my diet wagon. I've found that this doesn't happen with the band. Even when I want to induldge I can't over-do it too much!

  8. Love this post. I also felt that I had only two ways to handle this journey. One was to be the best band patient ever and the other was to do it slow (the way they told me I should do it).

    I jumped in thinking I was going to be Type the days have passed (20 days post op), I think I may fail as a Type 1. I am coming to grips with the fact that I do have a choice and I can do this as a Type 2!