**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.