Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Quick mirror check

Having struggled with food issues for years, I’m no stranger to therapy. I’ve done both individual and group counseling and truly believe it has helped me change my life. After all, who couldn’t use an objective person to turn to for advice?

One thing I’ve learned in therapy that has really made an impression on me is the idea of the mirror.

You know how there are times you meet someone and you kind of instantly dislike that person? There’s no particular reason, but there’s something about that person that sparks a negative feeling.

Usually that person—or one of his or her personality traits—is a mirror into your feelings about yourself. What is it about this person you dislike? Is it something that you dislike in yourself? A characteristic you possess that you try to squelch? Maybe someone you fear you have the potential to become?

I’ve had some new insight into that mirror theory lately.

Several people—some friends, some just acquaintances—have started new diets lately. Many of these diets promise to make the person lose 1 to 2 pounds a day. Shakes and injections, special bars and pills. Whatever it takes.

And these diets are working. Good for them, right?

So why does it bother me so much to read about some of these people’s successes? I should be happy for them, no? They are becoming healthier. Losing weight, feeling better about themselves. It’s what I’ve been trying to do for a year and a half now.

Is it jealousy? Is it a superiority complex because I think I’ve done this the “right” way?

I think it goes back to that mirror. A hundred pounds ago, I would have done anything to be where I am now. I didn’t think it was possible. But I still would have tried—and I probably would have failed. In these people I see myself. Except they’re succeeding where I could not.

Please don’t misunderstand me. This is not a judgment about people who use different means to lose weight. This is a reflection of myself. I think part of this actually is a jealousy thing. I watch the weight fall off some of these people. They’re rapidly catching up to me. What took me a year is taking them mere months, and I get a little envious. My friend compared it to reading War and Peace versus reading the CliffsNotes. I guess I always have taken satisfaction in finishing a ginormously thick book.

At the same time, I would not have traded the perspective I have gained for anything in the world. I truly believe I have changed my life. And for me, because of my issues with food, I don’t think that would have been possible if I had done this any other way.

So congratulations to all of you who have made strides toward getting healthier, whether you’ve read the CliffsNotes or read the entire book.

I’ll just be over here analyzing my mirror.


Greg Willits said...

Hopefully this won't come off sounding snarky, but I'll be curious to see you in five years and to see the people who are succeeding on the shortcut diets. Who will still be thin and healthy in five years. My bet would be on Miss Anderson.

I've done my fair share of diet/exercise programs (P90X, Body for Life, and more) that provided fantastic results in just a few short months. But the most successful eating plans I've used are ones that were slow, deliberate, and realistic in their maintenance plans. You just can't live off of injections and protein bars forever, whereas you've learned how to genuinely take care of yourself.

Katie said...

Erika! Its me! Katie! girl on the phone! i miss you. been catching up on your blog this week. and i am so so proud of you! you look awesome. i gave up facebook for lent and just never went back! realized how time consuming and silly it can be. but maybe i'll go back one day, who knows.

anyhoo, i agree with Greg. those fad diets dont work. you are doing it the RIGHT way. and the way that will lead to long term lasting results. its all about a lifestyle change. diets simply dont work. you are doing a wonderful job. keep on keepin on! or keepin' off i should say! haha. :) you are beautiful inside and out and you are such an inspiration to so many.

love you

Anonymous said...

I have the hardest time not comparing myself to others in every aspect of myself, especially looks and accomplishments. How much happier would we all be if we could just compare ourselves to ourselves instead of each other.

Laurie said...

You have changed your lifestyle, making healthy habits a part of your existence. Changing your eating habits and incorporating an exercise plan into your life are such significant, PERMANENT learned behaviors, whereas injections, pills, and mail-ordered meal plans are temporary. I also agree with Greg... I wonder if the people on these plans will still be thinner 5 years from now? I bet YOU will not only BE thinner, but you will STAY thinner!

When I go to Weight Watchers meetings, and hear from all the lifetime members, the people who have lost 75, 100, 150 lbs and have KEPT IT OFF, I have no doubt that I, like you, am using the right plan! I have a feeling that you will always continue to track your points(even subconsciously), stay active, make healthy choices, and ultimately stay thinner for the rest of your life!!


katie said...

erika- it's katie again! call me!!! i have got to tell you something that happened recently involving the "girl on the phone" incident 10 years ago! its crazy!!


please call me when you can!

CD said...

You're doing it the right way, Erika - keep it up - you have made so many changes - on the outside and in - like Greg, up there, said - where will they be in 5 years? I wish them nothing but the best - however, the statistics show that if you do it the natural way (eating healthier and exercising more), you'll be more likely to have made a LIFESTYLE change - they can't stay on their pills forever - but you have made some forever changes - Keep it up, my friend!

Anonymous said...

sometimes, when reading you post, it amazes me that you are so honest and open on how you feel. I feel the same way you do on a couple of your posts. I can defintiely relate.I am scared of how people will judge me if i open up like you and tell them what i'm feeling inside. I hope to get to a point in my life to be so open. I've had so much hurt and rejection in my life it's hard to trust people like that but you are an inspiration. Keep up the good work!