Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Success and Jealousy

When I started this weight loss blog, I did it for *me.* It didn't matter if anyone read it, whether they liked it or not, or what anyone thought of me. I didn't care if people told me I'd never succeed or that I was doing it all wrong. I was just here to write down what I was doing, how I felt, and what worked and didn't work for *me.* The readers and the support I got along the way was a wonderful surprise, and I love how caring people are. I love getting to know people through their comments and their blogs, too.

And I get emails, sometimes, telling me that reading my blog inspired someone to start losing weight themselves. That because I could do it, they felt they could do it too. And I feel so happy knowing that somewhere out there, a few people actually changed their lives for the healthier because of something I wrote.

But I also see people surpassing me on the weight loss front, and I have such mixed feelings about it. Just like in real life, when you have a fat friend who decides to go on a diet, you feel happy for them... yet somehow a little jealous, or even threatened if they are succeeding and you're not. I've lost friends as I lost pounds because *I* was losing and *they* were not... even though I sent no judgement or negativity their way. I've had people tell me that they feel happy for my success yet angry, too, because they can't seem to lose weight like I have. And I've had friends who lost weight while I stayed fat. It's a guilty feeling when you look at your friend and think, "gosh, I feel like such a slacker now that they are thinner and I stayed fat. It makes me feel like a failure." I've even had people tell me they hoped I'd stop losing weight because it made them feel bad about themselves.

There's something really basic and human about those feelings. We can be glad for the good that happens to others yet jealous in a way because we want it for ourselves. Like the 30-something woman watching as all her friends get married and have babies... there is joy but sadness. Maybe you want it too. You wonder what's wrong with you, whether you'll ever find the right guy, whether you'll ever have a family. You feel your biological clock ticking. Always the bridesmaid...

Oh, I know there are women who don't want to get married or have kids, just as there are women who don't want to lose weight. Nothing wrong with that. But I am talking about those base emotions we all have when we see someone else achieving what we so desperately want. It's tough. And it makes us feel guilty.

I have gotten several emails, and comments as well, from people who started losing weight after reading my blog a year or 18 months ago. They've lost the weight, they're happy, they thank me for the inspiration. I read blogs of people who *started* losing weight long after I started, who have reached maintenance, who are going strong. And here I sit, still fat. Still struggling. It's hard. I am glad for them, yet it makes me ache inside. I want it, too. But I haven't worked hard enough for it to get it. Still, it gives me that same feeling in the pit of my gut... the feeling I used to have when I'd see pregnant women walking down the street or new mothers carrying their tiny babies after I'd had a miscarriage. Not that I want to take away their joy. But... well, you know what I mean.

I remember when I was still losing steadily, and I'd get emails from people saying, "It makes me so jealous that YOU have lost the weight and I am still fat!" I had total compassion for those people. I wanted to bring them along with me. But I couldn't, anymore than those of you who've been successful with weight loss can bring me along with you. We all have to take each step for ourselves. We have to do our own work.

I'm sure I will lose the weight. I know I will. And I would wager I won't be obese anymore by this time next year. Slow and steady, step by step. I won't give up. I'll cheer you on as you succeed. I'll use your success as inspiration, as many of you used mine. Better to see the success of others as motivation, rather than becoming discouraged. We can ALL reach our goals. Do the work. The results will come.

Calories yesterday: 1359 plus fruits/vegs. Biked 30 minutes (6 miles, resistance 3-4) and walked 15 minutes.
Doing great on the calories today so far. Already biked 30 minutes (6.1 miles, resistance mostly 4 with a bit of 5) and will walk to the park later.

Baby Robins, 7/13, 11 days old:

When I was walking into the house, they'd just been fed and were peeking over the edge of their nest at me. I *think* there are still 3 babies in there, but it's really hard to tell:

Today, 12 days old. I think they'll be flying the coop in a day or two:


anne h said...

I have had those feelings, too, from time to time. But you are right, do the work, and the rest will follow!
I keep loving 'da baby boids!

Vickie said...

lovely post - and you are right - we all have those feelings - mine tends to be for people that mop their kitchen floors on a very regular basis and have sparkling bathrooms (especially the showers. . .).

Amy said...

I definitely have those feelings too. Happy, but jealous. I've lost friends along the way, mostly my old "eating buddies". Oh, and my shower? Not nearly as clean as I would like it to be!
You're doing great, and you're working on the toughest part of losing the weight for good, the emotional part of it.

Diane, Fit to the Finish said...

Everyone experiences jealousy at one time or another. I know I do. I used to try and not be jealous of my thin friends who complained they were "fat" but I couldn't help it.

You will get to your goal weight - you have already had so much success!

Jack Sh*t, Gettin' Fit said...

That's exactly why when people ask me how I'm losing weight, I tell 'em that it's due to my nothing-but-cheese diet and 10 minutes of yodelling each day. I don't like competition.

*Fitcetera* said...

I read on someone's blog some time ago...
"comparison is the thief of happiness."
I even wrote it on my bathroom mirror and took a pic to remind me.
didn't work all the time ... lol

I get envious too when I see others succeeding at a faster rate but NOW it doesn't stop me so much as egg me on.

when the birds leave will you have *empty nest syndrome*???

Lisa said...

YES YES YES! i feel the same way. It is like with my infertility. I want to be happy for my pg friends, but there is a sting there as well.

Tammy said...

Boy you really got me with this post tonight, Lyn. Sometimes you really hit where it hurts, lol. But that's why I love reading...I like reality...not fluff. Keep sending your love my way...I really need it! :)

"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." -Eleanor Roosevelt

Tammy :)

Anonymous said...

I don't have anything worthwhile to say, other than I really like the raw emotion of your writing. I think these emotions are completely natural, maybe I think it's more wistfulness than jealousy. I think you're going to get there, you're honest with yourself as you are finding your path. Not all of us have kids and a husband pulling on us, and I'm always impressed by how you get exercise, despite obstacles.

MB said...

I'm envious of everyone who puts in the daily effort it takes to lose weight. I want to be like them but struggle every single day and wonder if I'll ever get where I want to be.

You inspire me to keep trying. Thank you.

Chubby Chick said...

I think we've all felt that way at one time or another. But you're one of the few who had the guts to admit it.

I like to look at it like this...

We're all on the same journey. The destination is the same. It's just going to take some of us longer to get there. But we WILL get there!

Keep going, Lyn! I'll be rooting for you the whole way! :)

jennifer said...

I m not sure if you know this, but Robins are a symbol of renewal. It is not a coincidence that these lil guys made their home in your yard. Best of luck to you!

Anonymous said...

Blegh, I know. I have an awesome fellow blogger and total friend. She and I started at about the same time, we lost weight almost exactly the same - she was actually a few pounds down. Then she surpassed me, continued to, and now she's kicked me SO far and nearly doubled my loss as I've gained/lost for a month now... blehg.

I want her to succeed, I adore her, she's awesome, I just wish I could find it in me to join her!

Fat[free]Me said...

I get those feelings too (and also did in my infertile years). As I lose the weight now, I am aware that some of my RL friends are feeling it, as I have felt it myself. I try to be sensitive and know that it is swings and roundabouts - soon I will slow down and they will speed up. That is how it is.

Loving the bird pics, they are so cute!

Anonymous said...

oh procreation. i never considered that. im very happy letting my dna stop with me. enough about that. LOL :)

i totally get what you mean about the net and the various ways people try to help and reply to posts.

seeing as i was desperately trying to save my own skin when i got on the net last december to find some kind of help for myself, i tried very hard to be open minded to comments. different people seem to be looking for different things on the blogsphere. some are just back patters, cheering on. some like to share knowledge or info thats helped them, and then.....gasp there's the dreaded debaters. ones who are very assertive and love a good verbal scrap. oh i get drained by debate.

i tend to be schizophrenic. somedays my left brain rationally takes good hearted pointers and tidbits with a "data collection" type objectivity, just shared info to be accepted or rejected...but other days my right brain is in full bloom, and any tip or outside observation is interpretted through the drippy filter of the emotional side of my brain. comments appear judgmental, bossy, harsh. *sigh*

keep up the good work lyn, you are doing great, staying open, and raw.

Rachel said...

You know what's really healthy? You're openly acknowledging these feelings and expressing them instead of letting them fester and lead to unhealthy comforting-type behaviors. That's fantastic and I know you'll reach your goals someday!

Also - I definitely relate to what you're saying about friends & weight loss or gain. I made a comment once to a friend about an ex-boyfriend hating fat women (he was really ugly about it) and she said "You mean except for you?". At the time I was maybe a size 10.

Another friend once said, out of the blue & with much disdain "Can't you just tell when you start gaining weight and...you know...stop it?!"

What that taught me is that not everyone will be able to relate to me all the time and that as great as supportive friends are I need to look inward for strength.

Hope @ Hope's Journey said...

I totally know what you mean. I had a friend that lost her weight incredibly fast. She lost 70 lbs. in about 7 months, and she started losing after me. When she hit her goal of 70, I had only lost about 56. I remember feeling so irritated and like a failure, because I hadn't lost my weight faster. Now, I have lost more than her (I need to lose about 102, she needed to lose 70) but I still think about it from time to time. I also think about how much easier it was for her to visualize what she looked like when she was skinny because she had been there before, I have NEVER been skinny, so I can't really "see" the end result yet.

So, I think those feelings are totally normal. You just have to know that you are taking it at your own pace. It's normal that some people lose faster than others.

F. McButter Pants said...

Your last 2 posts have been spot on for me. Thanks!!

I am glad to know I am not the only one "green" at times. It's human nature. I needed that reminder.

beerab said...

I feel ya- I have been working on it for months and have slipped up a few times- but the one thing that's different is this time I'm NOT giving up :)

We'll get there! Keep it up :)

JEM said...

I understand, 2 years of blogging...still going up and down spinning my wheels. *sigh*

I still believe in both of us.

Foodie McBody said...

I feel the same way in many areas. I'm a writer and sometimes I see my writing STUDENTS getting book contracts, publishing, touring.... and I still have not finished my novel because I keep getting sidetracked by stuff like... exercise and trying to figure out what to eat. It's hard to just keep going on OUR path and not getting distracted by what other people are doing. Someone will always be doing "better" or "worse" than us and I think it only hurts us when we spend time focusing on that. Even though it IS natural, I think it's good to gently steer ourselves away and focus on us.

antgirl said...

I used to feel the same. It took me two years to lose the weight. This year I've toned up and am still working on it.

Every body is different and every person is different. Our paths our different. You'll get there when you get there and it will be no less momentous.

It doesn't matter what anyone else does. You are making remarkable progress. Reaffirm your successes when you feel envious.

Actual Scale said...

Oh yeah...I know that deep twist in the gut feeling well. When we were trying to conceive for each child I had friends who were able to get pregnant at the drop of a hat while we were having month after month of no positive results. I was absolutely happy for them but I was so angst filled on the inside because it wasn't *me* glowing with pregnancy hormones.
Same exact thing about weight loss.
I'm trying to do as you & look at everyone's losses & sucess as pure motivation for me.

Best wishes.

Carrie said...

I dont thin kthat you could have hit it on the head more than that. I thin kthat it has always been a competitive field especially between women. Who has the better boyfriend, better clothes. sometiems you are so jealous you purposly do things to annoy or throw the other person off their game. you are so honest I love it! You put it all out there no matter who the hell is listening. wonderful!

Marcia said...

Wow, this was a really touching post. I remember all those feelings. I remember the attitude I got from a few people while I was losing the weight. I was always the fat one, and it was hard for them to accept my weight loss if they couldn't put me in that box.

I also remember how hard it was to see babies and pregnant women when I'd been trying to get pregnant for a year and a half. While I was truly happy for my close friends who were having babies, it was difficult to see strangers.