And while we're on the subject of my imperfections here's another one that I need to work on. I still want/need the praise of others to validate my actions. I don't know why, but I'm just not secure enough to take pleasure in the fact that I have changed the way I eat, exercise, think, and feel about myself. I need others to know what a great gal I am (hence the blog?) and to praise me.
Poor Ammon gets the brunt of it. When he comes home I proudly tell him how hard I worked at the gym today, what I ate and how I made sure all the food groups were represented, and then I give him my stats on how much weight and inches have been lost. He humors me and tells me he's proud of me (which I think he really is, but how many times does the poor man have to say it).
When other people notice that I've lost weight I'm just exuberant with joy. It's to the point where I have caught myself leading the conversation in that direction in the hopes that they will compliment me in some way. Lame. And when they don't I feel disheartened.
In fact, there are people that I truly expected to say something the last time we met, and instead I found that they sort of felt like not much had changed, and that I still had a lot of work to do. I was crushed. For a few days I felt like all my hard work had failed and that I would never reach my goals.
As I thought about this particular incident though I realized that I'm missing the point. Wasn't my goal to like myself as I am and to be secure with myself as a person? When did my goal shift to what the scale said about me? I think it shifted when I started losing weight. At that point I felt that I no longer needed to love myself where I was at because I was changing that, and soon I could just embrace my old pre-pregnancy self.
That's a good theory. I would love to be at my pre-pregnancy weight again, but as we have discussed several times on this blog, that thinking is flawed. First of all, I will never be totally rid of the marks that pregnancy has left on my body, so why should I expect that the number on the scale will be enough to make me happy? And secondly, what happens if I get pregnant again and gain weight because of it. At that point do I no longer feel like myself or like my body anymore? Do I suddenly drop back into self-loathing until I can once again reach that magical number? And what if I can't maintain that magical number? What if my body naturally needs to weigh more than that? Should I do unhealthy things to get to that number and stay there and battle with it for the rest of my life until I am so sick of all of it that I give up entirely and run with open arms to the junk food aisle at the store and shun anything healthy...
So what I have realized is that I need to stop seeking praise. I need to stop worrying about my size. I'm not going to stop my efforts to lose weight. I need to lose weight to be truly healthy, which is my ultimate goal. But I need to be at home in this body where it is. Just like I need to act and be confident in my own skin in the gym, I need to appreciate my body enough to stop seeking praise and to not feel discouraged when it doesn't come. What others think and feel about me should not have much weight in how I feel. Compliments are lovely, but aren't they more so when they are given spontaneously? I think so. Just another thing to work on. It's hard to figure out just how to feel at peace without the validation of others, but like the rest of this journey, I'm sure there is a way. I just need to keep looking.