Saturday, October 12, 2013

Some things change, some remain the same...

When weight loss happens, relationships can change, some for the better and others not.

There was a comment on one of the 12WBT related FB groups along those lines the other day, and I found some of the responses really sad, but thought provoking.

Some people were currently experiencing problems in their relationship, for others the problems were in the past and the relationship was stronger than ever, some had split, and still others were glad they were single and didn't have to go through it.

There seems to be - generally speaking - two reasons for the problems that arise, sabotage and insecurity.

Let's look at insecurity.

Is it our insecurity, or theirs?

It's theirs.  We're not the one with the problem, they are.

It's a part of human nature to categorise things, to label them so we know where they 'fit' in our lives.  This gives us a sense of peace, a sense that things are as they should be.

But when someone decides to upset the apple cart, and throw off a label they've been assigned, either by themselves or someone else, life starts to get a little... messy.

We've been the 'fat friend' 'chubby child' 'cuddly wife/husband' etc for so long that people have gotten used to it, maybe they've never known us any other way  and once the tags come flying off they think they have to find a new place for us in their life, a new label.

We aren't the 'fat friend' any more, so what are we, where do we 'fit'?

More to the point, where do they fit in to this new way of life we are creating for ourselves?

 There are those that have lost 20 year plus friendships, they've suffered marriage breakdown, been bullied by workmates or school friends, just for losing weight.

Weird right?!  Aren't people supposed to be happy for us?  Aren't they supposed to support us in our search for health and well being?

I think most do, but for some people it's a time to worry, to become afraid, to resent us and our success, and they get angry.  Partners who suddenly think they have competition for their Significant Other's love and attention, or that begin to doubt they're enough for their SO and that they'll begin to stray.  Friends who are no longer fat 'together' wonder if they'll suddenly be subjected to endless hours of lectures on healthy eating and the benefits of daily workouts.  They may feel sudden jealousy because now you can buy clothes from anywhere and it fits, or that neither of you have anything in common anymore, or that your attitude has changed, or simply that they're being 'left behind'.

With sabotage, what you have is the SO, family members, or house mates, continuing along the established patterns.  They continue to purchase the foods and drinks that we have chosen to cut from our diets and eat them in front of us, offering it to us, and often actually buying some for us to eat with them.  No matter how often, and how vehemently we tell them, ask them, beg them, not to do it, they do.

Why is that?  Are they doing it on purpose, did they forget, or just not think about what they're doing?  Do they even care how hard it is for you to not finish off that packet of Tim Tams or bag of chips or throw down that icy cold Coke on a scorching summer day...

Sadly, some are doing it on purpose.  Your decision may be just too confronting for them, you may be making them feel lazy.  None of that is your problem or even your fault, but they have no intention of changing anything they do to help you reach your goal.  You might hear 'This is your choice, not mine, so why should I miss out just because you can't have it?' or 'Everyone else in the house wants it so too bad'.

It's not so bad if you're the one in charge of the grocery run, but even then there'll be someone that will pop down the shop and come home with a 'surprise' a 'treat' a 'reward' etc.

Saboteurs can be really sneaky.  They'll buy a chocolate bar and give it to you, and if you refuse it, then you come across as ungrateful etc when it would have required little extra effort on their part to have come up with something a little more acceptable - like choc covered mini rice cakes for instance.

Others are just clueless, and have their bad eating habits so deeply ingrained that it's going to take the Second Coming of Christ himself to shock them out of it.

BM is one of the clueless variety, God bless him.  He means well, but sometimes I could just shake him!

I'm a big woman - a short arse, but a big woman - and BM is a big man.  We love our food, hence our size.

Difference is, I have realised that I don't want to die before my time so I'm doing something about it.  He uses weight loss to get a new job (as told here in a previous blog) and that's about it.

He follows along with what I do for the most part, he goes with the flow, and what I mean by that is that he eats what I put in front of him.  BM just goes with the flow of everything - if he was any more laid back he'd be a recliner!  But his heart isn't in it.

How do I know?

Well, if he's begun to get a little tired of all the healthy stuff I feed him, and the chronic lack of 'treats' sugar  in the house, he stops at the servo on the way to work and buys Paddle Pops, Magnums, lollies, chocolates, pies...  I discovered this by accident one day when we had to go somewhere in his car, a rough old diesel ute that I don't get in unless I have to, and I had opened the door before he had the chance to clean it out.  I wish I'd had some crime scene tape!  It was awash in a sea of wrappers!

Let make it quite clear that he is proud of me, of what I'm doing, and my achievements, and doesn't make deliberate attempts to sabotage my efforts.

He's more of what I would call an accidental saboteur... and it's entirely possible, in fact I'm reasonably certain, that I am in fact, an enabler!

Ever since he's known me, I've been someone who self medicates with food.  You know how it goes, I'm happy/sad/insert emotion here/indifferent and I eat.  I also reward with food, and so does he.  It was always our 'go to' thing, so learning a new 'go to' thing is hard, but we're getting there.

I've asked him not to buy me 'treats' lollies, chocolates, bikkies, chips etc  when he goes to shop, so he's pretty much stopped doing that, but will buy a packet of whatever new healthy low-cal treat he's seen me have in the cupboard.  Bonus.

What we are finding difficult to change, is the reward behaviour.  When he's proud of something I've done, like the Fun Runs, or losing 10kg, he feels I've earned a reward - a 'treat' so out comes a packet of what is basically refined sugar.  I admit to also feeling that I deserve it, that I have earned it, and that's one of the things that makes it so hard to refuse.

I don't get angry about it, what's the point?  He doesn't do it on purpose, it's not malicious, so why make a big song and dance about it?  I just keep gently reminding him that I would really like a bunch of flowers, or a new pair of earrings, or a DVD and hope that one day he'll remember to forget the chocolate.

The gentle prodding does work sometimes.  After the last Fun Run we got a Michael Hill catalogue in the mail, and on the front page was a ring that I fell in love with!

 I'm happy to say that after two days of not-so-subtle hints he finally took the hint, and went down and got it for me.

If it was a perfect world, and everything was sunshine, sparkles and Unicorns pooping rainbows, then there wouldn't be any of these issues, and we wouldn't even have labels, but we do, so we have to cope with the fallout as best we can.  We're still the same person, there's just less of us.

Sadly, according to accepted doctrine,
 Unicorns do not poop rainbows.

I beg to differ...


  1. Such interesting points you ponder here. I too have heard of difficulties in relationships too. I guess it comes down to how much self worth we have as to how we deal with situations.

    My hubb for instance is very supportive, he's at most fun runs cheering me on, taking photos of our 12wbt crew for them, he will try a 12wbt meal and has let me know his faves. Then when he wants something else he'll cook it himself. Or will cook for himself if I want to go to the gym after work. Though he still eats his chips, there are always packets of chippies in the house. Just as I don't expect him to eat yoghurt and drink water, I just have to be strong because he's supportive in every other way.

    Likewise my bestie who lives in Tassie is going through her own metamorphosis, on a different program, but we have either been up or down, never at the same time throughout our friendship and have stood the test of time.

    So I know I'm one of the lucky ones and appreciate it. Great post.


  2. Gosh so true Annie ! I have just started doing Parkrun (5km run) our local area and one of my older brothers who is very overweight but surprising fit I encouraged to join me each Saturday morning in the last few weeks and he has been really enjoying the challenge, but his wife came along last week with their new baby who is the same age as mine 13 weeks, and she was just really rude and did not even say good on you, or say way to go for taking up running with a 6yr old, 2 yr old and. 13 week baby, just made a bitchy comment on how red in the face I was and asked if I was hot in my long sleeved top??. WTH?? After I walked off I realised that she was being a cow a I was obviously making her feel bad about herself and her lack of motivation, plus she was going to have to find someone else to have coffee and cake dates with as I suggested at our last meet up we could go for a walk next week instead. Ho hum but what can you do hey???

  3. Great blog by the way :-)

  4. Carol I think we've both done well for ourselves in the hubby stakes. :)
    Thanks Tina. You can still go for coffee with her, just change the rules... maybe you could walk there if she won't walk with you, reward yourself with a herbal tea before the walk home? Good on you and your brother for getting out there... I'd love a local Park Run - The nearest to me is over an hour away.