If I could rearrange the alphabet I would put you and I together.
Welcome back! Jen took center stage again. This part of the session was actually the biggest reason I wanted to attend. It was also the most difficult for me to sit through. I will admit I choked back tears at more than one point, and let a few roll down my face at other points. So with that here we go!
The breakup rate among couples in which one person in the relationship has lost weight, usually through gastric bypass, or banding is somewhere near 80-90%. Most relationships are just not able to sustain the changes that you will be going through. As your body changes and your self-esteem improves, you are often times no longer willing to endure situations that you don’t find acceptable. With a new body you might find yourself dressing differently or acting differently and your partner may not agree with what is happening or support these changes.
Think about all the relationships you have in your life. I am sure you can easily come up with the main ones like your spouse and your best friend. There are other less important ones, but every interaction you have with someone, there is a relationship there. I don’t really know my neighbors that well, but I have a relationship with them. They have seen my weight loss transformation and have commented on how awesome it is! I also have a relationship with the cashiers at the local Cub Foods. They see my groceries, they have seen what I buy go from junk to better for me foods, they have seen me shrink. Anyway, the point is each of these relationships and all the new ones has been established with me at a certain point in my life. Whatever stage I was in when I established that relationship, as I change and grow, or as the case is shrink, the dynamics of these relationships change.
Jen didn’t have any fancy visuals because really we don’t need them. We are all living through the turmoil that comes with changing relationships in our lives. I could see a chart like this in my mind, and since I know a lot of people who read this blog are visual, and weren’t there I figured I would share. Plus this chart makes my words make a bit more sense.
If you examine the chart that I put together you can see that there are relationships that you have at one point in your life that are solid and firm. Not all of those relationships survive the transition to the new life. See this journey is kind of like moving. You take inventory and shed the excess baggage. Things that don’t really work in your new life sometimes have to go. Sometimes it is your best friend who you aren’t quite so friendly with anymore, illustrated by a dotted line, and sometimes you lose a relationship all together, like friend group A. Other things get twisted and trickier to navigate, for example I made the spouse line loop around because it is a VERY difficult relationship to maintain. I also made the friend group B line twist, because you were able to change your dynamic with them.
The bottom line of this whole chart is as you change, you are changing these relationships. You may tell yourself it is okay, you don’t have to change, I am the one doing this, but it effects everyone, and everything you do. “To change you is to change the relationship”
The most important thing you can do to do your best.
Keys to helping your relationship succeed.
Acknowledge the Elephant in the room. This doesn’t have anything to do with your size, it has to do with the fact that if something is wrong, and everyone keeps ignoring it, it will fail.
Acknowledge that you will find your voice. You will start to rock the boat. Your people pleasing days are numbered. Prepare yourself to say things that you never thought you would. Imagine a world where you speak your mind, and ask for what you want, and demand what you need because this is what you will be living with. Speaking your mind is not only liberating it is addictive. You will need to learn balance though, be prepared to defend your decisions and opinions. Also be prepared for others to be surprised and unhappy that you are “loud” when you have previously been the quiet one.
You have to look for activities to bridge the gaps that form in relationships. As you change you will start wanting to do different things. It is so awesome to have the ability in a relationship to go out and do things on your own. It is also awesome to do things together. You have to talk about these things. You want to go out and dance on a Friday night and your best friend wants to order a pizza and chow down on a half-gallon of ice cream. That doesn’t work for you anymore. So you have to talk about what is going on.
Work extra hard to make sure others are not having to accommodate you. I know it is a shocker but in this day and age not everything is about you. It is not about me either. When I go out to certain people houses, or to a BBQ, I have been known to bring my own food along. Yes I take a lot of shit for it from some people in my life that I thought would be supportive. I am not asking for special treatment, perhaps access to a microwave or stove, or a spot in the fridge, but that isn’t anymore than anyone else gets.
You still have to live in the real world. Doing things from your old life are important. You just have to learn to modify them to make them work in your new life. A huge example of this in my life is video games. I used to play Phantasy Star Universe, an MMO for the Xbox. I used to play a LOT of this game. In fact I used to play a lot of Xbox live. It was my life for a very long time. I know I can never go back to that lifestyle, it would lead to disaster, however I can change my lifestyle with video games and still do something I enjoy. I now have a Wii and play the active type games that still allow me to have fun, but alow me to get some exercise in while I play.
Make distinctions between your support system and your outlet. My blog is my outlet. Many people who read my blog are a part of my support system, but not everyone. Some people who are a part of my support system don’t know about my blog. Some people have a strong dislike of my blog for unknown reasons. You can’t make your whole life be about weight loss or getting healthy. You can’t make your whole life be about the gym or about the blog. Your friends and family will be driven insane. There is more to you and your life. You are a whole person, you need to remember to find a balance.
When something is awkward, say it is awkward, whether it is with friends or family or whomever. Don’t be afraid to call them on it. Feelings can be uncomfortable, but they have to be felt. If someone tells you they are uncomfortable with something let them be uncomfortable with it. You cannot control how others feel. However once you acknowledge that something is going on it is out there. You don’t have to face it that moment, but you can deal with those feeling and the situation when the time is right.
Sacrifice. Compromise. Acceptance. You don’t always have to get your own way. Sorry Burger King, we can’t always have it our way. That is what got us here in the first place. Damn those chicken sandwiches! We have to learn to bend like a willow in the wind. Never compromise your values, or your self, but give a little and get a lot. It gets your much further in this life than being at an impasse.
Don’t be afraid to make new friends, but do your best to bring the old ones along. It isn’t a perfect world. As your life gets fuller the opportunities to expand your life and circle of friends explodes. You should totally feel confident in expanding your circle of friends. Encircle yourself with people who you want to be like. You are more likely to find success in your life if you are around people who are what you want to be.
Have Patience. This is a lifelong Journey. New dynamics take time to adjust to. It will be a struggle and if you can’t struggle together who can you struggle with?
Some relationships will not survive. Not all relationships were meant to go on side by side. We all make our own decisions. Those decisions need to be based on what your needs are. You have to look deep inside yourself and be honest and decide for yourself what you need and not hold yourself back
Jen concluded her talk with some very comforting words about not hating yourself if relationships didn’t survive. You can’t hate someone if they didn’t accept the change in the relationship. You can only control yourself. It was a VERY difficult talk to listen to. I have had a lot of changes to a lot of relationships happen since my journey began. I have lost friends, and had my relationships with family change significantly. On the other side of that, I have forged so many more relationships so that is what I am focusing on now. All the new relationships springing forth that I can foster and grow.
We were short of time and had to cut the Q&A session down. I didn’t even take notes because there was only time for two questions! So we hurriedly got in our cars and headed off to Lakewinds o meet Stacy for the cooking section of the day!