Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Perfectionism is a Bitch.

Sorry for the curse word, but that's how I'm feeling at the moment and it is true. I am sure I could've used a different word but nothing seemed quite as catchy as "bitch." I'll try to limit the curse words in this post, but my mood is making it difficult. I'm not a person who curses much in general. Sure every now and then I do, but overall I really try to be a lady. A classy lady.  Classy ladies don't curse much. They certainly don't put the word "bitch" in the title of a blog post. However, it is what it is....And in this case, it fits. Again, apologies if my inner-sailor pops out in this post.

My day started out pretty rotten. First, I woke up later than I wanted to. I had planned on getting up a bit earlier than normal so that I could style my hair since I got it done yesterday day (cuuuute, by the way!). That didn't happen. In fact I woke up a little late because I, somehow, managed to set my alarm for PM instead of AM. I'm lucky I didn't super over-sleep. Anyway, so I had to rush a little bit in order to have time to attempt to style my hair. I hate rushing. I did manage to dry and curl my hair. This is a rare event on a weekday morning - I usually leave it wet and leave it wavy (my natural look). Of course it does not look even close to as cute as when I left the salon. It's not bad but I think it looks like bad and would prefer it be in a ponytail right now.

Rewind... I should've mentioned that BEFORE I did my hair I found the missing battery to my scale. As if getting up late wasn't bad enough, stepping on that damn thing was.  I was SHOCKED about what I saw. With how I've felt lately, I thought I'd see a better result.  Nope. I'm up from what I was before surgery. As of this morning it was about 12 pounds. My mood, which was shaky because of getting up late, took a serious plummet. Honestly I think it took a leap of a cliff. So I was in tears before I even got into the shower this morning. Excellent (please not my use of sarcasm). There were also some curse words that came out which I'm not going to repeat because I am a lady...Although I am sure a replacement word will sneak its way into this post at some point.

So, when I attempted to do (a rushed) style job on my hair, my mood was already not good. In fact it was downright bad. Like "I wanna-call-into-work-because-I-am crying-and-how-can-I-possibly-function-all-damn-day-when-I-just-wanna-be-alone" bad. My reaction was that I must not be working hard enough and that I'm super disappointed in myself for gaining a lot of weight in six weeks. Obviously I realized what  a huge failure I've been since surgery. I wanted to go to the extreme. Seriously, I wanted to stay home and workout for hours. For some reason three hours popped into my head. Honestly? That thought is still there.

So, cool, before I even left the house I was crying and felt like a big, fat (literally) failure. Happy freakin' Wednesday, kids.

Side note: I did leave work early to go home and workout, which I will be doing shortly. It's my reaction to dealing with a stressful situation, despite what I'm about to say next... Also? Eff my effing brain. And, I'd like some EFFEN (seriously that's a real brand) vodka....Which I won't have because I'd rather burn calories than consume them. At least the binge or get drunk mentality can be beaten... That's a step, right? Healthy stress relief versus unhealthy stress relief.... I'll take it.

I got to thinking about two things (after I calmed down).... How this gain happened (especially when I've been working so hard lately) and my reaction to it. Because? That reaction was bad... Like a tornado level reaction....Except of course it was directed inward rather than outward so nothing, other than my self-esteem, has been damaged today.

The gain. Last year, after surgery I gained about 15 pounds, which I later lost. I remember being 15 pounds up, but I can't remember when... I think it was fairly soon after surgery; like two weeks, maybe. I tried to compare to this... I'm six weeks post-op so I'm sure that I have very little swelling left. Cool, I've just become a damn fat ass. That's not productive, so I decided to continue to think....

My usual weigh-in is on Saturday morning around 9:00. I once read that that's the time you're at your "true" weight. I'm usually at work at nine, so that's what Saturday's become my day. I weighed in a couple hours earlier. Also, by nine I've usually, um, evacuated my bowels (which have been a little messed up this week, sorry for TMI), which I hadn't. Given that information, I generally weigh-in about three pounds less than I do first thing in the morning.... Okay, we're down to nine pounds. Life is getting more manageable and less traumatic.

I've been working out. When you workout your muscles can start to retain water due to the stress placed on them. I know this but I don't know how much and of course I was thinking "but not nine damn pounds!" I decided to consult my friend Google.  I found a great article by a reputable source (Chalene Johnson).  Within the first few weeks of a new plan, you can show a gain of three to four pounds on the scale. I'm a week in so I figure I might be at a pound or two. I'm being conservative and not using that three or four pound idea because it's not been "a few" weeks yet.  That doesn't sound like much on its own, but let's factor that into my gain... I'm now down to a seven or eight pound gain instead of 12. See? Little factors can add up.

I'm almost seven weeks post-op. The majority of swelling following liposuction can take three to six months to dissipate, with some lingering for up to a year. One doctor on Real Self noted that his patients see about 80% of the swelling go down by six weeks....So it's likely that I still have some. I only wore my compression garment for about a week due to the broken capillaries I had. Because of that my swelling could be taking longer than swelling in someone who wore their garment for four or six weeks. I can't tell you how much  (in terms of pounds) swelling I had or still have, but there's a chance that there is still some there. The only way I'd know for sure is if I'd weighed myself sooner than this (to have a number to compare to). I doubt there's much on my arms because it just doesn't seem to look like it. It's harder to tell on my thighs. From what I read people gain five to seven pounds of swelling post-op. This isn't the same for everyone but seems to be the average that  I found....For the sake of this post, let's say I have a couple pounds of fluid still hanging around. That brings my seven or eight pounds down to five or six. Life is getting to be more manageable.

Additionally, I will admit that my eating wasn't always so great when I was off. It wasn't a disaster either though so I'm sure that not all 12 pounds was from that. I was also unable to workout for a while.
This has made me realize that I probably gained more weight and was heavier than I am now for a little while. My clothes have been fitting better the last week or so (some anyway) which makes me feel like I've lost a little. This is probably why what I weigh right now feels like such a hard hit. I expected to be closer to what I was pre-op...Not this far away. I hadn't expected to gain so much post-op. So... I was probably even heavier a few weeks ago. The positive is that I've, most likely, lost a few pounds.

I suppose what I WAS doesn't matter. What I weight now is what matters. There is no sense in dwelling on what I may have weighed three weeks ago. It's pretty much irrelevant at this point. Or should be anyway. Thinking about it is just making me feel even worse about myself.

Yesterday I had my hair appointment and ate late. I was so hungry when I got home (close to nine) that cooking something healthy wasn't what I wanted to do. I stayed within my calories however I made unhealthy choices because I was so insanely hungry (pizza rolls and mozzarella sticks). I also didn't workout and didn't drink quite as much water as I usually do. Sodium can have a major impact on me and my fingers actually have that swollen feel to them (puffy and kind of tight).  Let's say that this morning I'm hanging on to a pound or two of fluid. The fact that I didn't feel the need to pee after three bottles of water (within two hours this morning) made me feel like that's a huge possibility but I'm realistic so I know that it probably isn't more than a couple pounds. Now the number I'm using is a little less....Let's say I'm now four or five pounds from my pre-op weight.

So... Let's say that the last four or five pounds are from what I was eating and my lack of being active. Four or five pounds in just over six weeks? That seems to be more logical to me than (at least) 12 pounds. This also puts me closer to what I was pre-op, under a number I don't care to see, and makes me feel a little better about being able to lose more weight. I'm not happy with that but given my lifestyle during that time, I can understand it and even accept it. I anticipate that in a few more weeks the scale will show me at that number or below...Hopefully down to my pre-op weight.

Honestly? There's a part of my brain that's telling me that a lot of what I just took the time to type is complete bullshit. It's not swelling, it's not muscles retaining water, and it's not sodium.  It's just that I got that out of control and gained a bunch of weight. It doesn't matter what logic I use, I fear that my logic is nothing but an excuse for being out of control. Also, despite my math, the scale doesn't show what I'm calculating. So it's easy to think I'm wrong.

Why can't I see that there are likely logical reasons for why my scale as turned into an asshole and hates me again? Why do I only see that I gained weight and decide that I've failed and just lost control again? Why is is so damn hard to accept that it's possible that those other factors are contributing (especially given I was being conservative in my numbers!)? Quite honestly I want to yell "what the eff (except I'm thinking the true curse word) is wrong with me?!"

Is it perfectionism?

Is the fact that I'm trying so damn hard to lose weight (from my pre-op weight) that seeing that I have a longer journey ahead of me is so frustrating I break down?

I've been a perfectionist forever. I don't know what exactly causes it (in me). Sometimes I wonder if it's because I was adopted as a baby. Despite knowing that my parents chose to be parents accepted me fully, I wonder if the thought two other people made a mistake and, basically, rejected me.  Could that be the root of my people-pleasing perfectionist way? Then let's factor in the rejection from guys, or friends, or whomever... I've never handled that well. Does my perfectionist mentality go all the way back to before I was born? Could this be the reason I got fat in the first place? Probably.

I found this great article on how perfectionism can cause binge eating which is really what got me thinking about it. I've always known that bulimia and anorexia can be related to perfectionism and the need to feel control. I guess I hadn't looked (or maybe I had and forgot) at how binge eating can lead to it. It all makes sense now that I've read the article because those were behaviors I exhibited. I'd feel like I let someone down, focus on being perfect and skip a meal or something, and later binge.

My issues with weight and eating go way back... I remember being teased for being chubby as a kid. I remember buying diet pills and hiding them in my glove box when I was 16.  I did the same with Slim Fast around 18 or 19.  Then there were more diet pills. Oh and the one "diet" I did when I saw a Lifetime movie about a girl who only ate 500 calories a day and thought that was a great idea. All of those behaviors in my early teens and twenties are what caused me to balloon up to nearly 350 pounds by my mid-twenties. I really screwed up my body because I started feeling fat and imperfect when I was probably at a normal weight. And I was too young to know any better.

For a while I felt like by losing so much weight, I'd won. I'd finally learned how to be healthy and beat my issues with food. Since I gained some back (and now even more) I started to feel like I was failing. Not only was I failing to lose, I was failing to maintain. I see people do the same who lose the 20 pounds that they gained so quickly, doing exactly what I do. They can do it and I can't... Obviously there's something wrong with me causing me to be a failure (is what my brain tells me).

I know that, in reality, my issues with food are not about food at all. They're about things that are psychological. They're deeply rooted from childhood comments about being chubby. And maybe from being rejected by the two people who had an affair that resulted in me. It doesn't matter that two other people who wanted me more than anything chose me. Doesn't that sound horrible? It does to me. Why would I let the rejection of my bio parents sting so badly when my Mom and Dad are more than I ever could've asked for (and sometimes more than I think I deserve)...?

I know that I have issues with rejection and perfectionism. I knew this after having therapy following an abusive situation. In terms of that part of me, I've healed. I no longer accept less than what I deserve or allow people to treat me like crap. I've learned to stand up for myself and not apologize for things that I shouldn't apologize for. I've learned how to have a happy, healthy relationship....When it comes to how I relate to my partner I'm healthy.

But then there are issues that have to do with me that cause me anxiety in relationships....Especially in this new one. If you saw the SATC movie, recall the part when Charlotte wouldn't run when she was pregnant.  She and Carried had a conversation and here is some of what Charlotte said, "Because I'm afraid something bad is gonna happen....I have everything I ever wanted. I am so happy that I'm terrified. Nobody gets everything that they want." That's true of me right now. I'm so happy that I'm terrified...Not all the time, in fact I'm happy and NOT terrified most of the time. But sometimes, I have my moments. Who doesn't!?

I'm also not used to the type of relationship I'm in which probably has a lot to do with it...

My last relationship was with someone who lived three hours away. We saw each other, on average, once or twice (at most) a month. When you are in a long distance relationship for so long, you get into a routine and adjust to it. Enter a relationship in which you can see the person often (and are super happy) and things change bit. I'm not familiar with that and let's just say it's easy to want to see him almost every day. Going three days in a row without seeing him is hard. Yes, this is hard for the person who would go two or three weeks without seeing their former boyfriend. You'd think I could handle it. I think the problem is that we saw each other a lot more in the beginning, especially since that's when I was off for surgery. Not seeing him for three days in a row doesn't mean he's rejecting me.... It means that we are in a normal relationship (especially for just being two months in). But guess who gets anxious about it sometimes?

It's that fear; of rejection; of losing what's made me happier than I've been in so long (so happy that other people who don't know me that well can see it). Here's the thing - EVERYTHING IS GREAT. There's not a problem or anything to be worried about... But the change in frequency of seeing one another made me worry. Oh and the other part of it... He's so damn hot. For real! Sometimes I feel like he should be with one of those hotties on wrestling or a model or something. Sometimes I feel like, in that way, I'm not good enough. I think this is because, after finding an old picture, I remember him...From when I was fat. And I remember thinking he was hot and never said a word to him because I was, for sure, not hot enough for him. The funny thing is that he has NEVER said anything negative to me and always gives me compliments but for some reason in my mind he's so sexy he should be with someone sexy and I don't see myself that way). I should probably admit that to him.

Um...Dumb? Yes, in my opinion.

For some reason those fears worm their way into many aspects of my life, and come as they wish. Those are the same fears (related to perfection, I think) that caused me to binge eat, gain weight, and sit depressed on the couch not caring about anything. Fortunately exercise is healthier outlet (as is blogging, actually) for my feelings.

So, those are my examples of how I'm a perfectionist. I want to be a perfect daughter, a perfect girlfriend, a perfect friend.... I want those in my life to know how much I love and care about them. If I do something that makes me feel like I'm being less than perfect, I turn into a mess. I'm super hard on myself and I feel like the worst daughter/girlfriend/friend in the world. I still don't like to disappoint people and hate feeling like I'm letting them down. The thing is that most of the time I won't direct it toward them. Sure I get moody sometimes but I'm generally not going to yell, scream, or throw things at the people I love. But I will internally beat the shit out of myself.

My weight is no different. I feel as though I'm letting myself down. I feel like I'm failing. I feel out of control. Hence, the reason I want to workout for three hours (yikes I almost just typed six...I don't think I'm quite that bad right now).... I know that one workout isn't going to make me drop 12 pounds. But it will make me feel better. For some reason I feel like, today, I need to workout for three hours in order to feel better about myself. I don't know why three popped into my head but maybe that's the amount of time I feel like I need to regain control. Who knows.

Instead of looking at all the possibilities for why my weight is up, my brain won't accept them. Instead, I immediately think that I've gained 12 pounds of fat, making me even farther from my goal. I immediately think I'm not working hard enough. I'm not eating healthy enough. The few poor choices I make must be ruining it for me. Maybe I need to stop aiming for a goal of 1500 calories (eating up to 1700 on days I do a more intense workout). Maybe that's too many calories. Maybe I need to eat 1200 on days I don't workout and make my max taken in 1500. Maybe all the stuff I've been doing is wrong and making me fat. Maybe focusing on weights isn't enough. Maybe I need to burn more calories. Maybe 30 minutes of cardio a few times a week isn't enough. Maybe I need more cardio.

Maybe. Maybe. Maybe.

Maybe I need to go see a therapist again. Last time was for relationship issues that were related to self-esteem. I like the therapist I went to last time but now a friend of mine works in that office. That's weird for me. As much as I liked her, I don't want to go to her because he works there. So trying to find someone else to talk to (a new stranger...ugh...) might be a good option. Talking to a friend or family member doesn't always help because they don't quite understand or know what to say. So then I end up internalizing EVERYTHING and here I am.... Feeling terrible.

Maybe I need to see a therapist so she/he can help me take another look at my self-esteem and why my weight impacts it so much. Because on normal days when I feel healthy, my self-esteem is great. But days like today, when I number impacts on it, I feel like I have zero....There has to be a reason I allow the number on the scale to make my otherwise healthy self-esteem run and hide. Maybe I'm basing too much of my self-worth on my weight. Talking to someone who is an "outsider" is sometimes helpful in just reflecting on things. But it's also scary. For someone in the mental health field, it seems to be pretty dumb that I'm so hesitant to reach out to another professional. It's crazy how the stigma attached to therapy can impact on those of us in the field!

To be honest, I'll probably deal with it now (by writing this post and then exercising), feel better and not call anyone. Why? Because it'll be better for now. The thing is that it is only going to keep effecting me if I don't deal with it. If I continue to cover it with a Bandaid it's not really going to heal. Strength... It takes a lot of strength to ask for helpstrong person but in this area, I'm not as strong as I think.

I do feel better after writing this out, but would love to hear your opinions or similar experiences. How have you dealt with them? Or haven't you? I think that it helps to post the downs as well as the ups and maybe someone reading this will realize they're not alone either. Part of why I have this blog is to connect with others so that we can help one another. I try to inspire and motivate, but I'm human and sometimes I just need the support.

I'm off to go workout to see if that helps a little more! I hope you are having a great day!!



  1. I've seen myself in your very spot many many times. Life can be coming along perfectly fine when all of a sudden the number on the scale can drive your self image straight into the crapper. I like that you were able to see a therapist and conquer issues:
    " I know that I have issues with rejection and perfectionism. I knew this after having therapy following an abusive situation. In terms of that part of me, I've healed. I no longer accept less than what I deserve or allow people to treat me like crap. I've learned to stand up for myself and not apologize for things that I shouldn't apologize for. I've learned how to have a happy, healthy relationship....When it comes to how I relate to my partner I'm healthy."

    You've learned how not let other people abuse you and to stand up for yourself towards other's mal intent towards are still dealing with abuse coming from yourself. I say that because I was there.

    The perfectionism plays a huge role in that. I have to be perfect and when I'm not I get ANGRY with myself. I have to look perfect and when I don't I am DISSAPPOINTED in myself. I have to appear like my life is together and if I don't then I am MAD at myself. These thoughts are totally self abusive. We'd never allow someone to get that angry at us and we especially would never get that upset with someone else for their imperfections. So why do we allow ourselves to beat ourselves up over issues?!
    I've had to learn to cut myself some freakin' slack. It is a SUPER concerted effort. I know there are times where I still feel in a panic when I feel like I am going to let someone down. I've to talk myself out of panic mode. Same thing for weight gains. If I decided to eat some foods that I know in my head will cause me to lose weight, I'll still eat them. I then have to mentally prep myself for the scale to read a higher number. Then when it does I've gotta keep my cool and not bash myself about. I WANT TO SO BADLY, believe me!!! But I know that will be counter productive to just jumping back into a healthy routine and seeing the scale go back down.
    The mental torment that you and I(perfectionists) put ourselves through is very real and very strong. It can cloud our judgement of ourselves so severally that we TRULY believe that we deserve to the verbal self-abuse or mental abuse.
    Something I like to keep in mind is this:
    We can not expect a pear tree to produce apples or a salt water pool to produce fresh water. Just like we can not expect a negative self concept to produce positive results. It just ain't gonna happen.
    So, where do we perfectionists go from here? We put our attention loving ourselves enough to stop a negative abusive thought in it's tracks and come at it with the truth. The negative thought about gaining 12lbs has you feeling like a "fat failure". The truth is you are not fat. If people were to see you on the street I highly doubt a single one of them would classify you as fat or even chubby. We combat the lies that perfectionism tries to give you with truths. The perfectionism lie tells you that your boyfriend may be too goodlooking for you. Now, I've not seen this guy but I have seen pictures of you and you are GORGEOUS! I bet he thinks so to. Hell, he's dating you and I doubt he's blind. So, we combat that perfectionism lie with the truth that he is dating you from his own free will because you are beautiful to him and others.
    It's TOTALLY ok to feel upset about a gain. Don't get me wrong. I do it all the time. BUT I do also want you to know that after you get the chance to cool down from the initial shock, the only thing that has helped me get my life back in order to forgive myself, forget that it is gonna add work to get back in order and to just keep doing what I know will get me back on track.
    You've got this, Chica! Combat the perfectionism lies with the are awesome!

  2. Okay, I am about to leave my office and I just noticed that I had an insane amount of typos in my message above!!! I'm so sorry. I was just so passionatly typing my message that I didn't even read it over before send it through.hahaha

    1. No worries about the typo!!

      Thanks for the awesome comment... I cried a little reading what you wrote because it is all true. Thanks for your support! :)