The Wifey Speaks: Overcoming Foibles (and other obscure words…)

Today is my birthday so I am going to take the day off from writing. But you are lucky in that. Because the wife has some words for you. Read them closely. Take heed. Ponder them over. You will be better for it…I know. Please leave your comments below. She would love to know what you think…

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If you are a parent, one of your greatest joys can be watching your child accomplish things and experience the world. But one of your biggest challenges can be watching your own foibles and weaknesses come out in their personality. Recently, my daughter was discussing her P.E. class at school. She was telling me that they were hula hooping and I asked her how she had done. She said “Oh, I didn’t do it, I just sat on the floor.” When I asked why, she said it was because she wasn’t good at it and everyone in her class said she wasn’t good at it so she didn’t want to do it. Ouch. This hurt. It hurt because I don’t want my 5 year old giving up on hula hooping because she thinks she can’t do it or because she’s letting others tell her what she can/can’t accomplish. But it hurts on a deeper level because I feel like it’s a personality trait that she got from me. If I am not good at something I generally do not do it. If I’m going to be bluntly honest with myself, it’s because I am choosing NOT doing the thing over potentially failing at it. I’ve always been the “smart girl” so failure wasn’t an option I was comfortable with. And if I was avoiding doing something, then I was still the one in control and I, in my way of thinking, was avoiding failure.

So, why am I confessing of my control issues and my general lack of tenacity? Well, I’m having to deal with my own fear and control issues when it comes to weight and health. In my adult life my weight has yo-yoed by a good 35-45 lbs. I have never been obese, but I have weighed more than I should. What’s worse is I carry my weight right around the middle which is the worst possible place to carry it, health wise. (It also leads to embarrassing situations where I get asked when I was “due” when in fact,  I was not pregnant… but don’t get me started on that!) Anyway, by using a popular weight loss method where one calculates points and weighs in weekly I have managed to be successful at losing weight on several occasions. I have been most successful at losing and maintaining weight loss after the births of both of my children. Last year at this time I was at the exact same weight that I am at now…and was really happy about it because it was the weight I got down to after the birth of my son and was my lowest weight since college. Fast forward one year and I’m back at this weight… but not happy about it because last summer I had managed to lose those “last 5 lbs” that everyone dreams of losing. I lost them thanks to eating healthfully and beginning a workout routine. When Hank started going to the gym, I started going to the gym and I found it a wonderful place to go to keep my sanity during the summer! However, by the time fall rolled around and I had lost those 5 lbs I was also starting to feel a little obsessive about it. Like getting on the scale ALL THE TIME to make sure the weight still wasn’t there. And skimping on eating before weigh in days to make sure when I weighed in that the weight would still be gone. It was starting to make me feel a little crazy. So, I stopped logging my food and figured as long as I wasn’t gaining it would be okay. Which worked. For a little while. Then came the holidays and post Christmas in that winter slump those 5 lbs and maybe 1 or 2 more crept back on.

Which brings me to today.
Writing this blog.
Trying to figure out what to do.

I mean, I know what to do. I need to go back to exercising. I need to log my food. I need to remember that healthy is what I’m aiming for. I think I’m still healthy now. Just not as happy as I want to be. I want healthy and happy. I don’t want to be one of those people who is bone thin. I do not want to be the person who never eats a doughnut or treat when there are doughnuts and treats around. But I don’t want to feel like a guilty slug.

I know what I want so why am I not doing what I need to get it? Here’s my problem. I lack tenacity.

I’m tenacious when it comes to things that aren’t important like generating the most fabulous collection of pinterest boards you ever did see. Or compulsively reading at every opportunity. Putting together a perfect outfit for the Blue Like Jazz movie premier in Portland. Coming up with reasons for baking… and that’s about it. When it comes to keeping my house decluttered, my exercise schedule adhered to, and my food logged I have let myself become about as tenacious as a sloth.

Now, I’m starting to wonder if my starting and stopping and lack of tenacity are due to general laziness or if there are deeper control issues here and I’m worried about not being able to maintain, not being able to go the distance. I don’t want my daughter to be the girl who doesn’t hula hoop because she’s afraid of not being good at it. I don’t want to be the person who quits on fitness because she doesn’t know how to/doesn’t want to push herself to the next level because I’m afraid it will be “too hard”. I want to be the mommy/wife/person who has enough confidence to go out there and do things because they are fun and good and will make me a person who is more fun, kind, healthy and tenacious. I want to do those things so my daughter will want to do them too.

Here’s my action plan. I’m back on MyFitnessPal logging my food. I’ve enlisted the help of a friend to check up on me if she sees I’m not keeping up with my food/exercise log. Once school gets out and I have a little more flexibility with my schedule I’m going to enlist the help of a trainer so I know I’m exercising in the most efficient way possible. In the meantime I am back in the gym burning those calories and putting in the time to get fit. Most importantly, I am spending time with my daughter, encouraging her to hula hoop, ride her bike, chase bubbles or do whatever kind of activity keeps her moving and confident! I’m working on teaching her that all that matters is she do her best and have fun, and making sure that I remember to apply that to my life as well.

We’re going to be unstoppable!

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4 comments to The Wifey Speaks: Overcoming Foibles (and other obscure words…)

  • Tamara
    Twitter: fitknitchick_1

    For me loss of tenacity usually means I’m over-thinking things. You said it yourself; you know what to do. Go and do it. Right now! Tomorrow will be easier and the day after and the day after…

  • Trey

    I identify so much with a lot of what you wrote here (not just the fitness parts, but the broader personality traits). It reminds me of a study that I read about a few years ago that I often quote, which you might know about too.

    Basically, the idea was that the people running the study split kids into two groups – those who had been identified as academically or intellectually gifted, and those who had not. They gave each group sets of increasingly difficult math problems. If a student had trouble, they had to option to ask for an easier problem. They found that the kids who had been praised as innately intelligent were more likely to ask for an easier problem, while the other group – who was praised more for being hard-working – was more likely to stick with the more difficult problems to try and solve them, even if they struggled at first.

    I probably messed up a couple of details there, but you get the point. I was always categorized as “gifted” as a child, and I too think I have the tendency to want things to come easily, and to give up at something rather than struggle at it.

    Unfortunately, by the time we’re old enough to be self-aware enough to recognize a trait like this, it’s become so ingrained that it is really difficult to reverse.

  • Wee Wifey

    Trey that is really interesting! In school I was in the “academically gifted” category. I always did very well in English/Language Arts stuff and struggled in math. In high school I struggled through honors math for 3 years with the help of a tutor… and as soon as I had the option (my senior year)of not taking honors since I didn’t “need” it to get into college I stopped taking honors math. In college I took the minimum math required! It’s so hard to “unlearn” these habits!

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