I am amazed at the amount of support I get from my husband, friends, and relatives. I am also extremely grateful. My husband is the most understanding and giving man. He is helping me everyday get one step closer to being healthy. It is so hard when we both have the same weakness. He and I use food to sooth ourselves. This is something that is both good and bad. The bad part is that neither of us says no to the other. I come home from work and I cry and say, “I had a bad day and I want tacos.” He doesn’t say no, and then my bad mood made us both fatter. It also happens the other way around, so we cheat doubly. We have recently realized this together. We have figured out that the way to fix it isn’t going to be saying no to each other, but we are going to have to learn to say no to ourselves. We are striving to have more willpower for each other. Now that we know the problem hopefully we can recognize it when it happens.
Discussing these things together is one of the ways we are supporting each other. We try to encourage each other, and get to the bottom of how we react to and treat each other and ourselves. It is great to have that openness with each other, and to know that the love of my life loves all my ugly. That’s such a gift.
We support each other in other ways too. Brad and I are taking walks every other day and when we do, we take turns picking out a beautiful place to impress the other. We pick out different recipes we think the other will like.
He has even promised certain “favors” for every week I am no longer smoking. He has never smoked and I think the way he supports my quitting is the best way of all. He never mentioned it. He only said something if I was talking about quitting and then he would affirm that choice, and offer ways of helping me get through. He would go and buy me cessation aids, and hard candy to keep my mouth busy. He bought me e-cigarettes. When I finally did quit he bought me jewelry rewards. I am a fan of positive reinforcement. It is much better than negative for me. He is one of the best spouses.
However, if you don’t have a spouse like Brad, maybe you can talk to him/her to tell them how important this goal is to you. My suggestion I have is to explain to them that you will love them even more when you accomplish that goal because of how supportive they are. If that doesn’t work, maybe you can seek counseling to get them used to the new ambitious you. Sometimes it is hard when people change. I know. Brad is going to school for computer forensics and he is learning things way over my head. At first I worried we wouldn’t have much to talk about, and that he wouldn’t have time for me. This is as far as it went for me, because I realized that I can still participate in the conversation even if I don’t understand. Like my 7th grade English Teacher said about her husband the Science teacher, “Do you think I care about fossils, no, no I don’t, but I smile and nod.”
Another source of support I have is my friends and family. My best friend Christine offers to walk with me, and go to the farmers market with me. This is the best kind of non- confrontational support. Keep in mind, Christine has always been pretty skinny. I have been friends with Christine for over @!?(@#$ years, since high school, and never has she ever come to me and called me fat, or taken me to weight watchers and dropped me off. However, Christine subtly asks me to do things that are active. She is always giving me good recipes and talking to me how she is losing weight and running. At first I was worried she was trying to tell me how to lose weight, but no she was just confiding in me. She is very supportive without being judgmental.
My sister Katie is in Oklahoma so we can’t really work out together or cook recipes. However, we talk at least once a week on the phone, discussing what we ate this week. Sharing the good recipes and laughing about the bad ones. We also share our failures. This is so nice to have someone who understands what you are going through, and never makes you feel bad when you fail. Actually Katie and I help each other by listing for each other our accomplishments. I call Katie and tell her I just inhaled half a pizza last night, and I am crying because I feel like I have failed myself, my family, and Brad. (I get pretty melodramatic.) She then reminds me of the healthy meals I have eaten the past two days, how I quit smoking, and how I am walking. She builds me up so that I can forget about my mistakes and get back on the program.
You know what is so cool though. I get support even from people I just meet. I was at a convention in Vancouver BC for Stargate the now extinct TV show. I am a geek and proud. I met a new friend named Debbie, and in no time we were talking about our struggles quitting smoking, losing weight, and other health difficulties. It is so nice knowing that other people are out there having the same problems I am. Not that I want other people to hurt like I am, but because it makes me feel like I am not a failure. It makes me see that other people have problems like this every day. My problems are not insurmountable and they aren’t the end of my existence.
I encourage everyone I know to reach out to your loved ones for support. Sometimes they don’t know how to be supportive. I try to remember that people have good intentions. When they are suggesting surgery or a new diet out of the blue it can be jarring. It makes me feel like they are saying; you are broken and I am not, let me fix you. It can be really hurtful. However, I try and remember that my loved ones and even casual acquaintances don’t have degrees in psychology. Not that that always guarantees a helpful response but I had to learn to ask for the help that I need and how I need it.
Other free places you can find support if you can’t get any from family or friends:
Over eaters Anonymous– http://www.oa.org/
For quitting smoking — http://www.smokefree.gov/
Because depression is such a personal issue I am including a web site from the Mayo Clinic that helps you figure out how to find support http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/support-groups/MH00002
I believe everyone deserves support. If you don’t find what you need, I am always here to answer questions or just listen, just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
All photos for this post were taken by