Enabling – this is a difficult subject really and one that I am unlikely to handle with the sensitivity it needs!
Firstly, I am going to give some details surrounding the two ‘versions’ of enabling – one has a positive connotation and the other has more of a negative connotation.
The positive sense of enabling surrounds the growth and development of either an individual or group. Enabling people to grow and develop can give them a sense of empowerment. I liken this to when someone has helped me to discover a new way of looking at an issue. Or perhaps someone who has assisted me in understanding the way my mind works, or my body works from an exercise perspective. These situations have enabled me to grow and develop and make positive changes in my life.
I now have to explain that the negative sense of enabling is what I have a real issue with. I also have to explain that I manipulated people into enabling me to reach and remain at 43st+ for a long, long time. I had practised my manipulation and worked my skills like a pro…not really something to add under the ‘skills’ section on my CV!
Enabling, and the enablers who do this, often think that they are doing the right thing. For example, my other half would help me make excuses for not leaving the house…he obviously thought that he was helping me feel better, and it was what I wanted at the time, but it made my comfort zone shrink to the point that I became pretty reclusive. Another example of this would be when I threw my tantrums about food and he would then help me get that food.
It is incredibly dysfunctional, yet comes from a place of good…but ends up making a situation far worse.
This kind of enabling allows an addiction to continue – it is very common amongst the family and friends of drug addicts and alcoholics…and those with eating disorders. Enabling prevents the person from seeing the harm their addiction causes, and it also removes a certain amount of pressure to change.
I read that a common example of enabling can be observed in the relationship between the alcoholic / addict and a codependent other half. The other half often attempts to shield the addict from the negative consequences of their behaviour by calling in sick to work for them, making excuses that prevent others from holding them accountable, and generally cleaning up the mess that occurs in the wake of their impaired judgment. In reality, what the other half is doing may be hurting and not helping at all. Yet it can come from a place of love. Enabling can prevent psychological growth in the person being enabled, and can contribute to negative symptoms in the enabler. One of the main interventions used with people who have addictions is that of working with the family to prevent enabling behaviour.
My ‘goodnight’ message on Facebook last night was a fairly innocuous statement that said, “Life always offers you a second chance. It’s called tomorrow.”
Take a second or two to think about this…there is always tomorrow. It is something that I have said to people before who have mentioned falling off their weight loss plan…”Don’t worry, just get right back on track tomorrow!” And this is sensible advice – getting back on track is important. And there is always tomorrow. And you don’t want to make the person feel bad. And you want to be supportive. And what else are you to say? “WTF did you eat that for…and washing it down with a bottle of Merlot was the stupidest idea you’ve had in a long while!” Of course you don’t want to say something like this, unless you don’t value that friendship!
However, I have noticed recently that the ‘tomorrow’ comment is used frequently, very frequently. It seems to be the go-to phrase when people are stuck for something else to say. And again, I use this statement to comfort people and to try and help them refocus. Falling off your weight loss plan is something that will happen, and using this statement from my perspective is designed to try and help remove any guilt that the person feels.
Yet a little bit of guilt can spur you on. If you are always told that it doesn’t matter, you can end up believing that it really doesn’t. Those Saturday night binges that people don’t seem to pull you up about can lead to a Sunday night binge too. Before you know it, each night is turning into a binge and you are still being told that there is always ‘tomorrow’…but tomorrow never bloody arrives.
Your weight remains static, you are still eating and drinking stuff that is taking you further away from your goals, you feel like rubbish from a physical and mental perspective…sluggish, sad, a lack of self-esteem…and you end up on a perpetual cycle of binging. When I say ‘you’ I mean ‘me’…this was my life for many years.
I write about this kind of thing as I hate to see people in a similar position. I would also hate for people to get to the stage that I did. It has been, and continues to be, an incredibly tough battle.
It is a battle that is well worth having though. There will be slip ups and there will always be a tomorrow – but as I wrote last night, when you keep talking about ‘tomorrow’, you need to do something today!
One of the most important tools in overcoming food addiction is to recognise patterns of behaviour. I have noticed them in people who post on Twitter and Facebook. They seem to turn to the same types of food when experiencing the same types of emotions at the same times during the day / week! So when I utter the words ‘food and mood diary’ and get people rolling their eyes at me and muttering that they haven’t got time to write everything down, it makes me sad. They have time to update Twitter and Facebook with the latest nail varnish colour they are wearing, or provide details of the latest spat with their other half / best friend / family member…yet have no time to devote to overcoming their issues!
I don’t really have much more to say. A food and mood diary is one of the key enablers of positive change. But if you prefer having negative enablers around you, then keep going as you are! And for those of you that want to be supportive, try giving support and feedback that doesn’t always involve ‘tomorrow’ but that focuses on the here and now.
Today has been a good day. I woke up not feeling great though – I felt groggy and kind of like you do when a cold is starting. I decided not to head to the gym, but then got positive and decided that I would! So after my work for my other half, I got togged up and we headed to the centre of muscle ache and loveliness. Once we had finished there I went and checked on the horses. They were fine and enjoying their new field…they each had a treat, a rug rearrangement and a check over. It was then off to Asda and then home before I went to see my sister and the kids. They have just come back from a holiday and I wanted to catch up with them all. It was great to see them – and they are planning on coming to Scotland with us next year which will be great fun. This evening will be spent with some escaped convicts, courtesy of Prison Break!
Breakfast: Banana porridge (5 syns).
Another lovely food day. Brekkie was good and strange at the same time. I read somewhere that making your porridge with water activates ‘something’ the starches perhaps, and they becoming gloopy and this makes the porridge thicker and more filling…so I tried it and it worked! So I saved 2 syns as I didn’t have to use the almond milk. Lunch was pretty much the same as yesterday, with the addition of tomatoes and a slightly different fruit salad. Dinner was lovely – but I forgot to put my cheese on it and so ate that later! I chopped my veggies – red onion, green pepper, courgette, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms – added some garlic, smoked paprika and chilli flakes, along with some chicken. It took about 20 minutes and was lovely, if a little spicy!
Exercise: 30 minutes on the cross trainer and 40 minutes of weights.
I loved the gym today. I not only burnt off 707 calories – according to my ‘key’ that I use in the machines…although the heart rate monitor that is on my Christmas list will give me a more accurate reading! – but I felt excellent too. I feel as if I belong there and have no issues now with my gym paranoia. If anyone has an issue with me – not that I have seen the slightest hint of this – then that is their problem…I am there to stay and to transform my health and fitness. My other half had a programme review whilst we were there and is focusing on key areas during different workouts. I am doing an all over workout each time and building up as I go.
I am wondering what the scales will have to say at group tomorrow. I just hope they reflect how great I feel, but will try and hold on to that feeling regardless!
Thank you for reading,
Weight Loss Bitch xxx