NOTE: I started this post a month ago and never got around to finishing it. My husband knew I had started it and has asked me a few times what ever happened to it, so I decided he must be interested in reading it and I should prob get around to posting it. So here you go!
I had an epiphany last night, which I credit to my husband. We were having an in-depth discussion after seeing two The Biggest Loser contestants, Ken and Austin Andrews, speak locally. My theory is that there are levels of commitment to dieting/changing to healthy lifestyle just as there are commitment levels to a relationship.
DISCLAIMER – this is not a 100% literal correlation between dieting and marriage. Please do not misinterpret my intention here. Yes, I understand that there is a certain level of “acceptable cheating” in dieting (you cannot be perfect 100% of the time, in fact “cheat” or splurge meals are encouraged by many diet/health experts) and NO LEVEL of acceptable cheating in a marriage or other relationship. My main point here is the level of commitment…how easy it is for you to throw in the towel and move on or dig deep and be 100% invested, that if you commit to making changes in your life that you will do anything possible to be successful and not let excuses, situations, emotions, or life get in your way.
- Dating around – you are not an exclusive couple, you can see other people, you are testing the waters to see where things go, you can walk away at any time with virtually no heartbreak
- Monogamous/Exclusive – you have committed that you like each other enough to be only with each other, but really no major emotional investment has been made yet, it would be tough if you split now but you would survive.
- Engaged – you have committed to making a lifelong commitment, you have invested in the ring, but haven’t had the wedding yet, you could still walk away, but with some embarrassment and likely fairly major heartbreak
- Married – you have made the public commitment to living your life together. You are deeply rooted together and invested. You gave vows that you would be honest, committed, supportive, faithful to each other in good times and bad. You can get a divorce but it will be painful and messy.
The difference is your level of commitment. I am becoming familiar with many people at various points in their healthy lifestyle relationship journey. Some aren’t even in the dating scene yet, thinking about the future and hopeful to find what others have found…someday. Some are just hanging out with their diet, enjoying the "rewards" when it's convenient. Others are hoping for a committed relationship, hoping they have found the right one but aren’t quite ready to put their chips all in yet. But I can tell you that I am 100% married to my lifestyle change to become a healthier person. I go into each and every day working as hard as I can to invest all that I can in the success of this relationship. I do not half-ass this. I study, I learn, I push, I try, I want this and I do this.
I believe that when you are committed to a relationship via marriage that you don’t stray. If you are “married” to changing your lifestyle to getting healthy, you don’t accept a cheating mentality. (Again, see my disclaimer above – not a 100% literal translation to real marriage here! Think high level concepts here people). I feel that your level of commitment determines your success. Everyone has crap that life throws at them – stress (a multitude of causes here!), sadness, frustration, health issues, etc. And of course some people get dealt these things more than others (life is TOTALLY not fair!). It is how committed you are to overcoming it, getting through it and dealing with it that sets you apart from others. If you are not ready to be married, then by all means don't walk down the isle. But if you truly want the happily ever after, you say the vows and commit.
As with any marriage, I am not going to kid myself or you by telling you that every day is sunshine, rainbows and roses. It’s not. Far from it. I have tough days. I have days I overeat or am not strong in my food choices, days I am not happy with or proud of myself. I have days I don’t want to work out, I sleep in or skip a workout altogether. But someone wise once told me “It’s marriage, not heaven.” Meaning it isn’t always going to be perfect. You take the good with the bad because that’s what you signed up for and committed to and YOU DON’T QUIT!
Do I believe that you have to work at it and invest to make a relationship work? ABSOLUTELY!!!! The honeymoon doesn’t last forever. There will be days that are frustrating, challenging, and occasionally downright painful. But if you are in a marriage you have to choose to push forward. You committed to NOT giving up. You have to continue to want to make each day better than the last. You have to work to grow into a better person. You have to continue to stimulate the nerves and keep it fresh, exciting and interesting. It takes thought, effort, and conscious decision to remain committed to one another. You cannot get complacent or stop investing in continuing to make it strong or it will fall apart and die. You can have an “off day” (or even an “off phase”) and realize that you need to reset your navigation to get back on track. If it's not working, don't just head to divorce court the next day....work through the problems and get back on track! The faster you right the ship, the less change it has of sinking. (enough cheesy cliche's yet?)
It is a tough balance to be a wife, a mom, an employee, a friend, AND commit to improving yourself but I will tell you that I want this relationship to work. So I commit to it. I take time for myself now so I can be around for my family for years to come. I do what it takes to keep it on track. If I have an off day, I don’t give up. I reflect on the good days and the successes I have had to get my head back in the game and I right my course.
I often feel very out of balance. I fight feelings of selfishness, inadequacy. I feel as though I am not doing a “good” job at any of my jobs (wife, mom, employee, friend, housekeeper, therapist, etc). There just isn’t enough of me to go around. Am I sacrificing time with my family to fulfill my selfishness of wanting to become skinny(ier)? But then I remember WHY I am doing all of this….FOR MY FAMILY! I conquer my fear of failure and the unknown so that I can be a role model to them and be around to enjoy time with them for MANY years to come. I want to see my three girls graduate college, get married, and enjoy time with my grandchildren (when I am NO younger than 45), I want to enjoy our empty nest years and retirement with my husband! I want to live, laugh, love, enjoy life, travel, experience and explore! But I can’t do that being a fat, lazy, depressed lump on my couch…that isn’t living a quality life with my family. So I have “divorced” that previous lifestyle and remarried for my soulmate – a new healthy lifestyle where I can enjoy all of those things and more and where I am most importantly, happy with myself.
So I ask you, how committed are you to a healthier lifestyle? Are you willing to make the commitment and get married? To put in the work and effort to reap the benefits of a beautiful relationship…to change your life and the lives of those around you? Are you just talking the talk or are you walking the walk too? Are you testing you toe in the waters, or are you diving into the deep end? Are you letting your fears of failure or rejection hold you back from your true potential or are you pushing through the fear to realize that you are stronger than you ever thought possible? To quote a Tim McGraw song “How bad do you want it?” Are you willing to push yourself out of your comfort zone? Are you willing to do things you don’t want to do to get where you want to be?
I have news for you…..you ARE strong. You CAN do this. Let go of the fear and the uncertainty and take a chance on being successful. Throw the excuses away and stop letting things get in your way. Commit to it and just do it…get "married" already! And even when you think there is no one else, believe in yourself and know that I believe in you.
This quote seems to perfectly summarize what I wanted to say (so why did I need to bore you all with a 5 zillion word blog entry?)
I hope you get what I am trying to say with all my ramblings. I am sure not everyone agrees with me on this one. I may regret posting this later if the comments blow up with rants of how stupid I am for dreaming this egghead idea up. There are some things I just prefer to avoid talking about (cough, cough - politics) because it just causes people to disagree and usually leads to a heated argument, hurt feelings, etc. I typically avoid conflict like the plague. But you may be able to tell I am rather passionate about this topic. I am not here to stand on my soapbox and preach that I know all because if there is one thing I am certain of, it’s that DON’T know it all! These are only my opinions based on my own experiences. I would love to hear if you agree or disagree with me on this one, respectfully of course.
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