For those of you who have read my blogs for a while, you know I'm very fond of saying, "It's all the same," meaning the process of getting/growing from Point A to Point B is fundamentally the same. This weekend was yet another reminder of that.
See, I had a fantastic weekend with my hubby - we worked the 2 day Bridal Fair in Phoenix (yes, I was in Phx, no I didn't call anyone, yes I'm a horrible friend, no we didn't do anything fun aside from beg snacks off of other vendors. ;)
Working at a bridal fair gives me an interesting perspective on things (not to mention getting to see just how out of touch I am with "fashion" trends. OY! When did bobby pins become hair accessories and not things you need to hide? Seriously!) It's so fun to see the ladies being giddy about planning their wedding; I feel the pain of the ones that are overwhelmed by the choices or the costs or the pressure to put on a party that meets someone else's standards impossibly high standards (ie have the "Perfect" wedding); I do a happy dance when I see guys as excited (and sometimes more excited!) about the planning process and the event as their beautiful bride to be.
The best part overall about being there, especially with my hubby, is it gives me a chance to relive those moments, rekindle the giddy happy feeling of dating, getting engaged and knowing I was getting to spend the rest of my life with my awesome hubby. When we work a show together, we get lots of comments like, "Awww... did you /just/ get married/engaged?" as we tend to get a bit sappy and smoochy.
I also rediscovered that little twinkle my hubby gets in his eyes once in a while this weekend. It got me thinking - did it go away or did I stop looking?
It struck me how the relationship journey - dating, building a relationship, and marriage - and the journey to achieving a healthy weight, lifestyle changes and healthy habit building are really the same thing.
And ya'll are staring at the screen thinking, "She's finally completely lost it this time."
LOL! Probably... but I do have a point... and connections to be made... work with me. (and keep in mind I'm going to speak in generalities... Don't bog me down with specifics, k? ;)
The "Dating" phase
You're lonely, you want companionship, you go out and find someone, or they find you, to hang out with, go to a movie with... "date". You don't like them, you move on to the next person and repeat... you sorta like them but it doesn't work out for whatever reason so you keep repeating the process.
Or maybe you're into serial monogamy where you date one person exclusively for a while, get bored, break up and find the next person... then get bored, break up, find the next person.
Either way, you're focused on putting up the best image possible, looking at possibilities, taking a bit of extra effort to look good, be on good behavior, etc.
How often have you done that with eating and exercise plans? You get excited about the potential, you have fun with it for a while, you try extra hard for a while, only to get bored, get side tracked, or find a new, shiny, big promises plan to move on to.
Thing is, you're stuck in a cycle... it may be fun, but it's not very fulfilling.
You start to think, "What am I doing wrong? Why can't I stick with someone/a diet?! Why can't I find a person/plan that makes me happy?"
Then maybe, just maybe, the thought occurs to you no one and no thing can _make_ you happy, that possibly happy comes from _inside_ of you, not from an external source.
So you take a bit of time, get your feet under you, start becoming comfortable in your own skin and head back out into the "dating" realm... but not to look for someone/a plan that YOU fit with, but someone that fits WITH you. Lets say that *poof* you find them/it and you move into...
The "Relationship" phase
This phase is similar to the dating phase with the wining and dining and excitement and getting all dolled & looking to go that extra step for the other person, with a minor difference: You're looking at this for the long haul.
You pace yourself. You start to reveal your true self more and more, bracing yourself for them to accept you or run screaming from the room (which I have /yet/ to hear of anyone having that happen to them, by the way!)
You're still excited when they call, but elements of comfort and complacency start to sneak in. When you recognize it, you do something to shake things up, keep things interesting. You're focused on growing as a couple, working out your differences, and moving toward that one goal: the alter; or building the foundation for a healthy marriage, not just a pretty wedding.
This is the the "lifestyle" change part of the health journey. You're working towards a goal: a certain number on the scale or pant size. It keeps you motivated, it allows you to get past the small disruptions and get back on track toward your end goal.
The "marriage" phase
Either way you look at this - be it interpersonal relationships or weight loss - the marriage phase is the maintenance phase.
It's the time when you've done all this workworkwork and /finally/ you cross the finish line. It's the time when one is inclined to think, "I've done so much, I've gotten this far, time to throw it into auto pilot and keep on coasting," right?
YES! and NOOOO!
Yes, it's time to celebrate your achievements, maybe take a little bit of a break, but it's also the time to stay in the game, or at least practice "Constant Vigilance!"
Going back to the hubby's sparkly eyes... there's been some stress in our lives of late, and we both admit that it's been wearing on us. We started getting a little snippy at each other, being less than patient... things that could be also be considered part of the 'honeymoon stage' wearing off. It also meant we both stopped really paying attention to each other.
Not ignoring each other, just more mindful of our own personal space rather than the other person occupying it with us.
Situations improve, as they do, and we had a good laugh this weekend -a REALLY good laugh, one like I haven't had in a long time where you just keep giggling long after the moment has passed and the giggles are more contagious then the piggy flu!
Thing is, it would be so easy to keep along that personal space trail until a few years later you think, "Who is this person living in the house with me?! Where is the person I married?" It doesn't matter if the eyes are sparkling 24-7 if I don't take the time to look.
It's like that with health/weight/fitness. It's great that you got yourself to a place where you have a healthy weight, good level of fitness, etc., but what happens when you stop paying attention and slip into auto pilot? You get comfy where you are, you have 'just a bit more' of this or that, portions start to creep up, exercise time starts to creep down... in a few years you look in the mirror and think, "Who is that person and why are they wearing my clothes?!"
But you have a choice, and it doesn't mean you have to go aaaaalll the way back to the dating phase, it means hanging out in the relationship phase more often than not. Doing those little extra things you used to do: Parking a little further away, keeping the cookies and wine for special occasions, saying thank you, sitting at the table & talking instead of eating dinner in silence in front of the TV.
And if you think you're off the hook because you're single, you're not... you deserve to treat yourself just as well as you would a partner. ;) And it doesn't matter where you are on your journey - still dating or moving into the marriage phase, you still deserve to continue to treat yourself as if you're on your own personal honeymoon!
ps... for those still wondering, the candy is still in the dish... ;)