Lowered expectations.

No, I’m not talking about the skit that ran regularly on MADtv a few years ago…although it was pretty funny. I’m talking about lowering my expectations of myself, and of others.

Here’s the thing: I am an overachiever. I am a borderline perfectionist. As much as I wish I wasn’t, I am most definitely a Type A personality. I cringe as I write that, because when I googled ‘Type A personality’ just now, the things I read were not flattering. They don’t strike me as particularly “like-able” traits. Here’s what it said:

“Type A individuals can be described as impatient, time-conscious, concerned about their status, highly competitive, ambitious, business-like, aggressive, having difficulty relaxing; and are sometimes disliked by individuals with Type B personalities for the way that they’re always rushing. They are often high-achieving workaholics who multi-task, drive themselves with deadlines, and are unhappy about delays. Because of these characteristics, Type A individuals are often described as “stress junkies.”

As such, I have high (sometimes unreasonably so) expectations of myself AND of others. I have spent a lot of time disappointed by the Type B people in my life, some of whom are my best friends. Their apathy and/or the fact that they seemingly have no sense of time drives me crazy. It’s caused long-standing tension (on my part) in some of these friendships. I can’t stand to be late. If I see a problem or am unhappy in a situation, I work to change it (i.e. if I hate my job, I find a new one, instead of bitching about it incessantly for months or years on end). To me, solving problems comes naturally.

The one problem, however, that I haven’t been able to solve is my weight problem. I beat myself up over it all the time. When I look in the mirror every day, I find myself reminded of the one problem I haven’t been able to totally fix yet.

I am an all-or-nothing person. I typically see things in black or white. If I’m watching my weight, I will either be totally on-plan or will fall off the wagon completely. When I read this post by Krissie the other day, I saw myself. Total success or total failure. There is no in between.

When it comes to weight loss this time around, I have especially high expectations. I have a lot of events coming up later this year that I am hoping to lose weight for. Vacation in June. A wedding in July. My 10-year high school reunion in October. Because of these events, I am putting a lot of extra pressure on myself to lose the weight quickly so that I can enjoy these things without feeling cripplingly self-conscious.

I have these expectations of losing 3, or 4, or 5 pounds a week. My friend Jenn and I were just discussing how it seems so many people are losing that kind of weight every week, and when you aren’t…it makes you wonder what you’re doing wrong. How are these people losing 4 or 5 pounds a week consistently and I’m not? I have a lot of weight to lose, and so I just EXPECT that I will lose more per week.

When I don’t lose the amount I was expecting, I get disappointed. Two weeks ago, when I gained 3.6 pounds, I was distraught. It turned out to be all water weight, but I still felt like a failure. It really threw me off. Last week when I weighed in, I had lost 5 pounds – but when you consider that 3.6 of that was water weight from the previous week, it left me with a loss of only 1.4. Yes, it was a loss. But I feel like I’m still too early into this process to only be losing 1.2 or 1.4 pounds a week.

I look at the fact that I have lost nearly 20 pounds since January and although I am happy to be rid of that weight, I am disappointed that I haven’t lost more.

I am coming to realize that I really need to learn to check my expectations at the door. I need to evaluate whether or not my expectations are realistic and achievable, or if I’m just going to be disappointed when I don’t reach them. I need to monitor my expectations of others, and not get totally frustrated when they don’t do what I expect them to do or do something different that what I would do. It’s not wrong, it’s just different. I need to be easier on them, and easier on myself.

I have a feeling that life will be a lot easier once I can learn to do that.


One Response to “Lowered expectations.”

  1. Krissie Says:

    Friend, there have been months where I lost 10 pounds and other times when I’ve yo-yoed the same 2 pounds for 2 months at a time. You don’t know how your body will respond to your efforts. It’s all about the big picture- about working on your behavior goals and your health – scale be damned!

    Yeah, I’m able to stay in that mindset about 90% of the time. I’m a work in progress. But in that other 10% I can get really panicy. And at those times, I should have my blogging ability revoked because I come across as really freaked out.

    I agree that goals are important, but if I set a “lose x pounds by event” goal, I’ve learned that I’m setting myself up for trouble. In order to keep myself from being discouraged by the scale, I’ve learned to keep my goals behavior based. Following a training schedule so that every workout gets done even if it’s not on the day it was scheduled. Keeping my calories in range every day is ideal, but it’s acceptable if I have a high day and the average balances out with the day prior or the day before.

    Hang in there. The beauty of this is what you learn about yourself and the way you either change yourself or change your environment to find what works for you.

    My best advice for me? Chill out, babe.

    So what’s your advice for yourself?

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