The Illusion of Success

You know what makes me want to punch Pinterest in the face? All of the before/after comparison pins denoting weightloss success. I mean – MAKES ME RAGE. Why? Partially because they’re often spam and I hate spam. Pay attention to your Pinterest profile page people, the spam is abundant.

But it also annoys me in principle. I mean, my instinct is always “OOOOH! What made them lose all of that weight in 30 days?” Or maybe it’s 100 days. Or 1 year. It’s always some nice even number indicating SUCCESS!

Anyway – it bugs me because I’ve been there. I have those photos. I have before/after pictures that could easily paint me as a successful candidate of some sort of magical fitness and health path. And maybe I did it in 30 days? Sometimes I have. It’s amazing how many times I’ve been successful. And those pictures just irritate me because, if you consider your actual goals in life, do those before/after pictures really represent those?

And by “you” of course, I mean “me”.

There are two areas of my life I’ve been working on for years now.

1) Fitness/Health and my relationship with food
2) Parenting Patience (or my lack thereof)

I have seen huge successes in many ways in both of those areas. However, over the last 5 weeks? It’s like all of my successes have just faded the way of Pinterest spam.

So I have a lot of angst relating to “SUCCESS”.

Since I had to quit boot camp, I have lost a significant amount of the strength I worked hard to build. My running has faltered substantially over the last 5 weeks. I’ve put back on most of the weight I lost (AGAIN.) and I have started the horrible habit of yelling at my kids all the time. A habit I had done a great job of curbing until several months ago.

And yesterday I just felt like all of those issues (Do you call them failures? Because it’s more like a Loss Of Success. I didn’t fail at the effort. I succeeded. And then pooped the success down the toilet) were coming to a head in my life. Add that to some work-related stress (nothing I did wrong really, but problems associated with my tasks, therefore I carry the guilt of the problems it causes) from yesterday and I found myself in desperate need of two things last night:

1. A hug
2. A pep talk

I posted that to twitter and was sent this beautiful video.

You can’t beat a Coach Taylor pep talk.

Anyway – I was down and pulled up Pinterest and saw some of those DAMN Before/After photos and I just wanted to rage on the world. SUCCESS IS NOT THAT SIMPLE. In ANYTHING. SUCCESS IS NOT EASY. OR PERMANENT. THOSE PHOTOS DO NOT EQUATE REAL SUCCESS IN ANYTHING BUT ANNOYING THE SHIT OUT OF KIM HOLMES. DAMMIT.

And then I realized that yelling at my computer screen was not going to solve any of my problems.

I have 52 Days until my 12-hour run. I need to work on that weightloss again because I wanted to be lighter at this run than last year, to make it easier on my body. I need to work on my strength, especially in my lower-back and core because that’s where I’m feeling the lack of bootcamp in my long runs. And I need to stop screaming at my kids. Seriously. That last one is really haunting my dreams. My one solid complaint about my childhood was the amount of yelling my Dad did. He was a wonderful Father in nine million ways, but the yelling was the stuff of my nightmares. The fact that I do the same thing to my kids now? Makes me hate myself much more than any number on the scale.

52 Days. There will not be any before and after bikini photos because all that does is represent what my body looked like at two different points in time. You know what photos WOULD help represent real success? A second photo with an actual smile depicting actual joy and pride in my eyes. I don’t want to see Fat/Skinny photos, I want to see Sad/Happy photos.

I’ve felt pride in my successes on all avenues before. With my strength. With my health. With my weightloss. With my parenting. With my professional life. I need to figure out how to get there again, and then I need to figure out what habits lead me out of those successful areas. I want to be able to see real and lasting change in my life. THAT is success. Not 30 day change. Not 100 day change. Not One Year of change. I’m saying I want to see a shift in my life that leads me to another city in another state that I’ve never been to before. And then I want to toss out the map that led me there so I don’t find my way back.

Because as awesome as success in any endeavor feels? The sadness over losing that success? Is 10 times worse.

Here’s to 52 days to find that new path. To meet a goal for the millionth time. And to hopefully not poop that goal down the toilet as soon as it’s met.

Tech Note: I’m having some internet issues so I’m publishing this entry in it’s “draft” form with no proofing just so I can get it up. (That’s what she said.) I will proof it and correct any major spelling/grammatical errors, but I can’t guarantee that proof will get published. My point? Pardon any egregious errors. Technology hates me and I’d rather have a post up full of errors, than no post at all.

7 thoughts on “The Illusion of Success”

  1. I also feel this way about all the quick fix diet commercials on TV and the radio. I always go to the, “Ooh, maybe this is the secret I have been looking for” place, and then I have to remind myself that there is no quick fix and dieting doesn’t work and I have to be mindful with my food choices and not fall into food and remember that it is not all about the number on the scale. It’s exhausting to have to be that aware all the time, but the alternative is finding myself in the midst of a binge, and I don’t want that to be my story anymore.

  2. “Success is not permanent”

    That is why this resonated so much with me: http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2010/06/this-is-why-ill-never-be-adult.html

    Because it feels like you SHOULD be able to do the hard thing once and then be able to check it off the list. But you never can. It doesn’t matter if you did really well all the hundreds of days before today. What matters is what you do today. It’s exhausting. But it’s also liberating. Because it doesn’t matter if you really screwed up all he hundreds of days before today either. What matters is what you do today.

  3. I get so tired of telling myself every single day, “Today make good choices. Today make good choices. Today make good choices”. I feel like I should be able to just internalize it and not have to literally say it to myself all day every day. Yesterday was one of those days for me as well, and I found myself repeating “good choices” under my breath all damn day to no avail. Here’s to a better day today. We’re off to a better start, but it is still early. πŸ™‚

  4. girl, i could have written this…outside of the “being too lazy to write things i think about” part. πŸ™‚

    so, here’s some encouragement! for all the “bad relationship with food” and “i yell at my kids too much” issues? there are so many that truly have gone the way of the mullet for you!

    a) “relationship with cigarettes that’s bad for me and bad for my family”? SEE YA!
    b) “don’t truly voice my leftie liberal/godless beliefs b/c i live where that makes me BAD”? GONE.
    c) “can’t bring myself to go new places, do new things, meet new people due to my social anxieties”? NAILED IT!

    so, see? πŸ™‚ and you’ll figure this out, too!
    p.s. please pass on “the answer” when you do! πŸ™‚


  5. Hugs! Kind of been there myself on the “losing success” thing — even though I should be able to say on January 31 that YES I have logged into MFP for 365 days, less the 3 I missed (thus not seeing 365 on my page, but like, 35, or something — I have been the same weight basically since like APRIL, because I still eat too much darn sugar, fat, and don’t exercise enough. Hugs, Kim… empathy!

  6. I REALLY like the parenting advice here-http://www.ahaparenting.com/BlogRetrieve.aspx?PostID=222924&A=SearchResult&SearchID=7537040&ObjectID=222924&ObjectType=55

    That’s an article on how you can stop yelling. And please don’t be too hard on yourself. I think everyone’s first instinct is to parent the way they were parented, even if it’s something that you disliked and don’t want to repeat. I’m not saying that you don’t have control over your actions, just that the repetition of your parents’ style through the years is imprinted on your brain and it is something you have to be very mindful of to change. You can do it though! Tomorrow is a new day to start fresh! Sorry not to comment on the rest of the post-the yelling just really spoke to me.

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