Posted by: Marie | August 7, 2009

(120) Two steps forward

Post #120
[Journal entry written to my therapist on Friday, April 3, 2009]

Hi, Dr. Barb –

Well, our weight-loss challenge at work ended today . . . my partner and I didn’t win; he gained six pounds (2.7 kg) in the last week of the contest (how is that even possible?!!?!) So, in nine weeks, I lost 21.6 pounds (9.8 kg) . . and he gained 0.6 pounds (0.3 kg); our total loss for the challenge was 21.0 pounds (9.5 kg). We came in second place (out of five teams).

The winning team was the director and the deputy director – our director is a very large man (350 pounds? 160 kg?) and the deputy director is a very tiny lady – she only joined the challenge because we needed a tenth person – she only had a few pounds to spare. He lost 26.8 pounds (12.2 kg) and she lost 4.3 pounds (2.0 kg) for a total of 31.1 pounds (14.1 kg).

A few minutes after the final weigh-in, the director brought out the collection of chocolate I had set on his chair throughout the challenge to tempt him – and started eating it right in front of me – and wouldn’t share. I guess I deserved that, LOL.

Even though he is almost twice my size (I weigh around 200 pounds, 91 kg), he said he really had to work hard to beat me – that he liked my attitude and he was glad for the competition. One other guy was nipping at our heels – he lost 18.1 pounds (8.2 kg) and his team came in third. Everyone else’s totals were in the single digits.


About the behavioral contract . . . I don’t want to create an agreement with you right now. When I think about doing that, I get a really bad feeling – I feel anxious and like I’m trapped in a “no win” situation.

My Brother's Home by Martin Chen

My Brother's Home by Martin Chen

It has been my history to make such agreements with myself or with others and then promptly initiate self-sabotaging behaviors before the ink is dry. Setting a firm goal is currently a predictable trigger for me – it almost ensures a major nosedive and behavior that is contradictory to my intention.

I have learned it is much more productive for me to just do my best each day and let the “chips” (the results) fall where they may. Nothing about my thinking or behavior has changed that would lead me to believe my experience would be different with this behavioral contract. I think signing an agreement with you right now would set me up for failure. However, I will keep this open for consideration at a later time.


Just like the weight training and the behavioral contract, there are a number of suggestions you have made that I don’t feel ready to implement right now – but that I am holding as possibilities for later. I want you to know that I am not ignoring those suggestions; I’m just choosing to not implement them right now. I need time to work through the associated barriers.

At this point in time, the suggestions that are on my “future possibilities” list include:

– behavioral contract
– yoga or other flexibility-focused exercise
– weight training
– visualization within a therapy session
– blood test for menopausal status

I’m delaying the last item on the list only due to financial concerns, not psychological.


In our last session, you said you want me to “pull back” on my perfectionism. I know that, in the past, my focus on being perfect has been rampant. However, I feel like I have been much more reasonable with myself recently. Right now, all I require of myself is to stick with my eating plan, stick with my exercise plan, brush/floss my teeth, wash my face, say some affirming words to myself and show up for work.

I believe you agree with me those actions are not optional. It doesn’t seem like I’m asking myself to be perfect. I would like to be more productive than I am, but I am not requiring that of myself right now. What do you want me to “pull back” on?

You also noted that the fear behind my perfectionism is showing up (I’m paraphrasing here) through the feelings of inadequate performance and failure I experience in my dreams – and that you want me to “watch that” – maybe try to shift it . . .

My dreams are simply reflecting what I’m feeling in my waking hours – I’m frustrated with the fact that I feel unable to do what you are asking me to do . . I wonder: if I can’t do what I need to do to get better, how am I going to get better? I don’t know how to “fix” these feelings.

– Marie

Quotes 030


  1. Hi Marie,

    Thanks for putting me in your blogroll. I’m glad you like my stuff.

    “Fixing” perfectionism is tricky isn’t it? We can want to do it perfectly!

    I’m interested in the idea of a team weight loss kind of event. Did it go well? Was it just about the amount of weight lost in an amount of time – I might find this a bit of a worry health-wise. But the feeling of doing it with other people could be great I think.

    • Hey, Evan –

      Yeah, perfectionism is one of my biggest challenges (sigh!)

      So, about the weight-loss challenge . . . in years before, they had the individuals compete against one another. They decided to mix it up a bit and have teams of two people. We drew names to determine the teams.

      We all put $20 in a pot . . . the winning team got the $200 ($100/person).

      We set the length of the contest at nine-weeks with a weigh-in each week. We were each responsible for our own eating/exercise plan.

      So, we didn’t do anything except encourage our team member and play mean tricks on the other teams (all in good fun). However, when someone had a good week, we all patted him/her on the back, even if they were “competition”. It was just about keeping attention on the challenge and having fun.

      Does that answer your question?

      – Marie

  2. Yes, that answers my question. Thanks

  3. Your weight loss competition might be more fair if you did body weight percentages of loss because as you mentioned, people with more to loose, loose more. If you measure percentages, it sort of levels the playing field.

    Great idea, tho, I tried to get my unit interested in accepting a weight loss challenge from another unit – but they wouldn’t do it.

    Perfection is problematic for me, too. It’s very hard to lighten up.

    • Hi, Ivory –

      Yes, I agree about how the competition might have been more fair . . . but, it was more for fun than anything . . . good natured competition. If figured it was the best $20 I ever spent on a weight-loss tool, LOL!

      Thanks for your comment!

      – Marie

  4. Congratulations. I think that you did lost a good amount for the amount of time. You have a lot to be proud of.


    • Hi, Kate –

      Thank you! My final weigh-in was definately a proud moment for me!

      – Marie

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