I started WW this last time on July 1, 2002. I was focused and commited but I also knew myself well enough to know that I would do better if I had someone to report in to on a regular basis, who would hold me accountable for doing the things I said I would do. I didn’t trust that I would be able to do that for myself because I hadn’t before and it was really important that I be successful.
I was picky about who I asked because I didn’t want this to be blown off and I also didn’t want to be micromanaged. I wanted to be trusted to do my job of working the program, planning my food and going to meetings and faithfully working out to change my life. The person I asked to mentor me was a guy in another state that I’d known for a year or so, someone I’d met through an online discussion group that was on a totally not-weight-related topic. He was surprised at my request but he told me that he could refuse me nothing and agreed to be this support.
We fell into a rhythm over the next months. I would email him on Mondays after my WW meeting and report in on however I did, up or down, but he wanted to know more – not just what the scale said, but did I know why. Had I made better or worse choices, exercised more or less, not had enough water, etc. etc. etc. He wanted me to think about it, not just parrot back what the scale said and use that as my value judgment. He was often kinder to me about failure than I was to myself and I learned to see with different eyes.
Our relationship changed but the change was more on my end than his. I got more emotionally involved with him than was the original plan – but even through this, he was supportive of me and the weight loss program. He was clear on that focus even when I lost it. I valued the constancy of being able to report in to him and get good, intuitive feedback that didn’t judge me but also didn’t let me get away with crap.
But things change and I needed to break things off with him for personal reasons – to let myself go in new directions without him. It was hard but it was clear to me that he didn’t want me as a part of his life as more than just a casual friend, and that wasn’t what I wanted. So “breaking up” was necessary. But what I lost in the process was not just the friendship, it was also the person who had supported me through losing almost 100 lbs.
I didn’t lose the weight for him but I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t happy that he was pleased when I lost instead of gained. I managed to at least maintain if not continue to lose for the first year after the separation, while we continued to have at least minimal contact. But last August, even that severed when his life took some different turns. Life does that sometimes. I didn’t understand but I accepted that it was the way it was – and I started gaining weight. Sigh.
We talk now in little short emails now and then – rarely, because it’s really better not to communicate much. It’s too hard for me. I’m still partly in love with him, even knowing it’s not going to work. I can live without him as my lover or my friend – but what’s really an issue for me is losing him as my mentor with the weight loss.
And that really pisses me off. Because I can do this without him and need to do this for myself. If I really think that having someone to be in this mentor/support role is something that will help me, I need to think about who else to ask. Living alone is hard because even with IM and blogs, there isn’t anyone here at the end of the day. I really am all alone but it is in my power to deal with it. What I can’t do is go backwards and include him in the process now. He is the past, by his choice and his actions. I can choose to live there – which is pretty depressing and makes me want to eat – or I can make different choices for life and health.
It’s easier to eat a box of poptarts than send an email to someone and say, I am about to eat a box of poptarts – or call someone up to say it. Maybe I need to really consider OA and having a sponsor. But that’s not what I’m feeling that I am looking for. It’s hard to explain. I just know that I had it when I started this four years ago and it helped. I felt supported and empowered to just do what I had set myself to do, and do it well.
It’s time to stop messing around and actually do it again.
3 thoughts on “Missing my mentor”
I know how you feel. I wish I had the kind of relationship you described with your mentor with my husband. Unfortunately he is my biggest enabler. “Do you want me to order a pizza for dinner?” – Now what fat girl doesn’t want a pizza? My problem with him right now is he buys Kroger Pretzel Rods – I have no control with these. Instead of paying monthly fee to the alarm company, they need to install cameras (like Big Brother)in house and have someone monitor me 24 hours a day!
Anne, I do know how you feel and we discussed it a bit last night. There’s a fine balance of reporting in, talking about things, being non-judgmental and then having the ability to step in and tell someone when they’re screwing up. That’s what a good friend/mentor is all about. That and being a bit of a cheerleader and positive influence. I did get that from my mentor (idiot) with regard to swimming and some other things. I do miss that a lot too but ultimately I have to do it on my own. That’s one thing that worries about when you lose weight and get compliments…it’s like a drug of sorts.
GC, my husband was like that too…some of it is that he’s tired and he’s falling back on standbys. I’ll shoot you an email and take it offline.
Anne, thanks for a good post. You really articulated a lot of the good things about I.Man. and what I am missing out of my own life.
Sorry to hear about the “breakup” with your mentor. I can see where someone like that would be very helpful and hard to replace. It almost has to be someone you don’t have another relationship with. GC, I don’t think a husband is a good weight-loss mentor. You don’t want someone you have to look at every day to be watching every bite you take.