I was going to title this entry “Facing What We Don’t Do So Good,”  but that seemed just plain dumb.  “Facing Our Failures” is short and sweet – plus it has alliteration, which I love.

When you really think about it, I am not sure if there is any such thing as failure – unless  you attach it to a simple task: I tried to throw the ball into the basket, but I failed. When it is applied to most everything else, the term is relative. If you score a 74 on an exam, you fail if 75 or higher is the passing grade.  If the standard is 65 or higher, you succeed. And if you do not accomplish something, usually there are other chances to try again, so it’s really just shades of gray.  Now that I have sufficiently confused everyone, I shall proceed with the theme of this piece: full disclosure, and facing what I don’t do so well (just one of the many, so relax, more will follow.)

We all struggle with our own issues, and we work hard at striking a balance in our lives. I deal with anxiety issues, health issues, trying to build a writing career, and finding time to serve others and help them. The work is hard, but for the most part I am “succeeding” with these things.  Where I am not succeeding is the issue of – takes a big gulp here – my weight.  I need to lose around 20 pounds (the number is irrelevant – being healthy is relevant) in order to achieve good health.

Why I am “putting this out there?” For several reasons.  First, I want to always be honest about what I say and never mislead anyone.  Second, to ask for help and encouragement.  And third, to put pressure upon myself to do it – now that everyone else knows.

Anyone struggling with weight issues will know how hard it is to lose weight.  My problem is even more complicated: the anxiety issue rears its ugly head. Leaving my house is a problem. Leaving to walk around town work up a sweat is even harder. An increase in heart rate and a hot, sweaty feeling send signals to my brain that I am in panic mode in an open and vulnerable environment. People can see me, and I don’t like that.  Then, REAL panic sets in (up until that point, it wasn’t panic.)

If you think about panic as a jigsaw puzzle, the key to stopping it is to keep removing piece after piece until the picture is no longer recognizable.  You DO NOT have to remove every piece for this to work.I have a few tricks that I use to combat this.  Sometimes they work better than other days.  They all center on distracting my brain – preventing it from equating regular, normal exercise with panic. Here are a few tips:

SELF-TALK: I know this sounds incredibly dumb, but you actually need to tell yourself certain things like: “this is normal – not a panic attack” and “you are NOT having a heart attack – you can do this” and “no, people are NOT staring at you.  You get the idea.

BUDDY SYSTEM: if you can find a partner – someone to walk with – this automatically makes walking easier, as you usually will carry on a conversation.  Just remember to talk about pleasant things and not about your panic issues unless that makes you feel better.

MUSIC: Some people use music as a distraction from the environment around them.  It can also work to give you energy and inspiration.  Just make sure you pay attention when crossing a street. Staying calm is one thing – being completely oblivious to the world is a different story.

COUNTING: Sometimes a repetitive task can relax a person because it brings order to the mind.  Sometimes it only works if you are a math geek like me.

WORK: If you have work or a hobby you enjoy, let yourself drift away to thoughts about it.  When I was walking, I liked to take with me the characters from a story I was writing. I would focus on them and let them tell me where the story was going.  Before I knew it, my walk was over and I had another chapter written in my head.

I will be working on this in the days to come.  I need to do this to get balance in my life. It is never a one-time deal.  It is a never-ending process.

And now you know.  Who is with me?

About Joe

Freelance designer and writer whose goal is to help others by writing about my experiences with fear and anxiety (agoraphobia), health struggles (cancer) and my wonderfully-happy life as a husband and stay-at-home dad. I want to empower everyone to have a happy life.

12 responses »

  1. As my friend & natural Doc say to me all the time—don’t worry about your weight– only concern your self with being as healthy as possible– & the weight will follow— I was under weight most all of my life– but when my health problems became really bad– I started putting on weight– I have the most weight I ever have had in my life– BUT Doc says– keep being as healthy as possible “health” is your main goal– the weight will follow!!! So that is my goal at this present time!!! But I understand where you are comming from!!!! 🙂 I understand the panic also!!!! I am here cheering you on!!!!! 🙂

    • Joe says:

      Thank you so much! I cannot even begin to express how much it will mean to have people supporting me in doing this. It has been a MAJOR struggle for me. I need all the help I can get.

      I do not have unrealistic goals. I don’t care what the number on the scale says. I just want to be healthy and comfortable in my body.

      This won’t be easy, but I need to do this. thank you so much! 🙂

  2. Colleen says:

    I’m with you, Joe. I like your ideas about resolving panic attacks since I’ve had a few myself. But is it really weight you want to lose OR health you want to gain? If you focus on your health I bet the weight takes care of itself. I have MCS this makes it difficult to walk outside. When cars drive by or people are doing laundry it makes me ill. If you want to be outside but away from people there a number of beautiful nature trails. In your house might I suggest since you love music — turn it up and dance. Just try not dancing to Lynyrd Skynyrd. These are things I do to get around my health issues. And I guess now that you’ve declared this weight loss challenge to the world, I can’t buy you any Firtos for Labor Day.

    • Joe says:

      Darn — I should have waited til next week.

      Please note that I am not focused on the number on the scale — only with being healthy and that does involve some weight. Right now it is preventing me from being comfortable and making doing things more difficult.

      My goal is good health.

      Thank you for commenting — do they make low-cal Fritos? 😛

  3. Diane says:

    Hi joe very well said. I also struggle with my weight. I went to weight watchers and lost 32 lbs. then I thought I could do it on my own, thought I would never gain the weight back. I then got in a rut not following program and blamed everything in my life except me. I was the one shoving a bag of potato chips in my face… No one else. Since I quit weight watchers, gained 12 lbs back and feel like a failure. But I am not!! I will lose it again. So, with that all said, I probably shouldn’t make pie for our class!

  4. MCS Gal says:

    You can get a double win out of this. Your desired weight loss is helping you have the motivation to get out of the house (a real challenge). Getting out of the house will help you work towards your weight loss goal. You are a winner just for going walking – forget the numbers, they don’t mean as much as the way you feel.

  5. I’m with you, Joe. Every time you say an honest thing, it gives the rest of us permission to do the same. You are serving the world really wonderfully. Thanks.

  6. erunner says:

    Joe. Thanks for your honesty in sharing. I have been agoraphobic for 18 years. Weight has been an issue for me as I’ve been up and down more times than I care to admit. My medication tires me out tremendously and exercise has been a challenge. I purchased a Vitamix and drink green and fruit smoothies and have lost 35 pounds. It also has energized me and I do a lot of indoor exercise on an exercise bike. I have also begun jogging again and recently completed a 5K.

    I was told I had nothing to offer anyone because I still struggle with my illness. That isn’t true and I hope as you progress whatever you learn and experience you continue to pass onto others. There’s a lot of people out there hanging on by a thread. God bless! Allan

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