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After the move - grieving my progress

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

It's now been a little over a month since we moved to Iowa. The move went amazingly well and we are beginning to get settled in our new, much smaller home.

It's a brand new house which means there are added challenges and expenses such as window coverings. But so far, we like the house, the town, and the people we've met.

This was certainly a good move. But instead of feeling excited and happy, I have moments when I feel incredibly sad. Even though everything here in Iowa is fine, I feel like I'm grieving.

I miss a lot of things from my previous house such as the window above the sink and the huge yard with lots of flowers. I also miss my friends, my church, and my favorite restaurants.

Life changes usually involve making progress in some way. But it doesn’t matter how good the new life is, you still leave things behind, and you grieve them.

When your kids grow older, you leave behind bedtime stories and trips to the zoo. Changing jobs or going back to school means leaving behind friends, comfortable routines and familiar buildings.

Even the best life changes can leave you feeling sad and disappointed. I call this “grieving your progress.”

This even happens with your weight-loss efforts.

Every time you get on the scale, you mark your progress. Over time, you continue to see the positive changes happening. But in spite of your strong goals and a burning desire to be at a lower weight, you have to leave some things behind.

For example, you have to let go of unlimited eating, large food portions, lots of sweets and desserts, a glass (or three) of wine, and dropping onto the couch instead of exercising.

Yes, you want to change! But even with the benefits of getting thinner, you miss the good times. That’s grieving your progress.

Acknowledge the loss

Instead of pretending everything is fine, allow yourself to feel your sadness, loneliness or disappointment. Recognize that it’s there and you can’t escape it, even when your new life is great.

If you get stuck holding on to the past, recognize that you’re holding on to a myth. You might remember that life was perfect. It wasn’t. Or convince yourself that if you could go back, you’d love it. You wouldn’t.

A few weeks before we moved, my husband and I sat in our cozy loft one last time, and toasted our home and the years we’d lived there. We talked about many wonderful times with friends, travel, and job promotions.

But we also recalled a lot of sad moments and hard times. For example, all the job interviews that never went anywhere, the deaths of our parents, and my challenge of having breast cancer.

As we talked about our plans for moving to the new house, we felt excited, yet very sad. And we grieved our progress.

Replace what you lost

As you move through changes in life, you may have to replace some of the things you’ve lost. In some cases, you may even have to define yourself differently, such as a living as a thin person or being single. The good news is that even as you grieve your progress, you can start creating ways to replace the past.

Since moving to my new home, I’ve worked at turning this into an adventure. I intentionally drive new streets and seek out new grocery stores. I’ve found some great walking paths, as well as a wonderful coffee shop. And my dog is making friends with the wonderful Labrador retriever next door.

When you go through difficult times because of life changes, go ahead and grieve your progress. It’s a healthy part of moving forward in life. Then create new plans and put them in place. Every day take steps in your new life. Climb the hill, drink your water, and hold on to your goals. With time, the new life will become your best!
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