Sunday, July 30, 2006

My Weight, My Life: Part 3 (1999 - 2002)

"By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest." ~ Confucius

The story continues....its long....and quite personal, but I'm willing to share it.

Sometime in Oct. of 97' I met a girl who soon became my girlfriend. Even though I was still on the squishy side, I was somewhat comfortable in my own skin, which manifested itself in something I had never really felt...........self confidence in my appearance.

In January of 97' I managed to secure my first sales job with a small but well known company. I was elated by my current success and my relationship was progressing nicely.......But soon after starting my sales manager who was also one of the owners started to tease me about my weight. As time went on the teasing became worse. He used to poke me in the stomach, rub my belly and refer to me as 'lumpy' or 'my short fat friend'....just to name a few. In his defense he was a real guys, guy, and I'm not sure he had any idea how hurtful I found the comments. I have always been highly sensitive about my appearance and used to tell myself that I was being too hard on myself.

I remained with this company until Aug. of 99' at which point I left for a better position with a larger company. During the previous 1 3/4 yrs spent at this company my weight hovered up and down between 205 - 212 lbs.

Once at my new job I was happy to be away from the constant teasing from my old boss. I now had an inside sales job with a well known computer distribution company and life couldn't be better. I managed to secure a large pay increase from my previous job and I settled in quickly to my new career.

Over the next 2 1/2 yrs I was promoted 5 times. I originally started out as an overflow queue sales representative. Basically I just filled in for other sales reps while they were out to lunch or were on another call. After only one month I was promoted to handling my own small accounts. Over the next 6-7 months I was promoted 3 more times I was handling the top 4 accounts for Western Canada. At one point I had a monthly sales quota of over 7 million dollars. With this new success came something else that was relatively new to me as well.........STRESS.

I managed to excel in this position to the point that I was offered a sales manager role for a new division that myself and another individual were going to lead. I know it sounds like life was great career wise, and it was.....but all was not well.

At this point my salary had grown considerably.....but so had my level of stress. With every promotion came a new position that entailed more responsibility and a greater learning curve. My life became my job and revolved around my job. As my stress levels rose my eating habits became worse and my exercise level decreased. I started to gain weight quickly. As I gained weight I started to get depressed which only elevated my stress level. My life had become a terrible downward spiral. I developed IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and my depression worsened. My depression and stress put an untold pressure on my relationship which also started to fail. My world seemed to be falling apart.

Geez......I almost forgot. Somewhere between promotions my girlfriend proposed to me (something that never really sat well with me....that's my job) and somewhat dumbfounded I accepted. I had already been thinking about proposing her but I was never sure if the timing was right.

Not knowing what else to do I sought out professional help. My doctor referred me to a therapist that tried to help me to make sense out of everything. Through my therapists help I was able to acknowledge a lot of different issues:
  • That I had been struggling with depression and poor self image since the beginning of high school.
  • I was diagnosed with ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) which after extensive investigation into my past was very evident in my actions and in my report cards. It helped explain why I had such a hard time throughout my school career, and it helped explain why I had to spend so much time trying to remain organized at my current job.
  • I was an emotional eater and food was my primary means of trying to deal with life's ups and downs.
  • Based on my current track record it wasn't going to be long before more physical illnesses presented themselves based on my stress problems and my weight gain (which has steadily climbed to 259 lbs).
It just so happened that around this same time I was taking a management certificate course at Sheridan College.....which changed my life (I'll get back to the therapist in a minute). The instructor was a middle aged man that was an ex sales manager. He had a great attitude and out take on life. He made me laugh a lot which was a nice for a change.

On the second day of class (Sunday) the instructor approached me and said "You remind me a lot of myself at your age. We have to have a little chat, lunch is on me". He said this with a smile, but I couldn't help but notice that he had something really important to tell me.

During lunch he explained how he had taken a sales job that he loved and excelled at. He told me how he was promoted often and moved through the ranks into upper management. He told me about the impact that this had on his life and how his stress levels spiraled out of control to the point that it was becoming apparent on his physical health. He told me how he gained weight, developed digestive problems, which eventually leaded to a life threatening gal bladder attack. At this point in the story he stopped and asked "remind you of anyone?". With a dumbfounded look on my face he continued his story. He told me that he quit his job, regained control of his life, found a less stressful job teaching, which eventually brought his story up to the present day. Our story was virtually identical. His advice to me was get out now before it was too late.

I took this very important experience back to my therapist. After much discussion with my therapist, my instructor and my fiance, I came to the conclusion that I needed to leave my job and pursue something else. Around this same time my brother and I had started up a web based business that was doing extremely well and warranted me leaving my job anyways.

In late March of 2002 I gave my three weeks notice. It felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. My fiance was supportive of my new web based home run business, my therapist visits were helping, I was losing weight.........Life was great.......or so it seemed.

I'll continue this story in Part 4.

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6 Comments:

Blogger ArleneWKW said...

Referring back to your weight list, I see that you didn't get off the weight/freight elevator in 1997. I can certainly relate. The tough thing about this battle, is that it's never completely won. It's a life-long challenge and we can congratulate ourselves for each hard-won day of success in facing it.

1:38 PM  
Blogger ArleneWKW said...

I don't understand why the comment above is here. It seems like a comment I made about another post a while ago.
Hmmmmm.

Anyway, reading about your life is interesting. I'm looking forward to the next chapter.

4:03 AM  
Blogger Sir Squishy said...

That's strange. Not sure how that happened.

10:24 AM  
Blogger Kim Ayres said...

I look forward to the next part - interesting reading!

3:35 PM  
Blogger Paul said...

Well I hate to say it because I hate cliches but can't think of any other way to say it so here goes, "Thanks for sharing." I'll be interested in part 4 too, and I'm going to look back to see if there is a part 1 and 2.

You said, "In late March of 2006 I gave my three weeks notice. It felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders." Hopefully a hugh weight will also literally be lifted off of your body.

By the way I bought the book Mind Over Mood (can't remember if I saw it here or on G.R.'s site originally) a week or so ago and it's on my to read list - unfortunately so are tons of other books on that list because I buy more than I can actually read. Let me know if you like it and find it useful and if so I will move it to the top of my list.

8:54 PM  
Blogger Sir Squishy said...

Thanks for the feedback everyone.

Paul - I've posted links to Part #1-3 on my sidebar....saves you having to search for them. I too have 'tons of other books' on my to read list. I've only made it through the first 3 chapters but I can tell you its an awesome book.

11:30 PM  

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