Six months ago, I wrote two posts on weight and disordered eating. (This one and this one.) Yesterday I put them in my favorites page so I can find them easily. It’s a subject I don’t like to write about because I don’t know how to do it without sounding maudlin or, worse, making light of a serious disease. It’s a balance that, much like with my issues with food, I still struggle to achieve. I put them in my favorites because until I reread them for this post, I hadn’t looked at them again. This was a mistake.
I am uncomfortable with flattery or attention (all attention, positive or negative). I want it, but I don’t. I’m not sure why, but this is how I have always been. Both posts were well received. I received comments and links and emails of support and thanks even though I stated clearly in both posts that I was not one to admire. I don’t know the answers. I white knuckle through every day, holding tight to the thread of normal I can reach, and most of the time I feel it slip through my fingers.
When the comments and links and emails came in I did what anyone in my broken position would do. I took it all in and panicked. Clearly I wrote it all wrong. Clearly I put forth a false image. Clearly I bamboozled everyone. Clearly I needed to resolve the cognitive dissonance between my mind and my scale. So I gained back the 2 pounds I lost.
It was a failure and disappointment, but at least everything matched up.
Time went on, I met with Diane, and I lost the two pounds once again. I ramped up my exercise. I walked in triple digit heat for miles and miles. I wore a tank top almost everyday with my compression pants, which was huge for someone who the year before didn’t like to wear short sleeves.
I don’t like to walk around town in my workout clothes, and certainly not a tank top, but on May 14th I was hot after a very long walk and decided to brave the public. I considered it an exercise in body confidence, something Diane wanted me to work on.
There is something you should know about me. I’m shy and introverted, but only when it comes to talking about myself. If you walk up to me in a store and ask for help, I’ll gladly help you search the aisles for almond butter. I’ll talk to your kids or make small talk. I’ve asked check out boys about their piercings. In my experience, they kind of love it.
I went to the health food store wearing my pants and tank top to buy my favorite vegan takeout sandwich and some coconut vinegar. While I was there I remembered these chips I really liked, so I went down that aisle to pick up a single serving bag. I was there when a woman approached me from behind and me, stupid, stupid me, thinking she was looking for almond butter, turned around and smiled.
She told me that it was obvious I needed to lose weight and then she launched into a series of diets tips, one of them being the ingestion of safflower oil. She even brought me a bottle.
I held up my hand and told her I wasn’t interested. I’m not sure if my face showed anger, shock, or hurt (I felt all three). She said she was sorry she offended me, but she was only trying to help me.
There is something else you should know about me. I don’t cry. The last time I remember crying was almost 8 years ago when my sister in-law’s father died, though I know I’ve shed a tear for mushy animal/kid stories and the like since then. But full on crying? No. So when I stood there in the cracker and chip aisle and stared blindly at a white box of gluten free rice crackers I thought to myself that would be a fantastic time to cry. Instead, I tweeted (!), texted Diane, and paid for my lunch–except for the chips. Those I put back.
I sat in my car and took my first bite of sandwich while thinking about not thinking. That bite sat heavy on my tongue like an unconfessed sin. Two minutes later the rest of the sandwich was in the trash uneaten. Within ten minutes I was at Target holding a large iced coffee and a hand-basket of Lean Cuisines. I didn’t eat another full meal until I’m not sure when.
And in that time, I gained 5 pounds.
By the end of May I was in a state and joined Weight Watchers. Diane questioned my decision. (Hah! Understatement.) She felt it would be a huge trigger for me and that nothing good would come from me counting and measuring and, besides, I’m being shamed in public for free, so why pay for it? (This pretty much sums up her thoughts on diet programs, and you won’t changer her mind. I’ve tried.) I was determined to prove her wrong.
I gained two pounds the first week, and I’m still not sure how I managed it because I was starving the entire time.
The next week I dropped the coffees, the diet food, and Weight Watchers. I ate ice cream. I lost the two pounds I gained.
I am still 5 pounds up from my last post. But then there is that woman who thought I lost 30-40 pounds. So, really, I have no idea what to think. And I that’s all I can do right now–not think too much about it and trust that everything will be okay.