Now I’m going every other week, and we’re building off each past experience every time we meet. I’m much more comfortable, and it’s awesome how she really “gets” me…and helps me “get” me, too.
Captain Obvious would say, “OK, but she is trained to do this, Melissa.” This much is true.
Still, I marvel at the thought of someone who can really help me see me for me, and accept me as I am, helping me to sort through my thoughts — even if they’re not about anxiety or eating issues — teaching me techniques I can use for the rest of my life.
One of the biggest things therapy has helped me do is separate rational and irrational thoughts. This requires thinking before speaking, something I’m not accustomed to doing.
That said, I’ve really been trying to think more before speaking … to make sure that my spoken (or written) thoughts are rational ones, to make sure I’m not putting demands on myself that are too high or unnatural.
This also means gauging my audience and thinking about them before speaking: be it at work, at a social function, amongst friends, or even here on my blog ….
Which, in a rather long-winded manner, brings me to today’s post about how I’ve been feeling about my body lately, an internal battle of sorts: accepting myself as I am, or struggling to re-lose these last 10 or so again.
Since I’ve been blogging all week about eating disorders and some shocking things that I learned this week, I really had to think long and hard with myself about raising the topic I’m about to discuss, because I fear it might appear to be a slap in the face of everything I am preaching.
(But please hear me out anyway).
In addition to that, knowing that my audience varies from ordinary women who are interested in hearing someone like me ramble, women who are interested in losing weight, women who are suffering from eating disorders, women at various stages of the disordered eating spectrum, and men who have found a place here, as well … it makes it more challenging to talk about this, today, especially.
The last thing I intend to do is create more body angst for someone else, but I’d be lying if I didn’t share what I’m going through at the moment.
So it’s my hope that you’ll read it objectively and see why it is something I needed to raise now, culimating this week of such serious, critical discussions.
I hope it will serve as an example of the struggles in my own mind about how I’m handling things: even with therapy, even with blogging, the internal battles don’t necessarily go away. We just learn to see past them, work around them, change how we react to them.
OK, deep breath.
Last week, I noticed something in the mirror that I’ve not wanted to admit for a long time: I am softer than I was, or than I want to be. More or less, I’ve filled out over the past three years — not a lot, just 10 lbs. or so but enough to make a visible difference.
(In the grand scheme of things, I know being soft is feminine and beautiful. I also know my husband has always loved me and thought I’m beautiful– regardless of my size — and that there was a time when he was concerned and thought perhaps I had gotten too thin (for me).)
When I first lost weight, I was able to see my ribs very clearly; now they’re there, but sticking out as much. My hips bones, I can feel … but they’re now covered by a little extra meat. And my waist — while always the narrowest part of my body, looks very straight these days.
Basically, the very cues that alerted me to my newfound “thin-ness” in 2004 and 2005 were starting to hide under flesh in 2006, 2007 and 2008. I realize these thoughts sound horrible, irrational, ugly, vain and … dysmorphic. Especially in light of talking about all these scary pro-ana sites, etc. this week.
Please understand, I don’t mean to imply “bony” is sexy or a “goal” to have; it’s absolutely not — that kind of thinking is destructive and dangerous, and not at all what I’d want to be promoting here. I honestly just wanted to look healthy back then, and was surprised at myself when I got a “high” from seeing those changes in my physical self; it became a “barometer” of sorts for me.
Last week it hit me that, in 2005 (then age 25) when I was at my smallest… I had a body that I really loved, and in which I felt confident; I’d worked for it and I’d earned it. And in 2008, it’s just not there anymore. I’m still me — and I wouldn’t say I’m not confident … but the body love is not there.
But nor is the desire always to “earn it” (and maybe that’s ok: therein lies the struggle).
The thing is, I have gained a little weight, and I can actually see it — rationally. And here’s the frightening part: it sometimes scares me — rationally.
But it’s embarassing to admit, especially here on my blog.
I mean, here I am, in public, trying to be a positive role model, overcoming disordered eating and anxiety issues, blogging about these things. I’m in therapy, working hard to not put an emphasis on a scale or on my reflection … trying to loosen up my exercise regimen, etc. Trying to do all the right things, including sorting out rational and irrational thoughts.
And yet the internal battle between “Yes, I’m ok where I am, I’m making progress toward acceptance” and “Oh no, there’s more of me to love now and that scares me; I want to lose again” is still there.
Moreover, it’s not in my head; the weight is actually there. It’s rational, it’s real. I can see it in photos (especially in my face). The scale says so, and some of my 6s are snug, especially at the hips (always my trouble-spot when heavy).
I’m not exaggerating or asking for compliments; it’s a reality I’m facing. I’m not saying I’m “fat” — that would be irrational; I’m fit and healthy. And I’m not saying I need to do something drastic. Again, that would be irrational.
But I’m acknowledging something big… admitting to you, my readers, that this bothers me in a way I really didn’t think it would … and the mere fact that it bothers me is most disconcerting of all.
Not that I thought I was “over” this form of thinking … but I guess maybe deep down I was hoping I was.
The truth is, I know why I’ve gained weight since the summer. It’s part of the trade-off of my vow to be be less obsessive.
For example, I’ve cut back on my crazy gym time (still exercising, but not forcing myself to burn X calories a session); I listen to my body if I need a rest day (usually once a week); I’ve stopped weight lifting (no time, tsk tsk); I’ve not been walking at lunch (too cold); I’ve been lacking on my abs work; I’ve been eating too many Points to lose (I know I can’t eat my Activity Points and lose, yet I still do); and I haven’t been eating as cleanly as I could — more bread and stuff than I used to eat.
On the plus side, I still journal, still weigh and measure my food, still exercise regularly. None of that has changed, except my attitude towards these things: I didn’t want to have an unhealthy perspective anymore, and I’m proud of the strides I have made.
I’m 29 now, not 25 — and though I lost successfully back in 2004, it was my first attempt at weight loss. Now, I’m an old pro at Weight Watchers, for better or for worse. And I’m four years older, so it’s not the same game. And it’ll only get harder.
So here’s my rational question to myself, as this is where I’m still torn:
Do I want to make the efforts again to commit myself to absolute strictness to get back there? And … more importantly, do I need to? Will losing 10 lbs. really make a difference?
Some days the answer is a resounding “NO!!” In fact, most days lately, it’s that resounding NO. I don’t want to be in that mindset that led to obsessive behavior.
But other days, like last week when I saw a reflection that didn’t please me 100% … (however irrational it may sound) I do wonder if I’ll be even happier with myself if I was back to my comfortable weight range vs. accepting where I am now.
It’s a daily struggle, and not one I take lightly. Deep down, I don’t want to have to make the trade-off; I like my healthier approach and don’t care to go back to my old mindset.
With Dr. G’s help to sift through these thoughts and my own experience with weight loss, I know I have the tools and the know-how to get back to my comfy weight; I just need to do it, keeping in mind all I’ve learned along this journey.
The realization last week was a big wake-up call. All the more reason to be a little more diligent without compromising my newfound outlook. The best of both worlds!
And so as long as there are more positive thoughts than negative thoughts — more rational thoughts than irrational thoughts — I know I’m making progress.
One day at a time.
How about you? How do you deal with weight gain without obsessing?