Friday, May 25, 2007

From Scales to Compliments

The last time I weighed myself was last Wednesday. At the time I told myself I'd wait until this Wednesday (the 23rd) to weigh again. Wednesday came and I really didn't want to do it, and I told myself to wait until Friday.

Well, Friday arrived this morning and I still didn't want to do it. But unlike last week, I wasn't having anxiety attacks about gaining a ton of weight. I didn't want to weigh myself because I don't want to run the risk of diminishing my progress. I've been doing so well with Intuitive Eating, and I don't want to attribute that to a number; I want to gauge my success on a lessening of diet mentality thoughts, honoring my hunger and my emotions, and a decrease in binges. Either way the scale goes, that reading will sabotage what I'm trying to accomplish: if I've gained I might get depressed and down on myself, and if I've lost weight, it will tempt me to start treating this like another diet and I will once again fall into my perfectionist thinking.

And I have to admit this: I'm starting to like it when I don't have a number that defines my day. Being ecstatic on a 205 day and full of self-loathing on a 220 day is ridiculous when you really think about it, isn't it? That number doesn't change my personality, my identity, and why should I let it affect my mood and my opinion of myself? It's such a destructive, demoralizing thing to do, yet I was doing it to myself all the time. Enough, I say!

It's not like I don't know in general terms that I'm staying relatively stable weight-wise. I wake up in the morning and I'm not bloated like a soaked sponge from binge eating the night before. My clothes still fit. People are still commenting that I'm looking good. I may have gone up or even gone down a few pounds, but not enough to make a noticeable difference. So why worry about it?

Mentioning comments, a few days ago a lady I know (actually one of my husband's cousins -- life in a small town) told me how good I looked and asked me if I was still losing weight.

"Not really," I replied.
"Are you still dieting?" she asked.
"No, not anymore," I said, not sure how to answer. "I still exercise regularly, and..."
"... and watch what you eat?" she finished for me.
"Sort of," I said, shrugging my shoulders.
"Well, you definitely look great," she said as we parted ways.

I don't know how much I should say about Intuitive/Conscious Eating. I don't know if people will write it off as another diet, or if people will scoff at the notion of eating whatever I want whenever I feel hungry. The lady I was talking to has always been a big woman, and I have no idea about her history (if she's dieted a lot, if she's accepted herself as she is, etc.). I don't feel like I should take an evangelistic approach with this and try to convert people to IE. While I'd love to "save" people from the diet mentality, it's not my place to shove it down people's throats. But if anyone's interested in it, I'd love to share my insights. It's just hard to know how people will react.

On another related note, I had a funny experience with getting dressed this morning. I got a pair of my 18-20 shorts out from storage and put them on. Well, I looked like one of those people in the "after" picture in the diet ads, holding the waist band and examining the chasm between it and my body. This surprised me, because these shorts used to run on the tight side, especially when I first bought them (of course, I was 23oish at the time). They fit loose but comfortable everywhere else, but that waist was way too baggy, so I then tried to find a belt in my closet. After scrounging around I found one and put it on, only to discover the belt was way too big, too! I would have had to bore a hole in the belt a good 4 or 5 inches from the last notch to make it work.

So I gave up and put on a pair of shorts I bought a few weeks ago. These were a little snug when I bought them, and I originally didn't put them on because I was sure with all this food legalizing going on and the Saturday binge they would be too tight. But they fit the same, which was a pleasant surprise. The best news of all is, instead of propelling me into diet mode, this confirmed for me that what I'm doing is working.

I'm coming back after a couple hours because the office got very busy. In that time two more people stopped by the office and commented on how good I look. I had to tell you about the one "compliment," from an older lady in our congregation:
"You sure are looking good now!"
"Thanks," I replied.
"You must've lost a lot of weight."
"Yeah, over the last couple years."
"Because you sure weren't looking good at all a while ago!"

Hmmm, how do you answer that? The pastor was in the room at the time, and we both just kind of stared at her in shocked silence. But it didn't phase her. People like that don't realize they've stuck their foot in their mouths, even when the shoelaces are dangling down their throats. Oh well. At least I look good to her now.


Lori said...

If there's such a thing as reincarnation, I think I know where my grandmother and/or aunt went to--they're in that woman's body. That sounds exactly like something they'd say to me, my mom or my other aunt.

I hope you have a great weekend!

Jenny said...

Andrea, I hope you have a great weekend. Your's certainly sounds busy.......but life is just like that now isn't it. Never a dull moment.

What a coup having your IE journey validated in such a positive way when you tried on your shorts. Like you, I haven't stood on the scales since IE and it feels very empowering. I hate that sick feeling after you step on the scales and they tell you what you didn't want to debilitating, and quite negative.