healthy and happy. one of these days.

08 September 2009

Buckle up, it's gonna be a bumpy one.

So yesterday on my SP blog, I got a comment from a lovely and beautiful SPerson (hi, Melissa!), and she mentioned that I’m not eating enough. And you know what? She’s totally right. I know I’m not getting enough calories. I think I’m making good food choices, but I’m not eating enough. Part of me is wary and concerned, and the other part is okay with it, risks included.

I don’t even know where to start, there is so much behind this. Basically, the part that is okay with it feels that way because, in three weeks, I will have some family visiting. I have a history with them and though I love them with every fiber of my being, they have the remarkable ability to make me feel like absolute crap about the way I look. Not that I don’t already feel that way, but it’s like they hold up a mirror and say “You look terrible” and I resent it.

I have always worshipped the ground this family walked on. Always. They are constantly talking about their personal trainer, or the healthy foods they eat – and they have always been the cool, hip, fun, successful people we know. I have always desperately wanted their approval or praise or recognition. These aren't things they actually demanded of me, and it’s probably more like my own projections onto them, but they have always been the barometer of my own self-image.

When I graduated college they came to the ceremony. It had been two years since they had seen me, but in that time I had gained a lot of weight. The day they got there, I was watching from my window as their car pulled up – I ran to the door and waved as they got out of the car. I will never forget this: there were a few seconds of hesitation before they waved back. They didn’t recognize me. I tried to let it roll off my back as we hugged and exchanged hellos, but I could see the pity in their faces. It killed me. I wouldn’t wish that feeling or that situation on my worst enemy. Frankly it ruined graduation for me. At a time when I should be so proud of myself, I couldn’t think of anything but those seconds of hesitation and the way that they looked at me.

A few months later after I was back at home and those family members had also returned home, my mom told me that one of them, after seeing me, had wanted to sit me down and talk to me about how much I weighed. An intervention! Well, like I didn’t feel like crap before! I hope it was out of love, but it also made me feel like my size was a qualifier for their love. I understand wanting someone you love to be healthy, but to me it felt more like a criticism of my weight and ‘what’s wrong with you’ not, ‘we love you and what can we do to help’.

The whole point of SWL1 was because I was in that person’s wedding. The family wedding would have been the first time I had seen them all since that college graduation and I didn’t want a repeat. By the time the wedding rolled around I was about 50 pounds lighter than when I started, but only maybe 10-15 pounds lighter than what I weighed during that college graduation weekend. I was still really proud of my 50 pounds though, and that got me through it. I got a lot of nice compliments from other family members about how pretty I looked, and that felt good.

So that brings us to now. They’re coming in three weeks and they have never seen me weigh this much. If they thought I looked bad then, what in the sweet holy hell are they going to think now??? Usually I would tell myself that I’m blowing it out of proportion, that it’s really not so bad. But I have never forgotten graduation and I probably won’t for a really long time – it’s enough emotional evidence for me to be stressed about it.

So it’s stressful and I’m scared and part of me thinks that if I can get any shred of confidence from three or four weeks of weight loss before they get here, then maybe that’ll get me through their visit. If they bring it up, I can present numbers and pounds lost and that will deflect any commentary on my current weight. Or maybe if I tell them the real reason for my weight gain, crippling depression from not getting a job, they’ll feel bad and stop talking to me about it all.

Now, I didn’t set out last week to say “I’m going to not eat enough so that I lose a lot of weight quickly so the family will approve of me” – but that has to be the reason. It’s all I think about. I’m not saying it’s right. In fact, I know it isn’t. It’s fucked up in a lot of ways. So am I, I guess. I realize how pathetic putting one’s self-worth in the hands of other people is. I think I learned a lot of this from my mother, but I won’t get into that. It’s the internet, not a therapist’s couch.

So that was a lot to unload. Sorry for the heaviness of it, but it’s weighing on me quite a bit. Oh, weight loss wordplay, is there any post you can’t wrap up successfully?


Tina said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog! First of all hugs to you. It's a terrible feeling but sometimes thinking about it is worse than it will actually be.

I think the best thing you can do is exactly what you said above "part of me thinks that if I can get any shred of confidence from three or four weeks of weight loss before they get here, then maybe that’ll get me through their visit."

If you feel close enough to them to be honest about the reasons for your weight gain I would tell them. You may get some sympathy, you may get some help, or it may just feel good to get it off your chest.

Do be careful to eat enough and at least maintain 1200 calories (I think Jillian says that's the bare minimum) because it will help you lose weight and still feel strong and confident.

Sorry about the long comment but I can totally relate!!

Melissa said...

Hello again! I had to make a comment on this for a couple of reasons. The first is that you mentioned me in this blog[how cool is that? And thank you for the compliment!] Anyways, I also have a hard time with eating enough. If you take a look at my tracker, you can see that there are several days that I go under my calories. Allthough I am really trying to get away from that as of lately. Its like I hear it EVERYWHERE that you shouldnt eat that little, blah blah, yet my brain just can't grasp the whole idea of it. It never really did make sense to me, yet I've seen many people, mainly on spark, who are losing weight by eating 1500 calories or sometimes more.

About the whole family accepting you because of your weight...I totally understand where you are coming from. I cannot tell you how many family functions I have missed because I am ashamed of the way I look. Most of the time I don't even want to go out to bars unless it's out of town because I'm afraid of seeing people I went to school with. In fact, whenever I DO see people I went to school with, I either turn around and run away or put my head down and hope the don't recognize me. How terrible it is that we feel we need to live life this way, but I think it's just a cultural thing that we feel the need to be perfect and if we don't feel like we are, it's just too embarassing to face people. Sorry for the long post, I just feel like we have a lot in common and I want you to know you are not alone :)


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