Since I renounced dieting forever last July, I’ve documented many of my thoughts and struggles with self-acceptance and compulsive eating, both here, in conversation with friends, at meetings, on a forum, and with my therapist. One of the things I’ve heard myself saying a lot lately is some version of “I’m doing okay, but then again life hasn’t been particularly challenging lately.”

There is a lot that is jacked up about that statement. For one, I’m not giving myself any credit for any progress because, according to me, I’ve had been playing on the Stupidly Easy difficulty setting. For another, it makes any little hiccup that does come along way heavier than it needs to be, setting myself up for Big Failure over Small Challenge.

About a month ago I signed up for a biometric screening through work, because on some vague level I believe there is a benefit to my health insurance for participation, but if you asked me what any of that means I couldn’t tell you. I have a yearly physical at my doctor’s office in which all of the same measurements and more are taken so this is screening isn’t just an inconvenience (no coffee until after your BP is taken), it’s probably unnecessary. But it doesn’t take that long and it’s in the building so why not.

To cut to the chase, for the first time since July, I have seen my weight expressed in numbers. I asked the nurses at the doctor’s office last fall not to let me know, but I didn’t think about it today and while I waited for someone at the next station to open up, I looked down at the sheet and there it was.

The visceral reaction I had to seeing it was astonishing to me. I know in the grand scheme of shit that can happen to a person, learning your weight doesn’t rank in the Top 1000. But hey, I’m playing on Stupidly Easy, remember? I went from devastation to anger in about half a second, and wanted to flip the table over those healthcare volunteers thinking they can just WRITE STUFF DOWN THAT MAYBE SOMEONE DOESN’T WANT TO SEE. How dare they? Then came negotiation – oh these scales are always 3 pounds heavier than the one I had at home so really I’m just ____ (<— psycho thinking, I know). Then I quickly felt guilty. I’m responsible for my own feelings, it’s not anyone else’s problem that I can’t see a number without attaching about four thousand negative connotations to it. Then I just kind of shut down. I hadn’t had any food or coffee and I felt fat and miserable and like I was wearing the wrong shoes.

I want this post to have a happy ending so I’m putting in what happened next. Ultimately this is about that reaction I had to seeing a number again, like when you see run into someone who broke your heart last year — it’s not the same feelings you experienced during the break-up, but rather like an echo of them, on an unpredictable wavelength. You get unsure of your feelings because they are familiar and unfamiliar at the same time.

The last station of the screening is just sitting down with someone who goes over your all of your numbers and, if necessary, makes recommendations for improving them. Some people are in that room for like ten minutes. I was there for about forty-five seconds. All of my numbers were in the Normal, Desired, or Healthy range. Every last one. Some, you know, only by a matter of degrees, but still. My counselor had no recommendations. She didn’t say, “My,you’ve gained some weight in the last year!” even though I’d convinced myself she would. I’m doing good, by all of their numerical standards.

However, I’m not a numbers girl any longer, or at least I’m trying not to be. All I can do is go back to asking myself how I feel and the answer is bifold. Emotionally I’m feeling in limbo, caught somewhere between negative self-talk and mindfulness. Physically, I’m not feeling great. I feel heavy and awkward and unfamiliar, but how much of that is in my head? I just posted about how little has really changed for me. My clothes still fit, I’m not bingeing at every opportunity. Maybe I’m just depressed? That wouldn’t be unheard of for me, but I’ve been pretty good about recognizing blue moods for the last few years. Maybe my radar’s been shaken. Probably I just need more time and more observation, less trash self-talk and less doing things without presence. Or maybe I just need lunch.

1 thought on “Fragility

  1. Johnny

    I have found that self journaling can really help figuring out if how I feel is real or a “phantom” and I’m only listening to myself. Keep listening to yourself and seeing how you feel. You’re already awesome and you’re only going to get better and better. Love you.

    Liked by 1 person


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