LIVE AS IF...
24 April 2002
I returned to The Club this morning--and it was nice to get back, though I sure did think
a lot about those gleaming new machines at Mary's
This is also Weight Watchers weigh-in day and, after a weekend of restaurant eating and
guessing at points, I was really hoping I had lost that last 0.8 lb which would allow me
to say definitely that I had lost 40 lbs.
When I stepped on the scale, I was very disappointed. The number was exactly the same
number I remembered from last time. Owell, at least I didn't GAIN on the trip.
But then...what's this? The lady doing the weigh-in congratulated me on a great week. I
hadn't stayed the same, I had lost five pounds!!! I couldn't believe it. I guess I'm
getting better at "guestimating" points! I also overcompensated when I thought
I'd eaten too much and then, of course, there was that time at Mary's club when I worked
up a real sweat. But there it is: 44+ lbs. In another week or two, I'll weigh what I did
15 years ago, a number I haven't seen in 15 years.
So I went home from the meeting on a real high. However, it's been a difficult day--both
work-wise and personally, and there were a couple of points when, 44 lbs or no, I was
sorely tempted to revert to my old habits and just eat the kitchen. The encouraging thing
is that I didn't. Instead, I got on my bike and rode to the office, instead of taking the
car. It's a 2 miles ride and it's a hot (though with a slight breeze) day, so by the time
I'd made the round trip, life was looking a little better.
I certainly felt better about myself, which is what today's WW meeting was all about.
Again, I wasn't able to stay for the whole thing, but it was "self esteem, part
2" and the initial question asked us to think about when we began to identify
ourselves as "fat." That one's easy. I became a "fat" person when I
learned I couldn't study ballet because the teacher would not take a fat kid into the
class. So I've been "fat" since age 7.
Fat is not only a physical appearance, it's a state of mind. Throughout the past 52 fat
years, I've been fat and I've been normal size, but always in my mind I've been fat. In
grammar school, my fatness was underscored by the teasing that only kids can give to other
kids. I still remember someone seeing a photo of me when I was in 7th grade (I had been on
my first diet by then) and said "that can't be Bev, she's not fat enough."
There was even a time when I bordered on anorexic. Oh, not Calista Flockhart thin, but
definitely at least 15 lbs below what all the tables said was my ideal weight. I didn't
binge and purge, but I remember being very proud of being able to go a day or two without
eating, because it meant that I was losing weight.
But I was still fat, no matter how I looked. I remember being very proud of a size 10
dress that I wore to visit relatives, only to have my uncle spend the whole weekend
laughing at me because I couldn't possible wear a size 10--I was a FAT kid.
The leader at the meeting today asked what "fat" has kept you from doing. Oh
lord--this journal page isn't long enough! Embarrassment about my appearance has kept me
from so many things, including bike riding and exercising in a gym.
At some point a few years ago, I accepted being fat. I acknowledged that I would never be
able to lose weight. I started being the brunt of my own jokes--laugh at the fat yourself
before others can laugh at you either in front of you or behind your back. It was a
defense mechanism. It didn't make me more comfortable in a fat body, but it put up those
protective walls that prevented people from hurting me.
But I didn't accept "me." I didn't recognize that fat person in the mirror. I
was someone somewhere else--that skinny person inside a fat body, screaming to be let out.
I was still acutely aware of how I thought people were looking at me (fat people can be
very egotistical, thinking everybody in the world is looking about you and talking about
The leader asked how you get past that feeling and one woman said that she vowed to
"live as if..." As if she were thin. She said she realized how many things in
her life she had missed because of feeling fat, and decided when she began this program
that she would just live as if she were the person she was working to become.
I don't know that I have fully embraced that concept, but to some extent I have. If I
weren't living "as if," I woud never have joined the health club. I never would
have bought a bike, I never would have accepted Mary's invitation to exercise with her at
Living "as if" means that when I passed a girl today, as I was panting along on
my bike, my helmet firmly attached to my head, as she zipped past me, hatless, and she had
this big grin on her face, I did have the feeling that she was laughing at the sight of
me, but I didn't care. "Yeah, Lady--and how much weight have YOU lost this week,
I'm trying to live "as if" until I will just live period, and there
will be no "as if" about it.