IT'S ALL IN HOW
YOU LOOK AT IT
30 April 2003
"Are you sure you wouldn't like some more, Bev?"
I hadn't been asked that question in awhile. I'd forgotten how much I hated it.
I was at a buffet and had already had my trip through the food line. The hostess was a
very gracious lady, wanting to be sure that everyone was taken care of. But I noticed that
she didn't ask the lythe looking beauty following me if she had had enough.
I am at a point in this new lifestyle (up a pound this week--I knew I had too good a
time in Houston) where I am acutely aware of what a role illusion plays for me in how I
respond to the eating cues I can't seem to shut off.
I've been feeling really thin these days. Every time I lean over in my desk
chair to pick a paperclip off the floor, or as I spy something on the floor as I'm walking
to the copy room and bend over to pick it up, or as I get on my hands and knees to diddle
with a stubborn plug, I feel thin. I remember the days when I could not bend over
at my desk, so the paperclips and bits of paper just stayed on the floor until I could do
them all in one fell swoop. I remember when I couldn't bend over to pick up something from
a standing position without holding onto the desk. I remember when I would do anything to
avoid getting down on my hands and knees because I wasn't sure I could get up again
without totally embarrassing myself (even if I was there in the office alone).
When I walk confidently into Curves and easily get into all of the machines, watching
"newbies" struggle with some of the more awkward ones. When I march confidently
in place, knees coming up higher, while I watch the "really fat" ones barely
moving in place. When I climb up on a chair to reach a scrapbook on a high shelf and don't
have to hold onto something and laboriously inch my way up to the seat of the chair.
I feel downright thin.
But then someone says "are you sure you don't want more?" and I remember that
I'm not thin. I'm still fat. I'm still the one that a gracious hostess needs to feel she
has fed sufficiently. I eagerly ask for the Curves tape measure and discover that I
haven't lost any inches at all.
I feel downright fat.
I get on a plane and fit (albeit snugly) in the seat and pull the seatbelt
tight, as opposed to asking for a belt extender, and I feel thin. But then I review photos
I've taken and catch my own reflection in the glass door behind the subject and see the
rolls of fat still sitting in my lap.
The funny thing is that I'm the same me in all the instances. Thinner than I was,
fatter than I want to be, fitter than I ever was.
But my mental response to these situations changes. It's easy to grab the tomatoes or
the V-8 juice or the yogurt when I'm feeling thin. It's my reward for doing all the right
things, it makes me feel good about myself. ("You're a thin person; thin people
really like this stuff. Treat yourself right; eat the right thing. Doesn't that feel
It's a real struggle not to slather on the butter, drive through a fast-food joint, or
turn down a margarita (or two) when I'm feeling fat. It's a comfort for feeling
"other" and it's a punishment for not being in control. ("Can't pass up
that chocolate cake? There! Take that, you fat pig--take a croissant and a slice of pizza
too. That'll teach you....")
It gets really boring having these mental duels with yourself.