A bit more unraveling, or maybe I mean disentangling

photo taken by and cropped by my amazing little girlI like thinking about unraveling in a positive way — not so much as in the unraveling of a garment or cloth, but in the sense of disentangling knots.

Lately, my weight has been higher. By higher, I mean 10 pounds higher than where it was a couple of months ago. And this has been something worrisome, to some degree. Annoying to another degree. And a good kind of challenge to yet another degree. (I have at least 360 degrees, right?)

The photo of me here is recent. As in, taken about 12 hours ago. I still look like me. I was sneaking up on my daughter to take a picture of her. She isn’t exactly camera shy, but lately she hasn’t wanted to have her picture taken as much as she used to. It’s annoying to me, because she is so darn cute (and missing one of her front teeth) and I want to capture her image right now. But that’s exactly it — she doesn’t want her image captured, unless she’s doing the capturing. She’s been playing around with the “Photo Booth” application on our Mac and making these very silly short videos — usually a minute long or less. Somehow she’s picked up the concept of a reporter delivering a newscast (maybe from doing skits at summer camp) — the reporter is always a man. What’s funny is I doubt she’s ever seen “the news” — we haven’t had TV since she was too little to remember, and while her dad watches the news sometimes on the Internet while she is around, it’s not in English.

Okay, wait, what was I talking about? Oh yeah, my weight. So, I was hiding trying to take a picture of her, and she got mad, and I let her take a picture of me instead. So I have this recent photo of me. In a funny pose.

So, what do those 10 pounds mean?

  • a recovery from some pretty deep depression.
  • a response to riding my bike a few days a week for a month now, and feeling hungrier (and sometimes some low blood sugar) as a result.
  • Being super busy now that the school year has started and I’m in the full swing of all of the things I do other than simply work full-time and “mom” (used as a verb there)

So, do I need to “do something about it?” I’m not sure. I need to do something about having more consistent blood sugar levels, so I don’t have moments when its low and as a response, my entire body and brain vibrates with this sole message: EAT NOW. I’m not going to stop riding my bike if I can help it. I’m not going on a diet. I’m not avoiding foods I love (although holding off on eating sweeter things other than fruit until later in the day does seem to help with managing blood sugar). I’m not going to stop doing the things that are keeping me super busy, because I’m enjoying them and they are contributing to my overall health and well-being. I might like to be getting more/better sleep, but aside from that, I’m not sure what else I want to adjust.

I asked my therapist a question that has been part of that tight knot of thoughts lately — “Am I doing something now that will hurt my health later by not focusing on losing weight now?” Her response was not to answer that question, but to ask me what it is that happens to my extraordinary compassion when I think of myself, rather than when I’m thinking about others. I took this to mean that if someone came to me with this question, how would I answer?

And, if a friend told me what I told her, said to me what I’ve written here, about the fullness of her life, the extent to which she is fully in the moment rather than neurotically second-guessing every step of the way, I would tell her that focusing on losing weight to the detriment of her life now — what would that give her? There is no guarantee that focusing on weight would provide any safety or security in the future. Focusing instead on those things that have both current and future payoffs (biking, volunteering in my daughter’s classroom, providing myself with healthful nourishment, and much much more) are really the places to put energy. Now, to treat myself like a friend, that seems to be the main trick this old puppy needs to learn.



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4 responses to “A bit more unraveling, or maybe I mean disentangling

  1. I think that’s the trick a lot of us have the most trouble with. We can find ways to sympathize – even empathize – with nearly everyone but ourselves. We need to accept that it’s okay to share our natural empathy even with us.

    Oh, and I just have to say I adore that picture of you. Your smile is just so joyful it makes me want to get up and dance… except that I pulled my Achilles tendon the other day and dancing would be hideously painful right now. So I guess I’ll just have to dance on the inside.

  2. Alexandra

    I too gained weight over the last year or so and I’ve been asking myself the same question. Do I need to do something about it?

    In my case its not really clear what the cause is. I’ve been doing pretty much the same things I’ve always done, same diet, same amount of exercise, just very different results. I’ve decided not to worry too much about it. I try to follow the principles of HAES as best as I can and I think I’m doing OK. Like you, I have a very busy life and could probably do with a bit more sleep, but I enjoy my life the way it is and all the craziness somehow just seems to add to my well-being. There is only one thing I’d like to change, but if past experience is anything to go by, it is not going to make me thin(ner), and that is OK.

    The best thing to do, in my opinion, is to always be honest with yourself. If you feel confident that you have enough information to make an informed decision, you only have to be able to justify that decision to yourself. Your body is nobody else’s business.

    I think deep down you already know the answer to your own question. I think you should trust yourself. I also agree with your therapist that you should treat yourself with the same compassion you treat others with.

    Wishing you the very best,

  3. Alexie

    I always think if my body changes dramatically I should pay attention to what it’s saying. NOT for weight loss purposes (couldn’t give a stuff) but because a big change signals something is going on. If you’ve put weight on quickly, is there something in your life you should be paying attention to?

    My sister put on weight very rapidly when she got romantically attached to someone and her (wonderful) GP told her not to worry, because it was a sign that she was suddenly incredibly happy. She was doing a lot of feasting and hanging around on the sofa with her new love, instead of being twitchy.

    On the other hand, sudden weight gain can be a sign of putting work or whatever first, before your body. Getting enough sleep? Eating regularly or eating on the run? Eating what’s right for your body?

    Only you can know. But a sudden weight change IS a signal of some kind.

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