A year ago I wrote a post called “Tending Towards Fat” (now a chapter in my book) and among other things, I wrote about how pissed off I was during a trip to Nova Scotia with my husband Tim because, after a three-hour hike along some of the most spectacular shoreline in the world, I was “starving” and Tim was “not really hungry.” We had stopped for lunch at a local deli. We had gotten a couple of wrap sandwiches and he said, “boy these are huge” and that he might not be able to eat all of his.
Inside I was fuming. Not only did I think I could eat all of mine, I also knew I’d probably still be hungry afterwards. In fact I was angry that I was hungry in the first place and that Tim wasn’t. I was angry because I knew I’d be in the mood to “snack” all afternoon. I was angry because our dinner reservations weren’t until 7:30 p.m. and I didn’t want to look like a piggy after eating my “huge” sandwich. I was angry because I felt like eating out of control. I know myself well enough to know that when I feel like this, it’s usually hormonal. And that was certainly the case this time. I was able to forgive myself a little, but at the same time felt as if I had taken several steps backward.
In the end, I didn’t finish the whole sandwich, mostly because I didn’t want to eat more than Tim did, and was able to wait for dinner without dying of hunger. But I was still angry about it.
And it made me think of all the times we went on vacation and how much of that time was spent worrying about food and my body, whether it was when I weighed 225 pounds or 165 pounds. Would there be enough food? Would I eat too much? What if I gained weight? Did I look okay? What if I was too big or too scared or too unsure of myself?
Struggle, struggle struggle!
Fast forward to a week ago. Tim and I went to Bermuda. And for the first time…since I can remember? As I was packing, it occurred to me that I was not worried about gaining weight on vacation. And that doesn’t mean that I thought I would pig out, gain weight and just not care. It meant that my new normal is that I trust myself and my body, even if that meant that I didn’t exercise as much or if I ate things that I don’t normally eat (like sticky toffee bread pudding…can you say YUM?). All without worry, guilt, shame, or anger. And without gaining weight.
And so I wanted to revisit that “Tending Towards Fat” post, specifically this bit:
The Tendency of the Mind*
Inner directed…Outer directed
Attention on one thing…Attention on many things
Linear thought/speech…Modular thought/speech
Sees process…Sees goal
Planned gratification…Instant gratification
Aware of self…Aware of others
Prefers solitude…Prefers company
Emotionally open…Emotionally guarded
A year ago, in response to this, I wrote:
WOW! With few exceptions, my mind tends towards “fat” (and Tim certainly tends towards “thin”). On some level, I know that this is part of my problem and that these “fat” tendencies are things I want to change. Not because I think I am a bad person because of them, but because I don’t feel good inside when my life trends in the “fat” direction. And my life has been trending in that direction for a couple of years now. I know the answer lies in setting a goal, something that until now, I have not wanted to do. Stay tuned though, because I am about to set a goal!
When I look at this now I have to laugh because, even though it says that “fat” is associated with goals, and even though I have always hated setting goals, I still believed that I had to set one!!
In fact, I had a recent light bulb moment about goals and why I hate them. For pretty much all of my life, I didn’t know what *I* wanted. I didn’t know how to even figure it out or articulate it. I constantly looked outside myself for advice, validation, and so on. Please someone just tell me what to do!!
And so, because I didn’t know better, I would take on other people’s dreams and goals as my own. And the minute I did so, I’d slam on the mental brakes because I didn’t really want that goal. And then I’d beat myself up because I thought there was something wrong with me. You know how it goes…
Now I am tending towards thin: I am more focused, more inner directed, more patient, more tenacious, I am all about process, I am more aware of myself, I am calmer, I prefer solitude, and I am more emotionally open.
That said, I freely admit that I still have some “tending towards fat” behaviors: I tend to be distracted, I pay attention to many things (at once), I do not think/speak linearly, and I am spontaneous. I guess it’s a good thing that I don’t take these things as seriously as I once did…or at the very least don’t think I need to fix them.
*from a book called Act Thin, Be Thin by Howard Richman