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Not sure what to make of this....

Sunday, September 23, 2012

So this blog has been rattling inside of me for a very long time, and truth be told, I am still not sure I should be writing it. Part of me feels very judgmental in writing it. Part of me feels like I have no way of knowing if I'm right. Part of me feels like I have hit the nail on the head. And a very big part of me wonders how, even if I'm right, it matters, and how it impacts me personally.

A while back, I had occasion to visit with an old friend and her family. We hadn't seen each other and really sat and chatted for quite a long time, and truth be told, I had thought that our paths had diverged to such a point that other than very occasional meetings, our friendship had probably come to a natural stopping point. Geographic distance, busy lives, all stood in the way. This is not a lifelong friendship, it was one of those friendships borne of the convenience of seeing each other regularly when our children went to school together. And then they didn't, and then there was moving leaving town, and though we continued for a few years, clearly our lives had become so busy it just wasn't to be. Now none of this is negative, no one was mourning the lost time, we just got busy, and that is a very normal, natural thing.

But somehow, we did end up seeing each other a while ago, and though it was wonderful to see her, I was struck by a difference in her. Not much tolerance for the annoyances of motherhood that any mother knows..your child does something they are not supposed to do, you try to fix it, but you don't usually show disdain for it, you don't usually say, literally or figuratively, "go away, I don't want you in my presence." As this was occurring, I was watching all sorts fruits and vegetables and nothing but the healthiest of food being partaken of. Nothing wrong with that, let me be straight, I am not finding any fault whatsoever with that.

When our time together had come to an end, she said to me: "have you noticed how much weight I've lost? I'm back down to a size 6, haven't been there since before I had kids. I don't eat grain of any kind. I read something that really resonates, grains are the only thing that stay in your system. So I just stopped eating grain. The weight just melted off me, I haven't had grains in I don't know how long, and I never will again. I've never felt better. I go to the gym, but it's not a regular gym, it's heavy duty stuff. I don't know what has taken so long for me to figure this out. I've thrown out all my size 10 clothes."

Okay, now first, let me tell you, from the size 10 comment above, you can probably figure that this person was not an overweight person ever. She always ate right, taught her kids to eat right, and worked out regularly. So now, as she mentioned it, I did notice she had lost weight.

But I had also already noticed that she did not seem happy at all. That she displayed no patience with her children. That she was more interested in them not being anywhere near her. That she pounded baby carrots from a 2 lb bag like I'd pound, oh, potato chips.

So I drew a conclusion, perhaps fairly, perhaps not, but I drew a conclusion: the woman is hungry. And like all of us when hungry, we are irritable. But that conclusion led me to question myself: is losing weight important enough to me? Will I ever succeed if I am not willing to take those kinds of steps to lose the weight?

Now, I already know you don't have to go to those kinds of extremes to lose weight, though, I will tell you, at 52 years of age, you do have to be more extreme than you every had to be when you were in your 20s, 30s and even 40s. But IS IT IMPORTANT ENOUGH TO ME? Is that why I don't lose weight? Notice I don't say can't, because I know in my heart of hearts, I can, but for some reason am having one heck of a hard time doing it.

But here is a woman who was at a weight and lifestyle before that I would have given anything to be at, and yet she was not happy with that. She had to drastically change her eating to get where she wanted to go. Am I willing to make that kind of sacrifice? And seeing what I think it has done to her personality, am I willing to let that happen? Now, before I get chided for not really knowing if there are other things going on in her life, not really knowing if maybe she was just having a bad day, or being accused of jumping to conclusions, or making assumptions and we all know what happens when you make assumptions, I KNOW ALL THIS. But whether I am right about that part or not, it's still the drastic measures she was willing to take to get to a place that makes her happy that has me saying hmmmmm....
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    i am sooooo cranky when i am hungry
    I am also much happier now that i am at a healthy weight.
    My OPINION is that you CAN loose weight without being hungry. I just did! You just need to find out what works for you and your body. Usually, if i start "pounding" ANY kind of food, it is an emotional or hormonal response.
    If you eat the right amounts of the right foods at the right times, you should not get to the point where you become irritable. Listen to what your body is telling you. If you are not happy then you are not doing it right.
    Let's be HAPPY and healthy!
    2990 days ago

    Hmmm... is right, Tina! I don't think your friend's journey, and whether or not you are right/wrong with respect to any part of it, has anything whatever to do with you personally... except with respect to how you feel about it, and the process into which it inspires you... and I don't think you sound judgemental at all. I think the question is a good one and valid for all of us... "am I willing to do what it takes to get to where I want to go?"

    (I'd seriously question whether or not your friend is actually happy where she is... and if thin at any cost IS what makes her happy, well then I'd have to sound a little judgemental myself.)

    I think there are actually 2 questions here: "how far am I willing to go to be thin/thinner, and how much thinner/thin do I have to be before I feel content with myself?" Oh and maybe one more... "does being thinner/thin really have anything to do with whether or not I am happy?"

    I'm not sure anyone can really accomplish anything on this journey until they answer these questions for themselves, and the answers will be as different as every person asking them.

    Over the last four years I've had to struggle with all of these questions. Early on I realized I was absolutely NOT a 'do whatever it takes to be thinner/thin' sort of gal (life still had to be fun, satisfying, practical and liveable for my whole family... personally, I don't think anything that negatively impacts on quality of life and key relationships at any point should be part of any journey to health and wellness)... and I realized that thinner/thin was not at all the point for me. My journey had to become about something other than my weight, and the size of my body. A bit further along I considered that for a time perhaps, unless I really focussed on getting my weight/size to a more manageable place, I wasn't going to have the health/vitality and contentment/confidence I need to live life on my terms. I only became unhappy with my size when it began to define how I lived my life. Finally, I came to believe that if I fix my health, my weight issues will resolve themselves... and that's bearing out. Nothing at all improved as long as I was just focussed on my weight. I guess what I'm really saying is that I don't think this journey is ever successful if it's about sacrifice or weight specifically... I think it has to be about whole-heartedly embracing what you come to believe is better, and then passionately living it out daily.

    Having said all of that, I don't think it's your friend's approach (sounds like Paleo/Crossfit) that's the problem, but her application of it. I think you're right... she sounds hungry at the least, but even more than that, it sounds to me like her hormones have been knocked out of balance... likely because she's neglected/ignored some key elements in her application of the approaches (not as simple as just dropping grains). I can understand why this encounter would have been so disturbing and unsettling for you, yet if it's the approach over which you feel judgemental, I'd caution you about too solidly placing your conclusions on the back of your friend's experience/demeanor.

    What is certain is that unreasonable hunger, pain, excess body fat, a compulsion to over-eat (whether it's carrots or donuts... in the afternoon, or at night), mood swings, jitters, anxiousness, increased irritability are signs of hormones out of balance, and can all be the result of misapplying the approach she's chosen. She clearly isn't listening to her body.... and she will eventually have more problems than she wants, if thin is her only goal, and she continues on this path without adjustment. This really isn't something you should do if thin is your sole motivation.

    My experience is the exact opposite... both my DH and I have completely lost the compulsion to 'pound' anything at any time. We never experience unreasonable hunger. A compulsion to over-eat (whether it's carrots or donuts... in the afternoon, or at night, or even at a meal), mood swings, jitters, anxiousness, increased irritability are all things of the past... which is MUCH more typical of anyone properly applying this approach to their life. Grains will never again be a part of our diet (and yes it is a radical change to our diet, yet it doesn't feel like a sacrifice)... not because we are losing weight (though we are), but because we are happier, healthier, more content than ever, better able to respond to stress, we sleep better, have a greater sense of freedom (no tracking, counting, measuring), and we are full of energy (no more perimenopause fog for me) and joy.

    ...and my husband would have NEVER got on board with anything that involves sacrifice or deprivation when it comes to food (he was the sort of person who could not walk away from a plate of cookies, and if he had one, he had to eat them all), LOL! He's on board because for the first time in his life he doesn't ever feel at the mercy of his hunger, cravings or food in general... the siren song of the cookies (and potatoe chips, and bread, and cake, and candy) has been silenced.

    2992 days ago

    Comment edited on: 9/24/2012 7:14:49 PM
    Wow! I think that you have to do what makes you happy. It is an interesting observation that you made though. I believe that you will find the path that you need to take. Have a great Sunday!!
    2993 days ago
    hmmmmm.... is right, T. Speaking from experience, sizes 2, 4, 6, 8, and any in between- above or below, isn't going to make someone happy or... more importantly motherly. Just because one can bear children, doesn't necessarily mean the instinct is there to 'mother' the child. Even in animals, a rancher will take a STARE in a cow's face to look for the 'wild' eye. Those, won't make good mothers because they will run the fields (never putting on any weight) and never stay put long enough to raise the calf. My point... in the rancher's mind, a 'wild' cow is dinner and the gentle one is the best for the herd/species.

    Like Tracy said, the woman could be going through her mid-life blues, or like Sonia said, her nutritional choices may be making her crazy.

    You 'do' for you what makes YOU happy, because... no matter what our sizes, if we have lost our happiness, it doesn't matter what we 'do' or how we want others to 'see' us... we're just existing- not living an enriching life.
    2993 days ago

    Comment edited on: 9/23/2012 12:18:43 PM
    I guess the answer lies in why you want to do this....do you simply want to be a size 6 or do you want to be healthy? Only you know the answer and only you can determine what course of action is right for you. Personally, I don't want to be a gym rat, I want to be active with my family, I don't want to diet, I want to eat nutritious foods that fuel my body....

    ...as for your friend, perhaps she's going through a mid life crisis, perhaps she's not feeling appreciated at home, perhaps she feels her beauty and youth are slipping away, perhaps her husband is not as attentive....who knows.
    2993 days ago
    Tina, I think you may be right that she was hungry, which made her irritable around her kids. Just yesterday I was talking to a friend about this because of a situation she was in when she was hungry and tired. We agreed that we can be completely grumpy bears when we are hungry and need to eat.

    Your friend is not getting proper nutrition by not eating grains. (Where the heck did she hear the statement about grains staying in your system, I thought grains were what help clean your system, LOL. It is meat that stays in your system?

    Losing weight is not easy, especially if you like to eat, have younger children who you want to enjoy treats, but I have found that exercising does help compensate for the "extras". How do you fit that in with a busy schedule? I do it during family TV time.
    2993 days ago
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