When I went to Tracy’s over spring break the week of April 5th I came home at 141.5 pounds. I had exercised and was careful about what I put in my mouth. I was totally conscious and conscientious. Some time during the following week I gained six pounds! In a two-day period I somehow gave myself permission to eat like a maniac and temporarily forget about everything that’s important to me in order to be physically healthy.

This pattern of reaching a goal only to destroy it a short while later is making me crazy! I admit I’m totally nuts over this whole thing. I’m obsessive and grumpy and agitated and consumed!

I can feel wonderful about myself and my life when I weigh 140-141.

When I start to inch up a little I start to panic and get frustrated and that makes, lets, causes me to eat even more unhealthy or, more commonly, too much food. Before I know it I’m struggling at 145 or 147 and I become emotionally exhausted, angry, uncommitted, disappointed and discouraged.

When am I going to figure out that I’m more than a number? When can I say to myself that I am worthy of love and appreciation no matter what the scale says? I am valuable because I know who I am. I know I’m so much more than my weight. My value is not fluctuating with my size.

I’m left wondering, really pleading to know and understand, is it like this for anyone else? Does anyone else in the entire world feel like such a totally and complete failure in every part of their life just because of ten pounds or twenty? I see people everywhere I go that don’t seem to be crazed with self-doubt and even self-hatred just because they are in a, say, size 16 or 18.

What is this really about?

Today I’m at 141. I love myself. I feel like a winner. I feel like a super-hero, and yet I’m far from it. Why is everything inside of me telling me I’m great?

Long story short, I taught in Relief Society today. I prepared thoroughly and made visual aids. I took darling crafts displaying LOVE and HOME and FAMILY in coordinating fashion. The little runner was the perfect color. I had practiced my lessons and assigned parts to sisters to contribute. I had arranged for two sweet Primary girls to sing a song in the lesson, arranged for an accompanist. Everything was perfect. I loaded the car and attempted to pray on the way, asking for extra help and care and guidance.

When I got to the church and was getting my things out of the car, a huge wind came up and blew my lesson and papers across the parking lot. My carefully done hair was suddenly a mop. My new skirt was up around my shoulders and while I tried to hold it down as the missionaries came out of the church, I dropped my cute new craft. The parts I had copied and fixed for others to read were never to be seen again. With help I got into the door and hurried into a little classroom and cried and prayed.

The lesson did go OK. I had many compliments and comments.

But wow. Was I ever humbled. I realized over and over during the lesson and the two later meetings that it didn’t matter a w.h.i.t what I wore or looked like or weighted! No one cared that I was 141 this morning. No one mentioned it. No one said I looked fabulous! No one said I looked anything! No one but me is distracted and crippled, demented, unhinged, and disabled, really, by my weight.

Oh my good heck. I have got to get to the core of this weirdness.

What does it mean? When did it start? How do I go anywhere from here? How do I get to Normal? How do I hurry up and figure this out so that I can live my life? Why is this a struggle? Why is it even an issue in my life? Why is it becoming a bigger issue?

Searching for answers. If you’re there, God, please write back.

7 thoughts on “weirdness

  1. weighingmatters

    That’s pretty much how I got to 176 a few years ago. Not weighing, not caring. I wish I could explain. If I can’t keep this earthly, simple struggle under control, how can I really do anything of greater importance, like getting myself to heaven . . . [And by that I mean get myself as far as I can with the things I need to do. I realize I can’t really get there without the Atonement and all else that goes along with this journey.] If I can’t accomplish the little things, how can I do the big ones? If I can’t do the physical things, how can I do the spiritual things?

  2. tracy

    But you would still know how your clothes are fitting and how you are feeling…you just wouldn’t have numbers staring you in the face telling you you are good or bad.

    And just so you know, the spiritual work always precedes the physical…think of the creation, visualization, dreams, etc…always, spiritual then physical.

    I think you are wonderful regardless of what you weigh.

  3. camille

    I have a couple of ideas……..I struggled for a long time obsessing about different things, weight/appearance, and being a PERFECT MOM/ raising PERFECT CHILDREN are two of the majors things I obsessed about for years and years. I remember one time I was at a cafe at a health food store and I asked a few of the people there how they deal with their family, in regard to food, at gatherings. I had recently become vegan (because it was the “SUPERIOR/PERFECT” diet) and every family gathering we went to the family was offended (my perception, mostly) about our food choices (I forced the family to be vegan, as well, in order to be the perfect mom….of course they “chose” vegan because I manipulated them into thinking it was the best/only way….what Heavenly Father wants etc. etc.) I mentioned to the woman at the cafe how stressful it was to be with other people who are not vegan. She told me that no matter how hard I exercise, and how carefully I watch my diet, the stress can undo all of it. She was very nice, matter of fact and not-judgemental about it. That about knocked me over. I was doing everything I could to perfect myself and she told me that it could possibly be of no benefit.

    This over-the-top perfectionistic/depressed/obsessive/suicidal/vegan period of my life was during my pregnancy with Marcus. If you look at his personality, you will see that he was affected by this. He is now, at age 12, finally up to “grade-level” in reading. He is such an obsessive perfectionist that if he made one mistake while reading, it was proof that his whole life was a failure, he was worthless, there is no point in going on, etc. etc. It broke my heart to see him react like that; I tried to show him that he is soooo lovable, worth so much, etc. (fighting my need to be a “perfect mom” with kids who can READ!) Yet, every time I “failed” I had those same feelings of worthlessness, failure, no point in going on. One day I saw that my behavior was damaging my children, especially Marcus. since then, I have worked very hard to love myself anyway, get over it when things really go poorly, and keep on truckin’….this has been one of the hardest things in my life. My natural default is to hate myself, but it is hurting my children, so I (often, now) make another choice and it has made all the difference in the world with my children, especially Marcus.

    I don’t know if you noticed, but you asked, “…how can I do anything of greater importance, like get myself to heaven…If I can’t accomplish the little things….” it may have just been inadvertent (for you), but for me, I spent years trying to “make it to Heaven”, but no matter how hard I tried, no matter how “perfect” I tried to be, I was still insufficient (by a lot!) I guess it was about two years ago that I was assigned to talk in sacrament meeting on the atonement. I studied A LOT about the atonement. It may have been just one more sacrament meeting for the congregation, but it changed my life. The equation { -x + (infinity)= (infinity)} meaning: (-x) my imperfection—no matter where I am on the “scale” ie. recovering drug addict and previous prostitute or lifetime “active” LDS with a few problems, +(infinity) Jesus’ infinite perfection, = (infinity) infinite perfection–THROUGH CHRIST as taught in the book Believing Christ. I gave up the lie that I could save MYSELF, if I was perfect enough (without Christ). Of course, I still struggle. This has been a pattern in my life and thinking for a long time.

    The hardest part about me losing weight is not the exercise, watching what I eat, etc., it is not becoming obsessed with my body and appearance. This is very scary for me. I’ve tried to “ignore” my appearance and body shape and just love myself, get new clothes that looked nice on a plus-size body and go on, but then there’s the whole thing about negative health consequences linked to obesity………..so, here I am- trying to get healthier without obsessing. These are some things that have helped me, I don’t know if they apply to you, but maybe they’ll be helpful.

    I love you and have been so proud of your continual progress and achievement. I love your BLOG and the opportunity to get to know you deeper. Thank you! Love You, Camille

  4. weighingmatters

    I’ve been debating with myself whether to continue this conversation. I remember the comments on one of Tracy’s posts that went on for a long time. They became spirited and emotional.

    It’s hard to explain the difference I feel when I feel good physically. It lifts my spirits. I am able to accomplish more. My knees don’t ache. My ankles don’t throb. The veins in my legs don’t hurt continually all day long. My stomach isn’t pinched by the snap on my pants. My back feels better without extra weight on my stomach. I can get up and down easier and do my work better. I can make it up the stairs in the PAC to the catwalk without stopping several times. I can climb in and out of the Bobcat more safely. I trip less. I can lift better. It seems like I am more efficient. I can move faster.

    I feel better about myself. When I feel good physically [and that usually means I am in a healthy weight range] I’m not self-medicating. I’m not deadening everything. I’m not numbing. I feel more confident. More able to have self-control. When I compare it to smoking or drinking or drug use I see that somehow we tend to excuse overeating, which does the very same thing as those other three. They all numb, and deaden and medicate. But overeating is not “as bad.” It is seen as “feeding your family good food, loving them, gathering together, celebrating, enjoying each other’s company.”

    Keeping myself healthy is a good thing. The reason I get so down on myself is when I act in a way contrary to what I know is good for myself. When I know I will regret eating something and I do anyway. When I know I will feel crappy about gaining five or ten pounds and I do anyway. When I know what is good and right and I do the opposite. That makes me crazy. Because it makes me realize I don’t value me. And I don’t have the character required to choose hard over easy. I think more of a very temporary feel-good taste or a short-lived feel-good moment instead of considering what I am doing to myself. It’s not unlike having sex when I want something else for myself as a teen. It’s not unlike spending the entire family budget on unnecessary and frivolous things that will end up stacked in a storage room, the garage or a junk drawer. It’s not unlike spending hours on screens instead of building friendships. It’s settling for something now and forgetting what I want to happen later. And that makes me nuts.

    “Don’t give up something I want more, for something I want right now.”

    It doesn’t matter about the number. That is just how it is measured. Whether or not I look at the scale is irrelevant. If I lived on a desert island and had no clothes at all, I would still know when I was choosing to eat fat instead of fruit. It is putting the crap in my mouth that matters. It is choosing for a critical moment to eat and chew and swallow something that I already know ahead of time is going to make me miserable and choosing that instead of choosing to make myself the opposite of miserable.

    It’s not about perfection or weight or numbers or inches.

    It’s about self-love and self-care.

  5. weighing matters

    The whole ‘don’t look at the number’ reminds me of this. Say you get picked up a lot for speeding and are trying to drive a little slower. You know it would be better for you to not go so fast. Maybe you are even obsessing about it. Your friend says, “Just don’t look at the speedometer. Would that help!?!” So you try, but you keep going back up to the speed that feels comfortable, the speed you are used to, which is faster than you should go to stay alive and not get pulled over. And you do look at the speedometer, which then reminds you to slow down.

    I like to weigh every day. It’s obsessive, I realize. I’M obsessive. Sure there are days I don’t weight and I’m fine about that. But knowing what I did yesterday and how it affected my weight today [usually] helps me to stay on track, or get back on track, and try a little harder, especially if what I did yesterday wasn’t all that good for me. I know I face the scale each morning, about the same time under about the same circumstances. It’s comfortable for me.

    What drives me nuts [and maybe that’s too strong a word] though, is when I know I have work to do to get back down a pound or two and I ignore that and go with my taste buds instead of healthy food. Sometimes it starts a chain reaction or I allow a ‘trigger food’ to set off an unhealthy pattern for several days or a week. And then I have to deal with four or five instead of one or two. I get frustrated at myself for eating wrong, not necessarily at my weight. And I blog way too much about it. I know it drives certain people crazy, and I do apologize. I’m sure it drives people crazy when I’m right at goal and blog about that non-stop as well.

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