Ok I admit it. I watch the Biggest Loser every week because I feel like I can relate so much to these poor people. I learned long ago that overeating and restriction are essentially the same thing, or at least have a lot of the same force behind the action. And ironically, despite the difference in appearance, both disorders also have similar physical symptoms as well, when it comes to the negative impact on your health; heart problems, bone density issues, diabetes…all come from malnourishment at either extreme.
So I am sitting on my couch, blogging, reading and watching my DVRed Biggest Loser episode, and it comes to the weigh in (which is actually my least favorite part, go figure) and this poor woman, Bonnie, gets on the scale and loses 4 pounds.
She looks devastated and states how heartbroken she is because she is letting her team down with such a minimal loss. Woman, you have never exercised or eaten a low-calorie diet in your recent memory! 4 pounds is pretty darn good! Any negative number would should have been considered a success because she is moving toward better health, but instead because the rest of her team is putting up double digit numbers, she feels like a failure.
Yup, I know these feelings well. Comparing yourself to another is deadly. It happens way too often, not just in the eating disorder world, but within the human race, in general.
“Oh, she has such beautiful hair I wish I could have it…“
“That couples makes more money than we do, why can’t we buy a fancy new car?”
Obviously these are just examples, but seriously, how often do YOU do this in your mind, or someone you know mention these things out loud?!
People spend more time wishing they had something that wasn’t theirs, or that they were someone else completely, that they do celebrating who they are and the gifts that were given to them! I am totally including myself in this so don’t think for one second that I am accusing anyone of a behavior I am not guilty of committing.
But think about this for the poor Bonnie scenario. Most health professionals tell you not to weigh yourself everyday, because our bodies tend to fluctuate in the level of fluid it retains due to rest, sodium, liquid consumption, time in our cycles, etc. This is why most articles concerning physical wellness tend to focus less on the numerical value on a scale, but more on how you feel and other bodily symptoms.
But this lady felt sad. In her mind she was unproductive because she didn’t have the same weight loss as her teammates, when really she could have put a twenty-pound negative integer on the screen, and if the person after her weighed in at -21, she would probably still be distraught!
This totally reminded me of my hospitalizations…Sitting in treatment, you are almost defined by how small or sick you look, the behaviors you got away with, how little you ate, or excessive you exercised. Everyone has a story, and it always makes you feel special if your story makes you look “better” at being ill than the person next to you.
Perhaps I am over generalizing, but I have heard others in the blog world make similar comments. Someone had told me they felt bad about themselves because they couldn’t eat the same things as another healthy living write, or run the same distances and speeds.
We, as humans, tend to measure ourselves against others, or standards presented to us, by others.
After my post yesterday, and the amazing support I got from my readers, I started to really think about my progress, or weight gain, thus far, since I have actually been serious about recovery. I decided against knowing what the scale had to say, and try to establish another benchmark to gauge for myself, how I am doing.
It made me think back to Healthy Living Summit and the presentation on goals. There is no denying that numerical objectives can be good, depending on your personality and situation, but I fail to recognize other milestones that could also be pretty important and have nothing to do with a number.
I then thought of Bonnie….
Hello! When was the last time she JOGGED on the treadmill before coming to Biggest Loser?! I am going to guess it wasn’t the day before she auditioned to be a contestant and I doubt it was a regular thing in her daily routine. She should have been jumping up and down that her body was still capable of performing such a task!
Just as I should be grateful that my body let me live until now, and that the physical part of recovery is getting easier.
I like eating and food tastes good. Not mentally by any means; if my brain could just shut up I would really enjoy feeling satisfied rather than gnawing hunger pains and the taste of something other than egg whites for breakfast.
I need to stop, stop, stop, dwelling on the fact that my weight has increased in the last two months, and instead think of the happiness that has come from more relaxed evenings at home with Ryan, being able to go away with my mom and not have an anxiety attack over where or what we are going to eat, and that my body can actually function during the day because it is not absolutely famished.
I havent done a PTG in a while, and I should seriously consider implementing them into my morning regiment. Not only do they help keep me on track and in check as far as my physical journey toward health, but they also permit me to evaluate my mental state, and maybe even improve upon it.
So…on this Saturday morning…
I am proud of myself for getting through a tough week without resorting to ED behaviors, and doing a good job at work when my co-teacher was absent.
I am thankful for my family and friends, getting to see my dad this week for more than 5 minutes, and being able to take a day off next Friday to visit my mom, where we will go shopping, visit NYC for the Food Network Food and Wine Festival, and spend the night rocking away with Chef Morimoto and friends! (oh yes, I can’t wait to tell you all more about this!)
And my goal is to honor my hunger, reframe the negative self-talk that occurs specifically around this time of the month, and to stop judging the tears that sometimes come for no reason lately.
I would say these are pretty good things to consider and aim for…
How about you…why not start your Saturday with a little PTG! 🙂