I was in the supermarket, trying to decide between cherry tomatoes and vine ripened tomatoes when my mobile rang in my pocket. I answered but before I could say “Hello” my friend yelled excitedly “I’ve lost three pounds, I can’t believe it.”
I was delighted for her. She has been trying to lose weight all her life. In fact, I could go so far as saying it is the number one topic of conversation when we meet up; what weight she has put on, what weight she has taken off, the ins and outs of the diet she is following, what’s working, what’s not, her latest exercise regime—and it’s always the latest—spinning, I think, being the latest. Mind you, it could have changed since she called.
I love my friend. I couldn’t care less if she was ten ton Tessie. As far as I am concerned there is more of her to love but she has been tortured all her life with weight issues and her weakness for anything white—sugar, bread, pasta, potatoes, rice—yeah, she enjoys all the ‘wrong’ foods.
Still, she has been eating ‘points’ for a long time now. Points, to me, don’t sound as appetizing as what is actually on the plate but I listen, encourage and go ‘Whoopee doo’ when she loses a few pounds and I genuinely mean it because I know what it means to my friend. I have never struggled with my weight. God knows, I have had plenty of other problems but weight hasn’t been one of them. I do, however, feel for anyone who not only struggles with their weight but feels life is an endless battle between breakfast and supper and everything in between to maintain an ideal weight.
I don’t like that word ideal. Ideal leaves you wanting, longing, and yearning for something that is perhaps a tad illusive. Anyone who has tried to be ‘ideal’ in anything usually fails because life isn’t ideal and all the laws of nature, including Murphy’s law tends to skew results anyway but it never stops us trying, not if we have spent our whole lives thinking or wishing for something different, in this case a different shape or size.
My friend thinks she should be her ‘ideal weight.’ Why she thinks this way, why the diets don’t work, why she puts on weight sitting in the car outside a bakery while the lights are turning green is anybody’s guess. The thing is she thinks it, she feels it and she wants it. Sometimes she will ask me for advice. I try not to give advice. I don’t know what it’s like to be tormented by weighing scales and food but I do know eating habits are often linked to our emotions and so I suggest become aware of the ‘pitfalls’ with food.
Why do you eat what you eat when you eat? Are you fueling our body with energy or are you fueling your cravings with poor food choices for your body? When are you most likely to eat the wrong foods? Are your food choices satisfying your emotions rather than your appetite?
Listening to our bodies and becoming aware of our eating habits may be a better way to good health than to hang on to another’s advice. After all, nothing I or anyone else will say will change my friend’s wish to reach her ‘ideal weight.’ My wish for her is that she finds a way to be comfortable in her own skin—as comfortable as I am with my friend—no matter what size she is.
© Aileen McGee