Teachable Moments

This week I went to a party at the home of a friend whom I have known since my oldest kid was an infant, about 7 years now. We have several mutual friends, her and I, and I was, ahem, lucky enough to have a conversation with one woman, B, who I’d first met a couple of years ago while I was in WW. At that time, B had confided to me that she had struggled with her weight for many years and that her mother had her doing WW from the time she was 10 years old, but she was inspired enough by my WW effort to give it a try again. (For the record, it looks to me that B has a body which would be considered and embraced by our thin loving culture as “normal”. I am bad at guessing at weights or sizes, but I would be well and truly shocked if her pants were any larger than a size 8.) Anyhow, at that time, two years ago, B and I were able to slip into the culturally expected norm of bonding over the shared misery and challenges of dieting and hating our bodies.

Toward the end of the party this week, I had settled down in a nice quiet corner with my knitting and B found me while she waited for her husband to gather up their children. She struck up a conversation with me, which started with a compliment about my knitting. She went on to tell me that she hadn’t knitted in years, but was thinking she could take it up again as a weight loss tool. Internally I sighed and rolled my eyes. “Oh? Because you can’t eat and knit at the same time?” I asked with a laugh and then told her, “well, I knit all the time and it never really worked that way for me, LOL.” As she tried to steer the conversation back to how utterly miserable she is being such a huge giant fatass, I said to her, “to tell the truth, B, I just don’t diet any more. I gave it up and I feel so much happier now.”

The truth is, I do feel happier now. Freed from the constant obsession of meal plans and food lists and points calculations and good foods and bad foods and body hatred, I can actually get on with my life. Granted, FA for me is still a work in progress and will always be sort of unfolding within me, but I feel like I’ve come a long way in the last year. I no longer look at myself in the mirror and automatically think “YUCK!”. I can look at a photograph of myself and think, “Yep, that’s what I look like,” instead of “GAWD WHAT AN UGLY FATSO I AM!” Being able to do that is incredibly liberating.

I actually explained all that to B and suggested she have a look at Linda Bacon’s Health at Every Size. She seemed open to it, and I do hope she does come around to it eventually. Because, really, being someone’s WW (or weight loss) inspiration is a lot of pressure. Honestly? I just want to sit. And knit.