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The End of Ambivalence May 2, 2009

It’s kind of amazing to go to events where I run into people I haven’t seen since… Before. They’re kind of shocked, and always ask, How did you DO this? I laugh and say, “The short answer is, I got diabetes.” Of course everyone knows that diabetes itself does not cause weight loss, unless you’re really ill. But it’s a long answer. The longer answer is, “read my blog.” It’s so complicated and yet it is so simple. It’s so many things.

I went to Weight Watchers this morning and had a 3.2 lb loss at weigh-in. They had a bunch of flyers about WW leader recruitment. I took one. Still mulling this idea over. I still really really miss teaching, and it could be an interesting opportunity. I might go to one of their info meetings next week and find out more.

Anyway. I’ve been thinking a lot about: why now? Why, after 30 years of struggle, is this finally working? I have lost weight in the past – but never this much- and never without terrible effort.

This time, it feels almost effortless – and at the same time, I am putting every ounce of focus and attention on it. It’s one of those weird paradoxes. It doesn’t feel at all like a “diet” – and yet it has taken enormous reservoirs of time and mindfulness. But it’s not “hard.” If that makes sense. Does it make sense?

I realized today that one thing that’s very different this time around (and I think may be the KEY difference) is that I am not ambivalent. For a long time, I was ambivalent about losing weight because I was always wanting to lose weight for my LOOKS, and I felt angry about that. I felt like women should be loved and accepted and appreciated and deemed beautiful no matter what their size. (I still do) So it felt on some level like a betrayal of myself and other women to want to lose weight for looks reasons.

And yet..I have to admit that I think I look better now than I did in January. I FEEL better – both “looks” wise and health wise. I have tons more energy, and I just feel strong and happy.

It was not until I got this pre-diabetes wakeup call that I really cared about losing weight for other reasons, ie health. Before, I didn’t believe that I was unhealthy, because I wasn’t overweight enough. Or so I thought. I used to bristle at the notion that being “only” 25 or 30 lbs overweight was enough to endanger my health. I was wrong about that.

So I sort of defiantly stayed overweight and did not attend to my health because I didn’t want it to be about my looks.

Another thing that is different this year has to do with my past, and my life as an adopted person. It has definitely affected me throughout my life, to think of myself as a person whose very existence was a burden to others. I was most definitely a “mistake,” and the cause of much shame for my birth mother. (I’ve known her since I was 20) She likes me as a person, but also has VERY deep ambivalence about my very existence.  I am her worst, biggest and most distressing secret.

This year is the year that I made the pretty big decision to stop wishing that my birth mother would acknowledge me in the ways that I would like. I pretty much gave up. After about 30 years (hmm, is there a connection here?) of desperately hoping to openly be recognized as her relative. I wonder if this “giving up” makes it suddenly possible for me to lose weight, as well.

I was chasing after love where it couldn’t be found. I was pretty much a bottomless pit of need and sadness. Once, many years ago, in therapy, I made a little clay head with a huge open mouth. I called it “little head” and it represented my unending hunger. And why even the most giant pan of macaroni and cheese would never be enough. I understood it, but I couldn’t change it. Until I finally gave up on wanting what couldn’t be had.

Love isn’t inside food. It isn’t inside some people who just aren’t able to give. But I was certainly chasing after it, for years and years and years.

I’m finally getting where the love is. It’s in me, and it’s in people who are open to it. Food is just… something else. It’s wonderful to enjoy, it’s delicious and fun, but it isn’t love.

(lightbulb moment)

When I was diagnosed with diabetes, it was like I was being asked, “Well? Do you want to live? Are YOU ambivalent about your very existence?” and the answer came back a ferocious YES, and NO.

I’m not ambivalent anymore. I want to be here. I deserve to be here.

And that’s the pretty long answer about how I lost the weight.

 

 
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