They say that you should be careful when talking about religion and politics. Well, I would like to add one more subject to that list: my weight.
A little while ago someone I hadn’t seen for about a month asked me several very direct questions about my recent weight loss. (I did shed upwards of 35 pounds over the past year; more on that below.) Although I have been receiving a lot of weight-related comments recently, I was still quite stunned by the exceedingly personal and judgmental nature of her questions:
oh my god, you’ve lost a LOT of weight recently, right….?!
exactly how much weight have you lost, because I can tell it was a LOT…..?!
wow, how did you manage to lose ALL THAT WEIGHT………?!
Knowing that this person intended no harm and unsure of exactly how I wanted to respond, I gently avoided answering her questions … but this exchange definitely stuck with me.
See, the thing is that how I eat (and subsequently how much I weigh) is all wrapped up in how I feel about myself. Lately I have been caring for myself and my body very differently than I had in the past:
- I remembered how much I love to exercise
- I picked up a serious yoga habit
- I find excuses to walk more often and spend less time on the couch
- I stopped dieting and started focusing on eating when I’m hungry (not when I’m upset, bored, etc.)
- I’m learning how to tune in to my body’s needs
- I try to eat foods that I know will make my body feel good (emphasis on “try” … I did have cookies for breakfast today)
- I cut out caffeine (
daily latte) and started drinking lots of herbal tea and water
- I started taking a daily multivitamin
- I try to get enough sleep (work in progress)
- I read self-help books (especially impactful: Brene Brown and Geneen Roth)
- I’m in therapy
The bottom line is that I have not lost weight through any radical weight-loss scheme or hard-core exercise plan; I lost the weight as a by-product of the fact that lately I have been loving myself more (at least more than I used to) … and boy is that a tough subject for casual conversation!
Now don’t get me wrong, my point is not that I never want to talk about my weight, or that you should avoid talking about weight all together. (In fact, I would love to sit down with you over a cup of tea and discuss this topic at great length, just as I enjoy talking about religion and politics!) But I do hope that we’ll all try to tread gently on what can be a highly charged and sensitive topic for many of us – our weight.