Life's Lessons

I remember being at the Museum of Natural History , taking a class with Dr. Douglas Ubelaker when he was trying to illustrate a very import...

I remember being at the Museum of Natural History, taking a class with Dr. Douglas Ubelaker when he was trying to illustrate a very important point -- we could use our formulas to determine what "race" a certain set of bones belonged to (I put "race" in quotes because it's archaic terminology that isn't accurate in describing ethnicity) but while our data might lead us to one set of conclusions, the reality of the situation might be different.  In other words, the amount of variation within any one "race" was greater than the variation between the "races":  we have more in common than meets the eye. 

You might be thinking "what the heck does this have to do with weightloss/health gain."  Well, remember last month I posted a blog about jealousy and making assumptions?  Well a conversation I had today really drove this point home.  A coworker of mine is a beautiful woman, who wears probably a size 4, is french, and tall and lean.  We were at the gym together tonight and we got to talking about what we were trying to accomplish (she wants to lose the weight she added on in America, and I guess I could say the same).  She had gained 12lbs in the 4 months she's been here! I had no idea where she hid it!

I was surprised when she brought up the subject of emotional eating, or eating out of boredom.  I kinda did a double take.  This beautiful thin woman had the same issues I have.  She talked about her love and lust for ice cream and cookies.  She talked about her frustration of not being able to find fresh fruits and vegetables for lunch.  She talked about how food is omnipresent in our lives -- we can't escape the sights and smells of food.

I couldn't believe what I was hearing.  And I scolded myself a little bit for not thinking that she too could have the same weaknesses as I did. 

But bless her little heart.  We were trying to convert pounds to kilograms and I said that I weigh around 195lbs (I looked it up, I am actually 88 kg--so yay me for having a grasp on math!!) and she said in her cute french accent "Zat eez not pozzible!"  She thought I weighed 80kg or so, or 176 lbs.  So yeah, she's my new best friend.  Sorry Emily.  Sorry Nancy.

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15 comments

  1. Powerful point. I, too, have to stop myself from thinking those thoughts. Even if the issue is not food, most people have a 'thing' that they have hard time facing/dealing with. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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  2. IAER--Society has deeply ingrained in our minds the idea that we are either (1) competing or (2) different than each other. This whole journey has helped me realize that the more I look, the more people are exactly the same -- insecure, struggling, lost and yet, strong, beautiful and present.

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  3. I figured out a while ago that I would purposely not follow blogs written by "itty bitty" things trying to lose 10-15 pounds or so to get to their goals which were way below what I consider to even be a possibility for me. And then I smacked myself upside the head. Just because they're starting out smaller than MY goal doesn't mean they don't still need/want/DESERVE any support I can give them.

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  4. Such an interesting point. I, too, am guilty of rolling my eyes when I hear someone in a size 4 tell me they need to lose weight. You're so right - just because they're not my size doesn't mean they don't struggle like I do.

    I do still have a problem with the women that maybe weigh 100lbs (soaking wet) that constantly claim how "fat" they are. I understand that they may not be the weight they want to be...but it just urks me to have someone that size tell me (all 216lbs of me) that they are fat. It makes me feel a little angry. It shouldn't, but it does. Something I need to work on, I guess.

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  5. What a great post. So true on every level and I have been guilty of feeling that way as well. thank you for posting

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  6. Interesting post and it covers a lot of the problems i have and have come across when i was fit and even now, i have allways been very stocky and over built as a result i weigh more than i should accorindg to my BMI i would ge my doctor telling me i should loose weight even when i am stood there with hardly and ounce of fat on me and the test results from my last check at the Sports Clinic i used to use, because of my build and weight i was percieved to have a problem well untill i took my shirt off :) at the end of the day people wether they intend too or not can be judgemental or try and compete against some one else....Henry Rollins put it best "Dont compare yourself to others for a real test of heart compare yourself to you!"
    One of my biggest problems now is emotional and boredom eating and it is a struggle to beat especially in work i would happly much on a pack of cookies when bored or have a large chocolate bar if and when i felt lonely or sad wich was pretty much most of the time and still is although i a slowly trying to improve and be a more social person.

    (sorry if i post loads but it is nice to be able to connect with some one who is going through similar problems as myself, i am learning so much about my problems and me)

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  7. Karen -- Exactly!!!

    Joanna -- You know it was kinda a mind opener when I watched the show Supersize vs. Superskinny -- realizing that anorexics and obese people are equally disordered when it comes to eating, just on different sides of the spectrum. That and it kinda relates to my New Rule #4 (I will not judge someone without recognizing the journey they are on first). Just because someone might be skinny doesn't mean they don't know what it's like to be fat, or unhealthy.

    It bothers me when i hear someone small say they are fat -- but it brings out the compassion in me -- that they are healthy and still feel something is wrong. As long as i have my health I try to look kindly on my body.

    Ali: of course :) and thank you for commenting!

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  8. Woo hoo Hank! Good quote.
    And BMI is a rough guide -- but it doesn't apply to people who are skinny fat (i.e. models who have no muscle) and people who are fat skinny (i.e. athletes that are big but have little body fat). There are other better measurements to determine health -- BMI is not the be-all and end all.

    Simon -- don't worry about all the comments -- and if you want to, look at my blog roll page. Almost everyone on there is going through the same thing or is at a different stage.

    As per the emotional eating, I just started naming the feelings. When I'm lonely, before i reach for food, I say "lonely" -- i explore what that feeling means to me. And it's like taking a pin to a balloon -- it deflates the feeling. The desire to eat goes away (usually) and then I'm left to get back on track with my new routine of asking myself "Am i actually hungry?"

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  9. Emotional Eater! Oh yeah. I know it, and I always have to check, double check and triple check when I'm angry and think I'm hungry.

    I fall in the 'fat-skinny' category and it's hard to live with. My mind locks onto the number showing on the scale and totally ignores the pant size and the actual measurements.

    This goes WAY BACK to my years in the Air Force. During my entire military career, I never ONCE came off of probation because of my weight. Back in the old days they had these weight charts based on height, and if you weighed more than what Uncle Sam thought you should weigh - BAM!! It went on your permanent record. I weighed a very healthy 135 pounds, but I was "supposed" to weigh 120. Never mind the fact that I wore a size 4 pant, could run a six minute mile, taught aerobic classes at the base gym five nights a week, could bench more than half my body weight and could trek MILES wearing battle gear and carrying a big gun. I was 15 pounds overweight, and that's all that mattered. *sigh*

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  10. Angela, remind me never to get on your bad side.
    I think some people have a very one-dimensional view of health -- and that's the number on the scale. Despite your being very fit, you were deemed unfit because of a number. And well... that's stupid.

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  11. I know we were talking in one of your posts about the donation for WARL. I cannot find it again! So sorry for hijacking this comment thread. I am eagerly awaiting that shipping label so I can send this package of love with our next check. :D

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  12. It is so hard to get past that "grass is always greener on the other side" syndrome. When you are overweight or obese it's soooo hard to imagine that just because someone is thinner than you doesn't mean they don't have their own issues. No one really does know what another person goes through, we all have to take it one day at a time.

    On another note - I cannot believe that I have never read your blog until today. You're fantastic!!! I can't wait to read more!

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  13. Hi Pink Lady (my favorite apple!)

    And yeah, you never really know another person's journey. I'm trying to be more mindful of that.

    Enjoy my blog. I have many entries on many topics :)

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  14. A good reminder that no matter how much weight we lose our lives won't be perfect! I always notice too that my thinner friends talk about how in some weird way it would be nice to be bigger so that every pound wasn't so obvious on them. Then again when they go to lose it they only have the one pound to get rid of as opposed to my 53 I have left!

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  15. I wonder what they think is going to happen when they lose that 1 lb -- if fireworks will go off, if their life will fall in line magically.

    I mean, I can understand losing 53 lbs being somewhat of a lifechanger, but 1?

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<3 Robby