On Our Radar: Mixed Weight Relationships

Leily tipped us off about this great article on “Mixed Weight Relationships” by Anna Almendrala over at HuffPost. It documents the fine line between accepting ourselves for who we are, and trying to do so with people who want what’s the “best” for us when it comes to how much we weigh.

I’ll be the first one to admit that I don’t know where that fine line is. Most days I feel pretty good about myself and am thankful for the soft lines of my body. Other days, I feel down because I want to be “healthier,” and healthier in my mind (and my doctor’s mind) means losing the weight that I’ve always carried for as long as I can remember. 

I don’t know, and after years of being told that what I look like is just below the bar, I am skeptical. Even when my parents tell me that it might be better for my knees or my heart if I lost some weight, I’m usually already resentful that I turn rebellious and drown their voices out. 

The only thing that I can say is that all of this is a test of listening, listening to yourself and your body, and I am still working hard on that. 

Sometimes he teased me about the “enormous sacrifice” he was making because we didn’t have any junk food or chocolate in the house because of whatever diet I was on at the time. I’d roll my eyes at his theatrics.

But little did he know that for a while last year, I would go to Target on the days I knew he wouldn’t be home until late. I’d buy a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food, finish it before he came home and then throw the trash in the dumpster. It felt like cheating – especially when I would act astonished, just astonished! – when another week of dieting would result in a net gain. He was carrying my pain with me when I hit roadblock after roadblock, but I was never completely truthful with him about the steps I was (and wasn’t) taking to reach my goal.

Eventually the half-truths and disappointment were too much to bear, and in late 2012 I decided that enough was enough. Now, I didn’t have the kind of breakthrough Al Roker had (he described his point of no return as “it clicked for me”). Instead, I decided I was over all the dieting and bingeing drama, that I loved our life together, I loved my job and myself and I was happy. If I lost weight, great. If I stayed heavy, so be it. That led to our worst fight ever over my weight.

“That’s not acceptable,” he said. “You have to try.”

“Why?” I asked. “Why do I have to try?” Because. Because my doctor wants me to lose weight. Because obesity is linked to a lot of diseases. Because my Dad is pre-diabetic. Because being fat makes future conception and pregnancy difficult. Because he loves me and he doesn’t want to see me unhappy anymore.

I knew all these things, but I still flew into a sobbing rage and walked out of the apartment – an alarming escalation of our usually quiet and weepy fights.

“If you can’t accept me for who I am, then you’d better get yourself a mistress,” I spat at him before I left. I drove to the nearby Pavilions and cried in the parking lot. I called my mom and she prayed with me over the phone, asking God to strengthen my marriage. Looking back, I was a real drama queen!

We ended the fight by “compromising,” (ha) which for now means I forbid him to ever mention my weight, dieting or exercise again.

It seems extreme, but just like in Al Roker’s relationship, Simon’s silence is helping to heal this sore spot in our marriage. I no longer turn to him for understanding on this subject. Why should I? He has no idea what it’s like to feel like a failure on the scale or to feel hungry at night because all your calories are used up for the day.

Read the entire article here

- Lisa

P.S. Recap on “Listen to the Silence” at Stanford coming soon. Accidentally left my laptop at the security checkpoint in DC. #genius 

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Lisa Lee