Last November, I approached a close relative about a pattern of behavior I’d noticed in them that had me concerned. I did it from love, but my timing sucked – and bringing up delicate matters is often dicey no matter what the motivation or the timing. This family member hadn’t asked for my two cents. And I approached the person as they were indulging in the (to my mind) bad habit in question. [I’m purposefully not outing my relative here, so please bear with the gender-neutral pronoun awkwardness!]
Well, dear readers, my relative turned the tables on me. Got up in my grill, called me fat, said my obesity was a far cry more serious health issue than their “perceived problem” and that I could come back to state my case once I had lost 100 pounds. As in the pages of the very best writing, the situation worsened for this protagonist when my relative said:
“100 pounds? Hell, lose 75. Then we’ll talk.”
I cried. I got mad. I gained more weight. I felt helpless and stuck. Gaining weight did nothing but hurt me, not my relative. But losing weight would mean they won. Right? Right?
I started a food journal in January and lost 12 lbs. Yay! Then I had a visit from the relative, stopped the food journal and over the next six or so months kept gaining and losing the same five pounds. In midsummer, I broke down and bought three pairs of pants in the next size up. I cried.
By the end of this summer, I knew I had come to a crossroads. I could take control by committing to a weight loss program or I could continue to punish myself. Act or react?
I chose to act. Since mid-September I’ve lost about a fifth of my intended goal. I feel fantastic, like I crawled from beneath a rock to frolic in the sun. I have a long way to go, but I’m moving in a healthy direction. My family member and I will come to rapprochement. Or not.
Either way, I've grown throughout this process, from having a better sense of when to keep my mouth shut to learning how to unhook my actions from someone else's expectations. I'm not losing weight because of my relative. I'm losing weight because it's the right thing for me to do right now.
How about you? Are you an actor or re-actor? Or somewhere in between?