Reading Almost Everything: Notes on Hope by Anne Lamott about dealing with her fluctuating weight got me thinking about my uneasy relationship with my bathroom scale.
I haven’t weighed myself in four years, give or take. Truly before that, I was living with a muddled mind that I have to monitor diligently my weight to be fit and healthy. Turns out I was wrong.
Over these past four years, I was certainly weighed every time I went to my Prime Care Physician; after, I didn’t ask and they didn’t tell me what I weighed.
The opposite of love is the bathroom scale. – Anne Lamott
You know, that by avoiding my bathroom scale, I haven’t ballooned to 185 or more. I’ve been 170-ish throughout the four years.
During our Arizona years, I have been north of 185. You see, to hydrate in the desert heat (that being my rationalization), I would have a two-liter Mountain Dewevery day. Who knew I was asking for trouble!
Oh, did I ever diet. I was a headcase about it. I’d pick some arbitrary number, like 155, and weigh in every Monday morning. Weekends were not pretty knowing the weigh-in loomed. Sunday I would basically fast hoping to hit the number.
Joy knew no bounds if I was 155 or lower! Bummed and depressed doesn’t begin to describe if I was over! And then it gets worse if I didn’t make weight. I’d semi-fast and then weigh in on Tuesday. If I still didn’t make weight, I’d hemi-demi-semi fast for a Wednesday weigh in.
Truth be told, I looked like hell being so skinny. I never really could see myself how scrawny I was.
It was a never ending cycle focusing on making weight. I was living the dreary life of a wrestler or MMA fighter. And it was all so arbitrary. When shooting for 155 became such a battle, I relaxed to make 160 my goal. Nothing changed in my compulsive need to be affirmed by my weight.
To again quote Anne Lamott,
Science proves again and again that all diets work briefly, and pretty much all work the same, with initial and exhilarating weight loss, then plateau, then weight gain and shame. The weight we lose almost always finds its way back home and it invariable brings friends.
And then, I decided – this is crazy. No mas. I figured that if I’ll eat well, exercise, get enough sleep, and be social, then I’ll be okay. I won’t deny myself dessert or an evening glass of wine. I am not spending my many last days in a culinary quasi-monastery. So far, so good.
I was surprised a month ago at my annual physical, Dr. Coppins of Kittery Family Practice noted that I had lost five pounds during the past Covid year. I had no idea.
Hannah and I get the New York Times most every Sunday. For me, it was a tradition started by my parents back in the 1950s in New Jersey. My Sunday morning begins with a cup of joe, one of Hannah’s biscuits, and the Sunday Sports section; next, before I try to decipher the Sunday Crossword with my trusty iPhone, I read the Sunday Styles section.
The Sunday Styles section has the weekly Modern Love column which has folks writing about their relationships (e.g. For last Sunday (4.28.2019), the titled piece was It’s Not You, It’s Men: I re-evaluated my life after two long-term girlfriends broke up with me while coming out).
I then move on to Social Q’s by Philip Galanes who gives advice about, again, relationships. (e.g. My good friend, who is white, is raising her young biracial daughter as a single mother. She is a loving mom, but in my opinion, she has not given enough thought to helping her daughter form a healthy self-image as a person of color…)
I then move on to the wedding stories, and this is where I get to my point. Cheese and rice, Dan, it’s about time!
Under the Vows heading, the piece is titled A Writer Finally Gets to That Happily-Ever-After Part. It’s about Anne Lamott! I have been a fanboy since the 1990s when she wrote the popular guide for writers, Bird by Bird. She gives Ted Talks with humor and insight. Click here for here for her entertaining 15-minute talk on 12 Truths.
In the review of her wedding to Neal Allen, Lois Smith Brady offers background on each one and how they met. Married at 65, Anne says, Never give up, no matter how things look or how long they take. Don’t quit before the miracle.
Anne with Neil at their wedding
What caught my eye was this paragraph. In some ways, they are opposites. She [Anne] is afraid of almost everything, whereas he’s [Neil] afraid of almost nothing. ‘It never occurs to me that anything will go wrong,’ he said.
That makes me think , could being fearful be a choice, not part of one’s DNA. Many of us learn to be fearful at a young age and hone that “skill” over a lifetime. But could it be that with some self-talk, or what some would call prayer, we can “reprogram” ourselves from looking for the possible pitfalls, the dangers, and the roadblocks to being hopeful. I’m not suggesting the transition would be easy, but it seems feasible if one has the “want to” to transform from fearful to hopeful.
Case in point. Hannah and I have water issues in our upstairs bathroom. The stains on the plaster walls are disgusting. With a contractor coming in the weeks ahead, I am hopeful that any damage can be dealt with successfully. I’ll not go down the path of what could go wrong.
Being hopeful, like getting to Carnegie Hall, takes practice, practice, practice.