It’s interesting how insight can come from the most unexpected places. I grew up in an extended family of people who liked their food. Food was central to all celebrations, food was brought out as a conversation item, food was something to socialize over. I’m sure anyone of my generation or older can associate with that. Gram always had fresh cookies in the jar and a meal was an Olympic event. This was the context in which a lot of my eating habits were formed, for better or for worse.
So when I started on this journey back in January and started to shed some pounds, my mother’s reaction was almost instant.
“You look so . . . skinny . . . ” said with a mixture of motherly concern and confusion.
Indeed, I was getting skinnier. At my heaviest in my Twenties I was 240. I’m 181.5 as of this morning at 36. A weight I haven’t been close to since high school.
At first I thought my mother’s reaction was simply about the change in physical appearance. After all, we come from a family of good sized people eating a lot and enjoying it. But when I really thought about it I understood it on a whole different level. Skinny me was just so completely outside of my mother’s frame of reference that she’s dealing with it the only way she knows how. You’re looking awefully skinny, you should eat more.
Of course, any one travelling this same path knows we aren’t eating any less, quite to the contrary. I eat three hearty meals every day instead of trying to starve myself and lose weight through caloric restriction. It’s just that the prism my mother views her life through only sees skinny me and thinks I’m starving to death or someone isn’t feeding me enough.
You will encounter resistance and misunderstanding along the way. That’s okay. We truly are working against the grain of something deeply embedded in the psyche of the world. People will have their prejudices and opinions. It’s not your job to evangelize them or bring them on to the path you have chosen. If they see the results and want to change enough they’ll ask questions and you’ll have answers. Find like-minded people to share your experiences with and don’t worry about trying to change the people that don’t want to do what you’re doing. Setting an example is the strongest thing you can do.
And just in case there is some confusion, I love my mother and love the concern she shows for me. Skinny me will come to be the norm in time fat me was for so long.