When you change it makes others uncomfortable
How many of us have written in someone’s yearbook in high school or college, “don’t ever change”?
I thought it was amusing then and I do now. Of course people are going to change, especially after high school.
What is it about change that makes people uncomfortable? Your friends and family certainly don’t want you to remain “18” for the rest of your life, do they?
Obviously some change occurs from natural evolution, but some is more intentional. Some change is intended to offset natural evolution (as in my case — new health habits to combat the effects of sugar addiction and sedentary job.) We, ourselves, may find change uncomfortable: I imagine the primary driver of change is that it became too painful not to change (I couldn’t bear the thought of buying bigger clothes and not feeling good about how I looked in pictures).
Yesterday at hockey, someone said to me, “You look great! What have you been doing?” This person is not my instagram or Facebook friend so she has not seen my smoothie pictures and has no idea that I have been doing anything different or specific since the end of baseball season when I saw her last.
I told her, “You are the first person who noticed! If I had a prize I’d give it to you.” I stepped aside to talk with her; my husband was texting with someone about plans they had later in the morning. He had come to hockey with me so we could walk laps around the parking lot while my son was at practice.
I told her a little about how I had cut out caffeine and sugar and how basically I had been making green smoothies once and sometimes twice a day. We didn’t have a chance to talk in depth because she was planning to run errands during hockey practice.
After we parted ways and my husband and I started walking, he asked me, “How come you can accept a compliment from her but not from me?”
I told him, “It’s different coming from you. You say the same thing to me no matter what I look like or what I weigh. I don’t believe you when you tell me I am ‘petite’ or ‘tiny’ because I will never be petite. I am 5’7″ and you have to be about 5’2″ or less to be petite.”
“No, you’re delusional. I didn’t want to have to tell you this but here goes.”
I proceeded to tell him exactly how much I suspected I weighed after our vacation to Aruba, based on what I actually weighed the first time I had the courage to get on the scale.
He said, “The scale is wrong.”
I said, “No, it isn’t.”
Then he reiterated what he had told me in the past about how he looks on the inside; he loves me no matter what and I’m beautiful, blah blah blah.
I said, “Thank you, that’s wonderful. But. Remember the time we were at the amusement park last summer and we wanted to go on that ride together and we couldn’t because we were too heavy, and then I went on it by myself? Well, I hated it. I didn’t want to go alone. I felt so sad and fat, even though I waved and smiled at you, I felt horrible on the inside.”
That was summer 2014; it took me nearly 11 months after that to reach rock bottom, to get to the point that not changing was more uncomfortable than changing.
I actually don’t remember what else my husband said and I probably didn’t let him get many words in edgewise. I told him I was really sorry if I was boring because we don’t drink iced coffee together or eat popsicles or pizza together any more. I reminded him that I bought popsicle molds so I could try to make my own popsicles out of leftover smoothies but that didn’t work out so well.
I asked him if he wanted me to continue to get bigger and bigger year after year until I got to the point that So-and-so’s wife is, where So-and-so mentioned to my husband that he wishes his wife would lose weight because he is worried about her health, and indeed, she does have trouble getting up out of chairs and had to have knee surgery. “Do you want me to get so big that my body can’t support my weight?” And blah blah blah adult onset diabetes and high blood pressure, cholesterol, blah blah blah.
“Well, why do you think you were gaining so much weight?”
I didn’t want to flat out tell him, “It’s because of you,” because he is not the one putting food in my mouth (except sometimes he does because we usually share two different entrees when we go out, which has also become a bit of a challenge, because I don’t want to share so much cheese, rice, beans, mashed potatoes, etc.), however, my eating habits did change three and a half years ago when I met him because I started eating big dinners with him. I eat all day and do not need any more calories after 7:00 p.m. He does not eat all day, typically, and wants to eat all — or most of — his calories after 7:00 p.m.
There were other factors at play, too, such as what I suspect was insulin resistance, caffeine abuse, sugar cravings, and the fact that I had become really sedentary due to job stress and our horrible, dark, cold, record-snowfall winter last year.
I spewed all of this out to my husband when we were walking yesterday and he asked me, “You’re not going go all overboard fanatical about this are you?”
“Uhm, no….” I wondered what his definitions of ‘overboard’ and ‘fanatical’ are. I already know his definitions of ‘petite’ and ‘tiny’ are way off. I have also come to know that he likes me just the way I am and if I had a yearbook for him to sign, he’s probably write, “Don’t ever change.”
“But I am determined to make a change,” I answered.