Being a woman, I have traditionally found myself discussing food options, calories, my weight, my body etc. with friends and family. I have done this for a double-digit amount of years. There are some people in my life that have become my trusty allies in my fight to find the “perfect” meal plan and tackle my weight issues. I have, in the past, discussed with these individuals the details of any number of ways of eating or exercise programs I might have been trying out to achieve certain results. They have listened to me faithfully and supported me in the best ways they can. I have been congratulated on losing weight and looking great more times than I have fingers to count. All of this, has come from a place of love. So, what do I mean by “disinviting” people from this conversation? Well, since my goals, my way of viewing food, and my relationship to my own body have all shifted so must my relationships. I invite people to love me and support me. This is what social support is all about. However, I am letting people know where I am now coming from. For example, I might say “please do not ask me if that food is on my plan.” Why? Because A) Nothing is not on my plan(meaning everything is on my plan). I am no longer confined by food rules that I have, for far too long, placed on myself. B) Why does it matter if it is on my plan or not?(It only matters , because I previously said it matters) C) My plan is to eat food, nourish my body, and live life. I probably do not say A, B, C. I only write those out for the purpose of this blog article. I do however say something like, yes it is, everything is or any number of variations.
When I started to seek treatment for Binge Eating Disorder, I was asked by a loved one, “how much weight have you lost on this plan?” I think this is a common thing people ask because they have seen me try so many things in the past, all with the goal of weight loss.
My answer: My goal has changed now. My goal is to normalize my relationship with food. If or when weight loss occurs, it will be because I listen to my body’s signals and I eat and exercise to support a healthy body. Side Note: Sometimes I do not feel like answering questions or explaining anything. This is ok too.
I have asked that people not ask me about weight loss or if I lost weight. It has been an interesting shift to this new reality. However, there has been a tremendous weight(no pun intended) lifted from my shoulders that I no longer have to live up to anyone’s or my own expectations surrounding this. Regardless if the expectations were mostly coming from myself, and I invited people to join me in this quest, I still felt the extra pressure, because they were now involved somehow.
So, this is about boundary setting in a way. But, more importantly it is about having respectful open communication with those I love. How are people supposed to know what my needs are if I do not tell them? Perhaps at first, as I began the program, I was not ready to tell anyone my needs, or maybe I was able to tell just a few people. However, now as I continue on this journey, it is becoming easier. I value my personal relationships immensely and it is important to me that my loved one’s know our relationship is a safe space for open and honest dialogue.
People’s reactions have been mixed, but I would say overall extremely positive. I try to remind myself that not everyone will react the same way. People have their own opinions, emotions, and feelings. This is all a part of life and being human. I can merely do my best to communicate and the rest will fall into place.
So, as I stand now, I have closed the invitation to discuss my body, my weight etc in the way I have done for long. However, I am extremely excited to extend endless invitations for discourse on other(probably more exciting) topics.