A Weight Watcher’s Dilemma

by Carol Hess on April 27, 2011

There it was.  Sitting there in my email in-box.  Daring me to do something about it.

I could have just deleted it.  That would have been the easiest thing to do.  It’s what I do with so many unwanted emails that arrive in my in-box every day.  No big deal.

But this one was different. 

This one was spreading hate.  

Oh, I know that’s not what the person who sent it to me intended.  I think she thought she was doing me and everyone else on her distribution list a service. And that’s why I almost let myself off the hook.   

But I didn’t.  I couldn’t.  I had that funny feeling I get in my stomach when I’m being asked to do something that’s a bit of a stretch or might hurt someone’s feelings or might cause someone not to like me. 

So I responded to the email – hopefully from my heart and not my head, which tends to get preachy and self righteous.

Did I feel instantly wonderful?  No.  I felt slightly queasy.  That’s my stomach’s usual reaction when I do something uncomfortable. 

Am I proud of myself?  No.  It was a purely selfish act.  I didn’t want to find myself in front of the fridge two hours later.

You see, I have this unfortunate pattern I have developed over the years.  It’s rather insidious.  And every year it gets a bit more subtle and a bit trickier to spot.  But it goes something like this:

  1. Carol abandons self.  (This can take many forms.)
  2. Carol feels bad about abandoning herself. 
  3. Carol goes to the refrigerator.  (Or cookie jar.  Or McDonald’s.)
  4. Carol eats so she’ll feel better.
  5. Carol feels worse because now she’s abandoned herself a second time. 

So when I saw the email in my inbox this morning, I knew if I just deleted it without responding to it, I would be abandoning myself.  And I didn’t want to end up in front of the refrigerator.

I think this whole self care thing is a snowball rolling downhill, gaining momentum and getting bigger and bigger.  I can just see me standing at the bottom of the hill and getting flattened under the damned thing.  (That’s one way to get thin I suppose.)

I’m beginning to suspect (and I sure hope I’m wrong) that, as I hold myself to a higher standard in the physical care I take of myself, I’m going to have to hold myself to a higher standard in other areas of my life. 

You know how often my poor stomach is going to get that funny feeling and then get queasy?  Alot!  Oh well, if that’s the case, I’m bound to lose weight. 

When do you have a tendency to abandon yourself?  Why?

by Carol Hess


Categories Self Care, The Mind Game

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Monica Dennis April 27, 2011 at 1:28 pm

My gracious. Now I want to know what happened! But you said it spread hate so I know I don’t need to know.

Funny little topic – abandoning self. Spent an entire 17-minute car ride to a cub scout pack meeting last night talking to my son about making friends. (He keeps asking me how to do it because he wants lots of friends like some of his friends have.) Then I spent an entire car ride back home on the same topic after watching him go to the meeting and head straight for the back of the room, walking back and forth, jumping to touch something on the wall. If I didn’t know him, I’d wonder what he deal was and assume he was painfully shy/anti-social/a little – eh hem – weird, or some combo. But I know him and I had just told him to stop worrying about all that and JUST BE HIMSELF. That’s what he was doing. I say he has friends. Just let the rest come naturally. Then later I told him the deal is that if you want something different, you have to do something different. So he can either be anti-social, a.k.a. pace the back of the room and not sit with your den, and not respond when people talk to him OR he can try to get in the mix. It’s not going to be easy changing his ways, but there has to be a balance to being his authentic self and just plain being part of the community and speaking up.

This is my ongoing parenting challenge. Two kids – One social butterfly. One who won’t come out of his cocoon but wants to so badly. Just doesn’t know how. Both hear the same thing. “Be true to you now, it’ll be good for you later.” and “You have to be willing to step out without compromising yourself.” All around tough stuff to try to get across to an 11-year-old who says no to just about every opportunity to do something that could lead to meeting new people, but then tells me he wants more friends. Ai yi yi!

I believe in speaking up, even if its not always easy to do. I believe in following what your heart leads you to do (within reason). I believe it could help keep you out of the fridge, but then again, in the beginning when you’re getting used to it, it may just send you there even faster. At least you made your choice and can sleep. Hopefully you’ll see a good result and be able to walk with your head a little higher, knowing you won’t abandon yourself anymore.


avatar Carol Hess April 27, 2011 at 2:15 pm

Ai yi yi is right, Monica! I’m not a mother (except of cats and they prefer NOT to have friends). So I sure as heck wouldn’t presume to advise you. But you’re sending messages I wish I had been given when I was 11 years old — or maybe I did get them and they didn’t stick. Who knows? All you can do is your Mama Best, which seems pretty darned good to me.

Re the hate email and my response to the sender, nothing happened. I didn’t expect to hear from her. This was one of those few times when I was able to detach from the results of my action. I love it when I can do that. It makes taking a “brave” action a bit easier when you aren’t hoping for or expecting a certain result.

Although I did have to laugh at myself. I hopped on the scale this morning (first mistake) and was bummed when I had GAINED a pound. I guess I thought I deserved to lose weight because I had been such a brave girl. Magical thinking again. It sneaks up on me every time! :)

Good point that sometimes doing the “right” thing and not abandoning ourselves can be so uncomfortable that it can cause us to eat. Heck, just plain living can be uncomfortable. So for those of us who run to the fridge when we feel uncomfortable, I think the trick is to find another coping mechanism. I keep trying to talk myself into exercising instead. It’s not happening . . . . . yet! :)

Thanks for sharing with us, Monica. Always love what you have to say — and I love the glimpses into your life. I feel like I’m getting to know you, and I’m making a good friend. (I also understand you make incredibly cool custom puzzles which I’m going to take advantage of some day — not sure how yet, but I LOVE jigsaw puzzles.)


avatar Shelley Webb April 27, 2011 at 3:26 pm

I just love the concept of this blog………….star polishing. And I love how you explain that it’s “about my trials, tribulations, and triumphs in this foreign country called Healthy Lifestyle Land”.

As much as I have preached to my caregiving community about caring for themselves FIRST, I find it so hard to follow my own advice (which is probably a good thing because then I can identify more clearly with my audience).

I used to dance ballet – 3 times a week – each was a 2.5 hour class. But now……living in an area that is cold and in a place far from organized classes, I’ve gotten lazy……….and am eating comfort food (which is usually higer calorie).

It’s time for me to start polishing my own star again so that it’s bright enough to cast a glow on others.

Thanks Carol!



avatar Carol Hess April 27, 2011 at 4:14 pm

I’m so glad you like the star polisher concept, Shelley. Me too! I’ve been a star polisher (other people’s stars) my whole life. It wasn’t until recently I realized that I can polish my own star and still polish other people’s stars too. A win-win if ever there was one.

Don’t you think that we teach (and preach!) what we ourselves need to learn? I know I do. I call it the Shoemaker’s Kids Syndrome — the kids go shoeless while the clients are well heeled (pun intended — ha, ha, ha — I crack myself up!). Keeps us humble, doesn’t it? And that’s not a bad thing. Neither is identifying with the people with whom we’re working.

I’m exhausted just thinking of your old ballet routine, Shelley! Phew! Hip, hip, hooray to polishing your own star so it can shine brightly for both your caregiving community and yourself. Feel feel to stop by here any time you need a little support and extra polishing from your starpolisher friends. :)


avatar Sandra Martini April 28, 2011 at 7:42 pm

Hey Carol,

Congratulations on feeling a little nervous and taking a stand for yourself regardless AND letting that stand be the closure.

It can be incredibly hard to do, it’s often easier to run to the fridge, you took the step and I’m celebrating you.


Sandy :-)


avatar Carol Hess April 29, 2011 at 10:13 am

Thanks, Sandy, for your “atta girl.” I think every time we take a stand for our values and not our fears, we’re doing the right thing. And it does get easier.


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