Sunday, August 8, 2010

Disappointment - aka an emotional vomit

Can I just say starting from about 7 PM last night, I want a do over? Because I do. Especially from today, around 9 AM.

First of all, Sunday is my new weigh-in day for WW. This was my first week back on the program an this morning I was down to 235.2, which is a 3.8 lb loss from last week. On the one hand, this is fabulous! GREAT news. On the other hand, I can't help but be a bit disappointed because yesterday I was down to 233 (2 lbs lower than what I weighed in today). I realize that it is completely illogical to be disappointed because this extra couple pounds is water weight, and also because losing 4 lbs in a week is fantastic! It all comes back to this root problem of being extra hard on myself which I always have been and, apparently, continue to be. I guess I will be in counseling forever.

This morning I went to church. It is my second time giving this church a go. I thought it was fine. I promised my counselor I would give it another go (the important thing not being going to this particular church or even going to church at all, but more just facing the fear of going). I did it. I even thought it was ok. After church, a couple people (Tara and Josh) I sat next to were friendly and chatty. I really appreciated that. I might even go so far as to say that I needed that -- as the new-to-this-church pastor gave his sermon, he said over and over things about how people 'out there' were lonely and feeling the need to belong to a family, and how important it was to be friendly, welcoming, and inviting. This could not have resonated with me more. I tried to hold back my tears (and did so mostly with success, but some did leak out from time to time), and was so genuinely appreciative that at least two of the people who attended the church listened to and acted upon the pastor's admonition to be friendly and make people feel welcome. I really, truly needed that. I left thinking, "You know, I kind of hate about 80% of church, and I absolutely understand why non-Christians think 90% of Christians are crazy...yet there are some underlying truths here that just keep drawing me back like a moth to a light even though I am terrified of putting myself out there and getting hurt again." (forgive the run-on sentence)

After church I came home and chatted with a friend online about a crazy conversation I had with a friend from grad school last night (hence wanting the d0-over to start at 7 PM last night). Fortunately, the friend reassured me that I am not in fact crazy, and that my point of view is logical and not just emotional or ill-reasoned. I felt validated.

I had an unshakeable craving for deep-dish Chicago pizza this afternoon. I decided to go get some. Now this is not at all WW points friendly. Especially if you get it with sausage. I decided I was going to do it anyway. I ended up eating half of a 12" pizza. I could have done more, but decided that not only did I not need to, but that I would regret it if I did. I wanted to take the other half home, but I ended up leaving it at pizza parlor because I cannot see a good way to enjoy this in moderation, save it for later (later being 1-2 months when I treat myself to this again, not tomorrow for lunch), or fit it into my current eating plan. Some googling online indicates that a slice of Chicago style pizza has about 500-600 calories. I ate four pieces; nice work, champ. The truth is I could have finished that thing though, so I do deserve some credit for not doing that.

I decided to go to the gym afterwards. I had not been since Thursday (though I did go biking and do an abs video yesterday), so I wanted to do some cardio and weight lifting today. After 18 minutes on the elliptical I said "You know what? This just is not going to happen today." I felt this unmistakeable despair and just these doldrums of life. Almost like I couldn't go on.

On the way home I was reflecting. Why did I feel so down? Why did "this" -- the overdoing the pizza, the quitting at the gym -- happen? I began to piece things together.

I think it is because I am afraid. I am really afraid of getting involved in a church. I am afraid of putting myself out there to once again either feel like I need to change who I fundamentally am to belong, or to feel like there is no place for me. It's as though I'd rather be lonely or sit on the sidelines than to try once again to get involved and have my feelings smashed.

I have felt over and over again disappointment with churches and with Christians. Why do I still go to church (very intermittently, and with incredible fear)? Why are people who are supposed to care and exhibit the love of Christ so very often vapid and superficial and one-dimensional? Especially when they so often categorically reject my brother, who is one of the people I hold nearest to my heart for something I feel he has no control over (being gay)? And if I am over it, why do I care one way or the other, or even try to go at all? I have no idea. And why are people who are supposed to be friendly and welcoming so often cliquey, judgmental and just, frankly, so often boring? And so, on the way home, I bought a pint of ice cream (which honestly did not even taste that good) and the jar of Nutella I've been pining over for a month.

In 30 years of living and 25 years of church going, I would have considered myself a part of a reasonably well-functioning, healthy church experience once for about 2-3 years in grad school. Every time else I have either felt miserably uncomfortable, completely used, or have had my trust grossly violated. Predictably, I am not so excited about getting involved again. Especially with about a 10% success rate. Instead of feeling all this stuff -- this fear, this anxiety, this mistrust -- and dealing with it, I decided just to stuff it down and quiet it with food. Predictably, it tasted great but left me completely unfulfilled.

Now I am disappointed with myself. The only reason I joined Weight Watchers again (well besides the obvious that I wanted to lose weight, and that I know it will work) is that I thought I was mentally in a place where I was stable enough to get over these speed-bumps of life. Tonight I question that.

The general truism that "Losing weight is simple - you have to move more and eat less/better" is true, but it is far too simplified. I have to deal with whatever is going on in my head to have any hope of being able to make it through life without food as a crutch, or friend, or support. And that is where I am. And it really ain't pretty right now.


  1. have you tried a Unitarian universalist church? I found them to be very friendly and accommodating and not judgmental.

  2. No because I do not agree with them theologically. But thanks for the suggestion.

  3. Sarah - you're doing okay! Sure - a do-over would be great and I'm sure your mentally and emotionally exhausted... but as long as you dust yourself off in a day or two and make more healthy decisions than not - you're okay. I doubt you'll ever be totally perfect with your food addiction... but if these bumps get spaced out further and further - you're actually pretty normal!

    I too struggle with friendship - I think most people do. We have a great church family - but I think we joined them a bit late - and we're kind of one the fringe of actually being close friends. and thanks to FB, I'm painfully reminded when we're not invited. I try not to dwell on it and to look for the opportunities to develope those friendships. and I keep my distance from those who have hurt me unknowingly. It's times like these that I wish I had a sister - although I'm sure that doesn't guarentee me a best friend, it'd be a good start. Friendship and fellowship is importnant. don't give up.

  4. actually many of the people at our UU church were christian and it also included lots of differing religions and the fine points that they mostly all did agree on were parts of all sermons. I liked our strong family friendly volunteer opportunities as bonding experiences with others close to my own age, area of town etc.... we gardened for a "soup kitchen" as a community, fed the homeless once a month, landscaped for the elderly, did home improvements for single moms, built a fence etc...

    look for a church that offers that kind of community involvement and friendships can form more easily.

  5. I've lost 45lbs now myself. I weigh myself every morning, if I go up .5 lb, it throws off my entire day. It's not just you, good luck with your struggle! You're doing great, just remember moderation!

  6. The funny thing about Christians is that they still make a lot of mistakes. The church is full of bad examples, and in many cases people who have achieved positions of leadership, but they aren't even truly Christians. That sounds terribly negative, but I don't mean it that way. There are also great people in churches. Great people who care. I have decided I can't do anything about those who set the bad example, but I can make darn sure I am not doing that myself. It is sad to admit, but I have, after inner reflection, seen some of these bad traits in myself over the years. With that attitude, I think I am setting a better example, although I still stumble on occasion.

    Regarding the pizza, look at it as a learning experience. The next time you are tempted, think back at how you feel right now. Maybe it will help you persevere next time.


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