From BMI to The Four Agreements

Okay, weighing everyday is sort of ridiculous, really. I weigh a full two pounds less today than I did yesterday. Hello? There must be so much more going on inside, particularly having to do with water retention and maybe even the last time one had a bowel movement.

If I had my eating under control I’d switch back to weighing only on Sunday. You certainly get a bigger picture of the overall trend. But because I’m struggling so much, I will keep weighing daily for now.

The scale says I weigh 197.9 — what is it with me and these point nine weights? I’ll call it 198 knowing that tomorrow it could read 198.5 or higher. At any rate, this is the first time I have seen that number so, yay.

Interestingly I am nearing the 70 pound weight loss mark, which would be 197. So yay again.

This reminds me of how my mother, who several times a year gets these horrible “attacks” of vomiting and diarrhea that can last for hours. It’s horrendous, really, and the doctors haven’t pinpointed what’s causing it. They removed her gallbladder but she still has the attacks. Anyway, after an hours long battle on the bathroom floor and a day or two of feeling uncomfortable after that, she will always say, and you can bank on it, “Well, at least I lost five pounds.”

And a couple of times I tried to convince her that she didn’t “lose five pounds” of fat. That more than likely it was almost every liquid and solid in her body. But no. In her view, she lost five pounds. But then always puts in the caveat, “But I wouldn’t recommend doing it this way.”

I don’t bother to try to convince her any longer. But the fact that after these horrendous bouts she has, she has to talk about, “Well, at least I lost five pounds.” is really spooky considering she’s got something wrong in there and can’t be motivated to go back to the doctor for more tests. And believe me, those attacks are not just hard on her. Dad and I can barely get ten seconds to use the toilet when she’s in that state!

My mother is the reason I have a lifelong battle with my weight, even far before I was actually overweight.

The other day we were talking about weak ankles for some reason. She has them, so does my daughter, but not me. I said, “It could just be genetics, but I’ve also heard that swimming makes your ankles really strong.” And I was not referring to the swimming I do now, but the swimming I did my entire childhood.

She said, “Oh I haven’t done much of that except when I was swimming at the pool…” And she let it drop.

Maybe she thought about how absurd it was to say she “swam at the pool” because she can’t swim and has never swum in her entire life. She did, a couple of years ago, put on a foam belt and get in the water and do a few weeks of water aerobics. But that isn’t swimming.

She constantly refers back to the days when she did water aerobics as though it was a huge chunk of her life (and she’s an expert) and not merely six or eight sessions over a period of six or eight weeks.

Interesting mindset.

I spoke about my mom quite a bit yesterday with my counselor. I told her my biggest fear is to discover that I’m not a good or kind person as my mother is not. This would crush my mother to learn, but thankfully, she will never realize that she is for the most part, a miserable and sometimes an unkind person.

My counselor said, a.) you are not your mother; and b.) if you were you wouldn’t be wondering if you are that way, because you’d be unable to, like she is. That makes sense.

I don’t hate my mother as I did as a child, but I think the strongest emotion I have for her is pity. There’s a part of her that wants to not be this way, but she’s like an out of control train; she can’t stop it. She takes my oversensitivity to a whole new level, an absurd one.

On rare occasion she’ll say a sentence or two about wishing she could be different, but always ends with, “but I can’t.” (Can’t lives on Won’t Street, mom!) She never actually puts any effort in. If she does go to this counselor appointment she’s trying to get, she won’t put effort into bettering herself. She simply isn’t capable.

Back to the subject of weight, I’m just a pound or two from having a BMI that indicates I’m merely overweight as opposed to obese. Using this BMI calculator I am apparently at 30.1 BMI.

BMI Categories:

Underweight = <18.5
Normal weight = 18.5–24.9
Overweight = 25–29.9
Obesity = BMI of 30 or greater

It’s my understanding that the definition of morbidly obese is being at least 100 pounds overweight with a BMI of 40 or greater, which I was.

I generally stop and read most articles I come across having to do with obesity in the world and it truly is alarming. This one in the Guardian yesterday made such a good point, that back in the 50s a kid was considered perfectly healthy if his ribs showed, but these days he would be considered skinny.

Part of what keeps me on this fitness journey is that I don’t like being one of the masses, I never have. I hate fitting in that way; being part of the obesity epidemic. I want to be different and I so wish I had lost this weight years ago, or never gained it in the first place. It really took away my quality of life.

Yesterday I went to that used bookstore in an old building downtown. It has a very long and steep flight of stairs to get up to the second floor and I just basically ran up it and felt no ill effects whatsoever. That feels so fucking good.

What denial I was in. I bought two pairs of expensive shoes a couple of years ago and it took me a year to break them in! I thought, my god expensive shoes are ill-fitting. Only now when I put them on and they no longer fit me did I realize it wasn’t the shoes fault that my feet were fat! There are some shoes I have that I can no longer keep on my feet now, I literally walk out of them.

I envision myself as a trim, strong, energetic older woman. I see myself wearing dresses and feeling feminine, and standing tall, not slouching. That is what I want for myself.

Yesterday at my counselor’s office we talked a lot about my very low self esteem. She reminded me of a book I used to read over and over called The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, which I’m sure everyone has heard of by now.

As a reminder, the four agreements are:

  1. Be impeccable with your word.
  2. Don’t take anything personally.
  3. Don’t make assumptions.
  4. Always do your best.

So simple, yet what a challenge! I know I have a copy in storage but knew I’d never find it, so I went to buy a new copy. I plan to re-read it and then read it again and perhaps read it daily for the rest of my life.

When I fretted over the fact that I need to read this sort of book and then begin again on page one immediately to remind myself, she said that’s not unusual and perfectly okay. If I were twenty years younger I’d tattoo the four agreements on my arm just to be able to remind myself.

Tomorrow is my 57th birthday. It seems inconceivable to me. I’m far from my ideal self but at least I’ve made great strides since mid October of last year, when I could barely walk from problems due to my weight.

I had a choice to live or die and I chose to live and I’m doing my best now to live on my terms for the first time in my life.

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2 responses to “From BMI to The Four Agreements

  1. Happy Birthday!! 39’s gonna be a great year for you 🙂 I don’t like being part of the masses in terms of obesity either. That’s also one reason I’ve never gone over 200 pounds. I don’t want any part of that. I think it’s so sad that so many people are obese. I don’t want to live a sad life. I’m so happy to not be obese any more, and yay for you to almost be there!

    Your poor mom. She’s too old to change. I also don’t want to be like my mom, so I like what your counselor said to you. I’ll try to remember that I’m not my mom. Your mom sounds like she could have used counseling a long time ago…

    I weigh every day. Every (almost) day. I’m used to the ups and downs of the scale, they don’t phase me. I don’t want to weigh only once a week because I don’t think it gives a good picture of what’s going on, what the trend is. You really have to keep the big picture in mind when weighing every day and not worry about a little up and not get too excited about a little down. I really only go by the big picture (a weekly loss or even monthly) but seeing the number every day really helps me so much.

    • Thank you, Cynthia. And thank you for being here for me through all my whining and despair, it’s meant a lot to me.

      It’s sad that we have moms like we do. It embarrasses me to complain about her so I’m glad you understand.

      Yeah, I do not like weighing every day, but I feel it’s literally the only way I can keep my weight under any control at the moment so will continue to do so. But, yes, it’s the overall picture that is what is important in the long run.

      I hope you are having a great day. Thank you again for being there for me.

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