Cognitive Dissonance and Capricious Meaning

At my doctor's appointment yesterday I was informed that I had lost weight.  When I last went to see her six weeks ago, she didn't weigh me, so the last time she weighed me was about twelve weeks ago.

"Actually, I've gained weight," I told her.  Which is true.  I'm up slightly more than I was last week, in fact, and I still want to claw my way out of my own body starting from my belly button.  (It just seems like the most logical place.)

So what this means is that twelve weeks ago, I was essentially at either the same or a higher weight than my weight now.  And what that means is that the significance and the torturous importance I put on my erstwhile lower weight is... wait for it... totally irrational.  (I know.  It's almost surprising.)

"Lady, y'ain't right."
As they (and I) say over and over again, eating disorders aren't actually about food or body.  To understand what function the disorder serves, you must dissect the meanings placed on all things food and body.  (And yes, that takes a lot of work, and yes, it is maddening, and yes, it's easier just to skip it.) For me, at no time is this fact clearer than when I'm reminded that the last time I was at this "higher" weight, I was celebrating (on some level) because it was a "lower" weight.  And at that other time, I was merely afraid of another "higher" weight that now seems terrifying, rather than just fearful.

The weights and their corresponding shapes haven't changed.  What's changed is the significance and the symbolism I accord each of them.  It helps, momentarily, to remember this, to point out to myself that my feelings are totally irrational and illogical.  But then I'm expected to take the next step.  "What does xyz weight mean?  Why is it so frightening/such an accomplishment now?"  And while even the meager gain I've managed gives me notably more energy than my recent lower weight, I just can't summon up the stamina to plod through those next-level questions right now.

And so we begin again...

1 comment:

  1. It's so easy to dismiss people who have problems that you just don't feel like dealing with or trying to figure out. When the problem involves a behavior like eating, it's even easier to chalk it up to simple low self esteem or immaturity. There are so many facets of life that deserve more thought than people seem willing to put into. People like that are just lazy. =p


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