Tomorrow morning I’m off for a few days of vacation to visit with my best friend, someone I haven’t seen since March. I’m excited to see her and to get away from work for a while but I have to admit that I’m nervous. She’s lost a lot of weight since we last were together and I have, well, not done that. I know our relationship is built on more than both being overweight. I KNOW that. But still, I’m afraid she will be embarassed to be with me or that I will be ashamed to be wandering around with someone who is so skinny.
Not that she thinks she is skinny. And she’s not at a goal weight yet. But she’s lost 35-40 lbs since her boyfriend broke up with her out of the blue. Her reaction to that emotional trauma was to stop eating. I ate more out of sympathy with her because I really cannot conceive of not eating as an emotional reaction. She hadn’t done it before either, but this was deep and hurtful and had it been me, I would be back to my starting weight.
Instead, she dropped pounds when she pretty much stopped eating and then decided she had a start on a weight loss and might as well keep going. She was incredibly rigid with what she would eat, down to 700 calories a day, and exercised like a crazy person. I was truly concerned about her health because she wasn’t getting enough nutrition. But she seems to have levelled off and added things back in (partly because I was nagging her) and now has energy to go on 25 mile bike rides almost every day that she’s not at work. It’s truly inspiring.
But it’s also making me nervous. I know she loves me, the me inside the layers of fat and the clothes that don’t fit as well as I wish they would. The me that likes to eat pad thai and donuts. I would love to go for a bike ride with her (not 25 miles!) but my recovering knee simply can’t do it; I can only manage a recumbent bike and that only for a short time going so slowly she would ride circles around me. Cardio exercise it isn’t.
This visit is for fun, to reconnect with someone who is like another part of me. Just for this weekend I will set aside the gloom and doom depression of failure and let her infect me with her enthusiasm for what she has accomplished. And I need to honor and celebrate that with her in person. No one who hasn’t been fat can truly understand what she has done, and I can give her that. I just need to be emotionally generous enough to focus on her and not myself.
And to remember that I’m really not going to Chicago to eat.