-Pirkei Avot 4:1
When I first read the quote above in relation to Weight Watchers, I immediately thought about the people I know who can eat monster "portions" and not gain weight. This is called ENVY. When I first started the program I thought, "why can't I eat their portion (and mine) and be skinny too?!?!" It doesn't work like that for me and I needed the program to unlock my weight loss tools. To my surprise, it worked!
When I first lost the weight, people would come up to me and comment, "Don't you think you've lost enough?" On the other hand, women who had taken off and put on the pounds like me advised, "Don't let anyone tell you that you've lost enough because when you stop, you'll put it back on." Oy, everyone has an opinion. And what a terrible feeling it is, that at any moment, if I let my guard down, if I don't continue striving to lose more, the weight will come piling back on! Am I doomed, like Sisyphus, to push the boulder up the mountain forever, only to watch it roll back down?
I am left questioning:
When will I be satisfied with who I am?
Can I be satisfied "with my portion," like the teaching says, and still strive for more?
Early on in attending meetings I set a target weight, which was to lose about 47 pounds. I was 2.8 away from my goal when I stopped losing in 2002. I was so close!!! Then college hit and so did the freshman 15. It seemed that the ladies a few paragraphs back were right. I stopped losing so I started gaining and I knew it was time to go back to meetings. Cut to Rabbinical School and I had been hovering above the same weight (a healthy weight) for a long time, but still way above my original goal. My friend, Stacey, said "maybe this is just where your body is comfortable right now." She was right. I needed to listen more to where I was in my life, what my body was telling me, and what my commitments were. So I set a new goal that was 15 pounds above 16 year old Dahlia's original target weight.
This was an important step for me. I felt torn because on the one hand, it felt like I was letting myself off the hook, moving the finish line closer instead of pushing myself to the end of the race. Was I changing the rules to make it seem like I had won? On the other hand, I was trying to listen to my body and my brain the way they were at the moment. It was time to stop worshipping some old version of myself. So, I asked myself honestly if was happy with how I felt in my body. The answer at that moment was YES, so I adjusted my goal. I felt relief and when I became lifetime, I still felt so accomplished.
Maybe goal setting and loving yourself is about knowing what you are capable of right now and going for it.
This was a paradigm shift for me. I gave myself permission to accept my body where it was, not the ideal that someone, even younger version of Dahlia, set out for me. I don't think I ever truly eliminated the desire to improve where I was, but I still allowed myself to love and accept the body I was in, no matter what weight.
Undoubtedly, my weight will continue to fluctuate, but there is no use in beating myself up. I have and will continue to change. I am in more control now than I was 4 years ago and am working towards a new goal. And 4 years from now I will have reassess. Life will be thrown at me and at every stage, I hope I have the patience and clarity to say, this is my "portion," and go from there.