Today is Tiferet she b'Tiferet - a day of compassion in a week of compassion.
For most of my life, I have been one of those thin, never have to worry about gaining weight, kind of people. I've never been a big eater--in fact, my stress mode tends to manifest itself in not eating. And I guess I my metabolism has been on the fast side. Whatever the reasons, I never had to diet or even worry about weight gain.
In December of 2001 when I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I was in the best shape of my life. I was exercising regularly and my yoga practice was in full swing. I looked good and felt good. The cancer diagnosis changed all that. With chemotherapy slamming me into menopause and years of taking tamoxifen, my metabolism slowed and many pounds were added. I wouldn't be described as fat--changing to lots of loose-fitting clothes helped with that perception--but it brought me to a point where I was heavy, with a protruding belly that not just effected my body but also dampened my spirits.
These past ten days I've been on a program to cleanse impurities from my system and burn off fat. The hope was that I would lose 8-10 pounds. By day 6, I could feel the difference. In yoga class that day my balance was better than it had been in years, and I could once again fold forward without any obstruction from my midsection. It really felt good. The next day I decided to try on a pair of jeans that I've been unable to wear for a couple of years. They just sat around, mocking me. One leg in, the other, pulled them up, button, zip--voila! They fit just fine--an exciting moment.
The ten days ended yesterday and this morning I stepped on the scale. To my surprise, I only lost 4 pounds---just 4 pounds!! What a downer. I can see and feel the difference in my body, but the actually number of lost pounds seems so puny. Sigh. I will continue on this road, and I will shed the extra weight remaining. And I need to remind myself not to rely on expectations over reality, and to trust my perceptions, not those of an inanimate object like a scale. It is nice to feel comfortable with how I look wearing a pair of jeans with a shirt tucked in--especially when just months ago I couldn't even zip up those jeans.
On this day of compassion in a week of compassion, I have more empathy for those with weight problems than I've ever had before. I know it's a place where I've been judgmental in the past but now have a better understanding of what it means to be stuck in an overweight body. And I need to remember to have compassion for myself. The difference in how I look and feel is the story, not the number on the scale. The work I put in did make a difference, and that is what I need to take in as I move towards a healthier future.