I’ve recently lost about 15 percent of my body weight. I’m certainly relieved and excited about my weight loss, but I know that I have a long journey ahead of me to keep it off.
I’m one of those people who have spent their lives in a wrestling match with weight, continually struggling stay in a healthy place. Like many women and Americans, I’ve found myself reaching my goal weight and moving far away from it many times.
My weight loss itself isn’t, however, worth writing about or discussing. What I have found interesting this time around is that I’ve lost something much more significant than the pounds.
I’ve lost my jealousy.
It’s only since I’ve lost it that I’ve come to realize that I even had it. Now that I feel so much more comfortable with myself, my clothes and my health, I see how much my thoughts have changed. In the years when I’ve struggled with my weight, when I’ve wrestled with food and with myself, I’ve spent a great deal of time and energy internally complaining and beating myself up.
Why, I would think to myself, can’t I just lose the weight already so that I can look like she does in that outfit? Why can’t I be skinny and yet be able to eat ice cream all the time like women I know? Why doesn’t this friend or that friend have to think about her weight?
How could she possibly mean it when she says she forgets to eat?
And on and on, the tapes in my head would play. I was not particularly conscious of them at the time, but I now see that the jealousy and self-recrimination was so much heavier than my extra weight. These thoughts brought me down; they made me frustrated with the world, with myself and with those around me.
It’s only since the physical weight has come off that I’ve started to notice how much the emotional weight of jealousy has been removed.
I find myself feeling happy for other people who are working hard at their weight loss; I’m at peace with those who don’t have to or want to. I still marvel at those who say they forget to eat (I think we literally live on different planets, and ones that have never met), but I don’t begrudge them that their minds and bodies are simply made that way.
As a new Jewish year begins in the wake of the High Holidays, I have realized how much I’ve committed the sin of jealousy. I related to those prayers with a new set of eyes this year. This year, I asked forgiveness of myself. I’ve been harming myself with my own internal weight of jealousy. And that means I’ve been keeping myself from enjoying who I am as I am, without constant comparisons to others.
I am hoping, as I work to keep the physical weight at bay, that I will remember how liberating it is to have shaken off the emotional weight that went with it. It turns out that this baggage, truly, has weighed on me so much more than have the actual pounds.