Sunday, June 22, 2014

Where's the caveat?

The morning of the training I went to, I got up and headed to the hotel exercise room.  There were two treadmills, an elliptical and a recumbent bike along with a small weight station and some free weights.  When I went in, I was intending on running, but both treadmills had someone on them, so I hopped on the elliptical.  About 22 minutes in, one woman got off her treadmill.  I decided that I would do a few more minutes on the elliptical and then switch over.

Another woman walked in and I could see that she was disappointed that I was on the elliptical and she reluctantly got on the treadmill but after only a minute got off.  I then ended my time and switched over to the treadmill.  She happily boarded the elliptical and immediately became engrossed in CNN which was what was on the TV.  I ran for 30 minutes - at a slow pace which I always do on the treadmill - and then headed up to my room.

Late in the training, we were broken up into small groups, and who was facilitating my group but that woman who I had seen that morning.  She was an attorney from the NYC area.  In our discussion groups, she and I had very differing ideas on the topic we were discussing, and she smirked at something I said and then said something about how she was up next to present to the whole group and would address some of what we we were on opposite sides about.  "Well, don't call me out and yell at me!"  I said to her.  "I'm not a yeller," she replied.  "Besides, we're workout buddies!  And after seeing you running this morning, I know that you could easily chase me down and beat me to death!!"  And everyone in the group laughed.

The next day I went to yet another, different, training, and at the end, they had to give me some equipment to bring back.  As we went to leave, I picked up the boxes (they had handles), one in each hand.  They were a little heavy but not unreasonably so.  "Here - let me get those!" One of the trainers said.  "No, I'm good, just grab the door for me will ya?" I said.  Another person from the training said "Have you seen her arms??!!  She clearly doesn't need any help!!"  And again, everyone laughed.

I got to thinking about both of these comments later and felt embarrassed and flattered.  As you know, I don't handle compliments well.  But there was something else - some reason that I was especially flattered that I couldn't place.  And then last night, I realized why.

It has been 4 years since I started losing weight and almost 2 years since I hit my goal weight.  I work and live at the same place and have, for the most part, the same groups of co-workers, friends and acquaintances.  So, in my daily life, I encounter mostly people who knew me when I was fat.

And I realized that when they compliment me, I subconsciously add my own caveat to their comments.  Like someone will say "Oh, you ran 13 miles yesterday?  That's amazing!"  And as I am downplaying their compliment I am thinking in my head "You mean because I used to be such a fatty that you can't believe that I can do this now!"  Or someone might say "You look fantastic!" And my thought is "Compared to how horrible you used to look!"   I even do this with Marc.  He might say - because he's such a romantic - "Your ass looks great in that!"  My caveat is "Unlike when you used to be such a cow!"

And so I realized that the reason I was so flattered by the compliments I received last week was because these came from strangers who didn't know me or my history.  My inner voice couldn't make up any "BUTS" about their comments because they were just people who were looking at me and saying these things without context.

Now that I'm more aware of this inner voice, I'm going to try to shut it up and just accept compliments for what they are and not assume that the person giving them is thinking about my past, that they are only living in the present - as I should be!!