J got a new couch. At first I just noticed the new pillows, then when I sat down I was looking at the couch and he told me he got a new one. Guess what color it is? Beige! I wonder if therapists go to a special store to buy beige couches?
We talked about the food issue again, and I told J that I was obsessing about food and exercise. I said that I know what I am doing is ridiculous, why do I need to weigh myself so much, why do I need to weigh myself before I go to bed? There isn’t anything I can do about it. I told him about how I have been reading about other people doing this “Intuitive Eating” thing, but I can’t trust my intuition. I went out with my son the other night, and I thought I wasn’t hungry, but then I thought maybe I am just convincing myself that I am not hungry. I can’t tell anything anymore, and I don’t know what a “normal” meal is. We talked about normal, and I said that apparently the “normal” American meal isn’t such a healthy choice. I asked him what was wrong with ordering a salad with grilled salmon with the dressing on the side, and he said there is nothing wrong with it.
I told him about how I have been thinking lately that women don’t ever talk about their weights. That I think every woman weighs 120 pounds, unless they are really little, then they weigh 110. But I see the women on the biggest loser who look great and weigh in the 150’s, and my cousin when she was in the hospital told the nurses that she weighed 150 and I thought that seemed way too high, she seems like a little thing to me, and a woman who’s blog I read who lost 100 pounds and reached her goal weight of 162 at Weight Watchers. I said it is really surprising to me that women who look good weigh more than 120 pounds. He asked me what would happen if I was at a place like Weight Watchers where you have to weigh yourself in public, and I set him straight about that! I told him that all weights are private, you step on the scale and the number is behind the counter and they write it in your booklet. Weight is a big secret in our society.
I told him about a restaurant I went to for lunch a couple of weeks ago and I was looking at what everyone was eating. Every woman was eating a salad with the dressing on the side, and every man was eating a burger, fries, crabcake sandwiches, etc. He asked me if the women were thin and the men were portly, and I said I didn’t even notice their body types, just what they were eating. Can’t women eat burgers and fries? I can’t – that would be my whole calorie allowance for the day and I wouldn’t be able to eat anything else.
J asked if I could go a day without weighing myself, and I said that I did that once last year, and I didn’t eat much all day because I knew I couldn’t weigh myself the next day, so I had to be careful. Logically I know that is ridiculous. I should just eat the way I eat, the scale doesn’t affect anything.
We talked about how my mood for the day depends on the number on the scale. I said, how else can I judge myself each day if not using weight? He said I don’t need to be judging myself first of all, and how about using different criteria – how I am as a person for example.
Somehow we got onto the subject of if I can relax at the beach, and I said I could. J asked if I could sit on the beach and think my life is good. I asked him if that is his definition of relaxing, because if it is, then, no, I cannot relax. We got back onto the subject of my life not being good, and he asked me again, for the millionth time, about the things that are good and not good. The not good things are the relationship with my husband, my lack of a career, my self esteem issues and never feeling good enough. The good things are my health, my family’s health, my friends, security, living in a safe place, etc.
He asked what would make it better, and I said if I lost 20 pounds right now I would feel better. Of course I know that is ridiculous, and we did talk about what would happen if I lost 4 more pounds, would I want to lose 2 more pounds, and then 2 more after that. I said that if my marriage either gets better or ends, life would be better than it is now. As for the career, I don’t know what I can do about that.
We talked about my dinner with my husband last weekend and how I ate a regular meal, and asked him the question I was supposed to ask. I told J that my husband seemed happy when I told him about the health coach telling me I should go out for a real meal, and that when I asked him about the retirement plan he answered me and answered both of my questions. J said that he was surprised, because based on what I have told him he didn’t think my husband would want to go out with me in the first place, and wouldn’t want to talk about finances. He asked me if I think my husband likes me, and I said that I think he does, and I like him.
J wanted me to ask my husband some more about the retirement details, and I said I don’t really worry about it because I don’t really plan to live that long. He asked me if I plan to die by suicide, and I said I don’t know, maybe. But I told him not to worry, I don’t plan on doing anything today. I really didn’t want to get into the whole thing about getting sick, getting old, etc. That is another can of worms that I couldn’t deal with opening today.
Now J wants me to go out for another regular meal with my husband and talk to him about how I am dissatisfied with my lack of a career and accomplishments. I expressed doubt that my husband would be much interested in this topic, but I said that I would do it, just so I could tell J how my husband reacts.
He asked what would make my marriage better and I said that if we had anything in common, if we liked to do things together, if he listens to me and remembers what I say, if he doesn’t walk out of the room when I am in the middle of telling him something, that would make it better. J said it is like my husband and I have parallel lives, which is true.
Towards the end of the session I got the feeling that J was getting frustrated with me. He was talking about something about how I use the eating and exercising to keep myself in this limbo of never being good enough, and when he paused I said, “Are you mad at me?” He said no, and I said, “Why are you sitting like that?” He had his legs crossed and his arms crossed, and he never sits like that. He said some bullshit thing about being cold, which is ridiculous, because I am always the one who is cold, and I was not cold, I was actually a bit warm probably due to it being 95 degrees out, and he never turns the a/c way down because he knows I get cold.
I guess I am frustrating to him, because I see everything intellectually, but I can’t behave the way my mind is telling me I should. I didn’t really think much about the session this afternoon, but this evening I am feeling down. I am watching the documentary “How To Die In Oregon”, about terminally ill people in Oregon who choose assisted suicide to end their lives. Oregon was the first state to legalize this (there are only two others). It is very sad that there are people out there who are dying and they don’t want to die. And I was reading a clothing catalog from Athleta, full of young, toned, thin women playing beach volleyball in bikinis and doing headstands in halter tops, and it just made me feel kind of sick. I know it seems vain, to not want to get old or sick, to have the body I had 20 years ago. But I think it is more than that.
I read an article in the newspaper this weekend about middle aged women and how their lives are better than they were when they were younger because they have self confidence and so many accomplishments. I wish I could be one of those, but instead my confidence gets worse and worse as I get older. Maybe because I don’t have those accomplishments, and I don’t have much purpose. I’m just down right now. Sometimes I hate therapy.