Yes, I think too much

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No longer a member of the tribe

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I’m a person who does not do well with change. I’m not sure if this is because of something that is hard-wired, or due to my upbringing. It’s likely the result of both. I think growing up in a rural area and being exposed to less rapid change may make me less adaptable, but also that my tendency to be overstimulated because I’m an HSP may also factor into it. I’m aware of my difficulties in this regard, and I try to understand that I will feel stress when sudden or dramatic change comes along. Feeling the stress and anxiety is fine. Acting on it destructively is not.

Recently, I’ve been feeling very overwhelmed by the changes I’ve pushed myself into. I’ve gone from following a lot of diet blogs and forums and writing my own weight loss blog to cutting almost all of that sort of contact out of my life (though I still follow the personal blogs of my former readers). I feel this change is very important, but it is also causing me to feel anxious and depressed as I have to exert considerable energy to establish new routines. It’s probably one of the reasons why people who haven’t yet done the mental work associated with repairing their damaged relationship with food find it hard to continue to stay on track if they are not “obsessed”. Stepping away from any pattern or routine is itself a stressful action and if you haven’t worked out your issues with food, the first thing you may want to do is turn back to food for comfort.

Fortunately, I have not even had the vaguest impulse to misuse food in this fashion. The idea of eating more to relieve the stress I feel hasn’t even popped into my head. This time of difficulty is an affirmation that everything I have done has “worked” for me. That doesn’t mean I don’t feel the negative feelings that I do, but simply that my mind doesn’t seek food as a solution to the problem.

Unfortunately, the “solution” my mind reaches for is an “interim” solution and that is to relieve the stress of abandoning old routines by turning back to them on occasion. I find myself ¬†loading the 3 Fat Chicks forums when I feel at a loss. I have done this only twice in the past week, and I am fully cognizant of the fact that I’m doing something as a response to anxiety which may prolong the sense of anxiousness I feel. What is worse, when I read the forums, I derive no comfort or enlightenment from them. In fact, I am increasingly struck by how dysfunctional the discourse on those forums are. People express concern for being obsessed with weight loss and rather than being offered tactics or advice for coping with their issue, people offer up validation of being obsessed. I recall all too well how I felt that I couldn’t carry on like that, and I can understand how others may feel the same way. It starts to drive you insane. There’s no problem with talking about such things, but there is a problem with perpetuating a cycle of clearly dysfunctional obsession by forming a community which says this is the only option if you want to lose weight. It’s not the only option. It truly is not.

The only “good point” to how I’m responding to the sites which I used to peruse on a regular basis is that it makes me feel happy to close the window and therefore less likely to find myself back in an act of picking up old routine. I actually feel more dysfunctional for reading them and as if I’m involved in a sort of discourse which will lead me down a very unhappy path. I come away more motivated to stay on the path to new routines and identity building that is causing me anxiety.

Perhaps I simply don’t belong in those places anymore, or perhaps they are the hotbeds of dysfunction that I perceive them to be. It’s hard to say, but it is absolutely clear that I need to push on and away from the diet culture on-line and continue to grow in other directions. I not only no longer need to be that person, but I profoundly do not want to be that person.

One other point which I have noticed and I know other people encounter this as well is that I was much better supported when I talked about weight loss, but not so in this endeavor. It is clear that I’m no longer a part of a tribe that is insular and highly focused. Personal growth is not of particular value as compared to body consciousness. I don’t mention this because I feel sorry for myself or to solicit comments or support, merely as a curious and valuable observation. If I were to talk more about weight loss again, I would get more attention than I get now. And that’s okay. I don’t need that sort of attention necessarily, and perhaps people don’t need to learn from this stage of my process as it is too personalized. However, it does factor into why people who become obsessed with weight loss remain so. In addition to everything else that they get, it helps them continue to get support and feel valued.

Written by yesithinktoomuch

September 22, 2010 at 1:07 am