Releasing the Weight of a Lifetime: A Transformative Moment with My GrandmotherNov 06, 2023
Storytime with Kate
In 2015, my grandfather, Gram's husband of 65 years, had just died.
Gram had health issue after health issue the following year.
Her doctor told her she needed to gain 10 lbs.
I was visiting Gram in her empty house - it was just her now. The first time in her life that she was only responsible for taking care of herself. No kids, no grandkids, no husband. Just her.
Growing up, I was used to visiting with all my cousins. It was lively and fun and full of life, full of food, laundry, oysters from the dock, crabcakes picked by hand, ringing the bell to call everyone in for dinner. Sparklers in the back yard on the years it wasn't too dry...
We called the house Lagniappe.
Lagniappe is when you go to the bakery and instead of the dozen bagels you ordered, you realize that they also threw in a little something extra. Maybe the baker's dozen (13 of what you ordered), or maybe something else that's special. It's giving something extra just because. It's a spirit of generosity. My understanding is that lagniappe is Louisiana Creole - a Quechuan word adapted into Louisiana French. A word my grandparents grew up with - and a spirit they taught me to embody.
But this visit was very different.
The house was quiet and cold. The kitchen was empty. And it was just me and Gram on this visit.
After struggling through eating dinner, she said to me:
“All my life I’ve been trying to lose 10lbs.
I don’t know what to do now. I don’t know how to gain 10lbs.”
That moment changed everything for me.
It absolutely broke my heart.
I saw myself in her.
Until that moment, I had been trying to lose 10lbs my whole life too.
And failing.. like she had.
And hurting my body in the process.
What I knew in that moment was that I was no longer going to try and lose 10lbs.
The heartbreak in that moment, opened me up to the opportunity to love again.
There are only so many fucks to give.. and all mine were going to those 10lbs.
I haven’t weighed myself since.
That was 10 years ago.
My life is more free, more loving, more powerful, and more honest.
My relationship with the scale was so toxic. No matter what it said, it wasn't good. Every day, the scale made me feel bad. Because no matter what my weight reported, I wasn't enough. It was like a bully that I chose.
The scale is a terrible indicator of health.
But a great indicator of health is how you feel.
No one can tell how you feel by looking at you.
Not your doctor.
Not your trainer.
Not your dietitian.
Not your auntie or uncle
And not your grandmother who commented on your weight every single time you saw her.
And yes, I've been angry at her for that because of how that commentary, and witnessing her behavior around food, shaped me (and my family).
But it also shaped her.
She wasn't the creator of the problem, but she was the messenger.
Now, there's forgiveness for that - especially because of what we got to share in that moment. That judgment doesn't get to run my life anymore the way it ran hers.
I don't do to myself what she did to herself. And I don't perpetuate the message. Not because I'm better than her, because I'm grateful for her - and because she did it, doesn't mean that I have to too.
She didn’t know it could be better.
But I do. And I know you do too.
Your weight is not who you are Kate. I am really glad you're here and I think you're doing great.
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