"I Hated My Friend for Losing Weight"
Admitting My Envy
The day she cleared out her closet for a new wardrobe, Val invited me over. I watched with dismay as she hauled out dozens of dresses and jackets, most of them voluminous, and tossed them on the bed. "I can't wear these anymore," she said airily. "I thought you might like to have them."
"But they're too big," I sputtered, holding up a gold suit that must have been a size 22. "I mean -- I wear a size 16, tops."
Val scrutinized me, then the suit, then me again. "Try it on, at least." I gaped at her, astonished. Did I really look that heavy? Too embarrassed to protest, I actually took some of the clothes and thanked her. But deep down, I was wounded. No, I was furious! I admit I felt superior to Val when she was fat. Had she sensed that? Was she getting even with me now?
In a burst of indignation, I started a new round of diets, each one more austere than the last. But after a few days of deprivation, I always ended up bingeing. The day I hit 203 pounds -- the most I had ever weighed -- I collapsed on the bed in tears of frustration.
Once I was cried out, though, I could think more clearly. None of this was about Val, really. It all stemmed from the way I had dealt with weight and self-image my entire life. My attitude and approach hadn't evolved much from when I was a teenager and lost 30 pounds in a few months eating nothing but hardboiled eggs. Right then, I decided to stop the destructive behaviors that kept me twisted into emotional knots, starting with dieting. I realized I would never lose weight or, more important, be happy with myself, if I didn't, at last, focus on what drove my overeating.
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