Writer Rex Harris describes yin-yang as “…a synthesis of mutually dependent polar forces. Each force exists only in relationship to its opposite, each is ‘completed’ by its opposite…”
Take, for instance, a monarch caterpillar. It weighs 8 grams by the time it spins its cocoon. When it emerges as a butterfly, it weighs a mere half-gram. The caterpillar and the butterfly are opposite in composition and yet the same being, existing only because of its opposite.
Caterpillars and butterflies have no understanding of their changing
body structure. They just do what nature intends. We, on the other hand, consciously witness our changing bodies, and not without a great deal of angst and critique. It’s not easy seeing the butterfly for the caterpillar.
I struggle these days with my thick and thin, my yin and yang, my body as one being, yet of differing compositions. There was a point, however, at which I felt balance.
At 300 pounds, I was a size 32 and never dreamed, as I watched my 17-year-old daughter graduate from Army basic training in 2002, that I would fit into her size 7 class As. At 138, I did.
At 300, I refused to get in an aluminum boat and join my husband fishing. At 135, he took me canoeing for the first time.
At 300, a man leered at me and said he “…liked my women big” like me. At 130, Today’s Natalie Morales told me, “Your legs are like toothpicks!”
At 300, I began my journey and read Bob Greene’s book Get With The Program. At 132, I met him in person.
Then, during my first year of maintenance, my body morphed to 125 pounds, a weight at which I was cold all the time and my joints ached. I won’t deny that I liked the litheness of 125 pounds, feeling like a feather and knowing there was nothing to “suck in” in my middle. But I shivered when it was 80 degrees, and reaching for a bowl in a cupboard high up was painful. I also missed my B cups.
When we were discussing our next topic, Lori asked if we had a “settling weight,” a weight at which we are not striving so desperately to maintain. A weight at which our minds were more at ease. I’ve thought a lot about that, and have wondered if I’m at my settling weight – 155 pounds and filling a C cup – or if I’m merely settling for this weight. The truth is that right now, I feel thick, not thin. I was physically more comfortable in the 130s.
So does that mean that the space within 5 pounds of 135 is my yin weight? Is that the weight at which I exist in relation to my opposite and am completed by my 300-pound yang weight? And if that is true, what do I do with these 15-20 extra pounds? How do I think about them?
While I believe I have the power to find and stay at any weight, despite the physical forces of menopause and arthritis, I’m not sure how badly I want to use that power. I feel thick, yes, but I also feel free from uber preoccupation with my weight for the first time in more than seven years. Maybe there is balance within the thickness, just as there is in the thinness of 130-140.
Maybe. But I know me, and I know I need to be mindful of what constitutes balance and what are outright excuses because I’m the queen of excuses. And excuses won’t help me find what is real and true; where I am complete and the butterfly emerges.
Do you have a settling weight or are you just settling? Where do you find balance?
Read what the other AIM members are writing about this topic through the links below.
AIM: Adventures in Maintenance is Lynn, Lori, Debby, Shelley, and Cammy, former weight-loss bloggers who now write about life in maintenance. We formed AIM to work together to turn up the volume on the issues facing people in weight maintenance. We publish a post on the same topic on the first Monday of each month. Let us know if there is a topic you’d like us to address!