Jamie came into session this week and reported that she has a revelatory experience over the weekend. She was at a dinner party at her sister’s house and was seated next to a (thin) woman named Deanna with whom Jamie had a mild acquaintance. Jamie told me that without even really meaning to, she kept an eye on what Deanna was eating that night and was very surprised to realize that Deanna ate a larger portion of salad with the dressing on the side, had reasonable portions of chicken and asparagus, and had a small portion of the wild rice that was served. She also had no bread, no other side dishes, and nursed one glass of wine throughout dinner. When dessert was served, Deanna passed on the cheesecake and instead ate fresh berries that were served along with it.
Reflecting upon what Deanna ate, Jamie had the realization: she’s working on watching her eating, too. Although theoretically Jamie knows that every thin person she sees is not necessarily naturally thin, it is easy for Jamie to forget this and to think, “It’s not fair that she is thin naturally and I have to work at it.” Jamie confessed that she had always assumed that Deanna was one of the naturally thin people that stayed that way without having to go through any effort. But in observing what Deanna ate at the dinner party, and especially in observing all of the things she didn’t eat, Jamie was once again reminded that many people look the way that they do through hard work and diligence.
Jamie and I talked about what this realization meant for her and Jamie said that once again becoming aware that she is not the only one who has to work at dieting helps counter a lot of her, “it’s not fair that…” thoughts. Jamie and I discussed that while it’s true it’s not fair she has to work hard to achieve and maintain a healthy weight, everyone has unfairnesses in their lives and this happens to be one of hers. I also pointed out to Jamie that she is lucky because some people can’t do anything about their unfairnesses, but this is one that, through hard work and practice, Jamie can and is learning to overcome. Jamie resolved to not let thoughts of unfairness get in the way of achieving her goals and decided that anytime she started to feel that it was unfair she had to work at dieting, she would remind herself, “It’s true it’s not fair, but at least there is something I can do about it,” and whenever she felt resentful looking at a thin person, she would remind herself, “I don’t know what she eats in a day and it’s very likely she’s working just as hard as I am.”