If you have not seen an episode of NBC’s This Is Us – I am sorry. You are missing out on a fantastic show. If it was not obvious to anyone who knows me, I identify with Kate – the overweight, new in a relationship, sister. I am not 100% like her – but there are definitely parts of her that are almost painful to watch because they ring so true.
This week, we were shown one of the more painful truths about Kate and Toby’s relationship – the two have been trying to lose weight together and the odds are not in Kate’s favor. After Kate has been particularly rigid in her diet and exercise, she steps on the scale believing she has “crushed it” and finds she has lost 1.25 lbs. Th disappointment is real. Then Toby steps on the scale and he has lost 8 lbs and reached his goal. And everyone starts to congratulate him – they want to take his picture and make a big deal. And so Kate slips out the door – happy for him but unable to celebrate with him.
She thinks he is upset with her for ditching the meeting when she calls and he doesn’t answer. After 2 calls or so she goes to his apartment and he tells her he is not mad – he has been busy. But he is not letting her in the door. She finally asks if she can come in and he says ok – and the living room is littered with a pizza box and snack wrappers. And he tells her that he is done dieting. But he will support her when they are together and eat the way she does. She is skeptical but relents.
We then see them out at dinner and they finish their sensible meal. And the waiter asks if they want to see a dessert tray. Toby emphatically says no but Kate tells him that if he wants it, go ahead and have it. So he does – the tallest, gooiest, drippiest dessert he can muster. And the look on Kate’s face….
Then she is driving home and has to get gas. She walks back to her car after going in to the store and she eats a doughnut. And there is this look on her face – sadness, disgust, resignation.
I can not tell you how many things in this episode made me cringe, nod my head and cry in understanding. Going to weigh in believing there was nothing more you could have done and “only” losing a pound (or less). Seeing someone else do so much better in the same amount of time and while happy for them, being unable to celebrate with them. The tendency to throw so much attention on one person when a goal is met that it makes those who didn’t reach a goal feel worse. I related to Kate’s fear that Toby was mad at her when he didn’t answer her call. And to her skepticism when he said he would eat well around her to encourage her. I understood the need to act like it is ok that the other person eat badly in front of you and I really understand the doughnut at the end of the night.
Its hard to lose weight. It is hard when it seems so easy for someone else. It can be demoralizing to feel like the only things worth celebrating are the big wins. And mostly, it is hard when you feel like the one thing you need is the one thing that someone else can’t give you -Kate let Toby have the dessert, insisted on it, not because she needed it and not because, as she claimed, she didn’t want him going home and lying about eating other things. I believe she did it because she wanted to the type of girlfriend who didn’t make him do something he didn’t want to do. She didn’t want him to HAVE to lie to her because she was making him do something he didn’t want to do.
And that I can relate to. I have said over and over that my choices will affect J. I made a decision to have weight loss surgery this coming spring. And EVERYTHING relating to food has to change. And it will not just change for me. J will be affected as well. And he says he is ready, but I know that my tendency like Kate’s will be to let him off the hook. And in doing so jeopardize my own well being. And honestly this is not a criticism of J – it is my own undoing, stubbornness and fear that lead me down that path.
Pray for us as we move towards this goal. It was a tough one. But the toughest part is still to come.