Happy anniversary to me! One year. It’s been a year since I’ve stepped on a scale. It’s been 365 days of not being chained to numbers. It’s been 365 days of not defining my self, my worth, my character, my attractiveness, my intelligence, my abilities, my anything, to a series of numbers.
I allowed my weight to define me throughout my life–I know how much I weighed at each point in my life. In college I vacillated between 110-125lbs. In graduate school I was on medications that increased my weight to 140lbs. I was back down to 125lbs when I got married. Each pregnancy brought a weight gain of over 65lbs, at which point I stopped counting. Slowly, I shed the weight, and gained muscle, and improved my cardiovascular health. I looked skinny, but the scale proclaimed the addition of muscle to clock me in at the 130-140lb range.
I was not having any of that. I jiggled a bit, I wasn’t defined enough, and the scale…Oh, the cursed scale…Intellectually I wanted to be healthy and strong. Intellectually, I knew of sodium’s Super Power and the curse of water weight. Intellectually I knew the scale could and would swing either way throughout the day. Intellectually I knew muscle weighed more than fat.
But I wanted those magic numbers. So I’d work out more that day, or eat less, or both. I’d be anxious if I didn’t. I’d be anxious anyway until I saw the magic number. I was desperate. Every day. Numbers controlled my mood and sense of self every day.
It’s exhausting living like this. Trying to shed one or two or three pounds. Why? Good question. My daughter asked me a year ago, “Why? Why do you get on that thing?”
Why indeed. There was no good answer. Those numbers say nothing about me. So I got rid of the scale. I decided I was done with letting numbers ruin my day. Only really big things should ruin my day–like nuclear war, or a sinkhole swallowing my house, or getting “What Does the Fox Say?” stuck in my head. It’s been a year, and I have not been tempted to step on a scale since. (Well, there was that one time before a date and I just could not get into these jeans I loved. But I didn’t because knowing how much I weighed was not going to miraculously eliminate an inch around my waist.)
It’s been a year of defining myself on my own terms. I have no idea how much I weigh. I do know I fit my clothes. I do know I feel strong and good and healthy and energetic. I do know I can lift heavy things. I do know I can run longer than most of you reading this. I do know I eat when I am hungry and stop when I am full and sometimes snack when I shouldn’t. I do know I am smokin’ hot because I am smart and funny and kind and compassionate and interesting and adventurous and brave. I do know I am grateful for 365 days of defining myself and not allowing anything or anyone impact what I think about myself.
My children will not grow up watching me step on a scale and the ensuing anxiety or sadness or fear or desperation or the diminished sense of self as I step off it. No, they will see me lift and run and stretch and bike and laugh and eat and rejoice and enjoy life, and they will see who I am and what my body can do and what my mind can think and what my heart can feel. They will see their mother define humans by our capabilities and hearts and efforts.
I refuse to allow numbers to tell me how I feel or who I am. I have learned to listen to my body and my heart and my intuition. This makes me really hot too. And modest. What does the fox say? The fox says, “Happy anniversary, hot stuff.”