The number on the scale can only tell us so much, right?
Frustrated that yet another pair of old jeans (probably shrunk in the dryer) didn’t fit (AT ALL!) even though I was wearing a new pair of the same brand and size with no problem, I decided to mount the scale for the first time in about a year and a half, against my better judgement.
I dug around until I found the digital scale I’d bought to monitor my weight in college to avoid gaining the freshman fifteen.
2 times, I got the same result (fully clothed, since I wasn’t going to go through my old obsessive ritual of stripping down to get the “best” reading possible)- 224.5, half a pound over my weight the first week I did Weight Watchers when I was twelve years old. I had gotten down to a comfortable 175ish and then to a 140/145 when I was watching my eating a little too closely in my early teens. In college, I fluctuated around 190-210, have no idea what I weighed in my depressive period after college (might have been 214), and then I went to France. I ate delicious food, enjoyed my meals, and learned to cook.
I had to get weighed to get subscribed to the national health insurance. If I remember correctly, it was something like 80 kg! That is to say, around 180/175! The health lady told me I was at the top of the acceptable range, but boy, was I happy to be in the range! And I was so proud not to be among the people getting blood tested for diabetes (especially considering half my family is diabetic due to obesity!)
So that was the last time I got weighed, and even though my body had once not too long ago whispered to me not to try to lose weight anymore and focus on being healthy instead, I weighed myself anyway. As before, I looked to the scale for validation. And didn’t find it.
However, the ironic thing is that I’ll admit I’ve probably gained 5-10 lbs, linked in part to my post-France depressiveness and being in America, but for the most part, my clothes all fit. There are a few items that were iffy that are now a no go. And to be fair, in France I was mostly wearing clothes that were airdryed and now everything is going through the dryer. I know for a fact some of my pjs shrunk (now high waters) so I assume the rest of my clothes, especially jeans with stretch materials, have suffered a similar fate.
So no, I am not going to let this discovery throw me into a depression. I’m still going to eat well and enjoy my Easter. In fact, it’s amazing how great my life is, and how THAT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE SCALE. I’ll admit I’ve felt too fat and ugly for my Parisian boo, Y, at times, but he never seemed to mind my extra squishiness.
And let’s face it: I’ve been going to yoga 2-4 times per week for the past 3 months, have dramatically decreased my intake of soda (sometimes substituting caloric juice options), and just this week have really cut down on my sweets, which did get a bit out of control and were an emotional eating haven.
So in other words, I’ve made a lot of progress. For the most part, my life is pretty grand. I don’t feel ugly at all. I think my tummy looks a little chubbier than it did before, and that is something I’d like to change. But really, I think I need to commend myself for the hard work I’ve been doing of forging a new identity and trying to figure out what I want to do with my life. I may not have As on my report card or be at the magic number on the scale, but through the symptoms of struggle I think I’m really onto something.
The scale does not define me.
It is feedback, but I’m not sure how reliable it is.
But what I will be honest about is that I do wish I weighed less/had less body fat. I would be happy with the way I am if I knew I was really being healthy (although what parameter of healthy I’m not sure about) and sometimes it just seems there aren’t as many hours in the day as I would like for my mental, physical, emotional, social health AND all my school work and job search and everything else in my life. Maybe this is just the way it’s gonna be for a while, but I do think I need to do my body beetter.
I don’t want to wince everytime I try on a pair of jeans. I dont’ want to wonder fi things are going to fit or not. And when I do buy myself some new clothes, I want them to be in a size I can see myself being proud to wear for the rest of my life- not because my size is chic, but because that is where my body is healthiest and reflective of good eating and exercise habits.
Today is the first day of the rest of my life. And instead of judgement, I’m going to ofer myself compassion, and love, and understanding. I am going to murmur all those things I wish someone would tell me, and I am going to believe them.
By the way, I am 5 feet 10 inches tall, and I wear a size 12/14. I have a lovely volumptuous hourglass figure. I’m learning to love my body more everyday.
And take good care of it.
Because the habits I establish now in my youth are going to stay with me for the rest of my life. The cookies I go to for comfort aren’t very effective in providing the love I need or good for my body. When I “let loose,” and eat like the obese child I once was, I only reinforce my usual food and body shame and strengthen the false belief that I am still that person.
I am not that person. The person I am now is calm, curious, adventurous, strong, passionate, lovable, funny, and sexy. And very, very smart. The person I am now doesn’t need the number on the scale, or to look like the woman in the magazine, or to come up with convoluted explanations of why her weight isn’t really all that bad, the body fat monitor is wrong, or I look just like that plus size model.
The woman I am now doesn’t go out with guys who prey on her low self esteem, she does not believe she’s driven anyone crazy, and she doesn’t need to know exactly what to do with her life to know that she is living it pretty damn well.
And she knows it’s not only her, but her whole environmental context of Calvinistic dieting and mainstream gorging that is at play.
And today, she’s not going to plan a food revolution or a total transformation to turn on a dime. Today, she’s going to recognize the evolution of a beautiful person, and let today be a signpost in the long journey home towards self-acceptance. It’s no longer a battle against food, the media, the economy, her overweight family, the child she once was, or trying to fill every detail of the image of who she wants to be.
Today she is going to look herself in the mirror, take her belly jiggle by the hand, and say, “I accept you.” knowing that doesn’t mean a license to be fat or abuse food, but simply a permission to really love herself as she is, and know that she will be everything she asked for and more one day.
Loving meaning taking care of her health and striving not for achievement only, but for happiness, and figuring out what that means for her, and being there for herself in good times and bad. And be grateful for how healthy, glowing, beautiful, and able she is now.
I love you, Megan.