And it only took me about 10 seconds to type those numbers off the top of my mind. But I’m wondering how long it will take me to deal with the emotions that come with the stories behind each one of them. I feel a sense of heaviness as I remember the struggle (and it IS real) of balancing my entire life against these digits or being judged because of them.
And it wasn’t just the piece of tin. It was wanting to fit in. I will never forget the day I walked into the dance studio in college and I saw my name on the board (several of our names) with a number next to it. Mine said 10. When we inquired about what it meant, we were told it was the number of pounds we needed to lose. I was devastated. My body took a serious beating that semester and I was fighting off other things in addition to trying to get used to college life (I was a freshman), dance during the day (for my P.E. credit), dance three hours a night for practice and survive off campus food because I didn’t have a car. I didn’t need anybody to tell me my body was going through changes. And we hadn’t even been weighed.
I didn’t need my doctor to tell me how big I was getting when I was pregnant with my daughter. Trust me, no scale could have given more information than the mirror, my clothes and decrease in movement. I felt like he was punishing me by constantly bringing up my weight when I came in before he would bring up my growing baby. And he never related like how it could have been a danger to her. He just said, “I’m going to have to start putting you on the scale backwards.” I showed him. I ate more in rebellion. From 172 to 218.
I’ve never been in the “slim fitness instructor” category. But I got a lot of stares when my 162 pound frame (up from 149 when I was just teaching yoga and pilates. Add an eating disorder and following other peoples’ advice for what I should be teaching but that’s another blog) would jump front and center to teach a Zumba or yoga class. No one knew that I was in the bathroom all of the time crying in my husband’s arms because I felt like I was so “big.” And I cried a lot when I got extremely sick and dropped down to 138. But everyone thought I looked so good. And nobody has a problem asking, “So what are you doing? How much do you weigh now?”
“I weigh the lowest I’ve weighed as an adult. And what I’m doing is having panic attacks and severe gastric problems and all I can eat is oatmeal.” I felt like there were times people really wanted to say, “Sign me up!” But people DID say, “I wish I couldn’t eat.”
So, as for this challenge, I am finding my rhythm, not just from the scale but from expectations. I’m rethinking my workouts (seeing as that I don’t juggle sumo wrestlers for a living, I don’t want to spend my day leg pressing 500 lbs. Nothing wrong with it if you do but it’s just not for me. Authenticity). I’m rethinking my alone time (drawing boundaries). I’m rethinking my circles (who is it around me that feeds my desire to be the best me or feeds into the obsession that I need to be a “certain way?”). I’m rethinking my eating (what am I NOT getting or NOT eating because I was too busy balancing my diet trying to get a good report from a piece of tin). And I am so encouraged by the ladies who have joined me on this journey.
Because, honestly, NONE of us needed a scale to know we needed a changed and NONE Of us need a scale to know we are making one.