Numbers, numbers, numbers. I never liked balancing a check book, and I dropped Calculus twice when I was in college. As much as I like to think I am the creative type who can't be bothered with numbers, there are some that can make a difference to my health. And those are the numbers that I ignored for years. My weight, my blood pressure, my body fat percentage, my Resting Metabolic Rate. While they do make a difference to our health, learning not to allow those numbers to define me has been a long, arduous process for me.
Starting with the most basic of stats, in 2013, as I applied for Extreme Weight Loss, I had not weighed myself in several years. I guessed on the application and put my weight at 315 pounds. I had been to the doctor a couple of years earlier and weighed 307. I figured I had gained a few pounds since then. And I was right. I weighed exactly 315. Not a number I wanted to see, and one that was hard for me to believe. How had I gotten to the point in my life that I was dragging 315 pounds around with me every day?
It wasn’t even so much the pounds that made life difficult. It was the overwhelming “weight” of the weight. It was being disappointed in myself. It was feeling that I was an embarrassment to my family. It was wanting so badly to be an athlete again and not knowing how to get there. It was feeling lonely, like no one I knew could possibly understand because no one I knew was as big as me. It was being scared that I would never change. THAT is the weight. THAT is what weighing 315 pounds felt like.
I am learning through this process though, that the number on the scale does not define me. Which has been a hard and very emotional process. On one side of that coin was weighing 315 pounds. I used to feel that the number being so high defined me. That being fat was my destiny, and that others must be judging me because of my weight. I was ashamed and stuck at 315.
The flip side of that is losing 165 pounds, and getting down to 150 pounds. Ten pounds less than what I weighed in high school. It was in lights, on a huge screen, on national television. This woman weighs only 150 pounds! Which for me was a very low weight, especially compared to the rest of my life. I had gone from a size 24 to a size 8.
When you are on a weight loss show, your worth is tied to your weight. It is absolutely what defines you. It’s why most of you are even reading this blog today. People cheered that number, I traveled and gave speeches about how I lost so much weight.
Yet, that number came and went. It felt nearly impossible not to gain weight once the show had wrapped. I had spent a year dedicated to losing weight and getting healthy. And as I tried to regain some sense of normal life, to not work out four hours a day, it seemed that the scale was determined to creep up pound by pound.
Although the scale no longer reads 150 pounds, what has not changed is my commitment to staying healthy. I have worked out at least 5 days a week, every week, every month, for two years since my finale. I have eaten clean most days. I have a reward meal on Fridays, and a few weekend treats here and there. I have not strayed far from how I was eating to lose weight. I still eat “clean”. Which for me, is eating as fresh and naturally as I can. Very little processed food. Lean proteins, lots of veggies. Some fruit, some healthy fats and carbs.
Although the scale has moved up some, I have finally realized that I cannot allow it define me. Gaining some weight does not mean I gave up. Or that I am not healthy. I refuse to allow a number to define my worth. Sure, it matters to some degree, as morbid obesity is not healthy. But weighing 30+% less than I did three years ago is still a win.
I know many of you have lost weight, gained that same weight, and lost it again. You've lost and gained the same 20 pounds for years. Or you have wanted to lose weight for years and feel stuck. Or you’ve lost weight and kept it off. So many of us are in one of these situations. So, what do we all have in common?
We want to be our best selves. We want to feel that we have worth. We want to be healthy, make our families proud, and feel good about ourselves. We want to move and live and feel strong. We want to be confident and not feel ashamed of who we are. And none of that comes from a number on a scale.
If you think your weight defines you. It does. But only to you. It does not define you to others unless you allow it to. If you mope and whine about your weight, yet do nothing to change, you are allowing others to be sucked into your weight issues. If you are always focused on your weight, you are giving it power to control you. You are allowing that number to define your life. It's time to move on. Time to take the power away from that number.
We decide if we will live defeated, depressed, and stuck. We can choose to be different. We can choose be stronger. We can change and be more confident. All without losing one single pound.
I can lose 30 pounds and be closer to my finale weight. Or I can gain 20 more pounds and it will not change me. I will still be me. I will still be strong. I will still be healthy. I will still be happily married. I will still be a good mom. My weight will not change who I am as a person. It never did. 315 or 150, I was always me. And I always had worth. And so do you, no matter what number is on your scale.