the numbers mean nothing: learning to lose the scale

A month or so I had a bit of a fight with my scale and I think I've eventually come out on top without having lost a pound. Crazy, right? We all know what everyone says about scales and that it shouldn't matter what number says, it's all about how we feel. Well that's all good and great but I'm telling you as an actual human woman, it's so. hard. to get that number out of your head.

I remember in high school I had a notebook I'd write down my goals. I remember writing that I wanted to be 140. I'd keep that as a goal and this time, for real I was going to make that goal. I'd be that weight and all of my problems would be over. I'd be small like most of my friends. Not that I was big, but I've always weighed more than I look...and it has been endlessly frustrating. Now, I never really did a lot to actively lose weight; I wasn't really too keen on doing all of the things that would help me reach this magical number. I was a pretty active teenager. I played volleyball and trained for volleyball in the off season. I didn't snack much, I ate what my mom cooked for dinner and my school lunch.  But I still so vividly remember seeing that number in my notebook. 

I don't ever particularly remember feeling fat, I just felt like that number was supposed to be less. I had hips and thighs and a butt. I had cellulite. (This was way before booties were the obsession.) I wore size 10 jeans, size small or medium tops. This girl thought she needed to be smaller: 
I was wearing a super tight slip under this, kind of like spanx before they had spanx. I kept feeling like I needed to suck in the whole night of my concert after this. 

For the next 10 years I'd continue to fight this mental battle over the scale and that number. After I had the boys I was determined to get back down to the 158 I was before I got pregnant. Or somewhere around there, I don't remember. Except now, after kids the scale just won't budge. I've hovered between 172-178. At 178 I'm usually not working out and eating horribly for an extended period. 

But what about the past year, and the past 5-6 months specifically where I've been working out a lot and watching what I ate? For a bit I was so particular about calories, then I was about carbs, then something else. Anything to get the scale to go below that 172 mark, even I was losing inches it became this obsession. I'm a competitive person. Not about silly life things like motherhood, but when it comes to physical things, I'm super competitive. When there's this goal in my head that I CAN NOT beat, I get angry. "I will beat this, I'm going to win. " I tell myself this, almost mentally willing the scale to change. 

I finally came to a breaking point a few weeks ago when I had this moment, this really sad moment. I woke up one morning feeling fit. I'd been working hard, I didn't feel bloated, I felt strong and lean. I decided to get on the scale. I wanted a number to validate how I was feeling. I got on the scale. 173. UGH. Immediately I felt deflated. I stood and looked at my stomach sideways in the mirror. Maybe it wasn't that flat. Look if I didn't stand up straight it just flopped out like that. And my arm fat. Oh and look at all that cellulite on the back of my thighs.

And then I stopped.

What was I doing? Not more than 30 seconds before I felt strong and confident. That fucking number just ruined it for me. It changed my entire mindset, I felt defeated and like a failure. What I'd been proud of was now actually just another thing I needed to work on. This isn't who I wanted to be. Life is so short, it really is. Was this really how I wanted to live it? My life dictated by the mass of my body? The literal number that represented the heaviness of my body, no matter what it appeared on the outside or in my head?

Right then and there I quit the scale. 
This was me this morning. All 172 pounds of me. All 69 inches in length, all size 9 feet, all 24% body fat (and hopefully a lot of muscle). All wide hips and strong shoulders and sore legs. I was weighed at my gym last week at the start of a fitness competition they're holding and that was the last time. I won't know again until they weigh me next month. I really don't care to know then. I'm working my body hard. I'm feeding it (mostly) the right things. Most importantly, my mind is getting stronger. It has learned that all of those numbers mean nothing if you're not comfortable in your own skin. 

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