96. The number of pounds my body weighed when I graduated high school in 1999.
102. The number of pounds my body weighed when I got married in 2002.
113. The number of pounds my body weighed when I went to the beach in 2006.
141. The most I ever remember weighing even with my pregnancies in 2015.
121. The number on the scale this morning.
Some of you read those numbers and say 141 is nothing. I’m five feet tall. When I hit 141, my knees hurt and my BP was in hypertension. I’m small boned, and I didn’t look anything like that girl who graduated in 1999. If I felt uncomfortable in that number, I just did. For twenty years of my life, all that I could see, were these numbers. At 113, I felt huge at the beach comparing myself to those that hadn’t given life to twins two years prior. I was jealous of their flat, scarless stomachs.
At 141, I was ashamed for people to see me. Anyone who hadn’t seen me in a few years would surely think I was huge. I was really big on what people thought about how I looked. My mother is a very, super thin woman. She and her husband used to make fun of all the “heavy” or “overweight” people. I felt like I had to be a certain size or I was too big. If I gained a few pounds, I got small “comments” reminding me that I was getting a little chunky. It’s not that I’m mad with an “it’s all my mother and her husband’s fault” complex , I’m just giving a back story on my mentality as a teenager.
Now, about to turn 37, I’ve finally gotten off the numbers game. Last year, around this time, I stopped. No more fad diets. No extreme exercise. I’m not putting down anyone who does, but I’m not competing with anyone except my best body. My healthy body. I’ve learned to take an extra minute to make a salad instead of grabbing some chips. I’ve learned to get in my fruits and veggies and avoid fried foods. I’m not doing it as a sign of strength in food choices. Once I started filling my diet with healthy foods, my body felt like it was rejecting the bad foods. It made me fill ill to eat them.
I’ve discovered that I HATE the way fast food makes me feel. I didn’t realize it until I cut back on it so much. Then it became easier to see that I felt bloated and had stomach aches every time I touched McDonald’s. No offense McDonald’s. I can seriously cook my whole family a burger and microwave a baked potato with a fresh salad on the side for half of what McDonald’s cost me for a family of six, and I can do it in less time than it takes me to drive to the restaurant, wait in the drive thru, and drive home. True story. I timed it.
Do I still get my kids the occasional McDonald’s that they crave so much. Sure I do. I just do it a lot less often…and get nothing for myself. I’m not saying, “NO ONE EAT MCDONALD’S BECAUSE THEY ARE THE DEVIL!” I’m just saying that it hurts me, and as a loving, not always perfect, but I try real hard mother, it’s not healthy to give it to my kids often.
I love yoga. I love hiking/walking/swimming/kayaking. I enjoy doing these things. Doing them often has enabled me to put my body in what I think is pretty good shape. My knees don’t hurt anymore. I have a flexible range. I don’t have to be super skinny to be in good shape. In fact, the reason that I’m 120 instead of 110 is because I like so much physical activity. It builds muscles. I wear the same size at 120 as I did at 113 all those years ago because I didn’t lose weight, I got in shape. Muscle just weighs more.
When I’m dog food shopping and people look at my very short frame grab a 52 lb of dog food and toss it on my shoulder like it’s ten pounds, they look surprised. That’s my favorite part of dog food shopping. I earned every stare by building my body into a strong temple.
When my daughter hesitated to step on a scale, I told her it’s just a number and who cares what it says. She’s my height and she’s 17…I remember that feeling. She will not beat herself up if she can’t wear a size zero. If I do nothing else, I will make sure this child doesn’t carry the same obsession that I did. When she asked me how to go about dropping a few pounds, I told her she doesn’t need to lose a few pounds. I told her that she needed to exercise her body and it would be the size that it was meant to be. People come in all shapes and sizes, and I only want her to be healthy. I like to think that is what she needed to hear.
I spent my eighth grade year of school vomiting up everything that I ate because eating disorders were just becoming well known and I didn’t want to gain weight. If I could go back…the things I would have done different. I hope that if you read this and you gave yourself some self hate this morning over the scales, that you stop it! It’s a number and it’s different for everyone!!! Your body is like your fingerprints. It’s unique to you. Your height, your bones, your culture. Ask yourself what you can do to make your body feel better physically, not how you can make the number on the scale drop!!! Everything else falls into place when you give your body the nutrients and movement that it needs!