Recovering From An Addiction to Numbers (Scale, Size, Calories...)
I am recovering from a lifetime addiction to numbers. Scale. Calories. Clothes size. Who knows where it starts, truly I have no idea. But somewhere along the line I learned that those numbers were an important part of who I was. That they had the right to define me to society, and maybe even worse, to myself.
Too many of us have learned, and at some point in the past or even now believe, those numbers are in direct proportion to our worth. Those beliefs keep us addicted to numbers, they cage us in, they get us on the scale every day, and they get us questioning and disliking our bodies. I recently had a doctor's appointment and they weighed me, no surprise, but it hit me after that this appointment was different. For the first time in a long time I did not worry or think about what I ate, drank, or even what I wore prior to the appointment. Whether I meant to or not I would always wait to eat (it wasn’t for labs so don’t make any excuses for me), limit my water intake at the gym, make sure I went to the bathroom, and take inventory of how ‘heavy’ my clothes were. I know this sounds insane but I didn’t even realize that this was something I did until I stopped doing it. I was trying to get to the smallest number I could at doctor’s appointments and to prove what? I exercise, I eat fairly healthy, I have meaningful social connections in my life, but none of that seemed to matter to me if a number didn’t appear on the scale that fit in to a box of what I was ‘supposed to be’.
The saddest thing is this isn’t out of the ordinary for most women, in fact it is a common problem, one that is only a small glimpse in to a much larger issue that women face throughout their lives. I have gone through my share of diets. I have felt guilty after enjoying foods that have been deemed unhealthy. I have told myself some stupid magic number that I need to see on the scale. And I have cried when I thought I my clothes should be a certain size but instead had to go back for a larger option. I have failed to recognize all the AMAZING things my body does simply because I was addicted to numbers. And the truth is I think you would be hard pressed to find a woman in this country that hasn’t felt or done the majority of these things too. But I am done. I don’t want to be caged in by the addiction to meaningless numbers anymore. These no numbers in no way define health and they will no longer define me. And I want to be a part of the change for you, for young girls, and even for myself, a change that allows us the freedom to trust and respect our bodies.
I will continue to own my journey to let go of this addiction. It is one I will likely I battle on and off in to the future and it is one you will likely battle too. But I am going to fight for me and for you. We can’t just tell ourselves that the numbers don't matter we also have to do that for each other. We have to stop allowing society to market to us that certain sizes mean happiness and success. People can bullshit you and tell you that a number will lead you to some kind of life fulfillment but God what a lie that is. Obsession over anything only leads to problems and we have been so addicted to numbers that have been deemed important by other people that we have lost sight of what actually makes us feel joy. We have lost sight of all the incredible things our bodies do. Happiness will not be found in these numbers because numbers don’t make you feel self-love. That is found in acceptance, appreciating all your body does, learning to trust it, and treating it with kindness, no matter the size.
There is an incredible life positive movement called I Weigh and its mission is “for us to feel valuable and see how amazing we are beyond the flesh on our bones”. I encourage you to find them on social media (@i_weigh) or at www.iweighcommunity.com. I want to challenge you today to do what they encourage everyone to do; to make a list of all things you do ‘weigh’ that is not of your flesh but actually of your being…here is what I weigh.
Passion for women’s issues
Lover of writing
Silly, weird, playful, crazy spirit
Sarcasm that will make you laugh and cry