I had an epiphany this weekend that was mind blowing. Paradigm shifting. Maybe life altering. And so. fucking. simple.
Weight is just a number.
Yeah, I thought I already knew that, too. In fact, I’ve spent most of my adult life reminding other people that weight and size does not define who we are. I’ve talked about my self-confidence. Earlier this month, I blogged about a new approach I was taking to getting healthy, and I didn’t focus on the number. But all along, I’ve been stepping on the scale and letting it control how I feel about myself.
I mean-girled myself.
Last week I “heard” some pretty nasty things being said by my subconscious. It was the first time that I allowed myself to hear it – and … I’m still processing what it means to know that I have that kind of self-hate language in my head. That’s probably a post for another time when I’m better able to talk about it. But having heard those terrible things that – on some level – my subconscious mind believes, I actually listened as my conscious mind started to fight back.
Health and Weight are not synonymous
For years, I’ve been reluctant to join in the chorus of people who already know and understand that weight and health are not synonymous. Health At Any Size, Regan Chastain’s Dances With Fat, and a slew of other popular sites have been promoting this idea for years. My own dear friends have talked about it and reblogged it – so why wasn’t I listening?
The problem is that I have not been healthy. I equated my own lack of health to my excess weight. I’m not denying even now that those things are related. They are *related* in my case – but they are not the *same*. And that is so. fucking. important.
Almost every one of my doctors has encouraged me to lose weight. Let me be clear – they have not necessarily encouraged me to “be healthier”, but to “lose weight”. My last doctor bullied me into agreeing to look into gastric bypass surgery because I would “never lose the weight” on my own. I don’t think I can even convey how devastating that kind of comment is to hear from your doctor. (I left her practice and will not return.)
Why does it matter?
I’ve struggled with my weight my entire life. I’m grateful to be able to say that I haven’t really gotten caught up in extreme fad diets–my efforts have always been relatively rational–but the “goal” was always a number. Even when it was about health, it was about a healthy weight.
All that focusing on my weight is tiring. Trying to control my weight just meant that my weight was in control. Stepping on the scale weekly and rationalizing the number – I just drank a glass of water, are these pants heavier than the clothes I had on last week? – is tiring. Constantly fighting a battle inside to remind myself that I’m awesome in spite of that number is demeaning, demoralizing and fucking exhausting. Why am I fighting that battle? What am I even fighting with? A number? Fuck that number.
My weight loss goal is to lose track of my weight.
I weigh 300 pounds. Give or take a few pounds on any given day. And I don’t care. My “weight loss goal” right now is to completely lose track of my weight – and focus (for real) on living my life. Walking and working out because it makes me feel good. Avoiding fast food because it makes me queasy. Getting 8 hours of sleep because my brain can focus better.
Next time you see me, tell me that I look amazing, but please don’t ask me if I’ve lost weight; if I’m successful at reaching my goal, I will have no idea.
Cite your resources.
Here are some of the things that I read and watched before I had my own “A ha!” moment.
- Golda Poretsky explains how fat is beautiful, too. I think the thing I got from this was that it doesn’t matter if YOU think I’m beautiful. YOU don’t have to find “fat” attractive. This isn’t about YOU.
- Isabel Foxen Duke talks about Radical Forgiveness. Everything about her site is amazing. I’m not even sure that this specific post is the most powerful, but there was a line about forgiving yourself for not “getting it” until now – and I needed to hear that.
- I made travel plans for The Body Love Conference. I made travel arrangements for the BLC late last week, and since then, I’ve realized that I’ve been anxious about going. Is anyone going to like me? Am I cool enough? Do I actually love myself enough to fit in among these powerful, badass women who are changing the world?
- Jes Baker gets anxious about a dance class. My favorite powerful, bad ass woman who is out there changing the world (and the founder of the BLC) has posted about her own struggles with body image and freaking out about attending a dance class. I needed to hear that it was okay to not always be so damn confident.