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.
10 thoughts on “My weight loss goal is to lose track of my weight.”
Great insight CK. I, myself am also trying not to focus on the number and just find what makes me feel better. Oatmeal and beans do not make me feel better just as much as BK doesn’t make me feel better. Just trying to listen to my body instead of worrying how much it weighs!
I love watching your badass journey, Farrah! You are one of my inspirations!
“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.” Oh my God, B, did I teach you nothing? I’m sitting here ravaged with guilt at the possibility that in 15 years of friendship, I’ve neglected to pass upon the smallest kernel of wisdom that I’ve obtained on my life journey. That makes me both a horrible person and a terrible mentor.
You must never, ever step on a scale after you’ve drank a glass of water. And certainly not while wearing pants. Everyone knows the only time to step on the scale is in the morning, after you’ve starved yourself for at least 12 hours following a state-of-consciousness-distorting stomach flu. No food, no water – like going into surgery, but without the drugs. And without that hospital gown, either – that fucker can weigh 20 pounds, easy. Naked, dehydrated, starving, and preferably AFTER you’ve shaved your legs, armpits, and mustache. And definitely after a good eyebrow plucking. Ever weigh those monsters? 10 lb each, no joke.
Oh, I’m also a fan of the helium-huffing fad. It takes some practice, or you risk passing out, falling over, and bleeding all over the bathroom floor. (Less blood = less weight, which sounds appealing. But it just leads to constipation, somehow. And that’s more weight. I’ve seen post-weigh-in BMs in the triple digits.
Alternatively, you could just look in the mirror, pull a Bette Midler, and say “damn, I’m fierce,” and throw the fucking scale out the door.
It doesn’t matter what you weigh. It doesn’t matter what size your clothes are. It only matters that you focus on your health, because that leads to longevity. And frankly wether you’re 300 lb or 82, all of us just want More B.
The truly hysterical thing about this is that I can remember taking off literally everything that we could possibly manage to take off and still be decent while weighing in at the office in GBG! Shoes, socks – off! Belt? Of course it come off! Toe ring? OFF!
Jason T ManBoobs, you are neither a horrible person or a terrible mentor. I’m just not always the best student. 🙂
Love ya right back!
Amen sister!! Very beautiful blog and inspiring! Thank you!!
You are MOST welcome! 🙂
“Trying to control my weight just meant that my weight was in control.”
SO much this. Girl, I am so jealous you are going to the BLC. If only I had the bucks…
You know how I feel about all of this and I am SO glad that you had your ‘a-ha’ moment. Until that happens it’s really hard to break through all of the self-talk that society has corralled us into. And you will still have moments. I am 4 years into my own journey with this and I still have bad days.
One of the things that helped me (and it sounds a little weird) is that we had exactly ZERO full length mirrors in our house. In fact, the only mirror in our entire house was in the bathroom and was waist up, save for my tiny makeup mirror. After a while, I’d realize that except for putting my makeup on and a cursory glance at my hair before I left for work, I never looked at myself in the mirror. And the world didn’t stop, I never made a fashion faux pas (like, who cares if I did), and I came out the other side without the need to think about what other people were seeing because it was more about what I was feeling than what I saw in the mirror.
Go you. I am so happy to have you on the speed train to AWESOME. ❤
LOVE YOU! You are definitely an inspiration to me. The funny thing about the full length mirror thing is that I actually love seeing myself in the mirror. I think I look fierce and bad ass and feel great about how I look (okay, *most* days) – and then I get caught on “omg that NUMBER can’t be right because if that’s right it means (noxious spiral of self-hate and doubt).”
Well, in that case, keep ogling your sexy self!
And throw out your scale. I LOVE YOU!
Also, I am hiding under my blanket to think that *I* am an inspiration to someone as amazing as you. I can’t wait to hang out later this year!