What’s in a number?

What’s in a Number..?

I learned early that I wasn’t happy with myself. I knew I was overweight and I was told it on a regular basis. My parents picked up a new scale when I was a teenager and I stepped on, ready to judge my success and worth as a human being by the number I looked at. It read 167 pounds. At 5’ 3”, I felt desperate to make that number go down. I felt stupid, fat and ugly. I started to step on the scale every time I passed by it. I found myself elated if the scale went down even by one pound and depressed as if it was the end of the world when it inevitably went up. This went on for months until my scale reached 170 pounds and I angrily tossed it in the closet, in tears, vowing never to step on it again.

I wish I could say that it was the last time I obsessed about the number on the scale. But it wasn’t. I wish I decided then not to let it determine my worth, but in my teenage brain it did. More than my teenage brain, those thoughts passed on for a lot of years. I wasn’t small, I wasn’t popular, I didn’t look cute in all the latest fashions like some of my friends did.

Deep inside I knew that wasn’t right.

I knew I wouldn’t struggle in this forever.

But I wish I knew then what I know now.

I wish I knew that the scale is not the ruler of my emotions. I wish I knew that it really was just a number and not a true reflection of who I am. A number does not define me, nor tell my worth. A number doesn’t even tell the whole story of what any person’s “weight” is. The number doesn’t tell you how much muscle or body fat you have, it doesn’t tell you how much water weight you are holding, etc.

I have stopped using the scale as a tool to judge my weight loss efforts. But more importantly, I have stopped letting the scale define me. There are so many other, more accurate assessments of your health and success, without looking at something so abstract and easily influenced day to day. The number one way to judge your weight loss is not with the scale, but with the measuring tape. Yes, it’s still a number. But the measuring tape will show your progress much more than the scale can. Next, we can look at photographs. I highly recommend taking a “before” picture. Although these are not easy to take, they are one of the most rewarding things, as you can literally see the difference in your body as you change it. Next, look at your clothes. This goes hand in hand with the first two, if your clothes are looser naturally the measurements will be smaller and you should start seeing a difference from the before photos. Finally, you can judge your own success and health through functional goals like running a 5k, being able to do pull-ups, or challenging your body in some other way.

The fact is this: if you are weighing yourself daily or multiple times a day… you are probably obsessed.

Ditch the scale.

Say goodbye and don’t keep its phone number. Would you keep a friend around who constantly made you feel inferior and made you go on a rollercoaster ride of emotions? Hopefully not.

If the scale is as toxic for you as it was for me, don’t make an exception for the scale…

One Reply to “What’s in a number?”

  1. I completely understand and applaud where you guys are coming from. I support anything that helps my sisters in the healthy-lifestyle struggle get over. I have found myself further in the weight-gain hole than I’ve ever been at 5″2 and now 215 (gained 60lbs over last 6 months). I just want to say that it’s great to motivate in any way you can but also consider those who have serious emotional eating disorders. I don’t intend to stay on this path to destruction but I just want to acknowledge those who really have other things going on other than just getting up off the couch. Maybe you guys can address these types of issues…and perhaps… save just one more life. 🙂

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