Updated: Jan 7, 2020
We’ve all been there before. The sweat drops that form on your palms. The lump that lodges itself in your throat. That fluttering feeling dancing in the pit of your stomach. You mentally prepare yourself, you take two steps forward, and then you look down at the monster...
The numbers on your scale!
Isn’t it amazing how the bathroom scale can conjure up so much anxiety and nervous energy in us? Somehow, we’ve all convinced ourselves that our weight determines how attractive we are, or aren’t, how lovable or unlovable we are, and even in some cases how valuable we are(n’t) to society. For so many of us women, that figure on the scale has evolved into much more than just a measure of our physical weight, and more like a gauge of our figurative worth.
This issue isn’t news, though. The problems with society’s views and obsessions over weight have been widely covered, debated and denounced. Unsurprisingly, this hasn’t changed much in real life. Despite the recent female fitness evolution that has swept social media, I still routinely hear women obsessing over their literal “weight.” And I don’t know about you, but I absolutely hate it!
Some might read my words and get them misconstrued. This isn’t me bashing anyone with a weight “goal,” as I encourage any and all challenges for improvement, especially regarding health & fitness. It’s just me asking us to stop bashing ourselves over our weight! I’m asking because I used to have this issue (and at weak moments, still do) but I’ve found a couple truths along my journey that help me diminish destructive thoughts about my weight. The next time you feel negative thoughts forming about your weight, remind yourself of these things.
WEIGHT IS ALWAYS FLUCTUATING.
Much like our #moods. And lots of times for me, it changes in tandem with my emotions – I can always expect a couple of extra pounds during PMS (easily the most emotionally – unstable week of the month for me.) The whole weight-changing phenomenon took me by surprise at first, but I eventually learned the game. As a living, breathing (& EATING) being, my physical mass is constantly affected by exercise, food, and my digestive system. In particular, water has a significant impact on our weight, as it can be retained by consuming high sodium and high carb foods, and temporarily lost via exercise. The key is to remember this fact, the next time you step on the scale and see a variance less than 5 pounds within a period of days.
If the fluctuation is more than that & lasts longer than a day or two, it might be time to re-think your diet and exercise plan.
MIRRORS ARE SMARTER…
I learned this as I got deeper into my fitness journey. During summer 2013 I slimmed down to my smallest weight since before college. Right before that, I’d gained a lot of weight and decided to crack down on myself by changing my diet in pursuit of my goal: 119 lbs. I stopped eating meat, and started working out every day. I did all types of exercises to help me “lose weight,” including, weight training, steady-state cardio, P90X and even Insanity. Eventually, I Iost all the excess weight, and achieved my goal of 119. I should’ve been happy about completing my goal, right? I can admit that I was intrigued by my new-found level of leanness, but what I didn’t expect was the dissatisfying feeling that came along with my weight loss.
" I didn’t like what I looked like in the mirror. I was just skinny & not shapely, and that was never my goal."
It was only after I had reached that magic number that I realized I had eaten away at too much muscle. The number on the scale told me to be happy, but my reflection in the mirror had me shook. After a real self-talk I decided to shift gears and change goals, focusing on different metrics: specifically body fat percentage, and muscle mass. Today, these numbers help me interpret how my “weight” is proportioned and helps me match up my physique with my reflection in the mirror.
Today I am 10 pounds heavier than my Summer 2013 weight, and I’m totally cool with it, and have plans to gain more muscle mass & (shocker..) weight.
NUMBERS ARE (JUST) NUMBERS.
This last point is tired and cliche and you might be over it already. But I can’t not say it. And this kind of goes for every metric we use to measure ourselves (even the ones I just mentioned in point #2). And the reason I’m saying this is because I believe it, and the reason I believe it is because I’m almost 30 years old (omg). And really, who has hours or days or months to spend on obsessing on ANY number, ever? I’m sorry, not I. I don’t want to worry myself to death early, especially on something so superficial.“ And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?” (Matt 6:27 ESV) Jesus said it, not me! So yeah, have your goals but also live your life and EAT YOUR FOOD (my priorities are clear, lol.)
And for those times when things inevitably get out of line, you can reference the other two points - reasons for fluctuations & mirror-checks. You see, all of this is controllable, just try not to become a control-freak. And I also believe that what I’m saying goes against our nature as humans, and that’s why I emphasize that WE remind ourselves of these things when we slip, fall, obsess, discipline and repeat. So, that’s the formula that I want to pass along to you.
Okay - pep rally dismissed! Or maybe this was more of a rant (lol)?
One major takeaway - your value is NOT found by standing on a bathroom scale, remember that!