As I fought my body’s natural shape and size for decades, numbers took up a ridiculous amount of space in my brain. I attached meaning to numbers of all kinds. The number on the scale, on top of my math paper, on my pants size. Even thinking about my age could cause a panic. Each number seemed so important.
I attached my worth to the number on the scale. And to all of the numbers. As if doing a certain number of sit ups per night could guarantee me a lifetime of love and safety from rejection. Just typing it out, it sounds ridiculous. but…
At my sickest, I believed my happiness, safety, and life was determined by numbers.
Beyond the Number on the Scale
This weekend I turned 48 years old. Sticking to the number game- I could easily feel terrified as I approach the big 5-0. I remember when 30 felt “old.” Newly divorced I was terrified I’d remain “single and alone” for the rest of my life. A decade later I remember vowing to myself I wouldn’t bring my disordered eating and self hatred into my 40’s. (I failed miserably at this vow).
Now here I am, noticing new wrinkles on my ever changing body. But as I slowly approach half a century of life on this earth I’ve learned a few things.
Perhaps the biggest lesson of all is: freedom comes from letting go of the power I give to numbers.
Diet mentality says: if we just follow a simple formula, we’ll get results we desire. This is a flat out lie. Researchers have yet to find a diet that creates weight loss lasting more than five years. The opposite is actually true. Most diets fail 95-97% of the time. Don’t believe me? Check out my favorite resource on this subject. Antidiet by Christy Harrison.
Diet mentality also teaches us to see life in black and white terms. In an all-or-nothing way. That if we work hard to achieve goals we somehow earn our worth. This is simply a story we’ve all been told. We can choose a new story.
Beauty and diversity is found in the gray.
Not a single one of us will get through life without experiencing hurt, pain, and loss. Or aging. The good news: we also get to experience love, joy, and connection. And our ability to experience these things has absolutely NOTHING to do with our pants size or our age.
Just as my body shape and size will continue to change, wrinkles will appear and my hair may gray, I know that underneath my body, my worth as a human being will remain.
The love and connections I share with people will continue to grow and strengthen.
Stop Giving Power to the Number on the Scale
The number on the scale cannot determine my worth.
NOR can the number of years I have lived. Recovery has taught me to cherish every moment, celebrate every joy, and to be present in the now.
Recovery has taught me what matters most in life. Being authentic and genuine. Connecting with and loving other people. Continuing to learn and grow, creating art, and using my voice. And you can’t put a number on any of these!