In my previous life, the long-forgotten days before motherhood, I was a number cruncher. I worked for years as a Certified Public Accountant. Formulas, spreadsheets and calculators were sort of my “thing.” I loved dealing with digits. You see, there’s a safety in numbers that I’ve always enjoyed– and I don’t mean the security that comes from being part of a group. No, what I’m saying is that numbers are black and white. They are predictable and irrefutable. Mathematical boundaries are clear and yet numbers are easy to manipulate in order to arrive at a desired value. For instance, 1 + 1 is always 2. But, if it is five that you’re looking for – don’t worry your pretty little head – just take 1 + 4 instead. Math is certain and logical… at least most of the time.
In spreadsheets, calculations work perfectly. But, apply math to the human body and you’re asking for trouble. Suddenly, what works so perfectly on paper won’t compute in person. This is why in the common search for freedom from food anxieties and body shame, you’ve got to DITCH THE DIGITS. You’re not a machine, you’re a beautifully complicated creation and as you’ve probably already experienced – applying arithmetic to art is frustratingly futile. So, for the love of your sanity AND YOUR BANG’N BODY I ‘ve designed this blog series to detail three digits you should ditch immediately. I will focus on one unnecessary number per post.
Let’s start with the obvious -WEIGHT.
I know what you’re thinking. “Lu is out of her ever-loving mind. I can’t ditch my preoccupation with weight. My daily (or even hourly) rendezvous with the calculation of my body’s gravitational pull means too much to me. If I stopped weighing myself every morning (noon and night) I might not know how much or how little to eat today. I might not know which workout to do. I could lose control and gain ten pounds – or twenty.” I know what you’re thinking, because there was a time that I thought the same way. I used to step on the scale most days, crossing my fingers while the glass box beneath me computed my mass. Upon examining the reported value I would either dismount with a smile on my face and a hop in my step or, more often than not, a bullying voice in my mind shaming me and commanding my penance. That voice demanded that I pull out all the stops to rectify the problem of my increasing poundage and sent me on several high speed internet chases to discover the latest workout programs, nutritional guidelines or meal timing charts that would “help” me to get “healthy.”
Thankfully, I’ve since come to realize that weight is a very poor indicator of health. Obsession over weight, however, is an almost certain predictor of mental anguish! (Not to mention, studies prove that body anxiety has a more detrimental effect on hormonal and metabolic health than a weight that rises above the BMI chart average).
When the numbers on the scale dictate mood, activity level, eating behaviors and self-esteem you’ve got problems – and being “up two pounds for the day” isn’t one of them. The harmfulness in weight fixation is the underlying assumption that your identity and value are directly correlated to your body mass at any given time. What follows this all-too-common belief is a need to control food intake and exercise in an effort to manipulate your body, all the while minimizing your spirit.
Let me be clear, YOUR WEIGHT IS NOT A MEASURE OF YOUR WORTH!
And contrary to the information commonly touted by the diet and fitness industry – it’s not even the most accurate or helpful measure of wellness. So ditch it! Step away from the scale for a week (or forever) and enjoy the freedom found in simply being YOU without the numerical value to qualify your opinions of yourself. You are not your weight and one of the best ways to begin believing this sentiment is to stop assessing it.
Now, for those of you who must have a daily number fix – make it a phone number instead! Try swapping out an early morning weigh-in for a phone call or text with a friend or family member. I promise the time spent talking with a loved one will be much more encouraging than monitoring your pounds.
Do you think you can be scale free? Why or why not? Whose number will you be dialing this week? Let me know in the comment section or send me an email.