You Can't Have My Number

29 November, 2014

Yesterday morning a friend asked me one of the questions I always dread.....

"So, how much weight have you lost?"

I hate that question for a number of reasons....

None of why I am doing this (the workouts, the running, the nutrition, mediation, yoga, any of it) is to be skinny. Losing "the weight" started long before I started working with D. Every time I give the actual number people respond, " has to be more than that". And every time I give the actual number I feel like it isn't enough and I have some how managed to fail.

But I dutifully answer the question "Oh, it's somewhere around **lbs."

I do this to avoid the follow-up question of "How do you not know--haven't you weighed yourself?" when I say "I'm not sure".

The honest answer is, "No, I don't really know how much I weigh because I haven't stepped on a scale since my last assessment with D. That was over a month ago when everything fell apart. I'd rather not talk about it."

To me, the numbers don't matter. They don't tell me that I've succeeded at anything or that I've improved in anyway. They don't make me a better or nicer person. They don't change the fact that I still struggle with depression and anxiety and self-esteem issues. And those "numbers" have done nothing to help squelch the self-hate I feel when I look in the mirror and stare at the person looking back at me.

The only thing they tell me is my relationship with gravity.

Every time I lace up my running shoes or stuff myself into my compression pants, I go through the same internal struggle of wanting to quit before I get started. I go through the same ritual of shutting down the voices that tell me I will fail, have failed and will always be a failure. People will laugh at me. People will mock me. And I am making a fool of myself.

And being asked "How much weight have you lost?" makes it all start back up again.

Separating self-worth and the number I see staring back at me on the scale is something I (and many others) have struggled with for a long time. The first time I was taught the misguided value in that I was still in elementary school because at the age of 8 we all knew that if you weighed too much something was wrong with you.

But there is nothing wrong with me. There is nothing I need to change or adjust or fix. All this work isn't change who I am or what I am about. It's just about making myself into the best version of who I already am.

When I struggled to answer her question, my friend gave me a cautious smile and said "You don't have to tell me. I understand it really isn't about being skinny, right? It's just about being healthy and strong."

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