Monday, March 28, 2016

It's Just a Number

Just when you think things change...

A while ago, my BFF asked me about the blog and what was happening with it, and I responded that I didn't really have anything to write about races to run, no specific goals that were worth documenting the journey towards.  However, deep inside there was something that had been really bothering me and this blog is as much therapy to me as anything else, so here I am.

To those people who don't know me all that well (and even those that do), I appear to be someone who has fully embraced a healthy lifestyle...I eat well, I exercise faithfully and I'm pretty fit.  What people don't see is the long and winding road it's taken for me to get to this point physically and more important, mentally.  Coming from someone who was obsessed with her weight, counted calories constantly and started her first diet at the tender age of 12, it's taken a lot of work to get past the battle with the scale.  One of the key things that really changed how I felt about the scale was weight training - in the past few years since I started lifting, I stopped looking obsessively looking at the scale and, truth be told, smugly thought to myself that I was "over" the scale and worrying about what number I saw.  Or so I thought.

Earlier this year I did a fitness assessment with my personal trainer.  It was a six stage assessment testing such things as strength, flexibility, power, core endurance, strength endurance and balance, and when my trainer suggested we do it, I thought sure!  Why the hell not?  What my trainer neglected to tell me was that I would have to get on a scale as he needed my weight in order to do some fancy pants calculations.  Honestly...if I could have run out of there I would have.  But I had committed, so when it came time to get on the scale I sucked it up and did it...however, the part that I'm ashamed of and really angry at myself is that I just didn't get on that scale and own whatever number I saw, I acted like a mewling kitten and whined, snivelled and all in all acted like an absolute asshat in front of my trainer.  Even thinking about it now, I'm mortified but I couldn't shut myself up and made the weighing in a big deal, even though it totally wasn't and he probably wouldn't have thought twice about it if I hadn't gone on and on ad nauseam.  And as soon as I walked out of the gym, I calculated what I weighed in pounds because the scale was in kilograms.  And to be honest?  I didn't like the number I saw.

What followed was like a train wreck.  I kept hassling my I look fat?  Am I getting too thick?  Is the strength training making me too blocky and big?  I kept looking at myself in the mirror and thinking maybe I needed to lose some weight.  What I was happy with before the weigh in, wasn't OK after the weigh in and all the stupidity surrounding the scale came back in a huge rush.  Somehow my self worth was once again tied to my weight...hello, old demon...can't believe I'm seeing you again.

The next week I went back to see my trainer and got the results of my fitness assessment back.  After hearing the results I was even more ashamed than I was right after being weighed...not because I did poorly, but because I rated excellent or very good in every category except one (darn weak glutes!).  I was mad at myself that I had beat myself up over a number on the scale and was ashamed of and berated the very same body that I should be pretty darn proud of...I came in at excellent for my age group for strength.  Not bad for a wee slip of a thing!  I was so focussed on that stupid number, I negated every physical accomplishment...this body can lift heavy, sprint fast and run long.  Sure, I'm at my heaviest weight ever...I gots me some quads now and I can't fit into a lot of my clothes anymore because my arms and shoulders have widened and gotten bigger.  But I'm also the strongest and best shape I've ever been in and the scale is just one measurement, not the only measurement.

So here goes...a recommitment to myself to not let the scale mess with my head again and treat my body with kindness.