Here are my numbers, right up front: I am 5’9”, 146 pounds and usually wear a size six. I am tall and relatively thin, but have always struggled with body image (what woman hasn’t?). After I graduated from college, adjusting to a 9-5 work schedule where I spent the most of my day sitting in an office chair, I gained some weight. Looking back, it really wasn’t anything monumental (probably 10-15 pounds). But at the time, it was the end of my world.
Are my boobs too small? Are my thighs too fat? Am I pretty? Is that a chest hair!?
I, like most women, have always had a variety of body insecurities: Are my boobs too small? Are my thighs too fat? Am I pretty? Is that a chest hair!? These are some of the questions that I’ve asked myself while looking in the mirror. But, unlike so many of my peers, I actually considered myself lucky. Until my weight gain, I had always felt confident and body-positive. Sure, I had insecurities – but I always knew that I was beautiful inside and out. I loved myself and my body, and was thankful for it!
But, as soon as I gained the weight, I felt all of this confidence come crashing down. And I was ashamed. I was ashamed of the way I looked. I was ashamed that my jeans no longer fit right. But mostly, I was ashamed of how deeply I had allowed the pounds to affect me. I had no idea how fragile my self-confidence really was. I couldn’t fathom how just a few measly pounds change how I felt about my self-worth, but they had. I had allowed myself to hate my body. And for that, I had begun to hate myself.
In an aggressive effort to bring my confidence back up, I started going gang-busters with my workout routine. I was a woman obsessed! But after a few months of counting calories, putting my food into color coded containers, not drinking alcohol, and surviving on shakes, I realized that I was miserable. I had gone to the extreme, and that was simply no way to live.
So, in an effort gain back some balance, I did something drastic: I threw out my scale. Just like that. It was a small action, but was instrumental in helping to restore my confidence. If I couldn’t immediately change my weight, or even my attitude; I could at least stop evaluating myself by a number. I like to think of my scale as a bad ex-boyfriend: tempting to be around, but ultimately toxic. Once I was able to really change my attitude, the weight eventually and naturally came off. It’s almost as though it was just waiting for me to emotionally let go before it was able to finally leave.
Today, I still keep track of what I eat and exercise on a regular schedule. But I’m not letting weight worries take over my life. I will gain and drop weight throughout my life. Sometimes I will eat too much, drink too much and sit on the couch too much. But that is all going to be okay. I am never going to let myself evaluate my self-worth by a number ever again. I am happy, beautiful and very healthy – and that is quite enough for me.