I am certain that Portia is not referring to an upcoming weigh-in day, when she exclaims “a pound of flesh” in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice – but it so aptly (and succinctly) describes the result I am hoping to deliver tomorrow morning.
I am scale obsessed. If our scale is left on the floor of our bathroom, I will weigh myself every night, and every morning. Craig (god bless him) has to find hard to reach places to hide it from me. If you believe there are no coincidences, then the cosmos were definitely aligned when they sent me a 6 foot, 2 inch man to marry. Not just because I happen to be attracted to tall men, but because he could one day help me on my journey to self love by hiding our god damned scale in places that I cannot reach!
Craig’s first attempt at hiding the scale was a valiant effort, by any definition. Not only was it unlikely that I would ever look up while standing in the commode closet of our bathroom – but even if I did spot it, surely it would be too much effort to actually try to attempt contact.
Oh husband, how you underestimate my willingness to risk humiliation and/or a couple of molecules of urine to qualify my body mass with data!
Like many divorces, the first attempt at separation did not take. Specifically speaking, it lasted less than two weeks. I spotted it after the first week, and then refrained from any spiderman-like attempts to retrieve said scale for a jaw dropping 5 more days. I was just days short from my next “official” weigh-in, when I made the choice to reunite with my tile shaped nemesis. Craig was happily entertained with a video game in the living room, so I knew I had the time to do the crime. I mentioned something about getting ready for bed, slithered back to the master bedroom, and shut the door. In the spirit of naked honesty, I was honestly naked. Isn’t everyone when they are seeking an accurately low number on a scale? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Why I didn’t disrobe after retrieving the loot, I do not know. Hindsight, amiright?? Though, given the bathroom mirror and my lack of clothing, I technically already had hindsight [whacka whacka].
I stand at a solid 5’7′ and not one centimeter more. Unfortunately, this was not enough height to reach the top of the cabinet – which meant that I had one of three options:
- Confidently waltz back through the living room and out to the garage without clothing or justification to get the ladder to reach the scale. Or..
- Stand on top of the porcelain rim of the toilet in my bare feet to reach the scale.
- Spider scale the wall of the commode room like an American Ninja Warrior (see photo) to reach the scale.
Needless to say, I went with the second (still gross) option. I have, on occasion, been told that I have the footing of a mountain goat, so balancing upon a cold narrow ledge seemed perfectly obvious. On one hand, I was excited because I had dropped a significant amount of weight; on the other, I felt the familiar sting of disappointing myself.
Since that incident, I have had good weeks and bad, as far as the scale and me are concerned. If Craig forgets to put it away, I absolutely forget to remind him. When it has been put away, I have been slightly better.
“Progress, not perfection”
I hear Jennifer’s familiar voice in my head, when I begin to berate myself for not getting this 100% right 100% of the time. Instead of focusing on the number, I try to hang on to how I am feeling. My fitted tank tops that are now puckered with the empty spaces that my flesh used to fill [a pound of flesh]. My bra that I now wear on the third and final set of clasps. The teeny tiny gap of light I noticed between the top of my thighs, when I looked at myself in the bathroom mirror at work yesterday. Surely, these are far more meaningful examples of progress than a scale that I am only certain is accurate when it is in my favor.
Here is a letter that I wrote to my younger self – or to someone else who, like me, places too much weight on the weight….
Knowing what I know now, I would like to save you countless hours of letting a square piece of plastic dictate how your day is going to go. If I could count the time spent standing on a scale, I would probably burst into tears at the wasted time – and that is nothing compared to the impact that number has had on my life.
To start each day disappointed in myself for being fat, shaming myself for not being good enough, and berating myself for not having the will power to be healthy, is a tragic waste of time. Time that I could have been feeling good about myself for the person I am inside, and all that I have achieved thus far.
Thanks to a number, I have missed social events like the Facebook holiday party, and even denied myself the experience of wedding dress shopping with my mum and girlfriends – instead, I bought a gown online and told myself that I was awesome because it was only $240 and that my wedding was about us, not a dress.
What I wish most for you is to love yourself, as much as the world loves you. Do not deny yourself the happiness that comes from adoration. Be as authentic about the space you inhabit, as you are in your writing. Set boundaries when others try to drink from your positive energy to help fill themselves up and leave you drained. Take care of yourself in the same way you take care of everyone else – starting with food.
Food is not a reward. Food is not a Band-Aid. You are not entitled to food because you had a good day, or a bad day, or you are bored, tired, or drunk. .
Real food is energy. It is life. It is all the colors of the rainbow and it is healing. Real food is literally and figuratively medicine. The food you eat is poison and covering up your feelings of abandonment and entitlement. You can start healing yourself inside and out with food. You can have energy and vitality like you’ve never imagined with food by using the following formula: eat real food, mostly plant-based, and not too much (and include Fiber, protein, and a healthy fat with every meal). It is the key to unlocking the one thing you want most in the world: becoming your authentic self.
Tomorrow is weigh-in day. In many ways, the results won’t matter – because it will not impact how I move forward. Even if I never lose another pound, I will continue to nourish my body with whole healthy foods. Even if I never go down another clothing size, i will continue to exercise and move my body. Even if I never experience what it is like to walk the earth in a smaller body, I will keep learning how to see myself as the world sees me: nothing short of absolutely beautiful.