The psychology of women regarding weight is a strange and mythical beast. I know better. As an advocate for healthy body image, I know weight doesn't define us. I know weight is just a number that gives us an estimate of mass related to gravity. I know weight doesn't tell us how fat we are. I know all of these things and yet the number on the scale is still a number.
Most of us learned in grade school that numbers have value. An A is better than a B. A B is better than a C. Some kids learned that numbers begot better numbers. An A was a $20. A B was $10. These weren't my parents, but my family of origin issues aren't the point. Numbers mean something. They create a hierarchy. I know better. I haven't weighed myself with any interest in a long time. My clothes fit. I haven't bought any different sizes. I essentially look the same. And yet, the number wags it's finger.
As an experiment, I stepped back into the space of my clients. I stepped back into the space of even my own eating disorder. I weighed myself one day. And the next. And the next. The difference between the first day to the second didn't concern me much. It was up a pound. Big whoop. It will be down tomorrow I told myself. And then the next day it wasn't. It was even up another pound. And I felt the panic. I felt the thoughts creep in. You are out of control. Stop yourself. Starve today. Don't eat! Your body can't be trusted!
But, is that it? Where is the earth traveling in relation to the sun? How does gravity fit in? Maybe I've gained some muscle and I'm getting stronger. Wouldn't that be okay? My eating disorder mind screams no. My healthy mind knows it doesn't matter. Over the past few years that I didn't step a foot on a scale I'm sure my weight has traveled up and down. We don't stay at a set number. Our bodies find equilibrium in a range. That doesn't mean numbers aren't tricky. Numbers still create a hierarchy.
hen I'm competing in a horse show, seconds determine the difference between first and second place. Numbers mean something. What it comes down to is how much of a self we put on the hook for where the number is and what place we come in. Life isn't a weight contest. Nobody knows what your number on the scale is. What I do know is that inside my eating disorder mind there is never a number that is good enough. It's never low enough. What the number of the scale could never do was change how I felt inside.
How I feel in my skin isn't relative to the number on the scale anymore. Some days I feel bigger. I don't weigh myself to find out. It can be stress. It can be fear. It can be the dead of winter where all of us are bundled up. I feel everything. I feel all the parts of my body. It's not my bodies fault and it doesn't mean my body is wrong. It means it's a body and it's weight is no more or less an indicator of health than my mindset is that day. Maybe I'll weigh tomorrow. Maybe I won't. What I do know is that the number doesn't matter anymore. I get to be free.