Waking Up

Every once in a while, even an optimist can have a bad day. For me, that day was today. And I’m embarrassed to say it was for very superficial reasons.

I try not to be too open about myself in a public forum such as this, but I will say that I’ve struggled my whole life with my weight. Even now, at 28, when most people would say that I look very healthy and normal, I still agonize over the scale.

For the last several weeks, I’ve been dieting and exercising in preparation for the Savage Race, a five-mile obstacle course I’m running in on Saturday, October 20th. I have been very happy with my success, both on the scale and athletically. I’m at what I can cognitively acknowledge is a VERY healthy weight and I should be satisfied with that. Being an irrational woman, though, I still want to lose a few more pounds.

The past few days, I’ve been eating whatever I wanted – pizza, ice cream, cookies, you name it, I ate it. I worked out almost every day, so I didn’t feel guilty about it.

Until this morning, that is. That guilt came flooding in when I hopped on the scale: I was up 6.8 lbs in five days.

Now, logically, I know it is IMPOSSIBLE that I gained 6.8 lbs in five days. I know this to be a scientific fact. I would have to consume no less than 3,500 calories over what my body needs to survive to gain one pound, so this means I would need to consume over 24,000 calories on TOP OF the calories needed to live to gain this much weight. Which I know I have not done.

Logically, I know this is probably a mix of water weight and inflammation in my muscles from all of my weight training.

Despite all of this logic, I was DEVASTATED. I stood on the scale, near tears, and experienced a moment of sheer self-loathing. How can the digits on that little glass scale do that to me?

For a few minutes, I wallowed in a pity party. I stared in the mirror, picking out every imperfection, just so I could savor the taste of my self-criticism on my tongue. Why stop at weight? I began to look at the oddly placed freckles over my nose. The pronounced German chin. Have I always had that conspicuous widow’s peak?

It wasn’t until my husband left and I realized I hadn’t returned his goodbye kiss that I suddenly woke up from my stupor.

What the hell was I doing? Was I really standing here, hating myself, when I have so many blessings in my life? Was a number on a scale, something so trivial, really destroying my self-confidence when I have experienced so much true success in tangible ways?

I felt like someone had slapped me with truth and it felt freeing, beautiful.

Weight is a number. It doesn’t define me. It doesn’t determine my self-worth. My impact on the world is not going to be measured on that little glass scale in my bathroom – it’s going to be measured on the life that I live and the people that I help along the way. The substance of my soul will not be based on a pant size, but rather on the beauty and love that I give back to the world and I receive in return.

Now… to figure out how to get this message out to all the women of the world who struggle with insecurity.

Optimist on a mission,

~ Victoria Elizabeth Ann

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6 thoughts on “Waking Up

  1. YES! It took me some time to get to this point also. However, I won’t lie. It’s still a struggle. Our society certainly doesn’t help the matter. If it helps, I think you’re beautiful.

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  2. Christina, you are an angel! Too sweet. And you’re very right – society makes it an ongoing battle for me, as well. I feel like I have these “wake-up” moments every few months and then I magically fall back into the pattern of self-loathing when it comes to my body. It’s a strange feeling to be so happy inside and then to have that joy interrupted by a sour moment of insecurity.

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  3. I struggle with this same thing! I never thought you struggled with this because to me you look thin, fit and beautiful! šŸ™‚ I agree with Christina about how society puts an image in our mind of what is beautiful. I am still trying to lose weight and get to my goal I exercise good but I’m not strict enough with my diet anymore. I’ve lost about 70 lbs from my heaviest in 2007 so I am no longer considered obese but I would like to lose at least 40 more pounds. According to my BMI I should lose 30-40 lbs to be healthy for my height.
    Hugs!! šŸ™‚

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  4. Labri, you are a doll! Thank you for your kind words. Would you believe that I was over 200 lbs [and I’m 5’2″] in my senior year of high school? I’ve battled the scale for over a decade and I’m slowly learning that the number doesn’t define me, nor what is “healthy” for my frame. Even now, while I’m in the healthy-weight range, I’m still considered chubby by most societal structures, and it is challenging for me not to let it get into my head. You are absolutely GORGEOUS and I think you are beautiful exactly the way you are. If you do lose weight, just make sure it’s only through healthy means. I made some really bad weight loss decisions in the past [diet pills, starvation, etc] and I can tell you from experience, the weight comes right back and sometimes the damage you cause you body in the interim has long-term repercussions.

    P.S. The BMI is the most inaccurate calculation EVER. Per the BMI, I should be 30 lbs thinner, which I am CERTAIN is physically not possible, because I have a lot of muscle mass.

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    • I think you’re both beautiful the way you are. There’s no way that you can afford to lose 30 lbs, Tori. You would look unhealthy and like a rail. I’ve seen your pictures. You look great. Bri, I think we have the same problem with diet restriction. That’s where I struggle too. The darn wine and chocolate gets me every time. Not to mention, it’s that time of year–pumpkin spice everything, followed by peppermint mocha everything. YUMMY. I was always a rail thin gal until I had my boys. The weight is hard to lose. I don’t understand how some women have 5 kids and go right back to wearing a size 3 haha!! Either way, I think that if we can be happy with ourselves then society can KISS IT!!! šŸ™‚

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  5. Thank you guys!! I think you both are beautiful too and yes we should start enjoying the way we are I need to work on that. This year was tough in the weight department for me and I am also trying to overcome the impact that the scale has on me. @Tori, I can’t believe you were 200 lbs you look so good and tone that’s awesome you worked really hard and that is inspiring. Sadly, at my heaviest I weighed 261 lbs and I am 5’7″ so that also isn’t great health wise. I got fed up with being the fat girl and shed 70 lbs. Still I think I am heavy for a girl and would love to get down to 145-155 range. I wear a size 10/12 and every time I bring up dieting someone will say you look good you don’t need to diet. I haven’t been told I look fat in about 3 years. I must carry my weight well even the plastic surgeon I saw last year (I had to get a breast lift and reduction) said I look fine and all he thinks is I could tone up a little. So confusing though seeing pictures of actresses and models and in the back of my mind I am always thinking that’s what I should look like. It’s nice not to be a lone in this battle!! @Christina, yep I agree 100% my weaknesses are wine and bread that will do it every time! I am so bad when it comes to that and yes this time of year is the worst to try to diet through it’s almost depressing dieting through the holidays!

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