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