Okay, so I've been lectured on the dangers of owning a bathroom scale and of thinking about weight as opposed to health, but for me it is very much the same thing. I have spent the last decade of my life becoming, being, or recovering from being obese, so to me weight matters. I don't obsess over it, though, and I don't weigh myself on a regular basis. Usually, if I feel like I've had a good couple of weeks I'll step on the scale just to see how I'm doing.
This morning, for instance, I felt pretty good about life, and it seemed like it would be okay. So I checked to make sure my grandmother was occupied, then I sneaked in to her bathroom and dragged the scale away from the wall. It's avocado green with beige shag carpet on the foot pads and the numbers only go up to 250. I was struck by the realization that there was once a time this scale would have not been able to measure me. I took a deep breath, stepped up onto the shag carpet, counted to five, and looked down.
195. This might seem like a really high number to you, but to me it is a small victory. I haven't been below 200 pounds in probably 6 years. My battle is far from over, but little by little I'm gaining my life back. This is a step. I don't know how big or how small, but it's definitely a step forward. It feels monumental. I could erect a statue of this moment: a little scale with the giant numbers 195 and me off to the side, grinning from ear to ear.
Through all of this, these 10 years of disappointment and frustration and huge pant sizes, I've learned a few things. I've mentioned some of them before, but I think they're important to remember.
If you want to lose weight, go for it. Just make sure you do it right. Don't pump your body full of needless chemicals. Don't starve yourself. Don't think that you're broken or that you are unworthy of love or affection because you aren't a size 2 (this one is still hard for me). These things take time, patience, and a crap load of effort. Weight loss should be about changing your perception of yourself and developing a healthy relationship with your body and with food.
Think about who you are now as a person. Sarah-lucy once told me that maybe I was fat all of those years because I needed to be. I don't know if I believe her, but I know I would be totally different if I had been skinny. So while I don't relish the fact that I pretty much wasted my teenage years, I know that it led me to where I am today and I take it to be a jumping off point:
This is where I stand, that is where I want to be, this is what I'm going to do about it.
Realize that your body knows what it needs and will generally lead you in the right direction.
Discover the kind of exercise that you adore and do it often. Mine is dancing-- in musicals, via Just Dance 2, in the parking lot with Shelli -- and the eliptical/stairstepper machine at the gym.
Make friends with other people who are struggling through similar things.
Get yourself a really great therapist.
Remember that all of this is a part of getting to where you want to be.
Do it for yourself.
Do it because it's something different.
Do it because it's good, really, truly, powerfully good for you.
It's been hard. It's been involuntary at times. But this change has affected more than my appearance. I feel great. I haven't felt great in a long time. I mean, I've got my issues, but I'm taking great strides toward not hating myself. And that's huge. That's bigger than any number.