True Confessions Friday:: I define myself by a number on a scale.

1 May

When I go to the doctor’s office, I have stopped looking at the number on the scale.  The last time I looked, I was thrown into a depressive tizzy that lasted for months.  Definitely not helpful and I gained more weight during that time.  It’s better to ignore the numbers and move forward with changing my life through exercise and diet (as well as discovering my relationship to food).

At a recent doctor’s appointment, the nurse told me I lost 5 pounds at the big weigh-in.  Go me!  As a matter of fact, my clothes do seem a little looser.  I made it through my dreaded one-on-one with my family doctor, who urged me to make an appointment at the weight management center…now that I’ve got an exercise routine worked out.  Sigh, this whole changing your life thing is hard work.

Because there was goofy insurance junk going on with the weight management center, I made an appointment with the area’s ONLY baritrician.  No, this isn’t weight loss surgery; she’s a doctor who helps with weight-loss and really gets to the bottom of what’s going on physically.  During the course of my appointment-making, the lady on the phone asked me how much I weigh.  Instead of offering a guesstimate, I asked Sarah (who went to my appointment with me due to my doctor-anxiety), who looks at the scale for me.  She told me the number, and it was a good 20 pounds higher than I expected (and that’s with losing 5 pounds).

I could scarcely repeat the number as all the excitement drained from my voice.  Appointment complete, I just sat in stunned silence.  Shrug it off, I told myself, you are doing what you need to do.  It doesn’t matter because you will lose the extra 20, too.  You are finally taking control of this area of your life.  You have more energy, strength, and your sleep cycle is finally normal.  You are doing great!

All I could think about was that number.

By the next day, I was drained of positive energy, and that number was pressing on me.  As I drove home from the pool, tears flooded my eyes.  How could you do this to yourself?  I was literally screaming and shrieking.  I wanted to crash my car because I was filled with hopelessness.  Instead, I just pulled over and cried until I was weary.  Then I drove home, collapsed on my bed, and decided that I would never leave my apartment again so that world would not be subjected to my hideousness.  I felt sorry for all the people who had to see me and my extra 20 pounds that day.

Sometime while wallowing in self-pity, I realized that I was late for my acting class.  Oh, crap, I thought, not only do the extra 20 and I have to leave the apartment, we have to perform in front of people.  I was half an hour late, and not in my usual jovial mood.  Everyone noticed it.  For the first 20 minutes, I did everything I could to hold myself together until I was eased into the rhythm of my class.  We began to perform our monologues, and a sick sense of dread came into my stomach.  I didn’t want to do mine, please, give me a reprieve.  But this was our second to last class and it was monologue night.

My turn came and I shuffled up to the front of the class and arranged the “stage” just so.  I offered some sort of apology about not being myself tonight, and the class smiled supportively.  Then I fumbled through my monologue.  I didn’t do as well as I would have liked, but this is acting class, not Broadway.  Everyone clapped appreciatively, and the instructor repeated to me how much she liked my monologue.  Instead of choosing a monologue from a movie or play, I had written my own, which I adapted from my blog post, “I Wish I Was Beautiful”.  Boy, did those words right true!  I felt like the most hideous woman in all the world.

I grabbed my evaluations and forgot about them until I was home.  I knew I wasn’t going to get a lot of excellent’s due to my distracted mental state, but I didn’t think I would receive this comment, “Who says your not?”   I stared at the paper trying to figure out what the question meant, then I realized it meant to say, “Who says you’re not beautiful?”  Uh, me.  Then it floored me, someone in my acting class thinks I am beautiful, even with the extra 20.  I’m beautiful to someone.

That number is starting to lose its grip on my mind, on my psyche, on my emotions.  I am the same person I was the day before I learned about that number, and my friends and family and most importantly, my God, still love me in spite of that number.  I’ve let that number sum up the worth of my entire personhood.

I am so much more than that number.

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No Responses to “True Confessions Friday:: I define myself by a number on a scale.”

  1. MOM May 1, 2009 at 8:14 AM #

    AMY,
    YOU ARE, AND ALWAYS WILL BE, MY WONDERFULLY BEAUTIFUL DAUGHTER. THE ONLY REASON WE REALLY SHOULD LOSE WEIGHT IS TO BE MORE HEALTHY.

    ME, I HAVE ALWAYS STRUGGLED WITH THESE SAME ISSUES – WEIGHT, FAT, BEAUTY. I HAVE LOST AND GAINED 100’S OF POUNDS. EVEN GASTRIC BYPASS SURGERY FAILED IT – OR I FAILED IT. BUT, SOMETIMES I WONDER IF CERTAIN PEOPLE ARE MADE PHYSICALLY TO BE FATTER THAN OTHERS. I MEAN, SOME PEOPLE ARE JUST NATURALLY THIN, AND OTHER STRUGGLE WITH WEIGHT. AND IT IS A REAL STRUGGLE. AT 61 I SHOULD HAVE CONQUERED THIS PROBLEM YEARS AGO. AFTER ALL, I HAVE BEEN A CHRISTIAN FOR OVER 40 YEARS – SHOULDN’T THIS “SIN PROBLEM” BE A THING OF THE PAST? SHOULD IT BE SOMETHING I CONTINUE TO STRUGGLE WITH?

    AS MY SUMMER CLOTHES FROM LAST YEAR SEEMED TO HAVE GROWN A SIZE SMALLER, I HAVE BEGUN TO CONTEMPLATE BEGINNING A DIET. A DIET?!! THAT’S REALLY THE LAST THING IN MY LIFE I KNOW HOW TO DO SUCCESSFULLY. MAYBE I SHOULD EMBRACE MY FAT AND PURCHASE NEW CLOTHING AND IGNORE HEALTH WARNINGS. WHAT IS THE ANSWER? ONE THING I DO KNOW – GOD, MY FAMILY, AND MY FAITHFUL FRIENDS LOVE ME AND EMBRACE ME. PRAISE GOD FOR THAT LOVE. NOW PERHAPS I CAN BEGIN TO LOVE MYSELF.

    I LOVE YOU, BEAUTIFUL ONE.

  2. wiredtoinspire May 3, 2009 at 9:49 AM #

    Thank you for your honest thoughts on this topic that seems to plague so many women. I’ve been there, too. It’s amazing to me sometimes that women of any number on the scale seem to have the same feelings of self-loathing at times–and even what I would think of as skinny girls still think they’re fat . . . I think it demonstrates that the very important thing is to deal with our hearts and minds in front of God, because the worst thing would be to get to that smaller size or weight that we dream of and still not realize where our true worth comes from. This isn’t easy–I know!!–but I’m trying to make those good choices, and I hope you’ll continue to find strength for the good choices you’re trying to make, too!

  3. renee May 4, 2009 at 12:17 AM #

    there is a lot of genetics in weight, and most people gain back what they lose in 3 years.

    i just read THE MOST FABULOUS BOOK!!!!

    you must get it on ebay or something. it’s called

    “Fat! So?”

    seriously, it will change your life.

    • Amy May 5, 2009 at 6:24 PM #

      Renee, okay, okay! I’m going to read this book! 🙂

  4. renee May 4, 2009 at 12:18 AM #

    oh, and MOM— please check the book out for yourself as well!! it is revolutionary.

  5. renee May 4, 2009 at 12:20 AM #

    ok, because i so believe in this book. here is the book on amazon. $3.31 — for used copies!

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ISBN=0898159954

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