I knew it wasn’t a good idea. I know I should never have stepped onto that scale. But the temptation was too strong: I just can’t resist a good weighing. The anticipation: how much do I carry around the planet these days? The wait: what number will finally seal my future? The answer: this is it. This is my number.
Most of us have that ideal number, than that ok number. Then there is the truth. The scale says the truth. It tells you what you are up to, as it is. No more illusions.
If you are somewhere in between the two, you are fine. What I saw yesterday as I stepped onto the scale was the harsh version of the truth. I weigh more than I ever did in the last twelve years. All those ups and downs, all those pounds put off and then on again and then off again for that? Are you kidding me? Ed was screaming: all that work you did to reach and then maintain a lower weight to get even bigger than you were at the beginning?
I couldn’t believe it either. I preferred to live in denial. The scale must have been wrong, a couple of pounds off, a couple of pounds that could bring me peace of mind. When I got back again into the room a few hours later, I checked in again to make sure. I was one pound lighter, but it still wasn’t enough. I was too heavy to deal with.
They say 95% of the time we are on automatic pilot. Our unconscious mind is running our life. It wouldn’t be such a big deal if this unconscious mind was only minding its own business. What researchers found out though is that the way we think affect our genes. Our mind has an impact on our body. When we realize that we tend to repeat over and over the same narrative, it becomes imperative to pay attention to this particular way of seeing life we have, the continuous thoughts that run through our head and create our own personal story.
Mine are a mix of wonder and worry: “Life is wonderful, I love you, you and you, all of you so much”/”What am I gonna do with my life, how can I contribute more to making a better world while still paying my bills?”/”I feel fat”.
The “I feel fat” was for a while out of my habituel pattern of thoughts, but has made its way back since December. I have to use the 5% of conscious thoughts left to tell myself it’s okay, that there are more important stuff in life, that I am healthy and strong, that now I can be a mom. And usually I can move forward.
That number though keeps me stuck in place. That number on the scale is usually my reference in times of instability and chaos. It is my way to tell me that I am in control, that I can get through the storm. It is my security blanket, my safety net. I stay the same no matter what.
Now it isn’t, and I have to face reality. I am never the same. I cannot control my weight, I can only make sure to eat properly, move every day in a reasonable fashion and sleep enough. The scale is not the right way to make me feel grounded. I have known that for many years, but it is only now, when I can’t count on the number anymore to make me feel safe, that I absolutely have to find another way to feel centered.
I have to develop the strength and courage to see that number can go up and down without affecting my sense of worth. The number is not my stability anymore. Here comes the breath. The in and out of the air through my nostrils, the energy that flows in and out of my body is what can keep me truly attached to this earth.
After all, that number is all about flesh and bones. That number cannot even begin to seize the essence of who I am. This number only says a bit about the container of this unique essence.
The container is important, needless to say. Without the container, there is no easy way to get to the essence. When we die, it is the warmth of the container that we will be missing. Since last week, I’ve been doing interviews with families who lost their child in a car crash. They are all unanimous. What they miss the most is the physical presence of the victim, the small gestures, their smile. They miss the love we convey through our bodies.
However, not once did they mention that they wished their loved one had a smaller nose, blond hair instead of brown, was a little bit skinnier. They simply miss the possibility to hold someone’s essence into their arms.
So screw the scale. Don’t ever let the number impaired your ability to connect with others. Let’s make the breath our home, the weight of our heart the only thing that matters.