A few weeks ago I had a Vitality health assessment at a pharmacy, mostly as a way to get points to keep up our status on our medical aid rewards programme, but also to check that all’s okay.
And after being told my blood pressure, cholesterol levels, blood sugar and BMI were all okay, and even after being told that I’m not HIV-positive (an extra 5 000 points for that test), all I could focus on was the number on the scale, and how I wasn’t so happy with it. While I should have been relieved that I looked good on paper, all I could obsess about was the scale, and those numbers that didn’t look good to me.
My obsession with weighing myself is not a new one. Ever since I went to a dietitian around 10 years and lost about 9kg there, I’ve been weighing myself almost daily. On days that I don’t weigh myself, it’s not because I don’t care to, but rather that there’s no scale nearby, like when I’m away.
And while I’ve thrived on the weight losses and seeing smaller numbers on the scale, the ones that increase can devastate me. I can go into the shower after a weigh-in and either feel like a loser because I’ve gone up, or a winner because I’ve gone down. I realised that how I reacted to my scales (oh yes, we
have had two – one in each bathroom) was actually dictating my mood, and my self-esteem. And those feelings didn’t end in the shower. Which is great when I had a loss, but not so great when there was an increase.
Even after running marathons, I would weigh myself sometimes and instead of focusing on my health and fitness, if I hadn’t lost weight, well then I was a bit of a loser. I mean, really!
So last week, I decided to shove the scales away, and try to feel good without a number. And while I’m not that naive to think I could turn heads for all the right reasons in a bikini, I’m feeling way better about myself. On my own. Without a scale, I won’t start neglecting my health, or eating a slab of Bubbly before bed, but I will start measuring myself without numbers.
It’s hard to ignore them though, especially when so many things in life are numbers driven – our IQ, school marks, what’s in our bank accounts. But they don’t tell the whole story, and sometimes we forget bigger picture. Yes, numbers matter, but they don’t always attest to one’s kindness, strength, consciousness or “success”.
I hope that you will always see yourself beyond the digits. I already know you are so much more.
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