Not All About Numbers

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I am silly. My boyfriend tells me that almost every day, but in an endearing way. I’ll giggle at something ridiculous or say something that makes zero sense, but he calls me silly because it’s cute.

But today I am silly for a not so cute reason. For the last several months, I’ve been obsessing about my body. Calling myself fat. Refusing to wear certain clothes because of how they make my belly look. Not wearing shorts in 85 degree weather because I think my legs look too chubby. Telling myself ‘No more treats!!’ In an effort to lose weight. None of these things are effectiv.

Insulting myself reiterates the societal stereotypes that a girl must be itty bitty to be pretty or nice or whatever. If I can’t be happy with my body, what does that say about me? Does it make ugly? No! Does it mean I’m not a nice person? No! Does the number on the scale tell me how many friends I have or what I’m good at? No! It’s an arbitrary number that really means nothing. Women (and men) can weigh in at 130 pounds and be horribly unhealthy (or healthy). They can also weigh in at 215 and can be extremely fit. I’m sick of using the number on the scale to justify whether or not I’m pretty. Or nice, or whatever.

I think I realized this when I stepped on my roommates scale and weighed in at 215 pounds. What?! No way!! My pants had been fitting better and I had been feeling better about my body, yet this damned scale was telling me that I had gained 25 pounds in 3 weeks. I immediately texted my boyfriend about the scale. (an angel, he is!). He immediately told me ”it must be off”. I found out at a later doctors appointment that it was. I actually weighed in at 187.7, ten pounds lighter than I was 4 weeks ago. Yes, I am posting my weight on the internet.

Living on my own, away from my parents for the first time, has made me reconsider the way I view a lot of things. One of the highest items on the list is the way I view myself. I’ve learned that a big part of my self-image was coming from my wardrobe. I don’t like spending money on myself, so I’ve been wearing clothes I’ve had for years. These clothes don’t fit very well because my body has changed a lot. I thought that because my shirt was too small or too tight, it meant that I was the problem, not the clothes. I am NOT the problem. I don’t think it’s possible to feel good about myself if I’m trying to squeeze into a shirt that I bought when I was 15. So, I am in the process of donating my clothes that don’t fit anymore, in order to make room for clothes that do. This really means shopping in the women’s section instead of the juniors. And hey, who doesn’t like an excuse to go shopping? J

When I started college, I had not been running for about 18 months and I could see it. I had certainly packed on some pounds. I knew that my goal would be to lose the Freshman 15 instead of gaining it. I wanted to be happy with my body. After wandering around campus eating at the Pizza Hut express for a couple of weeks, I knew something had to change. Not only was I spending waaaaay too much money, I wasn’t even close to tackling my goal. I started making weekly shopping trips with my boyfriend to get ingredients to pack lunches with. I had always eaten school lunches in elementary/middle/high school, so I was totally stoked at the idea of brown baggin’ it. We had a lot of fun picking out new deli meats or a different box of fruit snacks. We saved a lot of money, and we were eating healthier. Baby steps.

I’m not here to tell anyone what to eat, or how to eat. This is just what I’m doing. I would recommend eating things you enjoy, it makes it a lot easier to commit. When we were packing lunches, I would always get carrots and some kind of treat. Carrots for him, because they’re healthy and he loves them. I ate them too, just not as ferociously J And a treat for me, because I have a huge sweet tooth. I knew that if I told myself I was only allowed to eat “healthy” foods, I’d fail and end up in front of the TV with a giant bowl of ice cream, which sometimes happens anyway. It’s life. I like sweets and I like snacks. I eat too much of both, but I try not to feel guilty about it. Andres and I frequently make midnight junk food runs. Sometimes we eat the whole bag of gummies or Reese’s or whatever in an hour. Sometimes we don’t. In fact, I’m snacking on Cheetos Puffs right this minute. Not healthy, not good for me, but they’re yummy. It’s okay if I indulge myself.

I’m ranting a bit too much about indulgence. I suppose it’s because I happen to work at a cupcake shop (which is murderous to trying to eat better!) and when I occasionally enjoy a cupcake, one of my coworkers always smirks and shakes her head at me. She’s training for a half marathon and  surely has a lower BMI than I do. And it seriously pisses me off when she gives me that little smirk. I KNOW that sometimes she eats spoonfuls of batter or frosting. She doesn’t have any right to smirk at me for eating a cupcake. Should I be eating a cupcake? No. Am I going to eat the cupcake? Yes. Will I enjoy it? Yes. That’s all that matters. Don’t let anyone else make you feel bad for your choices.

Anyway, I still catch myself sucking in my stomach or thinking I’m chubby, but I do not think I am fat. I still moan to Andres about how I wish I had a flat tummy, and he never fails to tell me how gorgeous I am. I have started running again, and recently joined the running club at my university. I’ve lost 10 pounds since I started college and I am hoping to make it to 15 before the semester is over. But I’m learning that’s not all about the numbers. It’s about feeling good in my own skin, whatever that happens to be.

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