For the past few days, I’ve noticed a disturbing trend on Facebook: women complaining about their bodies and why they hate them(selves). Believe me, I’m not exempt: I do it too. But when does it stop for us? It’s hate-talk, just directed at ourselves.
The other day, I read a beautiful article titled, “So You’re Feeling Too Fat To Be Photographed?” on the blog My Friend Theresa Photography. She writes:
“In our warped minds pictures become frozen mirrors that we can stare at as we pick apart our features over and over again.”
Theresa had been in a serious car accident and realized that had the accident been fatal, her family would have had no photographs to remember her by. She posted a beautiful family portrait that she took and summed up exactly what WE don’t see when we look at our own photos:
Do you know what my mom sees when she looks at this picture? Her beautiful family all together.
Do you know what my husband sees? The family he gained the moment he met me (and how much he looks like my dad…)
Do you know what my dad sees? The happy family he has worked for every day of his life.
Do you know what my brother sees? That he got away with wearing shorts…
This really struck me, and was incredibly poignant. Life is not about vanity. Life is about living. For those of us who have had weight loss surgery, we *should* know how incredibly lucky we are to have had a second chance at health and are most likely living a life that we never lived before. Enjoying every day with our spouses, kids, friends, loved ones. Being able to breathe, to walk, to dance, to MOVE. Still? We obsess about the number on the scale and the way we look. There’s always something to hate: right now, find everything to love.
When I moved to California, Jake told me that we are not allowed to have a scale in the house. I panicked. My entire life had been ruled by the numbers that I would see on there. When I started losing weight, those numbers validated everything for me. They showed me progress, they kept me on track, they kept me accountable…at least that’s what I told myself. The scale was just a new form of obsession since I was not able to eat my obsessions any more. And five years later, I was still ruled by it, and my fiance’ had the good sense to put a stop to those shenanigans right away.
Let me tell you what has changed in five years and what truly matters: it’s not the fluctuating number on the scale. It’s not the oft-changing size of my clothing or extra pounds that have snuck back on. It’s not how trendy or stylish my clothing is. It is my life, the one that I am living.
Since I’ve lost weight, I’ve done things that I’ve never dreamed possible. I danced. Not only did I dance, but I produced and choreographed a 50+ cast and crew burlesque and cabaret group. I’ve flown multiple times without needing a seat belt extender or being worried that I wouldn’t fit. I’ve run. I’ve walked. I’ve ridden a bike. I’ve run around with my nieces and nephews without getting winded. I’ve loved, I’ve lived, and I’m alive. I’m alive, and for the most part, healthy. My body moves. And right now, with no scale and no knowledge of what my actual weight is, I’m the happiest and healthiest I’ve ever been.
My body may not be perfect, but it’s doing things that five years ago were not even possible for me. I have friends who have limited mobility, who are confined to a wheelchair, and would give anything to be able to have their body do what mine can. How completely and utterly selfish and self-centered of me to not appreciate that, and to not look in the mirror and see how very lucky I am.
I’m begging you – us – to stop obsessing about the scale. Stop obsessing about the number on the label. Stop obsessing about the 5-10 lbs you may have put on. Look in the mirror RIGHT NOW and see how beautiful you are. How lucky you are to be able to breathe, move, and LIVE. And see yourself the way the people in your life do: amazing, special, and loved.
You are more than any number to them, I promise you that.