In January, a new show started on ABC during the day called The Revolution. I don't actually watch TV during the day, but I sometimes keep it on while I am studying and watch a story if it seems interesting. The Revolution is about becoming healthy and creating your own revolution. This week the topic is "What is Your Number?" and on Monday, everyone in the audience were wearing shirts with their weight on the front. This made me stop and think, because, I hate the number that I see on that scale. Would I wear my weight on my shirt to show you right now? Absolutely not.
But......I am no longer focused on that number like I used to be. I am coming on my five year anniversary from when I joined Weight Watchers. I am down 85-90 pounds depending on the week, but today I don't know what I weigh. I don't know my number, because the scale is a source of stress to me. Currently I am training for the Boston Marathon. Running the best possible marathon is my goal right now. Yes, I would love to be in Hopkinton at a low weight, but that is not my main goal. What I have learned while training for 16 marathons is that it is very difficult for me to lose weight while training. I am not saying you can't do it, but it doesn't work for me.
Accepting that I can not diet during marathon training was hard at first. I am trained to think that if I had a "cheating" weekend that I need to hop back on the wagon and limit my calories on Monday morning. This doesn't work when Monday morning equals a 10 mile run. In November, after reading a Sports Nutrition book (I blogged about it here), I stopped focusing on a NUMBER that I put into my mouth and have since started listening to my body. At first it was so hard to do this and it was SO scary. I was eating double the amount of food that I was used to. But something finally clicked. The number on that scale didn't budge much, but the number on my clothes did.
In December, I was out to lunch for my birthday in my favorite pair of jeans. They were falling off of me. My sister talked me into heading down to the Gap and finding a pair that would fit me. (I hate hate hate jeans shopping, but that is a story for another day.) I left the mall that day in a jeans size that I had never seen before. Funny enough, I still fear wearing those jeans. The number seems too small for me and I am afraid to put them on and have them not fit. I put them on again last week after a good month of them sitting in my closet and they fit a tiny bit better. It is a silly number, but I can't get it out of my head.
Ignoring my number and embracing my body has been especially difficult the past 6 months. I have begun meeting a lot of new blogging friends and they are all tiny compared to me. I want to say that I am confident and that it doesn't bother me when I tower over a friend, but this is not the case. I see pictures like this....
And instead of seeing the powerful woman that I am....I see my waistline that isn't thin, the extra skin on my legs, and compare myself to people that I am not nor will ever be. This is what my mind sees when I see these pictures...
I know I no longer look like this, but at my highest weight, there were times when I had more confidence in my body than I do now. I have pictures of myself in a bikini, and I didn't hide from the camera like I do now.
Embracing my body is an up-hill battle. I am so proud of how far I have come. Learning to accept that I am not a small person is especially hard when I am involved in a sport where everyone around me is small. But this body that is not small has run a 3:32 marathon. My larger waist has run a 1:41 half marathon. And that skin flying in that picture was on its way to a 21:15 5k. This body also carried around two beautiful girls that I could not imagine my life without. My body may not be perfect but everyday it proves to me how wonderful and strong it is.
Would you wear your number on your shirt? Do you compare your body to other runners and let it bother you?