In my (almost) 47 years I have spent long periods battling with numbers. Never winning, never being satisfied that the numbers I used to measure myself by were adequate. I once dedicated 18 months getting strong and lean in the gym. Searching for a body shape that was in fact, dictated by the numbers on the scales, the number on my dress size, the number of calories I ate, the inches on the tape to measure weight loss, and the number of kilogrammes I weighed. 6 or 7 days a week I was there. I watched the numbers on the weights I lifted, the number of reps I could do, the number of sets I needed to achieve. If I didn’t hit the ‘numbers’ I felt a failure. If I didn’t improve the number from the week or month before, again, failure. My self worth was totally dependant on arbitrary numbers, plucked off the internet, books or magazines designed for a one-size-fits-all lifestyle.
The numbers really mattered to me. But, even when I achieved a number, and wrote it in my little book of numbers, it meant nothing. The next target to achieve was yet another number. The numbers didn’t contribute in any way to my mental health or self worth. Even when I was super lean, I was still chasing numbers to remain that way. But it felt empty. I felt empty. I was chasing something that didn’t exist in a number, I was looking for my self worth, and that could only be found in myself.
Eventually I realised I was worth so much more than numbers, and my self worth was actually generated by the way I felt, behaved, thought and treated others. It took a long time to be liberated from the chains of numbers, but it happened.
By releasing the numbers I also had to welcome in some gentle curves. My body changed as I relinquished being dictated to be the amount of weight I could lift, to encouraging my body to move and flow, stretch and be supple instead. From it being hard and stoic, it has become softer, gentler and much more me. I trained to be a Pilates Teacher, and more recently started training to be a Yoga Teacher. My world is now full of gentle flowing shapes and curves, and my self worth, no longer being dictated by numbers, is the best it has ever been. By a long shot.
My life is so much more free and peaceful now. I no longer look to the scales or the labels to tell me how how I should feel about myself. I know it, when I look in the mirror and see a relaxed woman looking back. I know it when I feel and know I am OK, I am enough, I am whole. I know it when I look at a healthy meal I have prepared and don’t need to count the calories, and instead, enjoy being liberated from the tracking and monitoring. I just know it. And it is amazing.