A Favor To Ask

With the new year comes resolutions. If you’ve read my blog at all this week, or any other blog in the world for that matter, this is quite obvious. Any excuse to come up with some extravagant goals…I’ll take it!

I want to be honest here. I may not have made it known to everyone over that past few years, but losing a little bit of weight has always, in a little-tiny way, been a secret resolution of mine. Since recovery from my eating disorder I have never thought of doing anything drastic…I just maybe wanted to drop a few. Did I need to lose weight? No way…but I just thought what the heck, it wouldn’t hurt.

This is the first year in quite a long time that I’m not even secretly making that goal.

This week as I’ve joined my running gals several times at 5:30am at the local community center where we meet up for runs, the parking lot has been nearly packed full. I think that is great! It may not be the most desirable situation to have to wait for cardio machines or make your way through a crowded gym, but isn’t it great that so many people are there to make a healthy change for themselves? I think so.

With the new year I know that there are a lot of people hitting up the gym with the goal of losing weight, and it’s not necessarily a bad thing…if you need to lose weight to be healthy. However, my concern lies in the motive behind the goal. Are we seeking to shed a few pounds because we think it will make us happier?

Because I will tell you right from my heart…losing weight will not make you happier. It just doesn’t work. (Please note, I’m definitely not a doctor or a psychologist or a nutritionist or any kind of medical professional. I am only sharing my opinions based on personal experience.)

With that being said, I have a favor to ask.

In two thousand and twelve, as we seek to live happier and healthier lies, let’s not focus on the number on the scale, but rather ways in which we can truly make ourselves happy people. Like by …

…finding something you love to do. This can be anything! If you love to run (like me!), run! If you hate running but love to cook (unlike me!), find new healthy recipes to try…or even make up your own. If you love to be around your friends and family, try planning get-togethers, and better yet, plan get-togethers where you all can do something active together. Who doesn’t love a good game of bowling?!

…ditching the scale. That silly thing can be evil. Weight is not the only way to measure healthiness or if you’ve slimmed down, and it’s definitely not the way to measure happiness. It may not be an easy task, so take baby steps. If you are a daily weigher, try every other day or once a week. If you are a random weigher, just ask yourself why you are weighing yourself (a tip I need to listen to more myself). If your goal is to slim down, there are other ways to measure your success. How do your clothes fit? Have you lost inches? A number on the scale can be deceiving, especially if you are getting healthier by fitness or strength training.

…eating breakfast. I know this is my specific goal, but I highly recommend it. Eating a good breakfast makes a great start to the day, and by golly, I feel happier!

…giving yourself positive affirmations. You didn’t think I’d forget to give you your first Friday affirmation of the new year, did you?

…finding a reason to smile every day and take note of it. Did your dog just do the cutest thing (Tia always makes me smile!)? Did you finish a great run at a great pace? Did you laugh at someone’s joke? Did you make a delicious meal? Whatever the reason, remember the little things that can make you happy each and every day.

…eliminating the word “fat” from your vocabulary. You are not fat, you don’t look fat, so please stop saying it (or any other word that has the same negative meaning). It is a mean, mean word, and it should definitely not ever be in the same sentence as the word “happy.”

…being silly. Sing in the shower…or obnoxiously in your care at stoplights without worrying if the car next to you is watching. Dance. Leg-wrestle with someone. Do cartwheels. Have a food fight or throw a pie in someone’s face (as long as you’re sure they will think it’s funny, too!)

…donating clothes that you don’t feel comfortable in. Whether they are too big or too small or just don’t hug you the right way, get rid of them. Donate them. There are not many things more daunting than a pair of “skinny” jeans hiding in the closet. Why not just wear the jeans that make you feel sexy and confident and comfortable right now? Right? So do it!

…reminding yourself that you are beautiful just the way you are. You probably get tired of hearing me say this at least weekly. But it’s true. And if you tell yourself it enough, you will start to believe it. I promise…both that you are beautiful and that you will believe it soon enough.

ang

Scale Stories

I had a major realization yesterday. It was one that surprised me, then grounded me.

Let’s rewind about six years. I owned my own scale, my gym had two available scales, one in the locker room and one by the weight machines, and the mall where I worked had one of those crazy scales that you put a quarter in to see your weight and your horoscope or something else ridiculous like that.

I visited these above scales, whichever was most convenient, several times a day. Maybe that crazy scale at the mall was on to something, because each time I stepped on the darn thing I found out how my day was going to go. (i.e. A lower number meant good day, higher number meant bad.)

To make a long, sad (but triumphant, yes!) story short let’s fast forward to a few months later…late May, 2006. I’m trying to sound nonchalant by saying “late” May when actually I know the exact date, May 22nd. I know the exact pair of jeans I was wearing, exactly what I did that morning, what I ate, and exactly what I did the rest of that day. I arrived with my mom at the Research Medical Center’s eating disorder unit, and the very first thing we did was an assessment with the nurse which involved me changing into a hospital gown to be “officially” weighed. The funny thing is (not funny…ironic maybe?) I could have told the nurse myself my “official” weight pretty close to the tenth of a pound. Once I was changed, the nurse (I can remember exactly what he looked like and the color scrubs he was wearing) asked me to step on the scale backwards.

Backwards. Hmm.

This became routine every morning in treatment before breakfast. Change into that beautiful gown and step on the scale backwards. At first the sound of the nurse adjusting the scale was daunting. I strained my ears to decipher where…what number…the nurse might be stopping on. However, the more days that passed by and the healthier I became, the less and less daunting it became. It more or less just because a routine thing to do…just another part of the day…and before I knew it, I really wasn’t thinking about what the number was.

When I left treatment, I knew that getting rid of my scale was going to be an important part of staying healthy. I had my mom dispose of it before I got home. However, I knew there’d be other places that would tempt my curiosity…the gym, the mall, and the doctor’s office. But I successfully avoided all of them.

When I’d go to the doctor for an annual physical, check-up, or because I was sick, as soon as the nurse would ask me to come back and step on the scale I would politely decline. Only one time did the nurse ask me why, and I explained and that was the end of that.

I’m not sure the exact length of time that I went without weighing myself or actually knowing the number. It was a long time, though…over a year at least.

One day at another doctor appointment the nurse asked me to step back to the scale. I took a deep breath and I did what she asked. I made the decision to step on the scale for the first time in a long time because I felt ready to handle whatever number it threw my way. The number wouldn’t affect me anymore.

Since then I’ve wondered about what my number was, I’ve stepped on the scale occasionally, but I never let it change my mood or how I viewed myself.

Now let’s fast forward back to this week. Tuesday evening, as I was waiting for my husband to get home from basketball practice I decided to have a late snack. I whipped out a bag of tortilla chips and the rest of my homemade salsa and started munching away. After a few minutes I thought to myself Angela, you shouldn’t eat this late, you have a doctors appointment tomorrow and you’re going to be weighed. Soon I rolled up the bag and put the food away. Yesterday morning my alarm went off early to get in the day’s workout, but I really didn’t want to get out of bed. Quickly I told myself Angela, you need to workout this morning, you have a doctors appointment this afternoon. Once I was in town I called my sister to see if she wanted to meet me for lunch. When I called I asked her if she’d rather just get some coffee instead because I was telling myself Ang, you don’t want to eat too much right before your doctors appointment.

Then it hit me.

I was letting the darned old scale control my actions. I was allowing a number, a number that wasn’t even real yet, scare me.

Silly me.

I went ahead and met my sister for lunch and I ate whatever I felt like at that moment…which happened to be chips and salsa (go figure!) and mozzarella sticks. Then I went to the doctor with a smile on my face, and I stepped on that scale with a smile in my mind because I knew that I was conquering that negative voice inside my head.

The number that lit up on the scale only confirmed the fact that I know I am stronger and healthier than I ever have been in my whole life…and each day keeps getting better and better.

ang

I Am

I am a wife. I am loving. I am a daughter. I am a sister. I am a dog-lover. I am protective. I am loved.I am a student. I will be a nurse. I am caring. I am brunette. I am brown-eyed. I am a salsa-addict.I am an athlete. I am a runner. I am a half marathoner. I will be a full marathoner. I am determined. I am a SoleMate. I am a blogger. I am strong. I am an artist. I am a designer. I am creative.
I am a friend. I am dedicated. I am a recovery speaker. I am a perfectionist.But I am NOT a number.

…and neither are you!

ang