I’ve had a pretty bad relationship with my bathroom scale for – well – forever. I really don’t care for scales in general. Or math or measurements or portion control or counting calories or carbs or fat grams or whatever tricks are played to calculate my self worth in relation to my body image. And at the same time I am facinated by the numbers games – or really mind games – that I am willing to play to register my dedication to the process. In the days before smart phones, I kept a food diary and I was less than accurate about my food budget. The new apps on my iPhone are much more condusive to accurate reporting my intake of not only calories and other nutritional info, they are generous with calculating the activities that burn the calories and carbs. I’ve actually lost two of those expensive wearable fitness accessories that communicate steps, sleep and activity. Maybe it was for the best.
In fact – I have signed up for so many of these diet and fitness apps that I frequently get alarming emails admonishing me to enter what I had for breakfast or asking me if I plan to go to the gym in accordance with my profile goals, or even announcing a new sequence of ab exercises I have mysteriusly “unlocked” by virtue of being a “member”. One of them even tells me how much I would weigh in 5 weeks if I were to have the exact same food and exercise routine every day after I proudly complete my entry for that day. Some of them sync with each other and others don’t so really all I have managed to do is feel incompetant. But feeling incompetant to manage my addiction for electronic apps that tell me how I should be feeling have not really impacted my actual fitness results.
After 7 and one half months of going to the gym every day (I’ve only missed 6 days total when the gym was closed completely and 2 days when I drove there and just couldn’t get out of the car) I can easily say I feel pretty good. I don’t feel satisfied that I am making the kind of progress I would like to have made but there is a deep satisfaction in the achievement of simply showing up that supercedes my reaction to the reflection I get in the mirror and the number on the scale. Spending this first hour of my day at this independently owned gym on a treadmill or reminding myself to count the number of reps is where I find sanity in the numbers. Even when the scale doesn’t say a number I’d like, there is an overwhelming peace in this place. Its become a refuge. A shelter. Even the physically brutal time with my trainer twice a week is something I look forward to because all of my preconceived notions of what kind of brain a personal trainer would have have been dashed. We have breathless (or rather I am breathless and he picks up my counting reps slack) discussions of philosophy and community and humanity and often transition to business discussions of ROI or joke about how nice it would be if we could do business without clients or employees. It has become my preferred form of therapy. It is making me a better person even if not the skinny person I was hoping.
I still have my bathroom scale although I have been setting it in the bathtub behind the shower curtain in an effort to honor my pledge to only weigh in once a month instead of 3 or four times daily. I lost 8 pounds in two months for a grand total loss of 23 in 7 and a half months and I recite “MUSCLE WEIGHS MORE HAN FAT” out loud three times before getting on. I take three readings at each weigh in to satisfy myself that it is as accurate as its going to get and immediately pet my beloved golden retriever Sugar Bear afterwards, who stoically has accompanied me for these dreaded weigh ins, afterwards. She loves me regardless of the number on the scale.
My husband and lover (same person) of nearly 15 years has been guardedly respectful about this process. His love for me has never been measured by the number on a scale or the size of my jeans. I think it is partly because the gym and the trainer and the dedication I have demonstrated the past 7 1/2 months has curbed my desire to power-shop for silly outfits which I will never wear. I have a closet full of designer labels from size 4 to size 14 that still have tags on them and I’m not even sure I would wear most of them if I could.
The other number in my life that is not a reflection of who I am is my age which recently rolled over to 51 years. Some days I feel older than that pesky number and some days I feel like I am in my mid 20’s. If you have read earlier posts you will know that I have been taking HGH injections as part of an anti-aging regimen and I have reported a general overall sense of well being in addition to smoother skin and lasting energy. I don’t give all the credit to the HGH, but I think it has been a large part of my devotion to making the rest of my lifestyle match that effort and expense.
I know my relationship with fitness and health numbers are going to always be a part of my life but it is no longer the method that determines my mental attitude when taking on my daily activities. I have accepted my age and my weight as a part of my overall desire to be a better person and I feel ready to take on new challenges that reflect all that I am becoming. A recent visit to my physician for the whole annual physical was a positive reinforcement of my progress when my blood tests, sugar and cholesteral and all the other “lady stuff” came back with an all clear. And if the doctor says I’m doing well…well than I must be doing well.