A lot of times as women, and I will include men too, we get on the scale and we either see a number we like, or a number we do not like. 2 days ago I threw my scale in the trash. Yup. Also, to ensure that I would not grab it out of the trash I threw a bunch of chicken stock on it. My whole life I have lived by the numbers on the scale. I have always felt like my weight number was attached to me like a big Scarlet letter. In my mind, if I were in some sort of movie, my weight would be plastered to my chest as people fled away from me in all directions- almost like Godzilla!.
I remember a time, in a far away land, when I was sixteen I weighed 150 pounds. Yes, that’s real. I remember looking in the mirror squeezing my stomach and just wanting to get fewer than 150. I can always remember just wanting to just be smaller. When I was getting married last summer I was 220 and had lost 30 pounds. I remember not wanting to get my headshots taken at that size, because I wanted to be 10 pounds smaller. I I was always wanting and never at peace.
So I threw the scale in the trash, and am living my life based on how my body feels. At 260 pounds I am at my highest weight in my life, and still feel even if I lose a couple of pounds that it is never enough. Weight loss is not just losing weight in your body, it is losing those negative thoughts in your mind as well. It is shedding the moments of inadequacy, deprecation and continuous wanting of more.
What we need to remember is that weight does not measure your self-worth. This is something I struggle with all the time, because I know especially- being an actor- when your body is your instrument it is difficult to not measure everything around how you look. The industry is based on talent, yes, but how you look plays a huge part in it. Being a bigger person, it is difficult when you see a character listing/breakdown that requires that actress to be “beautiful, gorgeous, and pretty.” I know all of these adjectives would apply to me when I am with close friends and family. My husband and mom tell me I am beautiful every minute of the day. However, the business that I am involved with does not consider me beautiful. The “business” considers me to be the: “overweight best friend” or “soul singing woman with HUGE presence.”
Those descriptions alone can lead someone to the road of self-deprecation. Today I had to realize that I am not losing this weight for the “business,” I am losing this weight because I want to feel more healthy in my body. I want to be able to run around with my kids and not be exhausted. I want to be able to go for a jog in the summer on Lake Shore Drive and not be terrified. I just want to do everyday things.
Numbers on a scale can be one of the main reasons for negative body image. We do crazy things to our body, because of numbers. We stop eating, we throw up delicious foods, and we go on extreme diets and deprive ourselves of nutrients we need to survive. Numbers on scale like 1, 2, and 3. Numbers. Numbers that cannot talk back love us or give us a hug when we need it. Numbers that put us in shock and at times can make us cry.
I encourage you, if you are obsessing about the numbers on the scale, have a close friend hide it from you or just throw it in the trash. Positive body image starts with positive love for you. Be positive, be in love, and spring forward into your dreams of being the best YOU possible.
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