Life By Number
2016! We have started a new year. How many times have you had to cross out or erase 2014? It inevitably happens at least once. A new number to remember. A new number to define us. After all, sometime during this year, we will all turn a year older. Let me see….subtract the year of my birth from 2016….ugh….am I really that old? Suddenly I feel tired and achy.
The truth is that the way we see ourselves is often influenced by numbers. A couple of digits can change everything. I got a 90 on that test….I’m a genius! Size 8 jeans…..I look good! BMI is 24….I’m normal I gained 15 lbs…..I’m not leaving the house I’m over 50…..I feel old
90, 8, 24, 15, 50…These are numbers that can form a life. They can reflect how we look at who we are. When they are numbers we like, we feel good about life and about ourselves. But when they are not, we often feel bad and ashamed.
If our clothing had no sizes, if there were no such things as scales, how would this affect our self-worth? Recently Special K ran a commercial entitled “You Are More Than a Number” featuring several women of various body types shopping for jeans. As each woman is measured for ‘size’, the tape measure only shows results of radiant, confident, and courageous. The women embrace their own beauty because they have been positively reinforced that they are stunning and strong. It exemplified what it would be like to get beyond idealized measurements and sizes and see the beauty of the person. Yes, it’s just a commercial to sell cereal, but the message is still a powerful one.
For most of my life, I avoided going to the doctor. I would delay it as long as I possibly could. Why? Because I didn’t want to get on that dreaded scale. I already knew that I was heavier than I wanted to be, but seeing that number, which was often more than I had anticipated, would send me spiraling into self-hate and depression. The same went for clothes shopping. For the average woman, this is a fun trip. For me it was a humiliating and heartbreaking experience. The day that I had to purchase a size 20 pair of pants I felt worthless and ugly.
It was only when I realized that weight loss is not a story about numbers that things finally turned around for me. I stopped caring about the numbers on a scale or the size on a label, or even the calories on a product package. I started to focus solely on loving and appreciating my body and taking the best care of it that I could. I had to put the shame and guilt aside to see the beauty of my body just as it was. And then I had to show how much I treasured it by feeding it what it needed, not just what I wanted.
The amazing thing about our body is that it wants to be healthy. It will tolerate a lot of abuse, but like a toy with a dying battery, it won’t work as well as it could. When you change what you eat, just like you change a battery, it comes to life with renewed energy and vibrancy. When it is habitually nourished with foods that it recognizes, it responds in good ways. Before I knew it, I began feeling healthier and I was losing weight. And it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. I started by concentrating on the fruits, vegetables, and healthier foods that I liked the most. From there I expanded and tried new foods. As all these tasty and healthier dishes became enjoyable to me, I gradually reduced the foods that were not good for my unique body. Over the course of a year and a half, I shed the weight that had kept me from feeling my best.
There was one last number, however, that I had to let go of: 120. That is the weight I always thought I should be, my goal weight. I had to face the fact that this was unrealistic for me. So I am not skinny-minny, but I am at a weight that serves me, and is comfortable and sustainable for me. I am healthy, and I hope to live to a ripe old age, whatever that number will be.
About The Author
Certified Health Coach
Bonnie attended the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, the largest nutrition school in the world, and studied over 100 dietary theories. Drawing on this knowledge, she helps her clients create a completely personalized “roadmap to health” that suits their unique body, lifestyle, preferences, and goals. She is board certified by the AADP.
Bonnie offers private one-on-one health coaching as well as group programs. Sessions can be in person, by phone, email, or Skype. She leads seasonal detoxes, clean eating, and weight loss programs. Bonnie also conducts workshops, seminars, and classes covering a variety of health-related topics.
Are you ready to find out how easy it is to incorporate simple and healthy meals and strategies into your life? Do you need support, a nudge, and someone to be accountable to? Find out how Bonnie can help you. She offers a 45 minute coaching strategy session so that you may start your own personal journey to wellness.