I don’t think this is news to most of you but I had/have an eating disorder. I also have the inability to see myself as other’s do. Both of these things I’ve discussed in blogs before but recently my struggles with them have resurfaced. In today’s society, the pressure to look a certain way, especially after forty, is intense. Add to it my crazy self-esteem issues and it makes for a very self-destructive mix. As I delve into this, please remember, this isn’t about ego or being self-centered, it’s about feeling good enough and a sense of belonging NOT vanity. Unless you have lived in a world where taking care of your own basic needs feels like something you don’t deserve, it’s hard to understand but I’m going to try and use my gift of analogy to paint the picture.
What’s in a number? Well, it’s how we measure everything, right? In 5th grade I weighed 94 pounds. I was probably 5’2” or so but that number “94” stuck in my head and not in a good way. I was always big for my age and my sister was small. I was younger and I knew being bigger than her wasn’t good. I knew that I was bigger than other girls in my class; more developed and “mature”. Basically, I was a child trapped in a woman’s body and didn’t understand what it meant. I developed at true distain for how I looked by the age of 10 and it’s never really changed. Add to it my type A personality and it’s an eating disorder waiting to happen. Fast forward 30 plus years and countless crappy societal messages and I’m still a kid trapped in a woman’s body. It’s a loss of innocence that I’ve struggled with I guess and a sense of not having any control that has drove me to the brink of killing myself on more than one occasion; either actively or passive aggressively. Starving yourself is another form of suicide, it just takes longer. It also makes people who love you to suffer. It’s like taking control of your life only to take your own life and forcing people to watch. It’s the ultimate form of control for people who have never felt they had control. It is pretty terrible thing to do to people but even worse to do to yourself.
So after Bailey I have had pretty good control over this issue, as far as the eating part goes, but when I am feeling stressed or life feels chaotic, I tend to turn to it for comfort. In my world, control equals focus which equals not having to deal with the “bad” stuff. Lately my stress has been high as have the numbers on my scale. Therefore I started wanting to force myself to throw up and restrict my food. It’s a downward spiral after that. It’s like a switch that once flipped doesn’t shut off. However, I have found some hope. Instead of listening to my always antagonistic bitch in my head, I’ve enlisted the help of a wellness coach. She’s much more supportive and a lot more understanding.
When I started my wellness coaching I weighed 141 pounds. I am 5’5”. Those numbers do not make me happy.( Please do not look at my numbers and assume I have any opinion on your personal numbers because as I have explained, I don’t see like normal people do.) Anyway, yesterday I weighed in at 143. I thought I was going to cry. Then my health coach gave those numbers new meaning. As it turns out, I’m actually thinner at 143 than I was at 141. Since I started with my sports performance training and started working with her, I have lost almost 3 pounds of fat and gained almost 6 pounds of muscle. I like the sound of that.
As a person who plays with numbers for a living, I am familiar with how any one number can be made to look a myriad of ways. This makes sense to me though. So when I ask myself what’s in a number, thanks to my health coach, instead of placing value strictly on the singular total, I can focus on the parts of the whole. Those parts would seem to encompass less fat and more muscle. That equals a healthier me physically and looking at it in that way also makes for a more emotionally healthy me. I still see gross in the mirror but rationally the numbers sure feel better. So as part of this year’s journey, I will be sharing my physical and emotional progress regarding my body, weight and how I see myself. It’s going to be a bumpy ride I just hope that by sharing I can help other’s see they aren’t the only ones who might put too much value in the outside of something rather than the parts that make them up. (yes…. I know I have all kinds of crazy that makes me who I am too. It’s not just fat and muscle but muscle, fat and a spectacular sense of humor)