I’ve never thought of myself as unhealthy or overweight. If I felt like my pants were tight, I’d skip the cookies and cupcakes for a week or two and be right back into my favorite jeans.
Then I had kids. Five kids. In less than four years and everything stopped fitting.
No worries! I’ve had kids! I’m still fit! I’m not an unhealthy person!
I bought a scale a few months ago that connects to your phone by Bluetooth and with a few data points added, calculates everything from BMI to Metabolic Age. (It’s a Renpho, by the way, and it’s amazing.) I loved it. I was so proud of it. I bragged about it to my friends and husband for days before it arrived on my porch. Then I stepped on it and in no uncertain terms, my BMI number turned yellow.
All those things I’d been telling myself - the impressions I carried from my 20-something or even 30-something year-old self - exploded in my brain. Kaboom.
It’s hard in retrospect to describe the wave of feelings I had when I saw “unhealthy” in black and white over my BMI number, but if I had to choose one, it’s shame. I was not ashamed of the weight. In fact, I relish and celebrate what my body has accomplished over the past ten years! (I am woman hear me roar, right?) The shame came from the fact that I hadn’t stopped and looked at myself long and hard enough to realize where I was.
I was not fit. I was not healthy. And here’s the kicker: I was not happy.
The days following that first step on my new smarter-than-a-spreadsheet scale looked a lot like I was grieving. My entries in my gratitude journal were superficial and meaningless. I had received bad, jarring news and was trying to reconcile my thoughts with the reality.
They were hard.
But here’s what happened next. I said thank you to my new, shiny scale, packed it away, and vowed to not get on it until I was ready to confront the yellow number head-on with a plan. I then made a plan. I took control.
I made small changes every day that focused on the biggest realization first: I was not happy. I found ways to allow more time with our kids. I found ways to allow more time for meditation and mindfulness. I found ways to plan for exercise and healthy meals for all of us. I found peace with my yellow number and acceptance of what it meant. In truth, I feel lighter because I’ve let go of some of the emotion and avoidance that I’d clearly been pushing deep inside of myself.
I am happy.
Last week, I had my plan. I knew which bite I was going to take first to eat this huge elephant I’d let live in my brain for too long. I pulled out my shiny no-longer-new scale and stepped on.
Game on, yellow number. Game on.