More than a number
A friend of mine sent me this cartoon from ToothpasteForDinner.com:
I struggled to maintain my weight for a long time. For a while, I thought that there was something wrong with me. I was ashamed of my size (even when I weighed 155). I was not far from my goal weight, but I just knew that I was the biggest person in the room.
I remember spending hours looking for clothes that would make me look skinnier. I would wear dark colors almost exclusively, because I read that dark clothes had a slimming effect. Any stripes had to be vertical, because almost every overweight woman knows that horizontal lines make you look wider.
I associated my inability to maintain my weight with some kind of personal deficiency on my part. It wasn’t until I was around 240 pounds that I decided that I was done with obsessing over my weight. I was tired of being worried that others would think I was fat. I finally realized that no matter how well designed my clothes were, no one was going to mistake my frame for that of Cindy Crawford. I allowed myself to be free from the chains that worrying about my size put on me. I accepted myself for what I was.
I realized that weight was just a small part of who I am. I have so much more to offer the world. I have spent countless hours talking to women that had nothing better to talk about than the most recent fad diet. I often wonder if they have other interests than being compulsive dieters.
I like to read about the civil rights area. I like to read biographies about people that make a difference in society. I like reading about linguistics. I like to talk about music. I like to write. There is so much more to life than dieting fads. When I gave myself permission to be something other than fat, I gave myself permission to be more.
I think that I rejected dieting for so long, because I was afraid that weight loss would become part of my identity. Now I am Liz the writer, Liz the teacher, Liz the flutist, Liz the mom, Liz the business owner. I don’t want people coming up to me asking me about the details of how I lost weight. I don’t want weight loss to shadow every other thing about me that is so much more than a number on the scale.
Now, as I spend time writing about my weight, I wonder why I am spending so much time writing about being fat.
I am doing so because someone needs to talk about the issues that surround being overweight. It is such a taboo subject. We act like extra weight doesn’t exist. I think that it is important that someone speak candidly about this subject. That person might as well be me.
I think that by sharing my story, it gives others permission to share their story. It gives other people permission to be more than fat.
So, go out into the world and be more than fat. That’s what I am going to do. Each person has so much more to offer the world than a number on a scale.
By the way, I weighed myself, and I am down 9 pounds. Now, I am not going to obsess over weight loss. Instead, I am going to prepare to play my flute tomorrow. Because I am more than a number.