A Follow-Up to my Piece on Body Image: Validation on my own terms.
You know when you write a piece, and seeing your thoughts in ink inspires you to make a change? Yeah, me too. It happens almost every time I pick up a pen. I write to heal the broken parts of myself. Recently, I wrote about body image, and felt empowered to change the way I viewed my body. I felt motivated to work on changing my self-talk. I was finally ready to take charge. And a great deal of me embraced those changes. Then I stepped on a scale. I don’t think I had been weighed in over a year, and when I was weighed, it was at a doctor’s office. The act was certainly not voluntary. I had no desire to know. Knowing my weight causes me to obsess and restrict, patterns I so desperately wish to break. But then I stepped on a scale voluntarily, just to see. And I know all too well that just to see, has never really been just to see. I stood there as my weight was being calculated, and hesitated before looking down. When I finally did look down, I was taken aback. I had lost weight. I mean, I had certainly been feeling pretty good as of late: healthier, more energetic, fit. Seeing that number though, somehow validated all of those feelings for me. And I despised that I received personal validation from a scale. The Mallory of the past delighted in this number, and the present me hated that I only felt proud when I was okay with the number I saw. So I felt as though I had arrived at an all too familiar crossroads. Was I going to let this number consume me? Was I going to let this number hold me hostage? Was I really going to let this number force me into calorie-counting and over-exercise? As I stepped out of the bathroom, I had to make a decision. I took a deep breath, stepped out with my head held high, and proceeded to eat a full dinner AND dessert. Not once did I even concern myself with the caloric content. For me, this was tangible growth. For me, this was proof of change. I’m going to continue to work on listening to my body and how it feels, rather than having a number on the scale be my guiding source of self-worth. I’ve never really liked numbers anyway, just ask any of my past math teachers. So instead of obsessing, I think I’m going to keep rolling with these new principles, and this new me.