Recently, I was reminded of how much pressure I used to put on myself about weight. I pressured myself to keep my weight under a certain number and celebrated when I was able to get there. When I was at the doctor's office last week for a regular check-up, they had to record my weight. Even though I do not weigh myself, I knew the general range of what was going to pop up on the scale. When the number popped up, it was higher than that number I was talking about earlier - but I did not feel bad about it. I felt good.
I remember being completely obsessed with reaching a certain weight and this was not for health reasons at all. I wanted to be under a certain amount so I could feel better about my body. I thought that if I weighed this "ideal" amount, people would view me as worthy. I was so obsessed with the number on the scale that when I lost ten pounds due to having mono, I was excited! I was excited to lose weight that I did not need to lose. Instead of being obsessed with feeling happy and fully of energy, I let myself obsess over something less important.
When I was obsessed with those numbers, I was unable to focus on all the things that life was trying to offer. Once I let go of that obsession, I was able to focus on my career and how I wanted it to be different. I was able to travel more with friends. I was able to step out of my comfort zone and move to a new city. I was able to do all the things I used to be afraid of because I gained a new mindset.
Nowadays, I feel as though diet culture is teaching us to obsess over inches rather than pounds. It doesn't matter what we are being taught to obsess over - neither of these obsessions will lead us to a more fulfilling life.
I understand that focusing on inches and pounds may help some people reach a healthier weight and I support that. But for those of you who are trying to lose inches or pounds that do not necessarily need to be lost (or maybe aren't even there to be lost), you need to refocus your mind elsewhere. Instead of obsessing over these numbers, you need to be obsessed with what makes you happy. When you are too focused on inches and pounds, your mind is overtaken by all things diet related - food groups, calories, exercise - and this leaves you with no room for the things in life that leave you feeling happy and fulfilled.
The number on the scale does not define you. The size of your waist does not determine your beauty. Don't let diet culture and unrealistic beauty standards make you feel any different. Your body isn't the wrong one - society is.