60, 35, 102, 95, 2, 5, 112, 82
What do these numbers mean? Everything and yet absolutely nothing. How often do I think about these numbers? Every day, every hour and sometimes once a year. What do these numbers have in common? These are the numbers that “define” me.
60 – my height in inches
35 – my age
102 – my current weight
95 – my competition weight
2 – my jean size
5 – my shoe size
112 – my heaviest weight
79 – the weight I was when I was anorexic
Our lives are defined by numbers. Weight, height, bra size, prescription for glasses, where we park, our place in line, our annual income. Whether they are assigned to us, picked, a source of pride or something that haunts us – they define us. But why? Why do we allow ourselves to become our numbers? Why do we let them make or break our mood. If I step on a scale and my weight is not where I want it to be, what does it really mean? Will world peace cease to exist if I don’t see the “magic number”? Will the world stop rotating on its axis? In the big scheme of things it means nothing other than the effect I have on gravity. Not having the number that we want or think is the “perfect number” has nothing to do with who we are. It’s an illusion. When we finally see the number we crave our lives will be perfect – we will finally be happy, healthy and all will be right with the world. Like I said – an illusion. A number can’t bring any of this and we know it. We just have to believe it.
I’m going to get personal and very real. I am obsessed with my number and I hate it! Every number I have consumes me and it is stopping RIGHT NOW! When I was 15 I let my number rule my life. I was anorexic, weighing myself 10-15 times a day and counting every calorie. At my lowest point I was 79 pounds. Thank God I was able to get control of what was happening and I was able to turn myself around. When I found weight lifting, I began another number game. The weight I lifted became my new number. I wasn’t strong enough unless I was lifting a certain weight. In 2005 I started running and this is when I really defined myself by number – miles per week, races per month, PR times, minutes per mile. I wasn’t a good enough or fast enough runner if my numbers weren’t what I deemed to be “perfect”. And now I am stuck in the ALL NUMBERS ARE DRIVING ME NUTS game. Since I started doing figure competitions, I have had to completely change up the way I workout, eat and think. I have to gain muscle which means I lift and eat more and run/do cardio a lot less. And here is where the mind game starts:
I eat more to allow my muscles to grow
My muscles grow because I am lifting more
I weigh more because I am putting on muscle
I step on the scale and see a number that in my head isn’t “perfect”
I freak the hell out
A number like that on the scale only means one thing – I AM FAT
I want to do more cardio, I want to eat less
I have to get rid of the weight I have gained
But wait, what if the weight I put on isn’t fat, but muscle?
I HAVE BEEN lifting more and I feel stronger, it has to be muscle
Not it’s not – it’s fat. Go run! DAMMIT!!!
This is the point where I have to remind myself that my number does not define me, but as someone who has had issues with numbers in the past, it is very hard. Everything in me wants to cut back on my calories and run for hours, but I know it will set me further from my goals. And I am ready to break the numbers cycle. For the next month I am going to not let my number effect me. It is what it is. Up, down, less, more, bigger, smaller – I will make an effort to let it be just what it is, a number and nothing more. No meaning, no definition and no feeling associated with it.
I challenge you to define yourself with numbers that really matter! The number of hugs you gave your kids in a day, the smiles you can give to strangers, the strives you have made towards your goals, even the kind words you say to those you love. Those are the numbers that make a difference and those ore the ones worth focusing on.