I was in the gym today with the scales right next to my locker. While I was changing after a lovely workout and some time in the steam room a woman who was slightly heavier stepped on the scales. All I could hear, because I had my back to her, was a heavy sigh and as I turned around she walked away with indrawn shoulders, head down. Her whole body posture said it all: she felt defeated, probably like a failure, because her efforts of being in the gym were not paying off or were not paying off fast enough. Likely, she was not trying to lose weight for the first time. Likely, she carries around not only a bit of extra weight, but also a whole load of guilt and shame. Likely these feelings get elevated even more in a gym environment where most people look incredibly fit and healthy.
My heart went out to her, utterly and completely. I remember those times when I was so concerned about the number on the scales and when they had this immense power over my feelings. I was so very close to go and talk to her, to tell her that the number on these scales does not define the person she is; that it does not affect the amazing potential that she carried within her as a human being; that she is lovable no matter what these scales say. And most importantly that she is deserving of being loved by herself!
Yes, this extra weight may not be healthy; yes, it may come with a huge stigma in today’s society, but it does not mean that she should give up on herself or her body. Neither should you if you are familiar with situations like the above whether you are heavy or at a normal weight. Your body is the most precious thing you have in this life and it deserves to be acknowledge for all the things it helps you doing and what it helps you through: the day to day grind of your life, grief, injuries, births for women, travelling between time zones, extreme sports, raising children, having a pressurized life, etc. It also deserves you not giving up on it and finding the right way of nourishing it: in some cases gym workouts may not be the solution for you (as it increases the stress reaction in our body which in turn causes fat to be stored in the belly region), restricting your portion sizes just makes you feel you always have to hold back and having to go to the gym even if your body is tired is just an extra punishment. Find ways to work with your body instead of working against it: try figuring out what is good for it, what not. How does it and how do you feel after a gym workout? Or after a meal? How do you feel after checking your weight on the scales? Learn to be accepting of where you are at in your journey to better health and take it from there, rather than wishing you are somewhere else. You deserve feeling good about yourself, wherever you are at in your journey to better health!
If weighing you always makes you feel bad about yourself, I strongly suggest to take a wide berth around your scales and if you want to take it a step further, throw them away! They have a power over you which they do not deserve! If you are not ready yet to throw them away, I challenge you to hide them for at least a month, not weigh yourself at all and see how it makes you feel. Then come back and think about whether you want to have something in your life that has such a huge negative effect on your feelings.
And always remember:
“It doesn’t matter how slowly you progress – with your health, restoration, nutrition, whatever you focus on – you are still way ahead of where you would be if you never had started.” – Dr Libby
I was extremely torn as to whether to talk to the lady who inspired this blog post or not. The changing rooms were relatively empty, but I was still concerned that my talking to her, even quietly, would trigger even more feelings of shame and guilt because it may draw the attention of other people. That she felt her personal space was invaded, that she was wary about me being genuine. On the other hand, I feel she could have been very open to me saying this to her. In this case, unknown lady, I do apologize to you and I really hope this message gets to you somehow!
With Vibrant Love,
PS: If you are in a situation where you feel that a more holistic approach to your health and weight may be needed which involves approaches that go beyond going to the gym, contact me for a free initial consultation to see how I can help you!