From the moment we set foot into the world, we are geared to want to be society’s definition of beautiful – long and lean. Our happiness determined by a scale, one that can’t calculate happiness, worth, or strength – only weight.
I spent two and a half years of high school almost 20 pounds underweight. I was a runner and averaged 40-50 miles a week, which was fine, but I wasn’t consuming enough calories to match what I burned off each day. With every meet I attended, I grew more in awe of the long, lean bodies of the runners that toed the line next to me. I saw how gracefully they moved and how quickly they rounded the trails and I wanted nothing more than to be like that.
They were the ones with their names in the newspaper. Pictures of their gazelle-like stride on the front page and a big part of me felt that if I looked like them, I would have my picture plastered throughout the newspaper too.
It didn’t occur to me that if I had just fueled my body properly, I would be the one crossing the finish line proudly and feeling like I had given it my all, instead of wondering why I was so tired and fatigued.
It didn’t occur to me that I didn’t need to look like them. I didn’t need to fit into a size one or eat just a granola bar and an apple for lunch.
In the three years since I gave up competitive running, I have gained not only those 20 pounds needed, but a whole hell of a lot self-love. By combining weight-lifting with lighter cardio, I have come to thrive off seeing just how strong the human body can be.
When people embark on their fitness journeys, they tend to forget that as they lose fat and build muscle, the scale might not go down because muscle weighs more than fat, as you can see:
The thing is – the scale doesn’t measure the smiles you share with friends over a hearty brunch. It doesn’t count the endless laughter that happens over margaritas with your girlfriends. It doesn’t measure new-found confidence as you walk out the door in the dress that’s been hanging in your closet until “those last 5 pounds are gone.”
The scale only measures weight and you have so much more to offer than just that.
If you’re going to measure yourself in numbers, count the number of times you’ve walked past the mirror and thought “damn, I am strong and fierce.” Measure yourself in the weights you can now lift so effortlessly because you’re fueling your body the way it always should have been. Measure yourself in the “you look so happy’s” and the “I’m so proud of you’s”, if you must, but it’s time to set the scale aside and stop measuring your worth in a bright red number.
Featured image via lululemon