Inspired by this post over at Diary of a Fat Teenager; I wanted to address the “magic number” of 200 lbs.
I always ALWAYS dreaded that number. I mean, at my most svelte “adult” size I could not drop below 170 pounds either. And any movie or media you see parades that 200 lbs as if it is a death sentence; a blubbering mass of human flesh and disease waiting to bring you to death’s door! I vividly remember a scene from Something About Mary (A movie I like and find very funny) when the sleezy detective is reporting that the long-lost Mary was a whale, a huge 200 lb behemoth! How much more convincing do you need than that to know that anything over 200lbs MUST be monstrous!? It was scary.
Then; (Despite or perhaps BECAUSE of all the years of self-hatred induced dieting) I got there. 200 pounds! And until I finally found the self-acceptance blogs I read now; I thought that I WAS some kind of monstrous beast. I mean, 199 ~ Okay. Not great, but WHEW at least not that DREADED 200, right? I mentally beat myself up; demanding more sacrifice from my body through starvation and over exercising; feeling wretched on the days I did “well” since I was under-nourished and exhausted and feeling even WORSE on those “bad” days when my poor body succeeded in gaining some nourishment or a bit of a rest from the weary drudgery of mindless exercise.
Then, as though some sort of angel of self-forgiveness came down and hit me over the head with the “Hey, Stupid!” stick, I found and started to read about size acceptance. I read about Health At Every Size and Intuitive Eating. I read about the bullshit that IS the BMI. And you know what, I got angry! Why, with all the important and devastatingly monstrous things going on in the world; does 200 lbs strike more fear in the hearts of people than almost anything else? (… blindness, limb amputation, kidney failure and death; anything is better than gaining weight!)
I mean, really, in the scheme of things, how is it that passing that one pound over into 200 (or 300, 400, 500, whatever) make one suddenly vile, gross, fat? It isn’t as though those of us at 199 are any less discriminated against or vilified. Yet still; breaking that magic-number barrier is like some sort of signal to not only hate yourself MORE but to accept the body-hatred of others as well. This doesn’t make sense to me. Maybe it is the same mindset that makes us more willing to buy a sofa if it is priced at $999 than if it hits $1,000. I’m not sure but it shouldn’t be that way! Weight is a number. A factual representation; weight is a measurement of the gravitational force acting on an object. That is all. It isn’t a condemnation or a celebration of your habits or behaviors. It doesn’t reflect how “Good” or “Bad” you’ve been all day. It is SIMPLY a measurement. Nothing more, nothing less.
So now, after a long time of thinking and examining some of the deeply ingrained beliefs that I myself had on weight and fat; I’ve begun to heal; I can look at that number and know that it means only what it says.
Last Thursday my weight and height were taken at the doctor’s office. I hadn’t weighed myself in many months; having given up on the futilistic and self-damaging habit of daily weighings. I watched the digital scale’s readout. 255 lbs. I looked around and thought; hmmm. I don’t really FEEL different than I did at 190…or 201. I mean, people still think I’m fat so that hasn’t changed really. I guess the only that that HAS changed is my own feeling about the number. It has finally become a simple numerical representation of one tiny aspect of my body. It holds no judgements against me; good or bad. It simply IS.
I looked at my weight and was really happy that it was 255. I was happy because I don’t ever check my weight myself anymore yet the number was about the same as my last check. It made me glad that I seem to have finally worked out my intuitive eating and have finally gotten stabalized with a body that loves the way I’m treating it and has settled down with me to stay. No more yo-yo weight (beyond the normal fluctuations) due to the frantic pace of diets and recovery. Getting to the point that you can just accept your weight as the factual number it is, means that I’ve done well to alter my perceptions of weight in a positive way 🙂 And that, is another step in the right direction.