Before racing 70.3 Texas I was getting a lot of questions along the same lines: Are you losing weight? I would shrug my shoulders, because honestly, I didn’t know.
I bought a scale about a year ago for the first time in my life, and honestly, the day I bought it was probably the last time I got on it to look at the numbers. The cat usually lays on it to prop himself up, so I guess it’s a glorified kitty toy.
Weight to me is a number. It does not define who I am or my value.
But man that number sure has a lot of power over us. The number on the scale for many can turn their mood on a dime: the number goes down, confidence goes up, if the number goes up, body shaming and lack of confidence go up. All of this over a number. Which by the way can vary greatly depending on what time you step on it. If you are going to use that number, gauge yourself based on a consistent time. Something like Tuesday mornings after you use the restroom. If you are a triathlete and have long weekends, I know I tend to retain a lot of water that drains on Mondays, so Tuesday mornings would be the best before workouts. And I’ve thought about it to track, but, I don’t want to give that number power over me. I don’t want a scale defining my mood.
I don’t know if I am losing weight, but I know my body shape is changing, as it usually does when my long workouts come. As long as I’m eating smart, my body naturally goes to the shape best fitting my activities. That means my clothes fit differently, which can help me with my confidence. Being strong makes me confident, not what size I have to order (although having to order an extra large for a triathlon item was a huge punch in the gut).
That doesn’t mean that I don’t suffer from body image issues. In fact from my huge PR for my 70.3, some of my first reactions to a few pictures was, ouch, man I’m chubby. Not wow I can’t believe I did so well, but that in that picture, I didn’t like the way I looked. But then I remind myself that spandex is hard on everyone, even the super fit. I don’t want my goal to be a shape that is defined by an industry pushing people to make bad health choices. I don’t want to go down the road of having body issues define my eating habits.
I want to be strong, happy and confident in myself, whatever shape that takes. So I may have bigger thighs than a lot of people, but those thighs power me up hills on my bike and keep me going for hours of activity without complaint.
I just have to keep reminding myself of that every time I look in the mirror.