I looked in my mirror and was surprised at the pockets of fat that had gathered around my mid section.
I slowly twirled around, confirming my fear, the rolls had migrated to my back as well. My body, that once maintained a solid 111 pounds, no matter what, had inched its way up the scale. I felt as if it happened overnight, but the signs were there. First, my mirror began showing me a seemingly wider reflection, I assumed that I had angled it in a weird position against the light. Then scales, they began tipping oddly upward, I thought they were surely miscalculating my weight and needed to be replaced. I shunned the device and began using measurements, but it too betrayed me, and began calculating an additional 3 inches. Western science was no longer a method I could trust, and i enlisted the advice of my ancestors. I threaded multi colored glass beads around my waist in order to maintain my waist, sculpt my hips, and protect my womb, just as my sisters in Ghana use, but even they betrayed me, first tightening themselves closely around my midsection, then breaking free after I mistakingly breathed. Embarrassed, I gathered the tiny baubles from the floor, and promised to do something about my weight.
So, I did what any reasonable person would do, I visited my doctor. When he confirmed that i had not gained 15 pounds but 30. I still could not rationally register the news.
I convinced myself that it was all lies, bloat, an optical illusion, It was impossible, I had never been able to gain weight before in my life. As the doctor firmly assured me otherwise, I realized that our relationship had made irreparable damage, I blamed him for what I could not understand and I fired him promptly after the visit.
I began working out that same day, my workouts were intense and I was committed, but i saw no progress…for months i did this, for months I stayed the same. Soon (months later) I realized that i had to incorporate a healthy diet into my regime to see any change. I learned the hard way that the 80/20 (80% diet and 20% exercise) rule is indeed true.
Once I incorporated the diet into my plan, the weight dropped off with ease. I shimmied back down to 130 and then 120 and finally my goal of 111, my resting weight, or so i thought. I became so skinny, and the pressure so ongoing, that even that felt unhealthy.
My legs, my arms..they looked foreign to me, as if they belonged to someone else. Someone much younger, and tinier.
I realized then that the numbers are only numbers, they can’t assess how you will look or how you will feel.
I stopped focusing on the scale and allowed my body to decide what was best for me, these days I am anywhere between 122 and 125. I still workout, and i still eat well, but i do not obsess and i definitely do not set a goal weight. In fact, I never even look at a scale. After becoming so overwhelmed with the idea of my weight being either too high or too low, I decided it really didn’t matter. I assess my body without any device other than my own eyes. The only thing that determines if i should tone or trim is how I view myself.