I spent a week feeling fat.
Oh, so cliche, but alas, it’s true. I wasted an entire week of of psychological energy that could have been put toward learning another language instead toward feeling fat. I’m not overweight. I’ve never been overweight. I weigh less now than I did at the end of high school. And for decades now, due to body-image work I’ve fully committed to, I rarely fall into the self-loathing of “fat” for more than a few hours. I can pull myself out of it quickly. The week long wallowing in irrational judgement got my attention.
Upon closer scrutiny, I realized I had made two mistakes that shared one thing in common– I chose the wrong tools for measurement.
Mistake number one happened slowly over the last couple of months. My mom has always and will always be skinnier than me. I’m totally comfortable with this fact. Over the last few years, she will decide a piece of clothing she bought is “too young” for her, and she will give it to me. Usually these items are accessories or tops that fit my style and wardrobe. This past fall, she gave me some jeans. And I wore them over and over again for months. Just because I could put them on did not, in fact, mean that they fit. They weren’t my pants. They didn’t make me feel good. I unconsciously used the pants as a measurement of my size. I am the right size. The pants are not. Consciously realizing this has made a big difference. Wearing clothes that really fit me make me has helped immensely.
Mistake number two happened in a moment during a party ay my friend’s house. I went into her bathroom and decided to step onto her scale. Big mistake. The number staring up at me was eight pounds more than the number reported at my last doctor’s appointment. That new number was my companion for a week. That number drove my self-loathing while the pants confirmed it. I don’t own a scale for a reason. I’m not wired to measure my enough-ness in numbers. Some people like scales. I don’t find them to be an effective measurement tool for me. I’m happier if I don’t micromanage, I’m better if I don’t know the number and instead look for other clues. It took a week to break it down. I stepped on the scale late at night after eating heartily at the party. I was living in my most “full” days of my monthly cycle. And the party was in January while my doctor’s appointment was in July (read slight hibernation due to the cold).Instead of walking the streets of NYC daily, I am now shivering in my home office with only a twenty foot commute to the next room. I finally let the number go because, really, who cares? I eat healthy. I exercise. I feel great. I like to measure my enough-ness by my wellness, not by the size of my clothes or the number of pounds I am. I recognized my two mistakes and let them go. I am enough.
My fat week invited me to think about the tools I use to measure my enough-ness in other areas of my life. What are the equivalent to my mom’s pants and the scale that I am wrongly using in other areas of my life? How do you measure your enough-ness? Could we know more self-love if we work to establish the tools of measurement that set us up for success? It is said, for example, that our close peer group is highly influential on happiness. Who we surround ourselves with will give us clues as to if we are enough– if we are making enough money or have enough things. What tools are you using to decide if you are enough?