I won’t be dieting this New Year. I didn’t last year. I won’t be next year. I don’t weigh myself regularly or put my focus on “losing weight.” Here’s why.
To be honest, I’ve had this post written out a dozen times over the last two and a half years of blogging. I’ve never actually posted it, out of fear of being too vulnerable.
Seeing all the status updates on social media about the countdown until their fad diet starts or the resolutions to lose weight, made me decide to put this out there for anyone who may be feeling the same way.
Let me preface this by saying, I strongly believe in living a healthy lifestyle. I personally find the obsessing over a specific weight on the scale is in fact, unhealthy.
Where to begin… So, my entire life growing up was dedicated to my love of dance. Competitive dance competitions, cheerleading, gymnastics. It was what made my world go round. I ran track and cross country as well. My metabolism as a kid and teenager was extremely high, and so was my activity level. I would eat an enter pizza like it was my dang job, and stay skinny as a rail.
Fast forward to college. I ended up on the University of Memphis Dance Team and was so excited to be a part of such a prestigious team. They had several National Championship trophies and my competitive spirit couldn’t wait to be a part of that.
Then the note came. It was an intro to the team and on the top had a little number circled. My weight limit.
Little did I know that the number circled on the top of that letter would affect my entire life the way it did.
In order to be on the field, court or a competitive floor, you first had to weigh in and be under that circled little number. No problem, right? I had always been naturally thin, and didn’t think anything of it.
The first weigh in day I didn’t even weigh myself prior to getting on the dreaded back room scale at our practice facility. I walked in that day to see all the veterans doing their “pre weigh in rituals” and began to get nervous. No joke, girls were running to the bathroom, running around the building, standing out their heads, and pacing.
We waited in the hallway for our name to be called, then walked into the back room with the couch for our turn. I was .5 pounds over my weight. “Go run.” That was the punishment for not making weight. Laps. After laps. After so much excitement over game day, I wouldn’t get to take the field that day.
My body changed and I naturally put on a few pounts (along with a college lifestyle..)
Weigh ins became crazier and crazier for me to obtain that circled number.
Then the crazy began. A friend of mine (who also wasn’t making her weight) and I decided we would do whatever it takes to be a part of the team and not sitting out.
We wouldn’t eat on days before weigh ins. My mini fridge was stocked with pickles and jello. I would give myself a bite as a treat if I couldn’t bare the hunger pains any longer. We would run till we would get sick. We would try to make ourselves sick. We would wrap ourself in Preperation H then saran wrap ourselves and put sweatshirts on to try and sweat out water weight. We would take water pills.
We would spend weigh in days in the sauna with the wrestling team. We would skip class to spend 6 hours in that sauna. Every hour we would jump out for a quick drink to reward ourselves. It was down to a science. Every hour I knew I could lose a pound. My homework (really showing my age here with paper homework) would be turned in so crinkled from the sweat dripping on it in the sauna that my teachers would ask what happened to it.
We became so obsessed with doing whatever it took to get to that perfect circled number. I had lost all my self esteem and hated the way my body looked no mater what size I achieved.
After I made weigh ins I began to treat myself with binge eating. The yo-yoing had spiraled out of control, and no matter how thin I looked on the outside, I was UNHEALTHY. Mentally, physically, unhealthy and broken.
Looking back, the saddest part of this was that we thought it was normal. We thought it was ok, and that we were active and the skinnier we were the healthier we were. How wrong that sentiment was.
Fast forward to NBA/NFL life. I was so excited to again hit the floor and dance on part of a team. Luckily, no weigh in days. However, there were tiny little outfits. Swimsuit calendars. Other extremely in shape women to compare myself to. The battle to hit the perfect number on the scale was ongoing.
It was always about that number. The perfectly, unachievable number.
After the NFL days I had somewhat gotten it under control. Then I got pregnant with George.
Sadly, the joy of being pregnant was masked by my intense fear of knowing that number would rise. Enough was enough and I knew it was time to get myself in check.
It’s really a mental shift that has helped me control this the most. Instead of focusing on a number on the scale I focus on healthy habits.
Instead of focusing on what I “can’t have”, I focus on making myself the healthiest version of me possible. Drinking more water, not putting preservatives into my body. Fueling up with lots of vegetables and lean proteins.
This New Year, if you are feeling the pressure to see a certain number on the scale, I highly encourage you to stop. Stop the fad diets. Stop worrying about how anyone else looks in a bathing suit on Instagram. Just stop.
Start focusing on being the healthiest you can be. Mentally and physically. Focus on the way you feel and not on that number.
Don’t let that number define how you view yourself or dictate your worth.
If you are currently stuck on the yo-yo train, know that you are certainly not alone! But it’s time to jump off that ride.