What I’m about to share is something that many women (and men) feel ashamed, embarrassed and downright scared of exposing to others. I’m about to tell everyone exactly how much I weigh.
I haven’t weighed myself in years, but I always have some idea of what the number is. As a kid and teen, I was a hardcore athlete, training year-round for four different sports and practicing for hours a day. I started lifting weights at age 14, and have never feared muscle—I’ve always wanted to be strong. I’m taller than average (at 5’8”) and I’ve always weighed more than my friends, but even then I never saw myself as fat and never “dieted” even though all my teenage friends (who were already skinny) did. To me, muscle made me a better athlete and food gave me the fuel I needed, so I wasn’t going to skimp on either.
I recently explained how I don’t weigh myself, and that’s true. As a fitness professional, I know that weight is simply a number on the scale. It doesn’t tell you how fit you are, how much muscle you have, how much fat you have, or even if you’re truly overweight (or not). Yet we give so much credence to the scale, allowing it to influence how we feel about our bodies, how high our self-esteem will be that day, and whether we need to change our bodies. I’m not immune to that myself. Part of the reason I don’t weigh myself is because, even though my weight is healthy for my height, even though I’m fit and strong, and even though I feel somewhat confident about how my body looks, I feel bad about myself as soon as I see the number on the scale. So, I just avoid it! I pay attention to how I look and how my clothes fit, and if those things change for the worse, then I know I should make changes. This is what works for me and helps me to focus on what matters (and away from what doesn’t).
So how much do I weigh? Between 150 and 155 pounds (152 according to my weigh-in last week).
What do I think about it? Well, I’ve always weighed a lot—in high school, I was a svelte 148-pound athlete, when my teammates weighed about 120 pounds. I like to think I weigh more than expected because I’ve always lifted weights. Or maybe it’s because I’m taller. Or really, who knows. When I do (rarely) weigh myself, I instantly feel bad and wish I weighed less (hence the reason for the rare weigh-ins). But why? I don’t think I need to lose weight until I actually weigh myself. Unrealistic or not, I think every woman has “that number” in her head, for how much she’d like to weigh to really be happy. But I choose to ignore my head (after all, our minds can make us crazy sometimes!) and focus on what I do know to be true: That I won’t let society’s standards of beauty tell me that I should change my body, feel inadequate or look like someone I’m not.
I think it’s common for people to think they should be near the bottom of the healthy weight range for their height—I feel that way sometimes, too. But keep in mind that there’s no reason that you shouldn’t be at the top of your range, like I am. Just because there’s a range does not mean that you should be at the bottom of it. Many people try to diet or exercise their way to the bottom, even if it’s unhealthy or unrealistic in some cases.
I’m not exactly ashamed of my weight, but I think we can agree that people judge others for things like this, and the last thing I’d want is to be judged as less informed or less knowledgeable about exercise, fitness or weight control—the fields in which I work. I didn’t make this post to get any kind of reassurance or compliments from others. Rather, I decided to make this post because I want women to stop being ashamed of how much they weigh. I think we should all stop feeling inadequate, or like we need to be a certain size or weight to be happy, liked, attractive or good enough. And we should stop giving the scale more power than it really has—after all, weight is a number like age. It is what it is, but only means so much.
What do you think? Do you feel confident enough to tell others how much you weigh, how you honestly feel about your weight, and what you wish the scale would say? Does the scale make you feel bad about yourself?
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