“How much do you weigh?” – is not a cool question.
It’s a conversation killer. People shuffle uncomfortably, trying to avoid eye-contact. Some people might even find it offensive. It’s part of the Holy Trinity of questions you never ask people, especially ever (if you live in “Western countries”):
How much do you weigh.
How much money do you make.
How old are you.
The answer to all of those questions is a number.
So why are numbers so sensitive and so personal?
And for the purpose of this post, why is a number on the scale so powerful and capable of ruining someone’s life?
The answer is simple: because we give them the power.
And it’s also complicated… But I’m going to make it simple and give you 2 reasons why you should stop giving away your power to numbers.
When you reach “your number”, nothing will change.
Your “real life” doesn’t start when you weigh your golden number.
In my coach training I’ve learned that many people, both male and female, have a “magic number” or a number within a range, that they want to weigh.
At first I was surprised, but then I realized that’s not surprising at all… I was one of those people in my late teens! I just didn’t know that I was one of many many people around the world who did that. I thought it was just me: my secret goal, my little project; oh how wrong I was… everyone had the same secret goal.
My number was 50kg. That was my goal and that was how I could measure my “success”. I picked that number because I weighed about 57kg at the time, and I thought “Wouldn’t 50 be a much nicer number to be? Fifty. Nice and easy to say!” (as if I would have ever said that to anyone anyway). I’m not kidding you. That was my reason. Completely arbitrary number based on absolutely nothing health-related, sport-related, friend-related, dating-related, nothing! I just thought if I weighed less then life would just be better. Somehow.
So I poured a lot of energy into achieving this number. I got emotionally attached to the number. And that attachment drove me to walk 2 hours a day (with vigour), eat nothing but a (low-carb soy & linseed) sandwich all day plus a few nuts, feeling ravenous but rapt on controlling how much food I ate, and constantly thinking about calories, carbs grams, and how many more steps I needed to walk up.
Meanwhile I was starting a law degree and a commerce degree – I’ve no idea how I managed to scrape through those first years because so little energy went towards my studies.
I never got to 50kg. I did get to 52kg at some point, and I remember seeing that number and feeling pretty proud of myself. I thought “If I keep going with what I’m doing, I can get to 50!”
But I couldn’t keep going with what I was doing.
I just got too darn hungry. When the university term breaks came around I just gave up and ate all the things. When the term started again I would go on my strict regiment again. What a fun spin cycle. And what did I gain from all that?
Nothing changed when I was lighter. The skies didn’t open, angels didn’t burst into song, world poverty did not end and I was no better or more evolved as a human being (not to mention sh*t got worse when the weight bounced back again). I just wasted a tonne of energy distracting myself from living life. And fell deeper into self-loathing and obsessing over food.
So the moral of the story is: just don’t give a flying piranha about reaching “your number”.
Because bugger all will change when your weight changes. Nothing about your life will change unless you change.
We get fooled into thinking that changing the outside will magically lead to “everything’s better”. But truth is, magic is an inside job. You can feel joy and love for your body at any weight.
If you’re convinced that your life can only be better once you reach some ideal weight, then for whatever reason you are choosing to live in that small world of dieting consciousness. If that’s how you wanna
waste away live your life, OK. But if you know that you’re meant for bigger things on Earth than looking and weighing a particular number. You really shouldn’t give a damn.
You think “other people” care about your weight, but they don’t.
Many of us just want to please other people, be it society at large or family and friends. It matters how we look to others, it matters that we meet their expectations, and if we fall short, then that makes us miserable but determined to be better.
Mainstream sets unattainable images of what we should look like – digitally enhanced, photo-shopped images that we believe to be real. Designed to make you feel Less than and Not good enough. Designed to make you want what you don’t have, while making you forget all the amazing gifts you do have. So we get to thinking “Well, that’s what’s expected of me, so I better get moving (and buy that diet shake while I’m at it!)”
The scary thing about this is it’s silent.
From our cultural conditioning and upbringing, we’re all secretly thinking to ourselves “Other people won’t love me unless I look like this ideal shape and size, so I better diet and exercise to look like that”. But you don’t talk openly about this with your friends. You pretend you’re just not hungry or you had a big lunch, and whenever someone looks at you you’re convinced that they must be judging the shape of your legs – because you are judging the shape of your legs.
It’s a freaking pandemic – this “Other people won’t approve of me unless I’m thin” virus – and it’s silently attacking us one after another, slowly eroding all our power and life force for self-expression.
The truth is “other people” don’t give a damn about your weight – but they do give a damn about your money.
Diet industries rely on planting insidious viral beliefs in our heads because otherwise there’s no need for their products.
If we believed that we are perfect exactly the way we are, why would we want to “get rid of cellulite”? How exactly is cellulite affecting our quality of life? Is running water cut off when cellulite strikes? Are our kids going to get sick? Will our friends and family abandon us?
And “other people” in terms of our social circles, friends and family…
If they base their friendship and love on how we look or weigh, run in the other direction. Fake friends alert.
If it’s a family member or relative, that’s their problem not yours. They judge your appearance because they intensely judge and attack their own. Say a prayer for them.
At the end of the day, don’t do anything for other people. Sure, you can let others inspire you and move you, but in the end you gotta do things because you decide to do it.
Don’t ever try to change your body and change your weight out of fear that others won’t approve of you otherwise.
If they’re worth your time, they better love you up exactly the way you are.
And as for the society at large… Again, just don’t give a flying piranha.