Let’s talk about weight.

by Elizabeth on April 30, 2013

Where to start…. yesterday was hard. I’m thinking the fact that I woke up at 2 am and never went back to sleep had something to do with it. I know it may seem like I have come a long way (and I HAVE!) but there are still a few things that are really difficult for me. I’m not proud of every part of the following story, but I think that’s alright. It’s ok to live, learn, and most importantly be honest.

Backing up to January… I felt pretty good health wise! I just started the blog and it was super exciting to watch it grow almost daily. I was using it as a motivator to continue to be healthy and decided on a whim to run the Houston Marathon. I’m sure you’ve heard me say this, my training included pushing Noah in the jogging stroller daily and (maybe) breaking an 8 minute mile every now and then. I hopped in the marathon and felt great! I ended up running 3:15 (7:30 pace) and the weird thing was I felt incredible (relatively speaking for how one feels running 26 miles). I thought I could go faster.

It took a few weeks to recover from that and in February, I decided to run the She Runs Half Marathon in St. George, Utah. I’d never entered a half marathon so just finishing would be a PR. I ran 1:30 with hills and altitude and I won’t lie and tell you it was easy. It was really hard!

Throughout March I felt dead. I didn’t do one workout or long run, even though I was planning on running a marathon at the beginning of April to try to break 3:00. Didn’t happen. I literally felt awful more days than not but I can say that I listened to my body and didn’t push it. April came and I started to feel a little better. But since I have a history of anemia (low iron) and was feeling tired I made an appointment with my doctor just to check things out.

So comes yesterday when I walk into the doctor’s office, fill out paper work, and get called back. There I am face to face with the arch enemy of Christmas past: the scale. We do not have a healthy relationship history, and although my dietitian weighs me weekly so she knows where I’m at, I choose not to know. I think there can be times when clearly it’s in one’s best interest not to know. For me, that turned in to fear and avoidance so I chose to watch her weigh me yesterday. I want to develop a good relationship with my body at any number, so I need to start somewhere. I was kind of shocked because it was a good bit above what I expected to see.

I would be lying to you if I said it didn’t bother me a little when I saw that number. I’m sure there are very few people out there who like watching the number on the scale climb. What I told myself though (and this is a huge shift) is it’s JUST a number. Weight doesn’t measure integrity, honesty, humility, fun, or joy in your life. It mere representation of the force which your body is attracted to the Earth, relative to gravity. My weight needed to go up. It can and will go up more with time. Why, for so long, did I cling to something so tightly that has very little significance.

We came home and had lunch. I am in the process (it’s ongoing) of choosing to let it go. I recognize that I have some sadness and anxiety about a number and yet I can choose to still do what I need to do. As much as I liked the number I used to see, I like MY ENTIRE LIFE AND EXISTENCE so much better now! I used to believe the lie that I couldn’t and wouldn’t function at a higher weight. How freeing it is to know the truth. And I wouldn’t trade my life now for a lower number any day of the week.

God decided I might need some positive reinforcement in the afternoon so while Noah napped, I spent time at my altar and wouldn’t you know what the devotional for yesterday was… Your body is God’s temple. It’s created for so much MORE than what I once thought. I choose to focus on all of those wonderful things instead of a number. When I’m 90 I won’t look back and wish I would have spent more time obsessing… I want to be thankful I did the opposite and chose to be so grateful for the body that carries me through life.

Questions:

1. Have you ever had anemia?

2. Do you/have you ever struggled with weight or the scale?

3. For some light-heartedness… tell me one of your embarrassing moments! The reason I ask is as you know, I am trying cross fit today and I have a feeling it will be one of mine ;-)

{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Andrea April 30, 2013 at 6:29 am

Just wanted to tell you that you do a wonderful job with your blog. Although I have never met you, you seem to be a great wife and mom! Thanks for being so real. Have fun at cross fit!!

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2 Thetinyrunner April 30, 2013 at 6:34 am

I have a slight case of anemia. I definitely struggle with weight/ scale. I think worrying about how much I weigh and losing weight is a constant conversation between Brian and I daily, he gets really frustrated with it . I love how the Lord used your devotional perfectly yesterday!
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3 Michele April 30, 2013 at 6:38 am

I have struggled with anemia and often struggle with the weight and the scale. Thank you for being so honest with your struggle; you do a wonderful job sharing your story. I love that your devotional fit so well with your thoughts yesterday – He definitely works in great ways!

Oh, and my most embarrassing moment won’t help you at cross fit – it happened way back in 7th grade and probably shouldn’t be shared :-)
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4 Ashley @ OurPersonalRecords April 30, 2013 at 6:48 am

I have consistently had anemia since I was a teenager. My struggles with the scale have never been all encompassing. I don’t really obsess about the number, as much as I think about the tightness of my clothes. At the end of the day I try to remind myself that healthy is what is most important. A difference of 5 pounds either way isn’t going to mean I’m unhealthy.

This is seriously the most embarrassing gym moment ever. I was in a class that was using a step. We were doing a move where we were jumping on the floor with one leg and the other leg was up on the step, then we would switch sides (if that makes ANY sense). Well needless to say while I was jumping over the thing I completely wiped out. I should mention that I was in the very front of a class with about 50 other women. Luckily the instructor didn’t see, but everyone around me did!

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5 Charlotte @ Commitness to Fitness April 30, 2013 at 6:49 am

I don’t have anemia, but the scale and I go way back and we’re not exactly friends. I do not weigh myself often because I’m heavier now than I was in my early twenties, and I get sad when I see the new number. The thing is, today I’m healthier and happier than I’ve ever been, my life is infinitely better now than it was when I was at my thinnest. I was completely unhealthy back then. I don’t know why I cling to that number…
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6 Allison April 30, 2013 at 7:15 am

Happy for you that you were able to accept this <3 you are absolutely beautiful and wonderful! I have anemia quite severely as well, so I understand how annoying it is to be lethargic like, all the time. I can't seem to get it under control so I think being exhausted is normal for me, which is quite pathetic. Thank you for sharing this!
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7 Sarah @PickyRunner April 30, 2013 at 7:22 am

I’ve loved your blog since the moment I found it. Weight is really so dumb when you think about it, but it really does get us down at the same time. I wish it didn’t hold so much importance but it does. I’m glad you’re not letting it get in the way of living life! That’s the biggest part of recovery in my opinion. I’ve always had a very mild case of anemia, which makes no sense since growing up all I would eat was hamburgers!
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8 Karen @ Runner Girl Eats April 30, 2013 at 7:30 am

So happy you are looking at what your body is really worth, and not the number on the scale. I grew up in a house with no scales and still do not have one so I never worry about what it says on the rare occassion I do use one (DR office, grocery store, etc). I judge my body by what it can do for me daily instead of focusing on the number.
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9 Julia B. April 30, 2013 at 7:31 am

I became anemic my freshman & sophomore years of college. I still occasionally get iron supplements if I start feeling particularly sluggish. I’ve never really struggled with weight but like you, if the number on the scale is higher than I expected or think it should be, it is a shock for me!
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10 Lindsey @ OneMotherofaDay April 30, 2013 at 7:37 am

I really enjoy your blog! It is refreshing to hear other people talk about real stuff. Thank you for your candid post. In the past I was obsessed with the number on the scale. Every morning I would wake up and get on that scale and the problem was I was always disappointed and it affected my whole day. It has only been a month or so, but I refuse to let that “NUMBER” define me. I go on how my body feels and how I feel mentally and emotionally, that is the most important.
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11 kendra @ http://www.kennygump.com/ April 30, 2013 at 7:47 am

i absolutely LOVE your honesty elizabeth. i have no doubt that you are probably more healthy now than you were at a lower weight. weight should play no part whatsoever in our happiness. how we feel, are treated, and how we treat others is what matters:)
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12 Karla @ myhighonlife April 30, 2013 at 7:53 am

I love this blog post and the complete honesty. I have always struggled with my weight… I may look healthy but I OBSESS about that dang #. I just saw a nutritionist yesterday to try to work out a plan where the # will go down but I don’t have to deprive myself. I would love the attitude where I don’t care much about the precise # but since I’m in the Army I have to care about the maximum weight and BF% I am allowed. I hope someday I can have your approach with weight/the scale. :)
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13 Jojo April 30, 2013 at 8:09 am

I have also struggled (and still am struggling) with my weight. I never been overweight in my life, but used to be terrified of gaining weight. A couple of years ago in my sophomore year of college, it dropped pretty low… and now I am gaining a lot back. I try to avoid weighing myself, but when I do, I tell myself that I am at a happier place, and I should be thankful that I am at a healthy weight.

One embarrassing moment from the past year: I was walking into a dining hall and wasn’t watching where I was going, and walked right into a wall, hitting my head really hard and making a huge noise. A lot of people saw, since it was a high-traffic. I kept walking as fast as I could out of there.
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14 [email protected] April 30, 2013 at 8:15 am

I had anemia when I was pregnant with the twins.. NOT fun, I really would pass out sometimes! It was really scary.
I struggle with the number as well but I remind myself how much stronger I am right now and I have never been healthier! (Having my own period, good skin, hair, etc. )
You have been through so much and I admire your strength!

P.S. I changed my blog name and gave it a new design! Check it out and let me know what you think!
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15 Holly KN April 30, 2013 at 8:19 am

Thankfully, I have a pretty good relationship with food and my weight – I have no idea how I dodged that bullet as a young (ish) female runner. And I only step on a scale at the doctor’s office. But my message to you is to stay strong, stay focused, and think about what will help you reach your most important goals – let THAT guide your relationship with food!

However, I have suffered from anemia – and the best thing about it was the speed that I “found” when I recovered! :)

Embarrassing Moment: I was recently on a long, intercontinental flight, connecting in a big Asian city to another intercontinental flight. This required that I pass through a second security check at the intermediate airport. I am a frequent flyer, and figured this was no problem. But the staff didn’t like something they were seeing in my carry-on as it passed through the x-ray machine. In addition to the computer and iPad I removed before the first pass through, they had to repeatedly rescreen the bag, as I systematically removed: Kindle, a router (long story), my phone, and a small pair of tweezers (that have never, ever cause a problem before) – in addition to the small stuffed polar bear, bag of charging wires, snacks, and books that were stashed on top of and around these items in my bag. As I was actually hurrying to catch my connecting flight, I had no time to careful repack everything – so I just swept it up in my arms and went galloping off through the airport to my next departure gate. I’m sure I was a picture of grace, organization, and calm…with a bit of airport vagrant thrown in… ;-)

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16 HilJo April 30, 2013 at 8:21 am

I have had on and off struggles with the scale–these days I just avoid it :) And Ive always been borderline anemic, I really dont eat a lot of red meat. But I am hoping the copious amounts of chocolate and cocoa powder (in things of course) I eat help boost my iron levels :)

My whole life is one long embarrassing story…..probably one of the best is when I was at a leadership conference (why I was there I have zero idea) and I kept calling one of the fellow students there (this was in high school) “Panty”….her name was actually “Patty”….yeah whoops.

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17 Rachel @ Undercover Diva: A Sitcom April 30, 2013 at 8:25 am

I’ve had consistently low iron my entire life, especially once I became a vegetarian. I read somewhere that long distance runner have low iron because of the exertion we put on our bodies. My challenge for myself for May is to not weigh myself. Truth be told, I sometimes get too tied up in that number. I’m 5’5 and a healthy weight for my size, but there are some days when I am not happy. When my ex and I broke up in September, I got down to 127 lbs (my lowest ever, about a 10 pounds drop in a month) and was SO excited! But, as I trained for my half marathon, I creeped up to 132..then 134 lbs, where I’m at now. I know that no one notices my weight gain but me, and I’m sure some of it was muscle, but I can’t say that I wasn’t devastated. Now, I’m trying to listen to my body, feed it what it wants, when it wants, and just living. I want to make myself stronger and stay healthy. I know that I am beautiful no matter what I weigh, because true beauty comes from the inside and not the outside. I know that I have a beautiful soul, and I’m proud of that.
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18 StephAnie April 30, 2013 at 8:45 am

You are so strong. The Lord has amazing ways of reminding us that He is all powerful and will take care of us.

I used to be obsessed with a weight number, but training for my first marathon and being hungry CONSTANlY broke me of that obsession. Then my dr told me to gain a little more weight so I would have periods again. I actually was ok with that, but I dd t turn that weight into muscle and now that bathing suits are sneaking out I wish that I had those abs that I had with 5 pounds less… Time to hit the gym and keep the weight but be more fit ;)
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19 Ashley @ My Food N Fitness Diaries April 30, 2013 at 9:09 am

I’ve definitely had my moments with the scale. It sounds like you have your mind in the right place though, and if you keep it up, it’ll only get easier! Hang in there girl. I love that your devotion was about your body being God’s temple – He always knows what we need!
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20 Andrea R. @ Morning Runner Girl April 30, 2013 at 9:13 am

I relate to everything you wrote. Every. Single. Thing.

I am 1 month into what I like to think of as “the turning point” in my life where I decided that I need to fuel my body better, gain weight, GET MY PERIOD BACK, and start enjoying life by not letting food and scale control ME.
God has been HUGE in this. Every day, I look to Him to give me strength.

some days are awful/hard and I stand naked in front of the mirror for 30 mins pinching, pulling, bending, etc. It is awful.
But I am having LESS of those days. And this, is progress.

I have not weighed myself in 4 weeks now, and some days I sooo badly want to. But I know that I am not yet mentally strong enough to handle what that number will tell me. Until I get my period back, I will not let myself look. I need to focus on GETTING HEALTHY.

Thank you so much for the post!!! The blogging community is what has helped me recogonize my problems and given me hope to get healthy!!!!
YOU ARE DOING GREAT! And keep up that Faith in God :) that is the true strength…
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21 Becky April 30, 2013 at 9:21 am

I really enjoy reading your blog – I’m so glad I found it through Janae’s. I read all of your posts because they always make me laugh, smile, or it is something I can relate to. I like how honest you are on here. You are definitely way more than just that number and I hope this comments on here help you see that!

Now for my embarrassing moment…just last week I got on the wrong bus at school. I’m a senior too haha. Luckily there wasn’t that many people on at the time and the bus driver didn’t laugh tooo hard when I told him what happened!
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22 Amanda @ .running with spoons. April 30, 2013 at 9:48 am

This is such a beautiful post, Elizabeth – thank you for being open and sharing it. I know how hard it can be to admit that a number still influences the way you feel about yourself, but it’s something that a lot of women struggle with, and your words can be the inspiration that they need to start on their own healing journey. I’ve definitely had my fair of struggles with the scale, and avoided it for a long time because I just couldn’t handle seeing the number go up; but like you said, life is so much better when you’re healthy, so there’s no point in clinging to something that means nothing.

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23 Elizabeth @ Positive Change April 30, 2013 at 10:01 am

When reading your post. It took me back to my first doctor appointment after “getting back on track” from my anorexia. I started to panic and asked the nurse if I could turn the other way. I still don’t know what that number was and I felt relived, I knew if I looked at the number if would have derailed me and my progress. I now totally ignore the scale, I go off how I feel and how my clothes are fitting. This has helped me so much. I am anemic right now and have been for about 5 years on and off. Your blog is great and sharing this part of your life is very strong to do!
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24 Leah April 30, 2013 at 10:25 am

I think you should let this be a learning lesson – you need to inform the doctor that you’d prefer not to see the number on the scale and turn around when s/he weighs you. I’m in recovery from an eating disorder and have done this many times; the doctor/nurse has never asked for an explanation or batted an eye. You have to relinquish control and have faith that your dietician is keeping you where you need to be.

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25 Alyssa @ See This Girl Run April 30, 2013 at 10:43 am

I definitely struggle with the scale and my weight. I like your perspective and your perseverance to continue improving. You’re amazing, Elizabeth!
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26 [email protected] April 30, 2013 at 12:20 pm
27 court April 30, 2013 at 12:51 pm

tried to email this b/c it’s lengthy, but can’t find your address… alas:
hey sweetie,

i’ve struggled with anemia as well. obviously, during my eating disorder it was bad, but then again when i became a vegetarian. now i’m eating meat again (yum yum!) and feeling SO much better. it’s amazing what a difference it makes!

i hate the scale. after feeling amazing and working out (or something of the sort) i feel like i’m on cloud nine… till the damn scale reads a number i don’t want to see. my boyfriend is amazing and so supportive and tells me to just not get on the scale. but there’s some draw. i’ve finally put my scale in a drawer so i don’t even see it. i can ask the doctor not to let me know. when i feel healthy (!!!) and happy, all is well. my mood is good and i can focus on the day, rather than a number. to counteract any scale negativity, i try to think about each body part and why i’m LUCKY it is the way it is. for example… maybe my thighs aren’t the shape i’d like, but i have the ability to run 7 miles this morning. not everyone can say that. (or, perhaps, a 3:15 marathon– holy cow, girl!!!) my belly is a little round, but i can eat amazing food, and i can still show off my waist and curves. it does seem to help a lot.

okay enough serious. i’ve had so many embarrassing moments… last week my boss (male, by the way) walked in on me as i was adjusting my bra so my boobs weren’t doing the crazy dance in my shirt. classy.

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28 Lisa @ Live and Be Awesome April 30, 2013 at 1:52 pm

I have a rough relationship with the scale, and as much as I hate it, the number really does affect how I feel. It’s something I’m still working on, just like you. We’ve got this :)

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29 Debbie @ Deb Runs... April 30, 2013 at 2:06 pm

What a perfect devotional for you to read yesterday! I have too many embarrassing moments to list, but my gym embarrassing moment was when I took a step class and hardly broke a sweat because I was clueless the whole time and couldn’t figure out what body part to move where!
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30 Erin April 30, 2013 at 2:42 pm

Such a wonderful post, thank you so much for sharing. I too struggle with the scale and this was such a good post to reflect how there are so many more things that are more important than a number. Thank you again for opening your heart so that others can relate and be helped!

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31 Chelsea April 30, 2013 at 3:11 pm

This is, yet again, a beautiful post Elizabeth! I think that all of us have something related to our bodies that we dislike, but our power over that thing comes from realizing it’s only one thing about us. And we all struggle (example: my midnight trip to Jack in the Box last night). So it was great to read this today and I just love your blog!
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32 Jacqueline April 30, 2013 at 5:43 pm

I never thought I struggled with accepting my weight until I happened to step on the scale in the nurse’s office at school the other day (I’m a teacher). I’ve been blissfully unaware of how much I weigh over the past year or so, and just figured I was a little over what was on my driver’s license (from when I was 15! ha!); I have been blessed to never really struggle with anything weight-related. But I was shocked at the number that popped up– and even more shocked with how much I didn’t like it! Definitely a little wake-up call. It was a reminder that a) all the fast food I ate while finishing my 100-page teaching project this past semester did have an effect on me other than lethargy and b) I should start being more aware of how I take care of my body. I’m not going to start worrying about my weight specifically, because I know I can get wrapped up in anxiety pretty easily (those are the things I *have* struggled with), but I am starting to try to consciously treat my body better! Fresh fruit and a midday jog… this is actually quite nice!

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33 Kylie April 30, 2013 at 6:41 pm

The scale is the world’s worst invention. We should love our bodies for what they allow us to do (RUN and be FIT) instead of hating them for the number they will never be. Thank you for your honesty in these posts; I always find something to relate to or smile about!
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34 Lauren May 1, 2013 at 8:01 am

I used to obsess over my weight. We didn’t own a scale so I never weighed myself daily, but I could always judge what was going on with my weight by the way my clothes were fitting me. Having my son 6 months ago was the best thing that could’ve happened. I realized how much time and energy I used to put into obsessing over my body and the things I was missing out on because of it. I don’t want to miss a single moment with my little guy so I chose to let it all go and I am SO much happier now!

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35 Koryn @ High Heels & Healthy Alternatives May 1, 2013 at 8:53 am

Your honesty is so heart-warming! I’ve also had anemia in my past, mostly when I was vegetarian. And although I know there are ways I could have dealt with the anemia while remaining veg., I chose to re-introduce certain meats into my diet (mostly just seafood & poultry) and fortunately, I’m no longer anemic! I also don’t look at the scale much, as I may (or may not) be a bit heavier now – not sure. Lol. However, I’ve honestly never been happier and healthier (food-wise, fitness-wise, emotionally, spiritually, etc) now, than I’ve ever been! So, I choose to focus on that! ;-)
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36 Brandi May 4, 2013 at 5:49 am

I can’t tell you how much this post is my life with the scale! I can tend to put a lot of stock in what that number says and let it affect my mood for the day. This really is a great and honest post. I really do love the fact that you took it to the Lord, something that I am struggling with right now. The perfectionist in me wants to fix things myself knowing that He really is the “fixer” of everything.
Thank you for who you are and for you blog! I love it!
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