Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Magic Numbers

Everyone has 'Magic Numbers' somewhere in their head about something. It might be how many calories they can eat at a meal, or total in a day. Or it might be a weight they're trying to reach, or a weight they're trying to lift. Maybe it's how much money they need to be making, or how much money they can spend. These 'Magic Numbers' might have been reached through careful calculation, through consulting online calculators, or by simply picking a number out of the air. But once we have these numbers in our heads, they seem carved in stone. No matter what speaks to the contrary, these numbers are truth.

I tend to have a lot of 'Magic Numbers'. One for every problem. Recently I needed to buy new Jeans. The ones I had were starting to get a little baggy, and they were developing holes in embarrasing places. So I created a magic number in my head. Once I reached 150 lbs I would buy myself new Jeans. I reached 150 lbs and went and bought myself new Jeans, and found myself wearing another 'Magic Number'. Or rather, the size smaller than it. I was wearing size 8 Jeans. This took a full twenty minutes in the dressing room to fully comprehend. Jeans came off, size 10s went on, size 10s came off, size 8s went on. I did this three or four times. Checking the tags six or seven times to make sure I wasn't just mistaken. I walked out of the store with two pairs of size 8 Jeans, feeling a little heady about the whole thing. Sure, a size 8 is larger today than the last time I could squeeze into a size 8, but that number, as illogical as it sounds, made me happy.

Today I stepped on the scale and saw that I had dropped below 150 for the first time in almost 5 years. Sure it was only 149.9, but that .1 lb made a difference! I was under 150.

And then I sat down and thought about it. I am not happier with my body because it fits in a size 8 Jean. I am not happier with my body because it is under 150lbs. Sure they are milestones, signs that I'm doing the right thing, but these numbers aren't the goals.

The goal number I had in mind is still there, blazing in fire in the back of my mind, tauntingly out of reach for now, but the real goal, once I get past all of these issues with numbers and image, the goal that we all nod our heads at but no one puts up on the wall in a chart or in a list to check off, that goal, is a healthy body.


1 comment:

tokaiangel said...

Great post.

I wonder if the healthy body ideal is sidelined or devalued because it's impossible to quantify? The more tangible the goal (ie. reaching 150 lbs) the easier it is to go "I DID IT!" when you get there, or to punish yourself when you don't?

Congratulations - not for the new number - but for recognising that the healthy body ideal is more important, and aiming to go for that goal instead! May the numbers forever remain in the background....

TA x

Tracking Transformation: Where I stand now