More than a Number

“It’s never been true, not anywhere at any time, that the value of a soul, of a human spirit, is dependent on the number on a scale.”
—Geneen Roth, Women, Food and God

We live in a world where we are identified by numbers. Social security, driver’s license, credit cards, bank accounts, insurance cards—different numbers for different parts of our identities.

My identity has always been defined by one more number: the number on the scale. It’s a lesson I learned in my childhood and young adulthood: I am what I weigh.

Over time, that lesson obscured every other part of my identity. I wasn’t able to see any part of myself other than my weight, and I became convinced that everyone else saw me the same way.

To say that this had a destructive effect on my self-image and self-esteem would be an understatement.  There were moments when I hated myself simply because of the number on the scale. There were days when I felt like a failure because of that number. There were weeks when I punished myself for that number.

It’s a slow process, unlearning that lesson. But I’m managing, slowly but surely, to be kinder to myself. I have begun to see myself in dimensions other than my weight. I rarely ever define myself as the “short round girl with big glasses” anymore—and not just because my glasses are smaller than they used to be.

Which isn’t to say I’m completely at peace with that number on the scale. I’m not. If I were, I wouldn’t be on this journey. But I’m starting to feel the power shift, away from the scale and into my hands.