What Happened When I Gained 5 Pounds
This week, several different people randomly told me that I looked really good after a Pure Barre class. "This is the best I've ever seen you look!" one person said. I shook my head and giggled out a thank you because I have probably never taken worse care of my body than I have during the last month. I've been on vacation after vacation, had so much friend time, and drank more alcohol than I normally do in the span of 3 months in the last 3 weeks. No, I do not think my poor eating habits over the last month contributed to those compliments, but I do think the change I made at the start of 2018 has everything to do with it.
For Almost 9 Years, I Weighed Myself Every Day
Yep, you read that correctly. For almost a decade, that was my dirty little secret that few people bore witness to besides my college roomie and my husband. When I woke up, I would immediately undress (because obviously, pajamas were going to add extra weight), hold my breath, stand on the scale, and wait for the verdict. Even a couple of ounces higher would discourage me, and out of some disturbing form of self-punishment, I'd always weigh myself after a vacation to see how much "work" I needed to do to lose the pounds of fun I had added. I wish I was kidding because that sentence makes me cringe to write, which is why I want to be honest about it. I began this habit when I was 17 and majorly struggled with disordered eating (read here and here). Yet, even after so much of my mentality around food began to heal, my obsession with the scale was like the drug I couldn't kick.
Even though I knew that muscle weighs more than fat.
Even though I knew that you can actually look better at a higher weight.
Even though I knew that it wasn't serving me, I continued to cling to an old mindset because I was terrified to let it go.
In 2016 and 2017, I started to cut back on my daily visits to the scale, but I didn't fully quit. Not even close. I was preoccupied with staying below 130 or not getting too high above my wedding weight. "You're a freaking fitness instructor Griffin, it's your job to perfect your body." That's the mindset I lived in, even though I would never expect that of someone else.
Finally, at the beginning of 2018, I decided that enough was enough, and I had to stop. I knew it was toxic for me, and I was done. So, I walked away and haven't looked back.
And do you know what happened? My relationship with my body became better than ever.
The title of this post is a little bit arbitrary because I actually don't know how much weight I have or have not gained, but I'd guess it's probably fluctuated in that 5 pound range that I was always so afraid of. Gone are the days of feeling guilty at the start my day or cringing when the extra drinks with friends showed up in that blinking blue box. I knew that quitting the habit would change me, but I didn't know how much.
Now, I can appreciate when my legs look good in a pair of jeans, without knowing that they're loose or tight in comparison to the day before. I can throw on the crop top to go to a workout class because I decided that people who wear crop tops are just people...who wear crop tops. I can do that. When I ran at the beach this year, I didn't think about how much my body jiggled because it felt awesome to have air in my lungs and sweat sticking to my skin. I have been able to assess how food makes me feel with honesty, not just how it makes me look. I know how to eat to lose weight, and I practiced that every day for 9 years. Instead, I want to eat to fuel my life, balance my hormones, and radically impact my health. I will not be the mom who gives her daughter a complex about her body, and in order to do that, I had to stop being that woman long before the time comes.
I'm not saying that I feel great about my body every day or that I never fixate on the way I look, but letting go of control in this area has actually transformed my life, which is why I wanted to write about it. Even if weighing yourself isn't your obsession, if you can relate to fixating on your body image in any way, I encourage you to take these words to heart:
Gain the 5 pounds.
Start caring about what you put in your body more than how it looks, and it will probably start looking better as a result.
Don't be afraid to tell someone what you're struggling with. If I had been honest, I could've gotten help a long time ago. Trust me, you are not alone.
God created you to live in fullness, not bondage. Surrender the lie that is tying you down in favor of the freedom that's on the other side. I promise it's there, and I wish I had known that 9 years ago.
This post comes from one of my most vulnerable spots, but I hope it encourages you, no matter where you are in your health journey. None of us have it all figured out, but I hope you take a step in the direction of your health today, which for some of you might mean tossing that scale out with the trash, ya feel me?