Monday, November 11, 2013

It's Only a Number, Right?

I'm afraid of my bathroom scale.

Oh, ha, you may say. It's only a number. You're not supposed to look at yourself as a number. Especially not one generated by about a square foot of space.

Yeah, well, my jean size is a number, too. So is my blood pressure and my cholesterol. So is my age.

There are lots of numbers in our lives that matter in a lot of ways and I'm not comparing my number to someone else's. I'm comparing it to mine. Or I should say, I'm afraid to compare it to mine.

This summer my normally active lifestyle was cramped by bad weather and the need to care for an infant once again. I feel for anyone tending an infant whose day revolves around meals and naps and quiet times. Maintaining your sanity can be a stretch some days. Unless you like for your life to function that way, in which case, well, you wouldn't understand my problem either.

Then there's the issue of what we eat. Well, I've always been a dinner person, but my husband's second shift schedule meant for us to sit down and eat together, it had to be lunch. Not only was the timing off, but fixing food to tempt the preschoolers sometimes meant food that wasn't the best choice for me and I certainly didn't have time to prepare two different lunches.

So instead of being a time to recover from whatever weight I had gained during the cooped up months of winter, summer was a continuation of the same trend. Other than my morning dog walks and an occasional splash in the pool with the girls, summer was way too sedentary. The garden wasn't worth working in (and no fresh produce to enjoy) and my husband took over the yard mowing detail. I didn't even manage to run my weed eater but a time or two. Saturdays, when the girls did not come, either the weather was bad or, more often, I spent the day grooming dogs that I couldn't fit in during the week. And when we tried to eat together on the weekend, well, the choices weren't always the best then either.

Summer sucked.

When I finally got around to putting batteries in my scale some time back, I found out how badly. No, I hadn't gained a lot of weight, but there was some. Then the batteries in the digital scale died and the new batteries were left setting on the cabinet. I could justify that it wasn't too bad, because I could still wear last year's jeans, although the fit might not be quite as comfortable on some.

To be quite honest though, I had a feeling the number would depress me and make me feel beat down. That I can let a number on a small electronic box do that may be a sad statement about my mentality. At the same time, while I don't want to compare myself to someone else that number is an objective measure of what I'm doing to my body. Keeping that number down means a healthier weight, which can have a long term effect on a lot of those other numbers that are important. It also means I don't need a new wardrobe, which I cannot afford.

But this morning the old argument about the clothes went out the window. Today I pulled out a pair of last winter's, non spandex jeans and guess what. They didn't fit. Not just a matter of they didn't fit comfortably but nope, not wearing them.

So tomorrow, after I find the batteries and mentally prepare myself. I'm facing the scale and getting back on track. Making friends with My Fitness Pal again. Not the best time of the year to do it, but it must be done. Fighting this battle with food, and more importantly with myself, may help me feel more in control again as a new year rolls around.

I realize my life is full of change and a bit on the chaotic side. While I try to roll with the punches -- shift changes, family changes, fluctuating work and income -- I know all these things have taken their toll in the last year. Gaining a little control over one thing, even if it's just the number in a box, may help me feel a little more equipped to deal with the chaos around me.

At the very least, it will get me back in that pair of jeans.

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