Yesterday when I was doing the NEDA walk, I saw a young man holding a sign that said,”I am more than a number.”
From the moment I read that sign, what it said really stuck with me.
Since I have not been weighing myself, I have often times said that I am more than a number on a scale, which every day, I am starting to believe more and more.
But what about the rest of the numbers in my life that I have still been defining myself by?
After putting a lot of thought into it yesterday, I have realized that although I may have eliminated the number on my scale from my life, there are many numbers that I still use to define me on a daily basis.
For example, I use an app on my phone called Moves every single day to track how many steps I have walked. I never thought about it as an app that was feeding my eating disorder until yesterday when I noticed myself checking how many steps I’ve taken almost every hour.
And I know that on certain days when I take more steps than usual, it gives me a sense of accomplishment-almost the same sense of accomplishment that getting a “good” number on the scale would give me.
Another number that I realized I’ve been using on a daily basis to determine my “success” at recovery so far, has been my total daily calorie counts. At first I thought this was a good thing. I thought that if I could tally up all my calories at the end of the day, and see that I reached a number where I needed to be, and not completely have a melt down over it, that this meant progress.
But truthfully, it is not progress. It is progress that I am able to nourish and feed my body again with adequate nutrition, but it is not progress to be using those calorie totals at the end of my day to determine my success. All that is doing is defining my day by a number again.
Why should my be success be determined by how many calories I ate all day? Why should my worth be measured by how many steps I took today? I am beginning to see that my weight on the scale is not the only number in my life I need to cleanse myself of.
It is time to start measuring my successes based on the small and beautiful moments of freedom that I get from my eating disorder.
Whether it is eating lunch with my grandma and sister like I did yesterday, or whether it is connecting with other people, or even if it is just feeling proud of myself for sticking to my meal plan-those are successes.
But in no way am I going to allow my successes to be centered around a number of any kind-scale or no scale, no number is enough to determine my self worth and my progress.
Last night, the last thing I did before I went to sleep, was calculate the number of calories I had eaten that day (knowing I ate more than I usually do).
I got the chills right now as I wrote that. Why did I have to be so unkind to myself? Why would I calculate the number of calories I ate, especially knowing it was a number that I would not be comfortable with at this moment? And why did I feel that number was the last thing I needed to see before I closed my eyes and went to sleep?
That was Ed talking to me last night, and for that one tiny molecule of a second, I stepped back into his destructive box and I calculated those calories-but at the same second I stepped in, I jumped out.
I am so much more than that calorie count last night.
I am so much more than the steps I took yesterday.
I am more than the numbers in my eating disordered world that Ed tries to define me by.
I will not sit here and write an unrealistic goal for myself, because I have seen that with unrealistic goals comes unrealistic expectations, and I deserve to treat myself with more love and respect than holding myself to an unrealistic expectation.
My goal today is to not tally up the calories at the end of my day.
I am not going to also say that I will not use my Moves app , because again, it is unrealistic.
Maybe tomorrow is the day to challenge the Moves app. But today, I am challenging myself to not use my daily calorie intake as a measurement of who I am as a person, where I am in my fight for recovery, or my self worth.
I know that one day, this saying, ” I am more than a number,” will become one of the truths that I live my life by.
I am more than a number and I am more than my eating disorder.
I am Shira.
Hello to me being Shira instead of a number, and hello life.