When I originally left Canada back in 2012, I left my bathroom scale behind. When life had hit the wall the year before I dropped 30 pounds almost overnight, my friends were worried, but unfortunately, I could do nothing about it not even eating McFlurries from time to time. Sometimes that’s how life goes. Some gain and some lose and I lost… a lot.
However, the experience made me very aware of how much I weighed or didn’t, and I felt a little too attached to this knowing so when I left, I decided to leave it behind in another life. I decided that the best way forward was to follow my waistline and how I felt. Either my pants fit, or they don’t.
Moving to France that first year certainly did come with its moments, like the one where we had about 20 guests over for dinner and then one of my housemates pulled me aside to let me know that my favourite grey corduroy pants had split… Hopefully, no one else saw it, but in that moment I can tell you with all certainty, the pants no longer fit. As soon as I was able, I bought some yoga pants and runners and decided that if the pants no longer fit, it was probably time I met the challenge with a little more mindfulness. Jogging and cycling and perhaps not eating every since thing in front of me like it was my last meal.
In the moment it happened I remember feeling a bit down, embarrassed that it could happen and wondering how I’d manage with a limited budget for the year if suddenly I had to buy a whole new wardrobe. In hindsight, I think it was one of the best things that could have happened.
The first bike ride I remember feeling impossible like suddenly all the cheese, wine, bread and cream based goodness was running thick through my veins like molasses and I might die before I made it back home again despite the fact that most of the ride was pretty flat (though admittedly the mistral winds are nothing to baulk about.)
Why was it one of the best things for me? Well, I think it made me realize that my body needs me to show up and take responsibility. Whether it’s eating a healthy and balanced diet or getting my butt moving even if some days it’s just a little stretching or better still if it gets my heart pumping. I had always claimed to hate sports and working out, but really, it was in pushing through and making my pants fit again that helped me to change my attitude about it. All without ever really knowing what the scale had to say about it.
Still, the changes didn’t always come easy. I’m a pretty private worker-outer. I remember telling my girlfriends how awful I was to my (now) husband when he wanted to go out jogging together because I turned into a complete and total _____ (insert your favourite cuss word here.) I had to face my private demons of being a closet worker-outer and learn not to lash out because I needed to rest when he still had enough stamina to keep going and that it’s okay to go at my own pace. I eventually got over my embarrassment and learned that slow and steady… I could do it. I’m stronger than I think. I just had to keep fighting the combative girl that was unleashed in me every time I was judging myself on the path to a healthier life until she finally settled down. So it wasn’t just the pants that started to fit better in this moment.
Now at just over five months pregnant my body is shifting again and I can’t help but stop every time I walk in front of a mirror. Is that me? Is this really my body? I love it, and yet equally feel a little shy about it because sometimes it’s quite the change. There were moments where I wondered if I wasn’t getting enough movement, or if I was eating a little too heavy. I’ve had nothing to go by just hoping to eat healthy, drink lots of water and snacking on fruits and vegetables when I can instead of the more tempting alternatives. It’s only when I visit the Dr. I have any idea of how it’s going but so far, so good. Baby is big (so she tells me,) and while my stomach already looks like I’ve stuffed a pillow under my shirt, I’ve gained very little (but of course I’ve still got a few months to go…) I’m only ever so slowly climbing the scale but having instilled the practice of listening to my body, instead of the scale has been good. It has meant more yoga, more walking through the forest on the weekends and climbing over boulders. It means when I’m sore, I stretch it out, or I slow it down and it has also meant more meditation and quiet and I feel all the better for it.
How about you? What’s your relationship with the scale? Love it? Hate it? Ready to toss it? What are your favourite activities to keep healthy?