The Number Game

Numbers.

So simple.

Yet so complex.

So easy.

Yet so hard.

Numbers. There were times in my life..when you were the BANE of my existence.

There are times when you continue to interfere with my daily, healthy, and happy life.

My questions.. are many. My answers.. are few, but enough. Why ?

The Scale

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Why allow the numbers on the scale to determine the type of day we would have?

Why let the scale determine if it would be a restricting day.. a day of enjoyment?

Why are emotions so closely tied to those numbers.. on that scale?  Gaining.. losing.. who cares?  Healthy. That is what matters.

Calories & Fitness

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Why is it necessary to obsessively count the number of calories consumed.  To obsessively read the nutritional information on the side of a box.  And why not look at the mish-mash of chemical ingredients.. artifical flavors. WHY just look at the calories and fat content?

Why does the number of minutes that a workout lasts… make such a difference?

Why does the pace of each mile.. matter?  Isn’t the point of it all.. to just be out there… and active?

Why does the bar graph on the Polar F7 .. so addictive?  Why must the “calories burned” bar.. be in the same range.. every single week?

Why do runs have to be consistently longer.. faster.. ?

Why must I consistently be checking my heart rate to make sure it is high – so as to burn the maximum amount of calories?

Source

Clothing

Why is it the size on the tag that seems to matter – so much more then the fit of the pant – or the shirt – or the dress?

Why do we allow a “larger” size to diminsh moods and self respect (when commonly, the clothing manufacturers treat their sizing different from any other manufacturer.)?

Why do we – at times – refuse to buy a beautiful piece of clothing because it is in a size larger then we are used to getting?

Why do we get a burning feeling of disappointent and let down when our “skinny pants” no longer fit us?

Why do we even have “skinny pants”?

Does the number on the scale define who we are as a person? How about the distance we run – the calories we burn – or the rate of at which our heart is beating?  Do those (insignificant) facets  radiate our true personalities?  Does our clothing size compromise our intelligence or our ability to care for others?

No. No. No. Numbers – they do none of these things. Numbers – have a funny was of crawling into our lives – and planting themslves right in the middle of our brain. Interfering with our daily activities – often consuming our thoughts.

But – the only person who is dealing with these thoughts .. often times negative.. is the THINKER.  No one else know the number that came up on the scale – or how many calories you’ve eaten today.  The person on the other side of the street could care less how far you ran today – what your splits were – your average heart rate.. the number of calories you burned.

No – other people – they see you for who you are and what you stand for.  They see your passion about life – your energy – your glow – your loving and kind attitude.

So – how can we start to see ourselves in the same light that others see us?  Well – I don’t know for sure – but here are some of the steps that I am taking – to help get myself away from the numbers – to help accept myself for who I am – rather then through a set of numbers…

  1. Limit weigh ins.  In my ideal world – I would not even own a scale. Maybe someday – I will get to that. But I was tired of weighing myself.. and then hating myself. There was no reason for it. ALL of my clothes still fit just fine.  There are SO many things that effect our weight daily.  It is NOT the number on the scale that defines me. It is how I feel.
  2. Eat wholesome foods – with proper nutrients. Forget the 100 calorie packs. I have found that those things are chock full of.. crap. Even if they are only 100 calories. I try to limit my processed foods.. and stick to whole foods. I feel good about what I am eating.. and my body feels good too!
  3. Ditch the heart rate monitors. I am slowly.. but surely.. working out HRM free more and more. I do like to wear it occasionally.. but I am no longer obsessed. I used to stay at the gym until I burned a certain amount of calories.  That was just ridiculous!  I am now more intune with my body. I stop when it say.. I’ve had enough. I work out for enjoyment.. not to reach a certain number.
  4. Get rid of clothes that are too small (and too big).  No need to have skinny jeans.. or pants for fat days.. or incase you gain weight. Keep the clothes that fit. Be happy with who you are.. what you are.. and don’t keep the clothes as a reminder of who you were.. or as a goal of where you would like to be.
  5. Tell yourself.. that you LOVE YOURSELF.. every single day.. while looking in the mirror. AND MEAN IT!  Without self love – we have nothing. Without self love – it is hard to let others love us – to believe in what they say – to accept their compliments.
Have you ever been driven by the numbers.. in any aspect of life?  Which aspect?  How did you move past it.. or how do you currently deal with it?

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37 responses to “The Number Game

  1. What a lovely post! I’m still driven by numbers, but it’s in a good way. I used to be driven by them in an unhealthy way (obsessive calories, obsessive scale, etc), but now I use them as benchmarks, guidelines, and healthy motivators. My GPS watch is so motivating when I see how far I’ve run!

  2. Great post! I wonder if it would be possible/feasible to have a numbers-free week?

    • Hmm that is a really good idea, Laura! I think I can go for a couple days without worrying about numbers.. but then they come back with a vengence. A week would be a great challenge and help to get going in the right direction~

  3. It’s crazy how many of us are faced with the same problems/obsessions!! I ditched the scale a few weeks ago, but it is really hard not to step on when I’m at the gym. I consider myself to be a work in progress 🙂

  4. What a great post!
    It’s funny how numbers effect us. I whole heartedly agree that some numbers are worthless. Why should I feel worse about being a size 6 then a size 2? Maybe I just have more muscular thighs or a different bone structure. Maybe I’m just bigger.
    However, I do feel like there is an upside to numbers, too. They can be motivating and give us goals to work toward. Shaving a minute off my 5k time- that feels empowering!
    Overall, I think as long as we don’t let the numbers take over our mental sanity, they’re ok. I am interested in calories, but don’t let them run my life. It’s when we let the numbers define us that the trouble starts.
    Again, awesome post!! 🙂

    • So true that there is an upside of numbers.. I feel like I bashed them completely.

      I think my trouble is finding the balance between the good numbers and the bad numbers

  5. you’re wonderful! This post is just what I needed 🙂 I am constantly being driven by numbers and I hope one day to get away from it. I’m learning to just love and accept myself 🙂 Love this post it’s great!

    • Getting away from numbers .. is perhaps harder.. and more draining then the number compulsion itself. I work daily at it.. and it is NO easy task. That is why it is SO great to have all of the lovely blogging community around.

  6. LOVED this post! “Gaining.. losing.. who cares? Healthy. That is what matters.” – couldn’t agree more 🙂

    I’ve definitely done the counting calories eaten/calories burned, lived by the scale thing before but ultimately I’m just not happy living my life that way. I’m much more concerned with being GOOD to my body than anything else 🙂

  7. Loved this post – definitely can relate to letting numbers get in the way!

  8. Awesome post, Cait! I have been getting better at just accepting my weight. It’s not what I want, but what I want is unreasonable, and skeletor-ish. I’ve accepted that if I’m working out, and eating well then the number on the scale is okay. I don’t pay attention to calories in & calories out- I’m far to lazy for all that. This is a great post for me today- I was feeling ick this morning and instead of dressing up I opted to wear scrubs. Ha. Thankfully I have that option. It’s not a habit I want to get into though.

    • Aww. I am glad this was a great day for a post like this, Jena! While I can’t wear scrubs per say.. I definitely have days where I scrub it out and wear pants that are too big and a loose shirt.. staying comfy.. (and throw a hoody on top anyway).

      How can we possibly be doig anything wrong when we fuel our bodies with great food and work out regularly?!

  9. While I have to weigh in for my coach, I keep it to wednesdays and saturdays only, otherwise it DOES get obsessive… but when it comes to cardio I could care less. I cover the machine with a towel and as long as I”m huffing and puffing and sweating up a storm I”m happy!

  10. LOVE THIS POST! It’s so great to know that I’m not the only one who feels this way!

  11. Such an awesome post! Love all of this. I’m in the process of ditching the scales completely so can completely relate to your message here 🙂

  12. I definitely was ruled by numbers of just about all those aspects..and I still work out with a HRM. I don’t think I’m obsessed with the calories, though. I work out until I feel like I’ve gotten a good one and if that means burning 200 or 700 calories, then so be it. I loved this post though..it’s kind of amazing how much we actually let numbers rule our lives.

    • I am sure I will use my HRM eventually . but right now.. Ithink its best to ditch it for a while. I agree – a good workout is not dependent upon how many calories you burn!

      A strength training work out will not burn nearly as many calories (initially) as a cardio workout – but has SUCH benefits and is SO necessary!

  13. Great post! I just recently stopped “caring” so much about the scale. No reason for it, just recently stopped having the urge to weigh myself. My clothes fit, I feel awesome, there’s no reason to 🙂

  14. I love this post. So simple… but I love those ‘pics!’

  15. Awesome post. Love it 🙂

  16. I bought a pair of designer jeans last summer (when I was thinner) that I absolutely love and hate that I can’t get in them this summer! I struggle with knowing that I was almost TOO thin when they fit, but still can’t get rid of them.

  17. This was such an inspiring post… and so true. We shouldn’t be defined by numbers, we’re more than that. Your post has really brightened up my day, thank you 🙂

  18. I too used to be obsessed with numbers….in the calorie/weight area. I counted every single calorie I ate and it was EXHAUSTING. I can’t believe how much energy I put into maintaining a certain number on the scale. And an even BIGGER effort I exerted trying to teach myself NOT to be obsessed with these measures. Great post!

    • I am currently exerting all that effort to get OUT of the number stage. I am exhausted all of the time from trying to turn away from it. It is so easy to say.. but so hard to do.. every day.

  19. love this post. i am obsessed with numbers to a point.. but also with how i feel too.
    it takes so much energy– i am trying!!

  20. Loooooove this post. I think as a society, we put WAY too much emphasis on numbers and weights and perfect workouts, when really – it’s ALL about being happy & healthy.

  21. Amen! I gave up weighing myself for Lent and I don’t depend on it anymore. I was getting so obsessive, especially because I had gained a bit of weight and it was just making me miserable. A lot of my clothes are too small, and buying the bigger size is driving me nuts, even though it shouldn’t!

  22. Cait, such a great post as always. I can definitely relate as I used to be ruled by numbers as well. I am so glad that you’re moving in such a healthy direction and slowly but surely ditching the numbers. It really does take some time to be able to pay attention to our bodies when we’ve been ignoring what they say for so long!

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