I haven’t found a real use for this talent, but I have a brain for music. If it has lyrics and a catchy little tune, I automatically file it away for future reference. Occasionally my husband will prompt me to sing random commercial jingles when he needs a party trick. And don’t think it was beneath me to perform the Mr. Roof theme song in public for the prospect of a discount!
Another thing trapped in the corners of my brain: Numbers. Calories, more specifically.
A few Fridays ago, I sunk into a comfy couch across from my voice of reason and spouted off corresponding numbers for an egg, a banana, an apple, and string cheese.
“This information is second nature,” I explained. “How do I move forward and eat intuitively in spite of it?”
And then I began to recount the past.
My 28th birthday found me on a scale upswing at admittedly the largest point of my life, vowing that things would be different in my 30s.
I started running and swore I loved it (I did not). Everything (even a teaspoon of 4-calorie coffee creamer) was tracked and I memorized calories in the process. I wore a heart rate monitor during exercise and carefully calculated input vs. output. Calories were capped at 1200 per day and I silently celebrated when I came in under budget. Being diligent over the next eight months to follow, I shed 80 lbs.
Ready for a peek behind the Great and Powerful OZ curtain? I felt crazy and numbers became a trigger.
On the outside, these stats looked like success. I even touted them as such and basked in the accolades from friends and family. I’m disappointed to say there were even ‘before & after’ photos.
What the public couldn’t see was my emotional reaction when I’d gain half of a pound or how many times a day I would step on a scale. They couldn’t hear the names I’d inevitably call myself when I ate “over budget.”
At the start of this recovery journey, I found myself in tears constantly. (We’re talking crying-at-a-commercial type tears – a whole new world for me.) Back on that comfy couch (this time weirded out by my new behavior), I admitted this to my voice of reason. She countered that I was grieving.
“You’ve suffered years of self-inflicted emotional abuse. You’re just finding your voice again.”
My voice: Could I even trust it?
Intuitive Eating tells us we have more than one destructive voice (Food Police, Nutrition Informant, and Diet Rebel). I’m working on giving The Nurturer – an ally voice – a little more space on the floor today.
Will I ever be able to comfortably dust off the scale and pull it back into view without cringing? Maybe.
Will I ever be able to wear my Fitbit without feeling guilt for falling short of 10k steps? Maybe.
Today, I’m protecting myself too much to care. Neither is a goal, life is too short, and numbers only matter when they’re seconds passing by.