This morning I pulled out the brand new digital scale my husband bought and nervously stepped aboard. I have a goal number set in my mind for where I think my optimal weight should be. I expected to be about 10 pounds over that. I discovered I am actually 14 pounds over that.
I think many people can relate to this story. Americans are getting heavier all the time, and it doesn’t help that we are bombarded with news segments on TV and articles in magazines, telling us about what is considered “overweight” or what our BMI should be, etc. There’s one thing, however, that kept me from getting pretty depressed about this number on the scale, staring at me in all its digital truth:
I look and feel GREAT.
It is amazing to me that I can weigh this much, yet wear size 6 clothing. I constantly have people complimenting me on my physique. On a recent plane ride some perfect strangers I was seated with said: “Well with your skinny little body you should be able to squeeze in here just fine.” On the plane ride back a woman I was sitting with, chatting about juicing so “I can drop 5 pesky pounds”, looked at me in disbelief: “Why? You’re so skinny!” And last night while walking with my husband I spotted a bargain vintage sundress on a teeny mannequin. I was doubtful as I began to try it on, but lo and behold, it looked fantastic! I was very surprised.
Perhaps I have built more dense muscle from my yoga practice, and that accounts for the number? It really is a mystery.
Or maybe it really just doesn’t matter.
I truly believe that yoga has transformed my mind and body. My mind is more accepting, more forgiving, more loving and appreciative of my healthy body. Sure, I have a little bit extra I am carrying, but slowly, gently, with time…with a bit of moderation and more exercise, I believe my weight will settle back down. The scale should not be an indicator of your self worth. It’s simply a tool to help you gauge where you are, to catch yourself when you might be having cupcakes too often (guilty as charged!)
Regardless of the number, the last few years of consistent yoga practice have elongated my muscles, defined my arms and shoulders, and lifted my rear end into a literal “shelf butt“. I was a little stunned to see “the shelf” about 5 months ago as I was walking by a glass window and saw my reflection. “What the heck?” I thought. “When did I suddenly develop the hind end of an NFL linebacker?” Ok — maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration. But I definitely get compliments, and people think I am taller and skinnier than I truly am.
What I am saying, my fellow yoginis who also think you have a few pounds to lose, is this: take a good, honest look at your gorgeous selves. Give yourself a pat on the back for all that you do right: your regular yoga practice, the healthy meals you cook for yourself, the kind person you try to be to your friends and family. Be realistic about whether you need to lose weight at all, and if you decide you do need to drop a few lbs, be kind to yourself and patient.
Most importantly, if you don’t see that number move down on the scale, it doesn’t mean you aren’t transforming your body through yoga!