At 5:45 a.m. last Monday morning, I stumbled into the bathroom with one eye open and got on the scale for the first time in three months.
I blinked open the other eye, zoned in on the thin red number, and went from mild shock to strong dislike in a single beat.
But if I’m being truthful, I knew exactly what was coming.
I had avoided the scale since April. Feelings of heaviness, visible rounding, and tight pants made skipping what had become a weekly habit over the past 10-plus years an easier choice than facing fact.
From January 2012 to mid-2013, I had lost 40 pounds, and a weekly weigh-in kept me on track and in line. I went from being various shades of overweight and struggling with negative body image to small.
When I hit my lowest weight at age 46, I felt a lightness and energy I had never experienced. I reveled in the vanity of wearing form-fitting clothing, belts to accessorize, and other off-limit looks when hiding bulge. For the first time in my life, I didn’t define myself as too big for this or that. My ego liked this me.
Now in my 50s, the scale has steadily tipped upward. The five new pounds I found on the scale last week were piled onto the five pounds I found the last time and the five before that. The trend has seemed irreversible, as if expansion is the only state my body knows.
As significant as the weight gain, frequent 4 a.m. waking and low energy have been part of this new experience. My body has become a vessel that I no longer understand.
The inner body critic, mostly tucked away for 10 years, returned with a litany of questions that morning. Why did I snack on so many Nut-Thins yesterday afternoon? And the Lily’s dark chocolate? I should have done more cardio last week. What am I doing wrong? Why can’t I hack this?
I thought I had cracked the code by losing and keeping off the weight for so long. I believed I would never struggle again. You know better, I scolded myself.
I was wrong on so many fronts.
I didn’t understand the inevitable changes of an aging body. I thought I could control its natural processes with the same nutrition and exercise prescription that worked 10 years before.
In response to straying from society’s unrealistic standards for body image and performance, the inner judge returned to her pulpit to levy guilt and shame.
Fortunately, the universe had my back.
No, I haven’t been sent magical solutions to eliminate the pounds, tame the 4 a.m. waking, or put my energy back into drive—though I am grateful for a range of natural remedies and practices that are decreasing the impact of these effects.
Instead, the most beneficial gifts have been from sages and sources that opened my eyes to the wisdom of my body and its role in my journey.
So, here is what I would like to say to it:
I am told you are an ally, the same as any divine guide sent to assist me on this journey. But I have made you an adversary.
I have thought of you as turning your back on me, abandoning our pact to stay in the state that I believed fed me value and worth.
But it is the egoic me who has turned its back on you, the sacred physical part of me.
It is the egoic me who always falsely believed that value and worth can come from the number on a scale or the tag on my pants.
I haven’t listened to your messages. I have ignored the intuitive signals you have been sending about the changes at play and your needs in this third stage of our journey.
I have condemned our state when it is part of the natural order that evolved us from youth and innocence to maturity and mothering and now to new wisdom and truths.
I am struggling with this latest and maybe most difficult physical transition, but I am learning that letting the inner critic lead only feeds our disconnection.
Even though I resisted your changes, I promise not to be your adversary. You are a gift, and I promise to be your ally, too. Will you be mine again, even though I have ridiculed and shamed you?
I promise to change the way I speak to you and remember with loving kindness that we are one.
I promise that our goal will continue to be balance and wholeness…
But always with acceptance for whatever form we take on this journey.