How Bout This For A Number?

At the beginning of the year, my sister posted a link to the Curvy Girl Guide’s site to their Take Back Your Number post, a challenge to forget resolutions, forget declaring you’ll lose xxx many pounds and instead, to find a number that has meaning to you for whatever reason and claim it as your own.

My sisters both came up with solid, inspiring choices for their numbers. Jody picked 40, since that’s how old she’ll be a year from now and she’s mentally preparing to get used to that number. Stacy, who’s lost 70+lbs, picked 24 – her body fat percentage goal, an achievable one since she’s already down to 26.

I tried really hard to come up with just one number but so many of them kept popping into my head, some of them health and body related, others not. Play by the rules, the voice in my head nagged. Just one number. But you know what? I couldn’t, nor do I see why I should have too. Instead of one number, here are all my numbers, for 2012, and reminding me of my favorite movie quote from Erin Brokovich:

“How ’bout this for a number? Six. That’s how old my other daughter is, eight is the age of my son, two is how many times I’ve been married – and divorced; sixteen is the number of dollars I have in my bank account. 850-3943. That’s my phone number, and with all the numbers I gave you, I’m guessing zero is the number of times you’re gonna call it.”

Two: My daughter will be two next month and that number knocks me on my ass when I think about having a two-year-old most days. Mostly because I can still remember so clearly when she was so much less than two – when she was two months, or two weeks or even two days.

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Two – more than one, as in should we have another? It’s a question on my mind a lot lately, and I said to a group of people the other night that the decision to have a second is so much harder than the decision to have the first. I envy those people that know without even thinking that they want at least two; I’m not one of those people. I absolutely see the advantages to giving your child a sibling, but I also see the disadvantages too. One of the women the other night said it pretty well, you have the first kid for yourself, you have the second for your child. I think that’s probably right, but I’m just not there yet.

Eight: It’s not about the numbers on the scale, or what size clothes we wear, I get that that’s how we’re supposed to feel but hearing stuff like that makes me uneasy.

Because so many Americans and Canadians are overweight, I think there’s this (potentially dangerous) movement in society to not just accept the obese but to embrace them. And overweight people are joining this movement and proclaiming they’re healthy – despite being 30, 40, 50 pounds overweight. Teenage girls wear tiny tops and too small pants, accentuating alarmingly large mid-sections because they’re being told there’s nothing wrong with them. It’s a self-defense mechanism overweight people are adopting to make themselves feel better about themselves.

I think it’s a lie.

I know that what I’ve just said is going to offend some people and I know saying that I want to be a size 8 again is going to be offensive as well, because I know that there are women out there who are larger than me that would be happy wearing my size 10 (or 12, depending on the day) jeans. And they’ll tell me there’s nothing wrong with me the size I am. But here’s the thing, at least from my perspective. I’ve been a bunch of different sizes, with a 6 being my smallest and a 16 being my largest. At no point has my doctor ever said that I wasn’t healthy or that I needed to lose weight. And my husband? He’s loved me regardless of what size clothes I wore. And other than an insensitive aunt who said, when I was at my heaviest years ago, that I wasn’t fat-fat-fat, no one in my family or any of my friends told me I needed to be smaller. So while I get that there’s nothing wrong with me being any of those sizes, I know that I feel better when I’m a smaller size. And not necessarily that I feel better about myself (although I do) but that I feel better. Happier, stronger, healthier. So I’m claiming the number 8, as a size, despite all the negative associations that might come with it.

Eight – also the number of years I’ll have been married this year. Eight years, certainly not all blissful and some harder than most, but eight years of learning a lot about myself as a person, including my strengthes and weaknesses, my flaws and imperfections and with it all? The realization that my husband not only loves me – but accepts me the way I am.

13.1 (x2) I’ve been less than motivated at the gym lately, with my workouts becoming stagnate. My father-in-law is here at the end of the week and staying for the next four and we’ll likely be hitting the gym together on a daily basis where not only will he kick my ass back into gear, but he’ll likely remotivate me to work stronger and harder. I still want to run another half-marathon, and (possibly/probably a full) but right now, that goal seems lofty, despite having done it before.

Seventeen: Seventeen pounds to the weight I want to be. And while a size 8 might be a more difficult accomplishment (I’ll likely wear size 8 jeans but my large chest will likely keep me out of a size 8 dress), I’ve been seventeen pounds less than what I weigh right now and it’s a good, healthy weight for me.

Seventeen is also the number of years that I’ve not only known my husband, but that I’ve also known his family – his father specifically but also his aunts who I’ve had the chance to get to know a bit over the years, but never as well as I’ve gotten to know them in the past two years since Clara was born. Seventeen years of building a relationship with people who were strangers when I met them, but are now as much a family to me as my own family.

These are my numbers, all of them, and I gladly embrace them all. And by recognizing them (the years), or aspiring to them (the size/scale or miles ran), the end result is the same: a happier, healthier me both mentally and physically.

2-8-13.2-17.

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