Today I was at the gym and overheard a woman telling a friend, “I’m 154 today”. I knew that she was referring to her weight because she had just stepped off the scale, but it got me thinking about the myth in this society that our numerical weight is the sum total of who we are as human beings. The diet industry certainly counts on us believing this. After all, if our weight was just one small part of who we are, then we wouldn’t feel a desperate need to lose weight in order to feel better about ourselves. Countless diets are sold with the promise of becoming “a whole new you” when you change your relationship to gravity.
This woman in the gym today is certainly not the only one to refer to her weight with the prefix, “I am…”. I spent fifteen years saying the same thing. And it took the past five years of consciously correcting myself every time those words came out of my mouth before I believed it. Last week, I mentioned to one of my clients the subtle distinction between “I am 154” and “I weigh 154 pounds”. It had never occurred to her that “I am 154” subconsciously says, “I am my weight. I am my shape. I am my size. I am nothing more.” Sadly, even our doctors and nurses perpetuate this myth when, during check-ups, they’ll announce, “You’re 154 today”.
So, just for the record…I am Megan. I am much more than the numerical value that represents my relationship to gravity. I am my personality, my gifts and strengths, my intellect, my thoughts and fears, my expectations, my soul and spirit, and yes, my physical body. I am Megan.
Next time you catch yourself saying, “I’m ___”, correct yourself and say, “I weigh ___. I am so much more than a number.” (Think of that wonderfully strange show, “The Prisoner”, in which the character says, “I am not a number!”)
Peace, joy, and health,