30 days of self love – more than numbers

Posted: September 26, 2010 at 10:00 am

Our lives include so many numbers. Numbers on the scale, numbers in our bank account, number of designer clothes in our closets, number of activities we participate in, number of calories we eat or workouts we complete, number of Facebook friends, number of page views. Sometimes we fall into the trap of  allowing the numbers to define our lives and our worth.

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We get discouraged that we don’t make as much money as someone else. We see a number on the scale and it determines our mood for the day. We constantly check in on stats as a way to verify ourselves. We doubt ourselves in comparison to others for not doing as much.

Numbers can start as a tool to help us reach certain goals. For example, to run a marathon you have to track mileage to adequately prepare yourself. When working to lose weight, counting calories can help progress. When keeping up with a budget, we must track the numbers in our bank accounts. Numbers do serve a purpose. They can help us achieve certain tasks. Yet often they can also create a slippery slope for our self-esteem to slide down.

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We need to stop using numbers as a measuring stick for who we are. You can’t put love for others on a scale. You can’t put passion in a bank account. You can’t put fun and enjoyment on a tally sheet. You can’t put friendship in a spreadsheet. We must look past numbers and to the bigger picture of what makes up our lives.

Have you ever been stuck in a number trap? What could you have focused on instead of the numbers? You may remember back at the first week of this series, I found myself slightly discouraged because there was a huge drop off in the initial participation of the 30 DSLR. I was letting numbers define its purpose and mine as well. Then, I reminded myself this will help some. It is still a passion of mine. All I needed to do was focus on the joy of writing, plus connecting and growing with others in the process. The numbers can say what they want – I’m happy either way!

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34 Comments to “30 days of self love – more than numbers”
  1. Helena says:

    I agree, the focus should be on eating the right food and exercise. I found a fitness program that work for me on the fitnessprogramselector website.

  2. Lisa says:

    The scale is my biggest enemy. It always controls my emotions for the day and I know this is so bad. At my worst, I would weigh myself 6 times a day. Today I am down to about 2 (morning/night). My goal this week is to not weigh myself until Friday! Its hard because I would like to lose weight and I don’t trust myself. If I know I am eating healthy and exercising, why do I need the scale to tell me I am losing weight? Deep down I know that I am, but its never enough!

    • Tina says:

      Weight can also be affected by SO many things. So it really isnt too accurate to gauge true weight/fat loss. You can make it to Friday! And you may just feel even better without it and keep weighing in less often. :)

  3. Ela says:

    Oh, what a great subject! Thank you for this – I think I’m probably not the only person who needs to be reminded of this.

    Per my Naturopath’s instructions, I’m not stepping on the scale – and it’s such a relief.

    We’re getting ready for our journey, but I’ll try to write a little blog about this – will check back in and let you know.
    love
    Ela

  4. You are so right about the numbers thing. I work in a disability/health law firm, and I’m amazed at how often numbers are used to identify people: social security numbers, phone numbers, monthly benefits numbers and so on. I vote that we strip our lives of numbers and go back to basics and self-love. Um, the scale can go first. No wait! Calories first, scale second :) My life would be so much less stressful…

    • Tina says:

      Agreed! There are so many numbers out there. Eventually we won’t even have to name our children. They will just be #——–. I know that is extreme, but sometimes it feels that way with how people judge us and how we even judge ourselves.

  5. I love this–I think people remember (or at least get it pounded into their heads) that the number on the scale doesn’t matter… but it’s also about how much money you make and all the other numbers that are forced onto us. We all need perspective :)

  6. Jess says:

    Numbers can be such a trap for me, too. I struggle with it at times, but have tried very hard to be cognizant that there is “good counting” and “bad counting” at least in my book. For example – I used to count calories and kept a strict food diary. Over time, I was SO focused on that that it was all I could think about. Now, I eat intuitively and am not thinking about the caloric value of a food, but its nutritional value, and of course, taste factors in too. ;) Same goes for calories burned in a workout – I have to balance that with the type of workout I’m doing. If its a strength workout, it’s not so much about calories burned but endurance gains, strength gains, etc. It’s very much about gaining new perspective when it comes to numbers, definitely.

  7. Ela says:

    Tina – I’m packing but I slipped in a quick post – hope it resonates for you!

    http://ulteriorharmony.blogspot.com/2010/09/quick-post-reflections-on-self-love.html

    love
    Ela

  8. Lauren says:

    Oh numbers…I’m such a perfectionist and organizational freak that I can’t get enough of them. I’ve obsessed over numbers my whole life, from counting calories to G.P.A. to my weight – I think it’s about having a sense of control over something. Instead, I should have focused on enjoying every bite of my food, having fun in school and enjoying learning for the sake of learning, and doing things to make my body feel healthy and strong no matter what the scale says.

    I agree that numbers are indeed helpful tools to help keep us on track – but they are so small compared to the rest of who we are.

    Thanks for posting this!

    • Tina says:

      Forgot about the GPA I know those numbers drove me for many years. And I completely agree about the control. Numbers are concrete. We can track them and manipulate them to how we feel they will work for us. Sadly, life isn’t such a science so in the end it usually just discourages us more.

  9. Thank you for this post! I am very obessed with the scale too! I don’t know why…I do feel like it does define me. I need to look how far I have come to this point. I try not to get on the scale each day, I probably weigh myself 2 to 3 times a week. I should just look in the mirror and see how much stronger I have become emotionally, physically and mentally.

  10. homecookedem says:

    Numbers used to be my main focus. I was obsessed… OCD even about them! How many miles I ran, calories in/out, weight, pants size, etc etc. The freedom of not knowing those numbers anymore is amazing!!!!! I am so much happier without them in my life because they do not define me!!!!! :)

  11. Lindsay says:

    I have found that for me, I cannot stand numbers that relate to my health. I have luckily gotten to a point where I NO LONGER count calories and I mostly do not know the number on the scale either. I do have difficulties with that number on the scale, but I am working to get past it. The only difficulties I have right now is that when I get stressed out about school and work, I take out my anxiety on the numbers and I get on the scale and scold myself. I think that if I reduced my focus on the numbers, I would be at more peace with my body. I am sure that you are going to have a beautiful baby boy and you family will NOT care what size you are as long as you can hug them and congratulate them when they need it.
    P.S. Is it cooling down yet where you live, because it is cool here and I would love to send the Cookies this week!! :)

    • Tina says:

      It’s supposed to be cooler all this week. Or at least that’s what the weather men say. Then again, cool here is a high in the low 80s right now. LOL

  12. amy says:

    I wish the number on the scale didn’t define my day so much. I’m getting much better at weighing only 1 time a month but its still so hard. I’m recovering from anorexia and seeing that number go up is terrifying.

    • Tina says:

      I saw on another blog that the author (also recovering from anorexia) decided to view weight gain as weight achievement. Gain has such a negative connotation when it comes to weight. So instead she is thinking of it as achieving a healthier weight and a better life with those increases. ;)

  13. Heather says:

    i used to be so stuck on weight and the size of the jeans that i was wearing that i couldn’t even begin to imagine eating food without counting calories and fat grams (more numbers!) it was a hard trap to get out of but ever since i have it’s been insane how awesome life has been!

  14. I, too, let the number on the scale dictate my mood for the day. (Perhaps that’s why I’ve been avoiding the scale for two weeks now … I don’t want to be in a bad mood! I’ve been enjoying myself … I just wish enjoying myself didn’t always include food.)

  15. Tina I have recently made the switch to not defining myself by the numbers: if I see a gain on the scale I know how to take care of it. If I see a drop in readership on a particular day, I know it happens and try to not worry about it.

    Unfortunately I think from a young age we are taught that we are defined by numbers: percentages on test scores, final points/scores in sports, how much we can sell at our first job, etc. Unfortunately that is one way to track but what is important is knowing that it isn’t the only way to track. Yes for me, weighing myself gives me an idea of where I at, but so do other things: my pants size, my stamina during a workout, my boosted self esteem for wearing clothes that fit, etc.

  16. Penny Lane says:

    It is so easy for me to get caught up on the numbers on the scale. It is so hard for me not to judge my worth by the number I see in the morning. Instead of weighing myself in everyday I am weighing myself less and I feel better. It has helped me because now I feel good starting my day and have been able to accomplish more by noticing the changes that have come about by working out more and eating less. I no longer stress out over anything surrounding my weight, but instead enjoy all my life.

  17. Maren says:

    numbers have been such a problem for me in the past. i want to eliminate all numbers from my life.

  18. Taryn says:

    As a math major, numbers kind of control my life. But even before college, numbers consumed me. I needed to have the best possible GPA in high school; the number on the scale totally dictated my mood. As much as I love numbers, there are times that they make me unhappy.

    I just wish there were some easy way to manipulate solid numbers like your weight or your GPA or whatever to get it to where you want it to be, like in a math problem. But, of course, there’s only the hard way.

    And Tina, I just want to say that I have really enjoyed following along this month. It’s been pretty eye-opening.

  19. Holly says:

    I am SUCH a numbers person! I have worked on this for so, so long. I am better in some respects, but it just seems like there’s always a “new” way to measure things – like a heart rate monitor, or how many miles a race was, etc. I think for me, it also helps to be around people who aren’t number people, too. It definitely is “contagious” for me!

  20. [...] Now…I’m beat! See you tomorrow for one of the last few posts of September’s 30 Days of Self Love. This month went by so fast. Check out the other posts from this weekend if you haven’t already – Gifts of the Body 4 / Numbers Don’t Matter. [...]

  21. [...] blogging challenge topic, More than numbers, is another particularly challenging one for me cos I’m all about the numbers. I try not to [...]

  22. [...] day because you have the power to find it and claim it for your own. Don’t let trivial matters of numbers and physical appearance define you. Refuse to lose your life in a search for control, a denial of [...]

  23. [...] so reflections on self-love.  Tina just says it so beautifully today. While numbers are useful tools, they can take over our lives and we can get caught in the trap of [...]

  24. Xandria says:

    I sometimes focus on the scale when I probably shouldn’t. I should focus more on how I feel and if I am healthy. I am definitely healthy. :)

  25. This website [http://amarillo.com]

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