Any woman who has battled with weight knows that at some point you become nothing more than a number on the scale. In January you are 110. And thank God you have Christmas to blame. You remember the roasts, the stews, the grills. You look back with ill-concealed disgust at the pies, the cakes and the breakfast sausages that seemed so delectable during the holidays but have now become a number on the scale.
The good thing is that fearsome number always triggers a dash to gym. Gym owners must celebrate Christmas with heartfelt thanksgiving, knowing joy comes in January and February when the resolutions are fresh and the resolve still strong. This unfortunately, is short lived. With an equal burst of energy like it surfaced, the enthusiasm wanes as fast as it came. The number moves down to 105 or 100 and suddenly the diet becomes too restrictive, the subscription too expensive and the muffins look much better. Vegetables, we argue look much better on a cow or a goat.
Passing the bakery aisle for some reason, becomes a soul searching venture. You take a wide berth until you remember the eggs that were the foundation of your diet, are right next to the bakery as are the fruits and vegetables. I think the people who design the aisles in supermarkets are evil witches and were definitely not loved as children. Otherwise why can’t they walk in a dieters rather tight and painful shoes and help us reach the coveted number 75?
Did I mention that even when you valiantly, bravely and successfully conquer the bread and sugary stuff aisle. You will encounter the chocolate right next to check out. I do not know if it’s me, but there is something about knowing I have decided not to eat sweets, that suddenly make them much more desirable. The devil is truly a liar! On any other day, I will pass the sweets and never feel the urge to buy. The minute I decide to abstain from them, then like forbidden sex it suddenly has supreme appeal and usually with equally disastrous results on the number I am watching!
So the numbers keeping rising and falling. They wax and wane with every new moon. They fall with a new diet and rise with that time of the month again when PMS comes knocking. They rise when you are angry, lonely or afraid. They rise when you are scared that you may never find someone who loves you for you, because then food embraces you in its ever present comfort. The numbers drop dramatically when you fall in love, because then you fool your brain that love tastes better than dessert and usually it does.
The numbers fall when month after month of resolution keeps you going, and you realise that what matters is not time but consistency. They slowly start changing when you push yourself beyond the point of certain death that happens to all runners at the one mile mark. (Another number to watch) They fall forever into that space of contentment and self-love, when you look in the mirror and for the first time you tell yourself the truth. This truth that no matter what the number is today, you are a beautiful, phenomenal woman rocking her world, rocking a heart and taking her place fearlessly in the world to make a difference in a special unique way.
And finally the numbers plunge into that deep dark hole of nothingness in the short, dimpled arms of a loving child when they tuck their head on your breast, slip their arms around your waist and whisper sleepily…” I love you mummy. You smell so nice” and fall asleep safe, secure and whole in your embrace.
The number then, is just that a number. And in that fragile moment in time you know it is the least important number in the world.