I weighed myself for the first time in months. I don't know why other than I was feeling good and was confident that whatever number I saw, I'd be able to handle.

Wrong.

The number immediately sent me spiraling into negative self-talk, and before I even stepped off the scale, I was scheming strict and rigid routines to get back to some arbitrary weight.

I've often disliked who I see staring back at me. I exhaust myself, always trying to be faster and thinner and shapeshifting who I am to become the me I think others want me to be. I deprive myself of grace and sacrifice health and authenticity. I don't like who I see because it's not me.

I nearly let the number on the scale rob me of another day. I've handed over far too many days to the voice in my head that tells me because I weigh more than "x" pounds, I'm worth less. It's shameful how much life I've lost being controlled by numbers. My weight, the number of calories I take in, how many miles I run — they've been all-consuming for more than half my life.

WDAY logo
listen live
watch live
Newsletter signup for email alerts

Yet, as my mind raced with worry and irrationality, somehow, a brief and fleeting moment of clarity burst my ballooning thoughts of doom and defeat — I'd been happy and felt good about myself when I stepped on the scale, and nothing had changed in the minute since then.

I pushed through the darkness where my demons dwell and navigated the maze of funhouse mirrors in my head, distorting my view of reality. With white knuckles, I grabbed the elusive happiness I'd felt just moments before and committed to holding on to it for dear life no matter how much the voices in my head told me that happiness is tied to what I weigh.

Click here for more columns from Josie Danz.

I don't want to be defined by how much I weigh or be seen as the fragile body that left me cold, distant, and unhappy for far too long. When people think of me, I want them to connect me to my voice, kindness, loyalty, and the smile that comes through in genuine happiness. I want to embody and emanate grace and grit in equal balance in all I pursue, and I can't do that when I hide in darkness where secrets and shame are nurtured. When I confine myself to a restricted body and don't allow myself to take up my natural space in the world, there's not enough room for who I'm supposed to be. I'm robbed of my chance to make a difference, to feel joy, to be someone.

When we love the water more and the pitcher less; when we honor our bodies, hearts, and minds and treat them with kindness; when we allow ourselves to take up space and spill outside the rigid lines to which we often confine ourselves; we naturally become the best versions of ourselves.

In being our most genuine selves, we become our most loveable and powerful selves. I'll weigh whatever I have to in order to feel a genuine smile bloom across my face. That smile is the real me breaking through, and that's who I want to see staring back at me.

Danz is an avid runner, reader and writer. She’s a graduate of Concordia College in Moorhead who lives, works and believes in downtown Fargo. She’s a regular contributor to The Forum’s opinion pages.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.