jackiehaugh.com
Living by a Number
Placing my feet squarely on my most ruthless nemesis, I closed my eyes and held my breath. “Oh, God!” I cried, horrified. “How could I have gained 5 pounds overnight?” The blinking light beneath my toes was about to set the tone for my entire day. From the day I turned 13 in 1965, I’ve lived my life by a number. Consequently, I’ve had a love/hate relationship with my bathroom scale for 47 years. If I found my daily digits respectable, a sigh of relief rang. If not, I began strategically planning military-style maneuvers to take over. The slippers came off first, then the bathrobe, and finally the nightgown until I was stark naked. If that didn’t help, I relocated the sucker to every other flat surface in the house hoping for a reading I could live with. To say I was obsessive didn’t even begin to describe my maniacal neurosis. Then, one day the universe had enough of my ridiculous behavior and forced a change. In February 2012, while hiking with my daughter Michelle, I made a major biff. Not paying attention to where I was going, I tripped and flew head first down the mountain, landing on a pile of granite boulders. The result: a fractured pelvis in 3 places. For the following six weeks, I was sequestered to my bed. I groaned in horrific pain, and that was only a part of the agony. Like a thick fog covering the coastline in oppressive dampness, intense fear engulfed my psyche. I knew just the slightest break from my daily physical routine meant extra pounds would magically appear. Feeling doomed for waistline expansion, I sobbed. But God, in his infinite wisdom, decided it was time to set me straight. Staring out the window as tears dripped down my cheeks in frustration, I sensed an imaginary slap to the side of my head and a voice hissing. “Get over yourself!” the voice demanded, “Do you want to spend your remaining good years living like this?” Hmm. He had a point. When dealing with an addiction, and yes, my compulsion with my scale was an addiction, the first thing one must do is clear away the source. If my bad relationship had been with sweets, I wouldn’t have had them in the house. The answer became crystal clear. Walking into the bathroom, I picked up the “Eatsmart Precision Plus” monster and carried it to the kitchen. There I wrapped a big pink bow around it, and wrote a note to say good-bye: “Today, I release you of all your power over me – forever.” Ceremonially attaching the script as if it were a diploma in a graduate’s hand, I proceeded to the garbage can and threw it in, never to be seen again. Now, I know some numbers are important in monitoring the health of our bodies. Diabetics must observe glucose levels, heart patients their blood pressure, and cancer victims the rise and fall of white blood cells. An arbitrary accounting of my quantitative mass was just plain restrictive, along with stupid. When I was given this life, I believe it was meant to be lived joyfully. Weighing myself down with unnecessary anchors only limits creativity. Today, I have no idea what I weigh and feel completely liberated. I dress to satisfy a mood, not a number. This allows my day to be filled with clarity, so I can focus on what truly matters. And when that waistline feels a little thick (and yes, that occasionally still happens. I do love to eat!) there’s a lovely invention created by the angels of fashion that helps keep me looking my best – Spanx!