I have been studiously avoiding the scale for the last few months. Running has changed my body, but I can't trust the mirror and the longer I go without weighing in, the more nervous I get about what the numbers might read. It's a very freeing feeling, to not really care to keep tabs, but sometimes I look at the scale with fear. What if I stepped on? Would I have gained? Would it confirm the worries that stress and holiday eating have led to uncontrollable weight-gain? Better to avoid it and just go by how I feel and how my pants fit, which are pretty consistent measurements that keep me happy and relaxed.
Today, however, I had a wellness checkup. Our insurance company does these optional checkups, and people whose health rates well receive a discount on insurance costs. I was interested to see where I'd fall after all this training, months without seeing a doctor, and some time off and rich-food indulgence.
I won't break down BMI, waist size, etc, because it's silly to dwell on those factors. However, the true health indicators - blood pressure and fat percentage - were surprisingly good. My blood pressure is 102/60, and my fat percentage is at the low-end of the "athletic" measurement. Basically, no matter what the scale reads or what I think I see in the mirror, I can see the benefits of running. My body, at its core, is healthy.
And as the years tick by, I know these benefits will continue to accumulate. I don't take any kind of progress photos, I don't really monitor my physical body very much, and sometimes I worry I should be more careful if I want to look good in a bikini. But then results come in on the things that are important, the things that matter, and I'm reminded that health is about so much more than how we look.
I am very pleased with myself today; I'm healthier than I ever was in high school or college, and my self-worth is more wrapped up in knowing I'm strong and healthy than in how I look. Thank you, running, for once again shedding light on what really matters.