How 1 Woman Discovered She Was More Than Just a Number on a Scale

"Hi! How have you been?" I recently overheard one woman say to another in the supermarket.

Her response was to immediately move her hand towards her waist and pat the toned stomach that was made obvious by her snug Under Armour tank top. "Not too bad. But I'd be better if I could just lose another five pounds."

POPSUGAR Photography | Maria del Rio

It's at this point that I went up to these women, who proceeded to talk about being fat, feeling fat, wishing pizza didn't make them fat, and how much fat was in their low-fat Greek yogurt, and rammed my cart into the coconut water display. Before they had a chance to say anything, I pleaded, "For the love of humanity, I'm begging you to stop focusing on those last five pounds!"

OK, so I really didn't do this, but as I walked past them, that was the fantasy scenario that unfolded in my mind. That's how I feel — it's time to stop thinking "I'm so fat," once and for all. It's a lonely world when we endlessly fret over our perceived shortcomings.

Trust me, I know a thing or two about this. I know because I lost 70 pounds almost 10 years ago. So thrilled with my weight loss, I continued with my calorie counting and salad-only consumption habits, rarely entertaining the notion of eating anything that looked, smelled, or sounded like a carb. I even brought a scale on vacation with me. All because I was in a perpetual state of " . . . if I could just lose another five pounds."

Needless to say, my obsession ruled my every thought, from pondering why the scale was a few ounces higher than the day before to worrying about what I'd eat during an upcoming lunch meeting at work. If I wanted to be happy, I had to stop with this madness.

These days, I'm thankfully back on track, which means I've also intentionally gained back about 15 pounds over the past couple of years. Yes, I still have my salads, but I also have bread with butter. I understand the obsession because I've been through it. And I'm here to tell you that yes, a healthy lifestyle is good and something we should embrace. But at the same time, a lifestyle that is so immersed in fitness and nutrition — without making room for much else in life — is not.

Not every conversation has to circle back to jeans that became too snug over the Winter or biceps that the Rock would envy. Ten minutes of gym talk is interesting, an hour of it makes me want to roll around naked in fire ants. I hardly enjoy the idea of seeing a friend squatting and sweating in their garden, let alone watching them on Facebook doing live video squats near their TV tray of perfectly-positioned meal replacement bars every half hour. It's just all too much.

Being proud of weight loss or weight maintenance is wonderful, as is engaging in various fitness routines. It's beneficial and often necessary for optimizing mental and physical health. I get that, but isn't there more in life to talk about? We become so focused on what's wrong with us, we fail to realize what's right.

Tell me what music you like. Talk to me about your pets, your love of kayaking, your first crush, your desire to visit Italy. Sure, sprinkle in some discussion about that great run you had this morning, but also talk to me about those other things that make you the incredible person that you are.

You are more than a belly, beet juice, and treadmill incline. Of this I'm sure.