A couple weeks ago, I made a decision that has eliminated some unneeded stress from my life. I made the decision to stop weighing myself.
Here’s the deal: I have dealt with weight issues for decades. I was bulimic in high school, dealt with anorexia in my early twenties and then again in my early thirties. It wasn’t the “my boyfriend broke up with me, I’m sad and don’t feel like eating for a few days” stuff, but an eating disorder that required group and individual counseling, the threat of not returning to college if I didn’t work on getting better, and the loss of a boyfriend and some friendships because of my relationship with food. I would count calories and make sure I didn’t eat more than 600 a day, and then I’d head to the gym and make sure I burned off the 600 I ate. I’d become obsessed with certain foods. I loved eating a bowl of plain rice, measured out, most meals because it didn’t have many calories. Steamed veggie plates and salads without dressing were my go-to’s when I went out to eat. Now that I’ve been in a good relationship with food for a while, I can see how stressful my life had become because everything revolved around food and calorie-counting.
Growing up, my family was a weight-conscious one. Members constantly pointed out who gained weight, who lost weight, who looked good, who should watch what they eat, etc. Being thin was and is an important value to many of them. Growing up with this around me and worrying about food, for me, was exhausting and emotional.
As a parent, I have made a huge effort to not talk about diets in front of my girls. I get angry if people make comments about my daughters’ body shapes. I’m probably overly-protective about this because I don’t want them to feel bad about their bodies like I did. I want them to have a healthy relationship with food. We talk a lot about making healthy choices, eating from the food groups, eating when we are truly hungry, and enjoying dessert (just not with every meal of the day).We talk about the importance of doing something active to keep muscles, hearts, and minds strong. Although I’ve slipped a few times, I try not to complain about parts of my body–but we all have days where nothing seems to fit or look right, or we overdid it at dinner and complain we feel completely bloated and stuffed.
A couple of weeks ago, I saw this quote:
How true this quote is! It took me a very long time to figure out that the number on the scale had nothing to do with how much others cared about me or how beautiful I was. It was just a number. My friends and husband didn’t chose me because of that number. They chose me for me. They valued me because of who I was on the inside, not if I could fit into a size zero or not.
Instead of getting on the scale each week and watching it go up and down the same four or five pounds, and instead of having my girls see me check my weight on the scale constantly, I’ve made the decision to stop weighing myself.
I don’t want them to see me jumping on the scale each morning and grumbling about the two pounds I gained from last night’s dinner. I personally don’t want to be in a great mood for a few pounds to magically disappear by mid-afternoon, only to have my good mood drop because I see it reappear a couple days later. It’s just adding extra stress to my days.
Instead, I’m going to keep continuing what I do. I eat healthy, and I head to the gym four or five times a week. I limit desserts, but I enjoy them when I want to. I’m going to continue to make good choices and make healthy decisions that are good for my body.
Yes, I live in a community where size seems to matter. Lots of moms around me are always dieting, doing different cleanses, and really restricting what they eat. It can be difficult and it can start to make me feel insecure around them. None of us have the same metabolism, the same body shape, or the same height. We are all built differently by God. So another reason I am eliminating the scale is because I’m done competing with them. Our numbers are never going to be the same, and I have learned to be OK with that. It’s my job to take care of my body and keep it healthy, whether that means I take care of a size extra-small body or a size medium body.
After all, the number on the scale is not important to my kids or my husband. It doesn’t tell anyone anything about who I am, what I’m interested in, or how I feel. It’s just a number. What’s most important is how I feel about me and that I am taking care of myself.