As a society we have become so focused on the little box that sits on our bathroom floors. We let it guide our self-worth and our lifestyles. I can tell you that I too once lived a life powered by my bathroom scale and counted every God damn calorie that I shoved into my mouth. I ate rice cakes, 100 calorie packs, and many unappetizing low-calorie microwave meals. My life had become “Count, eat, sleep, gym, morning weigh in —– repeat 24/7 365. Then one day I ate a cupcake, I didn’t dare figure out the calorie count, and for once I was ok with it.
As I was learning to love my body, my bathroom scale began to gather dust. I stood one night and looked at myself in the mirror. As in really looked at myself, I saw my body from a grown up perspective. I was reminded that I get my facial features from my Aunt Cherie Leigh, I have her freckles, large forehead, and high cheek bones. I noticed that my collar-bone sticks out and that my boobs are still holding their own. My back fat, (yea, I’ve got it too!) curves, and dimpled backside no longer bothered me. Instead of flaws I saw strength.
For the first time in a long time, I smiled into the mirror. I am not a size 8 or even a 10, yet I am happy in my size 12/14 jeans. I no longer strive to be like the girls in the magazines. I want to be the best possible me. I need to take care of the body that God gave me. The flaws disappeared, instead I focused on the fact that my body survived a pulmonary embolism and carried a child for a short while. The scar on my lower abdomen is a reminder of my bladder reconstruction surgery and to have hope for a better day. The scars on my knee remind me to keep on walking until the road before me ends. My curly hair, I finally love it and no longer wish for straight hair.
My big flat feet proved to be the perfect canvas for a tattoo. Tattoos, I’ve got two! One on my foot of four bear paws to remind me that my son Alucious is always with me. I have a book-worm studying a law-book on my lower right back (Ha! You thought it was a tramp stamp!) it reminds me to never stop fighting for justice.
You see I no longer want to spend my life looking at a scale. Instead I want to celebrate all of the above things and live a life full of worth. A life filled with white frosted cupcakes, walks with my dog, and backyard BBQs. I don’t need to be a size 2 to be beautiful. At a size 12/14 I am the healthiest I have ever been in my life. I no longer need those 100 calorie packs, rice cakes, and crappy low-calorie microwaved meals to eat “healthy”. I learned how to eat healthy, as in real fresh from the farm foods. I cook more and actually get excited about eating. I have more will power than ever before, I can pass up the bakery, cookie, and snack isle in the grocery store. I am not missing out on the treats, instead I buy just one cookie or cupcake to satisfy my craving. That’s all I need.
I do not need a low number to tell me that I am empowering, joyful, healthy, beautiful, or sexy. I will never let the number on my bathroom scale define myself worth again. I just wish Special K cereal would changer their ads and make women feel empowered in their current state and not ask them “What will you gain when you lose?” Because really the true question is “What will you gain when you throw out the bathroom scale?”
Great post! Weight loss, as a focus, doesn’t work, is beside the point of health, and causes the self-worth issues you mention. When I stopped focussing on it, and just focussed on feeling healthy and eating things that would make me healthy, my life completely changed! (And as an aside, re: Special K and other low-fat products – I am so happy that the latest studies have finally blasted the “low-fat myth” out of the water. They ironically cause weight gain!)