I won’t do it, I just can’t. I will not buy my daughter a scale. I will buy her more things than I should, but a scale is a firm NO. Why? That’s a good question with a long answer.
Where it began
Like most stories, it started when I was a kid. My parents divorced when I was three. My older brother and I were opposites in every way. He was outgoing and athletic while I was mousy and bookish. You could find me most Saturdays on the top of bleachers of whatever sport he was playing that season sitting backwards and completely entranced in whatever I was reading. Books were my friends, they still are; they are good for your mind, but not so great for your body. I would sit and read for hours and all the adults in my life loved it. No one heard a peep from me.
My mom and dad would both probably admit that their parental instincts weren’t the strongest when my brother and I were younger. By the time I was eleven, I had grown out of my mom’s clothes and I think she was slightly alarmed to realize that her youngest child was now the largest one in the family. I didn’t inherit her petite build or her metabolism so she didn’t really know how to help me. We did start Tae Kwon Do as a way for me to get exercise, but food was still frozen pizzas, take out, and lots of soft drinks.
The next year my brother and I moved in with my dad and his wife. This is where it got real. She became obsessed with my weight and had me weighed in front of her every day. I was given a reward for any weight lost. The reward was…wait for it…cookies from my favorite bakery. But then again, I was punished for any weight gained because, “no one wants a fat wife.” Remember, I was still in middle school. There were days that I was given an entire box of cookies and told to go ahead and eat the whole thing because they were “fat-free” and other days when I was told that I probably shouldn’t eat supper. I wasn’t allowed to take P.E. because shorts were required and that wasn’t happening for “religious reasons” so I became the librarian’s aide. All in all, it was really hard to achieve that special number on the scale that I was chasing.
In the end, I graduated high school and moved away for college. I rarely ate well. Most days consisted of three cups of coffee, two candy bars, free-flowing soft drinks, and no time to exercise because of two jobs and college. Until, that is, I started having medical problems. The doctor asked me what my diet consisted of and then very sternly gave me a strict diet to follow. Years later, I still could not achieve that magic number on the scale. Eventually, I turned to other ways to see that number. I tried to starve myself. It seemed to work, but I tend to like food too much. Then I decided to try laxatives. After a few months I became so ill that I simply couldn’t make my body eat because I knew what the effect would be. Still, I couldn’t reach that number. So I decided “to heck with it all” and did whatever I pleased. I would grab a candy bar from the impulse aisle every time I went to the store.
Enter marriage and pregnancy
When I was twenty-four, I got married. My husband knew that I had an issue with the scale and since he had lost seventy pounds in his early twenties, he felt that he could help me in my battle with the scale. I actually resented him for it because I couldn’t lose any weight! Especially eating two or three candy bars a day! When I had my first child, I felt that I should be able to eat anything during pregnancy. By the time we had her and I was allowed to work out, I had actually gained seventy pounds. Luckily we decided to do something about it and joined a gym, got a trainer, and decided to start eating better. I also started seeing a doctor that agreed to help me lose weight medically. Unfortunately, I relied heavily on the medicine and couldn’t find the right balance. I did, however, reach the magic number on the scale that was supposed to mean all of my troubles would go away!
Then I got pregnant again. This next go around was really hard, including six weeks of bed rest at the end. I wasn’t even supposed to walk. I was shut in my own home and could barely move. I gained so much weight that when that sweet little bouncing boy was born, I thought that I would never again see that magic number.
Honestly, 255 is a big number and that right there just freaked me out. It has been years and I still haven’t reached the magic number again. But I’ve decided that there are many ways to lose weight. The main thing is you have to fight for it. I no longer set weight goals because I am more than just a number. I am a mom, wife, friend, business owner and blogger along with a multitude of other things.
So far I have lost more than eighty pounds! But now I refuse to weigh myself. Why? It stresses me out too bad! No matter what I weigh, I will still be me. That number doesn’t control me! I know that I feel better when I exercise and eat well. Charleston has a bevy of ways to better yourself, from F3 (for men) and FIA (for women), to just getting out and running. I completed my first individual 5k in May and now I have signed up for a 1/2 marathon. A scale doesn’t make me. It is just a number that the doctor needs to look at once a year.
My hope is that I will be a good example for my daughter of how to set goals and find ways to achieve them. I want to teach her what I had to teach myself, that good food and plenty of exercise will keep her healthy and strong. I want her to know that she is smart, capable, and a beautiful ballerina. She needs to know that she is so much more than a number!