I’ve had self-esteem and self-image issues since I was about ten…never happy with the way I looked, always dissatisfied with the number showing on the scale or the tag of my clothes, even when that number was pretty dang low. I’ve fought to find peace with my body. But just when you think you’ve found a decent, survivable place, you realize how easy it is to be sucked back to that other place, the one where a number means so much.
Let me put this out there…I’m healthy. I have been described as “fit” and “sporty”. I try to take care of me. Exercise is a normal part of the weekly routine. I am getting ready to run my seventh half marathon. But I am also of an age weight naturally creeps up. Nothing has changed in the eating or exercise regimen. I even asked the endocrinologist when I saw her a few weeks back. This is “normal”. So why then is it so hard to me to take? Why do I find myself back in a near-obsessive place, somewhere I haven’t been since college? I am uncomfortable in my own skin. There are clothes in my closet I refuse to take off the hanger, for fear they won’t fit any longer. I’m continually fidgety, tugging and pulling at buttons, waistbands. That sounds like I gained ten pounds in the last few months….I have not. It’s three pounds, but the fact I know that exact amount is my own little indicator where my head is.
While I’m struggling with all this, I’m trying to preach to my daughter that value is not found in the number on a scale, nor the number on the tag of her jeans. I need her to not face what I’ve gone through for so many years. So I don’t talk about how I feel about myself right now in her presence. I won’t weigh myself when she’s home. I put away the two programs I had used in the last few years trying to lose pounds. Keeping it inside me isn’t helping me, but letting it out wouldn’t help her. This is hard.
I’m trying to focus on just being healthy….eating more salad than bread, more veggies than pasta, and so on…..watching portion sizes, but also trying to model moderation, allowing “cheat day” once a week, acknowledging that sometimes you just eat the cookie. I fight with myself constantly over wanting to see a certain number, but then knowing that to achieve that number, and maintain it, I’d have to basically never look at a piece of bread again, and life is too short to live it in constant denial.
I’m struggling here, friends. Logically, I know where I am, know what I’m dealing with, and I know I need to model health for my daughter, a good outlook, a good perspective on self-image. But then I see that number, and I panic. You’d think by this age, I’d have left this all behind twenty years ago. And yet the battle rages. I’m a woman, but I’m also a mom. So my dissatisfaction with self takes a backseat to the need for her to have a healthy outlook on her own self. That means putting away my anxiety over what the scale shows, any negative self-speak on my appearance, any obsession with what I’m eating or not eating, and living in a positive, healthy way.