Monday, January 19, 2015

the scale and a slippery slope.

 Want to really know what I'm thinking as I'm about to write this post? 
Oh brother, not this again.  But yes, this.  

A post about weight/the scale/being confident/being UN-confident/how women treat one another…
you might as well settle in and hold on-this post is going to be a wild ride.  My wild ride.  Please don't feel like this should be your story or that I'm stepping on your toes.  I'm simply sharing what is true to me.  Your story might be exactly opposite of mine..and that's fine.  We each must be the tellers of our own story.  Not letting others have the say.
 Let me just say I've written about this topic many times on the blog, each time totally genuine and real for where I was in that particular season of life.  My health and weight story looks kind of like the spice aisle.  Or maybe the laundry detergent aisle.  Basically a whole bunch of variety that all boil down to the same thing.  I'm a woman who wants to be healthy…
but I get so caught up along the way.  Just like with spices or detergent, there are so many avenues and routes you can take to end up with a really clean shirt, or a really great-tasting food.  With my health, there are so many different ways to reach "healthy" and sometimes that's overwhelmed me. 
 It wasn't until my late twenties that I started to fully embrace my body and how God created me.  (I feel like I owe a huge apology to our fabulous Maker for being so hung up for so long).  Then over the next few years I began to figure out what healthy eating looked like for me, and then later on-our family.  Sounds easy enough, doesn't it?  
The tricky part for me has always been the scale.  That darn scale.  It's ruled one too many days for me and by now I should know better.   And I do.  I haven't weighed myself in quite some time and it feels good.  They say ignorance is bliss. 

I'm not saying we shouldn't be healthy.  Our bodies are created to function and function well-We must take care of them.  Binge-eating potato chips for months and then worrying over our health would just be silly.  But here's the world I live in. 

Last winter I weighed considerably less and let me tell ya-that scale was my BFF.  I woke up, my mind consumed with how little of calories I could eat and how MUCH I could run.  Most days I was doing 3 or 4 miles a day.  And for some, that's fine!  Remember, this is my story.  But for me, I began to worship that silly scale.  The thinner I got, the more confident I felt.  
The problem is, I was greatly missing the joy of food.  And you'd better believe scales awful sister GUILT showed up if I ate something that wasn't on my handwritten schedule.  The problem was, I was already healthy before I even started this craziness.  I wasn't the skinniest version of myself I could be, but I was healthy.  Isn't healthy what we should be striving for?

The truth is, no one looks at others and says "Good job! I see you're embracing your curves and not worrying yourself stick-thin."  At least I've never heard it.  Instead I see and hear weight loss praised.  Even when the woman scooping up the compliments was already at a healthy weight before, we clap and cheer when she loses just a bit more.  (again, my own personal experience)
This winter I, admittedly, haven't been running on the treadmill like maybe I "should." Am I healthy?  Do I keep up with my girls?  Do I eat healthy most of the time?  Do I plan to be more active in spring?  Yes.  To all. (I mean, 90% or more sugar free for 7 months?! Holla!)

Do I worry other women are talking about how I've gained weight?
Yes. 

The awful, ugly truth.  
I've sat in circles where I was the only one that ate bread and felt guilt so thick I could barely swallow.  I just, somehow…don't think that's normal.  Sometimes I wonder how great it would feel if I'd been someone off The Biggest Loser..because then my size now would be recognized for what it really is-healthy, instead of just seen as the slightly bigger version of myself.

What it comes down to is this-I'm not my skinniest self.  By my own choice.  I know within a matter of a few choices and decisions the exact route to lose about 10 pounds, right now.  I know I have the power to do that.  But for what?  For whom?  
I want my girls to grow up seeing a strong, confident, healthy mama.  One that exercises and enjoys food and doesn't beat herself up over the numbers game that is the scale.  

I'm taking a confident stand against the scale in my life right now.  I'm choosing not to step on it..I'm eating a variety of foods and not apologizing for the lesser healthy ones, like the bacon on my plate above.  I'm taking notice of my health and if all my jeans start to get too tight, it's time to rein my habits in a bit.  But I'm not letting that darn scale and the whispers I fear rule my happiness. 

If you see someone who is healthy and happy…compliment that.  Even if they're not the skinniest version of themselves.  That's braver to me than attacking my self-consciousness with calories.

I am so lucky and blessed to have a very small circle of very important, deep friendships.  Friendships with gals who have seen me wear every single one of the six sizes in my closet and I still know that I matter to them….my soul, my heart, the real stuff of my body.  Sisters across the web…will you join me in pursuing a healthy, kind lifestyle?  For ourselves and the sisters that surround us?  

Because for me, when I'm caught up in worrying about my weight, sliding down that slippery slope called the scale..all other voices in my world are silenced.  My art doesn't get painted, my laughter doesn't bellow out, my ears don't do the listening they crave.  I'm just half the person I am, literally and figuratively. 

Where do you weigh in on this conversation?  Can you relate or have you found yourself slipping down the unhealthy slope?  I'd love to hear. 
Here's to being US-our best versions.  Our healthy versions, most interesting selves. 
We matter, you and I.  And we're worth more than any numbers on the scale. 




10 comments:

  1. Sara,
    I get ya! I think no matter what a woman weighs, she is never fully satisfied. I see these actresses and models on tv and in magazines and I cringe. They look gaunt and unhealthy and stick thin.
    Just yesterday I prayed that God would help me to have confidence in my body and my looks. I am my heaviest self and absolutely need to lose at least 20 lbs., but it's tough and I don't work hard enough at it.
    I don't even get on the scale anymore because the number seems unreal.

    I have often thought that God must be a little sad that he had the creativity to design all shapes and sizes and yet, we dumb humans want to all look the same!

    I think we all just need to concentrate on being active and healthy and eating well and cheating sometimes and just being happy. Then, our true beauty will shine through and others will want what we have :)

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    1. Hi Debbie! Thanks so much for offering up your own experiences and struggles. I wonder what kind of freedom revolution would happen if women simply spoke up more instead of hiding these struggles? I don't know the answer to that but I do know I'm ready to be more than satisfied and pleased with how I'm honoring my body. The sad part to me is when we ARE honoring our bodies and still don't feel like it's enough. I'm working on that..

      I pray your journey is freedom-filled and full of God's grace along the way.

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  2. Hi Sara,

    Your post probably reflects the internal thinking of 99% of women. The fact that we logically "know better" yet still strive to look like super models tells you how deeply seated this is. I have never been satisfied with my weight. Never! Even when I turned 45 and could still fit into a pair of jeans I wore in high school (the fact I still keep those jeans is a symptom of the disease), I think to myself that I must have been a chubby kid. Honestly, I'm not sure how to fix that. Because if I am brutally frank, I still want to be thinner, prettier, younger. Even as I write this comment.

    The reality is, I have no idea how to change this mindset. I agree with you though, it is worth trying to change. You have given me something to think about! Thanks for that.
    Susan

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    1. Susan, thank-you for so bravely opening up and sharing your honest thoughts. It sure is hard, isn't it? But I suppose my point is that it's harder to live silently beating ourselves up. I'm praying (and will include you in my prayer!) to be the 1% that doesn't have the normal internal thinking…that is confident and healthy and free. Doesn't freedom sound sweet? I think we must figure out how to take hold of that kind of living.

      I pray this helps.

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  3. Right now I'm feeling so torn about this; I'm happy with the body I have because it gave me my three gorgeous children, but at the same time I know I'm not in good shape and that to be fit and healthy I need to loose some weight, I'm just trying to do it gently, balancing the fact that I had a baby four months ago with not letting that become an excuse for never doing anything about it - and I won't go anywhere near our scales. My eldest daughter thinks the scales tell you your shoe size (our local shoe shop has a sort of iPad thing you stand on to measure your feet) and I've no intention of correcting her!

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    1. Carie, you are such a good mama and still have a newborn! Grace…give yourself grace. You know there will be time for focusing more on your health later…and I think what you said about doing it gently is so wise. Slow and steady wins the race you know.

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  4. The last time I was on a scale was at the gym. I used to go to the gym several times a week (this was about ten years ago). I would kill myself with this constant working out. But one day I just told myself to stop. I was tired of getting headaches from being hungry, I was sore from always working out. My health was not as it should have been. I didn't feel well.
    I always ate healthy, but realized that I could do even better. So I went all organic and also am mostly vegetarian. Sometimes I will do a little chicken or turkey. Anyway, I slowed down on working out so much. Instead I dance to music throughout the day. When something peppy comes on, the dancing does as well, and with that I incorporate kickboxing.
    I have never been more fit. I feel pretty amazing; and yes, I even feel attractive. And believe me, this is coming from someone who hated their self image since I was a teen. Once I stopped being obsessed with all of that, it all came together.
    When I call my sisters or they call me, we always say, "Hello my beautiful Sister."
    We all are beautiful.
    :-)

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    1. Indigo, thank-you for sharing your real life story of health! And for showing us that being healthy can be a fun thing! Dancing with my girls is such a fun way I like to get exercise as well! You're right…we are all beautiful, truly.

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  5. It's OK that you posted about your body image issues. We all have them, even top models probably do because they have to keep their waif-like figures. Except for the plus-size models, which is goo for them! We just have to do the best we can and try not to eat too many sugary foods. On the plus side, creating art helps to stave off a lot of those negative feelings about body image and food ... at least for me!

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    1. Me too Deborah, art distracts me in the best way possible! :)

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