Blog Find a Blog Post
Go to Episode Page

Broken Scale, Broken Spirit?

scale

My scale broke. Or rather I broke my scale… When I stepped on it. When I stepped on it and it shattered.

Pregnancy, miright?! It’s this weird shape-shifty time that is magical and awful and liberating and scary as fuck. I could write a poorly written book on all my thoughts on pregnancy but let’s just talk about the important part: Weight. (That’s a joke. It’s the least important part. Which I’m just now figuring out.)

Important or not, this is the one aspect of pregnancy that really came to a head for me a few days ago when my glass scale surrendered/cracked into a thousand pieces of my shattered confidence. Just kidding, sorry for being so dramatic… They were actually pieces of my soul. A thousand pieces of my soul lay on my bathroom tile. Or maybe it was tempered glass but it felt like all of my hopes and dreams and my sense of self. Shattered. What happened was, if I haven’t been clear, I stepped on the scale and it crumpled into a blanket of tempered glass pieces. My feet didn’t get cut, thankfully, but the metaphorical slashes to my ego were no joke.

And then, after I took a moment to gather myself and DRY MY TEARS (and google the max weight of my particular scale and be relieved to learn I was still a few hundred pounds off..) I realized, hmmm… maybe I’ve been putting too much weight on my weight?

I’ve weighed myself every. single. morning. of. my. life. First thing, clothes off, after peeing, since I started puberty. My Mother, who was a beautiful, loving, fun and effervescent woman, was put on her first diet at the age of FOUR (that’s right) and spent an extraordinarily large amount of her short life worrying about that scale number. She and I went on a diet together when I was ten years old. I lost ten pounds  in three weeks and felt her pride more than I ever had before. We went shopping and she beamed with joy when the sales lady said I was like a living doll. I learned a new, special way to her heart.

My mom passed away fifteen years ago but weight has continued to take up a ridiculous amount of time and focus in my life – time spent thinking about how much I weigh, wanting to weigh less, restricting, bingeing, “not dieting” but still checking, and I can’t help but wonder what I could have accomplished with the energy I’ve put towards something so meaningless and vapid. In the bad times, when I was using food as comfort/punishment/family, I’d weigh myself five times a day. That number would dictate everything – whether or not I got to go to dinner with friends, what kind of mood I was in, how I was doing in “life”. It makes me sad even just thinking about it.

Here was my big realization as I swept up the crumbled sheet of glass shards:
I DO NOT WANT THIS WASTE OF POTENTIAL FOR MY DAUGHTER.

I’m eight months pregnant and she weighs about four and a half pounds right now. The only reason that matters to me is that she is healthy and growing and thriving. Her brain is developing. She moves a lot. It’s beautiful. She is already so beautiful simply by her existence, and I want her weight to matter to me in the way it does right now for the rest of her life. It’s a symbol of her health and alive-ness. Nothing else. Her worth and miraculousness have nothing to do with the number 4.5.  I want her to put the catastrophic amount energy that I and so many girls waste towards shrinking their bodies towards her passions, towards her mind, and her spirit. Her body will follow the way it should, whatever shape it may take.

And I know she will learn this from me. From watching me. I learned a lot from hearing my Mom complain about being ugly or fat when she was the most beautiful woman in the world. It confused me. Nothing was good enough, and if SHE wasn’t beautiful, then I certainly wasn’t.

Not putting myself down in front of my daughter or comparing sizes or complaining of having a fat day or associating food and weight with self worth won’t come naturally to me but it is SO important to me that I work on this for her. For both of us.

That scale shattering under my feet was such a gift. I will never own a scale again. It feels weird waking up and not knowing the number but it’s a liberating weird. From now on it’s about how I feel, it’s about what my body wants to do – move, nourish, etc.. that makes me feel good in my skin. It’s about giving my daughter a better chance.

So… so long scale. You won’t be missed.

17 Comments!

Rik says:

I love this! When you joke with Andy on the podcast about being weighed every morning I had no idea you were actually doing that yourself.
Self worth shouldn’t be connected to weight. (We all know it’s money that’s really important!) J/k but fuck that scale. Good riddance.

Jess says:

Love this post! I just had my daughter 12 days ago and as a recovered anorexic, had serious concerns about all the fat talk she will be exposed too. Like you said, I know the best thing for me to do is be her positive example.

On a side note, I can’t wait to get rid of my maternity clothes, so done with those.

Page O. says:

Love this. When I was pregnant with Jack I popped an exercise ball while sitting and bouncing on it. It was a slow sinking feeling, both figuratively and literally. After the emotions, I’d say gaining weight was/is the hardest thing about pregnancy after worrying about it my whole life. My brain says it’s for a good reason but something else always told me otherwise. Love your approach with you new little lady. I 100% applaud that.

Sandy says:

As a mother to a very young daughter, this really resonated with me. It made me feel scared, but also hopeful. I like that your scale took matters into its own hands and removed itself from your life. I don’t ever weigh myself, but since I gave birth, I’ve struggled a bit with “fat talk” to my husband. This was a good reminder to nip that in the bud before the kid knows what I’m talking about (i.e., soon!).

Emily says:

I love this and could not agree more! No one tells you how awkward it will feel to embrace gaining weight when we’ve spent so much of our lives focused on maintaining or losing weight. A disclaimer would be helpful! Loved this post Lizbeth.

Clemence says:

Elizabeth thank you for sharing this story. I used to have a scale and be “that number”-obsessed when I was in my teens and early 20s, and though I still focus on my body a lot, I rarely step on a scale, and am trying to focus more what I eat and being in good shape. Shedding the obsession of losing weight felt like such a relief to me – it made me feel more peaceful.

I think the movement to get girls and women to love their bodies is such a powerful one, especially in the context of motherhood. It’s so fitting that Dove recently released another one of their “Real Beauty” videos – and it also focuses on parenting. You should check it out!: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BFkm1Hg4dTI

Alyssa says:

Elizabeth,

I lost over 100 a few years back through weight watchers and exercise. As I settled into my “new body” and continued to weigh in I would get judgmental remarks from the leaders about being up a pound or two. As people our weight fluctuates for a million reasons. So this summer after an aggravating weigh in I stopped weighing in or weighing myself. I use my clothes as a guide as another commenter said. It has been freeing to not be tied to a number.

I hope when I do I have a daughter that I can instill her with a healthy body image, something all women I know struggle with. Anyway, loving these blog posts and all three podcasts.

Sarah says:

Last summer I happened to try out a new podcast called The Fit Cast and caught an interview with Nia Shanks and her thoughts on Disordered Eating. I had to listen to the episode 3x- I felt like she was speaking to me so completely and I knew that she was going to be my catalyst to 15 years of disordered attitudes about my my body and food.

http://thefitcast.com/episode-261-sane-and-simple-with-nia-shanks

Essentially her approach is to shift your focus from the number on the scale or number of calories you consume to a new number associated with growth and improvement (she uses weights but you can use anything such as mile time) and relearning how to listen to your body.

I’ve been following her advice since August and I feel so at peace with my body. I intend to never look at a scale again when I look in the mirror even though my body hasn’t changed all that much in these past 6 months the parts of my body I look at has. I don’t go straight to looking at my soft belly but instead look at my tone arms and strong legs. I am healing.

Good luck on your journey!

Kim says:

HI!!!! You don’t know me, I am a friend of the badass Mrs. Beidel, and am super glad to have found your blog. It reminds me of mine, only way better. And gorgeous! Anyway, I wanted to share that, in the months after having my son, my obsession with my scale became super insane and unhealthy. It didn’t break, but I was beholden to it, and felt the presence of “the number” CONSTANTLY. So, I gave it to my husband, and had him hide it from me. I don’t know what I weigh. I have learned to pay attention to how I feel, and take my cues from that. It is liberating, and you got the message the universe was sending you, and I wish you a happy, healthy pregnancy and birth! You kick ass, and your daughter is lucky to have a mama who’s got her best interests in mind.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>