Monday, 17 March 2014

A rebel with a cause

In a rebellious, post-pregnancy move, I have locked my bathroom scales away. I have decided to invest my limited emotional energy in more meaningful things - like my daughter.

It's sad when I think those scales have played such an important role in my life for nearly 30 years now. Why is it that we base our happiness on an arbitrary number? We believe that we aren't good enough, happy enough, loveable enough,worthy enough unless we weigh x kilos. When we decide that we need to weigh x to be happy, we set ourselves up to fail because our weight is always a fluctuating thing so it means our happiness is too.

When I think of the thousands of times I've stood on scales, I shudder with what I put myself through. The stressful moment before I stepped on, dreading what I would see. The bargaining of so long as it's within this range it's ok. The emotional slump when I didn't see what I wanted to see. I put myself through that thousands of times, for the handful of times I got to experience the elation of being happy with what I had seen. I did this for 30 years!

As a new Mum, society tells me I should now be throwing myself into loosing my pregnancy weight. It should be the focus of my life, the only meaningful thing in my life and the be all and end all for me to feel like I'm happy as a Mum.

I admit, I succumbed to the pressure. I weighed myself once a week and constantly scrutinised myself in the mirror, trying to determine if my stomach was shrinking. People's compliments to me about how great I looked fell on deaf ears because I didn't weigh what I wanted to or look the way I wanted to. I am drawing a line in the sand and saying no more.

If I want to teach my daughter to love herself unconditionally, I need to live by example. I don't want her to become obsessed with her weight, worrying about whether she's fat, or letting her happiness be determined by the scales. I want her to develop a healthy relationship with food, exercise and herself.

I know how to eat sensibly. I know moderation is the key. I choose to eat chocolate or muffins or have a glass of wine without feeling guilty. I choose to enjoy these things as part of a balanced diet. I choose to go walking and enjoy spending that time with my daughter, marvelling at her experiencing, seeing and hearing things for the first time. 

I accept that right now, part of my wardrobe doesn't fit. I accept there may be some items of my wardrobe that may never fit me again. I accept I now have a dent in my stomach following the operation that will probably always be there. When Sticky asks me about it, I will tell her that's my tummy smiling because she was in there. I accept that if that's the price I pay for having my daughter, I'll gladly pay it. 

So farewell to you scales. I know I am the only one responsible for letting you have such an impact on my life, but it means I can exit you from my life too. Like any bad relationship, you have to walk away when you realise it's not healthy for you to stay and it's time for me to leave. I take back the power I let you steal from me and will ensure you don't suck my daughter into your powerful tractor beam. I have given you 30 years of my happiness and you will have no more!

I can't tell you how freeing it is to put those scales away. I really feel like I am taking a part of my life back, realising I am responsible for my happiness, not that digital display. I encourage all of you to be brave enough to do the same. You are beautiful, wonderful, loveable and worthy just as you are!

Now, my daughter and I are off to have a coffee. I will sit and have a chat with her, and enjoy and savour every morsel of muffin I put in my mouth. What a fabulous way to spend a Monday morning!

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