Finding Balance on the Scale

The scale and I have been having a disagreement lately. I get on it in the morning and it gives me a number I don’t like. I give it a look, eat my way through the day, and then get back on it at night. It still gives me a number I don’t like. Rinse and repeat for the past two months. That number really isn’t budging. It’s frustrating. It’s irritating. It’s disappointing, even.

I’ve been slender for my entire life. Before I had Bug, my metabolism was epic. If I gained a couple pounds and was unhappy about it, all I had to do was cut back on my calories for a few days and I’d settle back into my happy zone. I ate what I wanted for the most part. Didn’t have to exercise all that much to maintain a slim, not-too-squishy build. I had a flat stomach! And guess what? I still complained about my weight. I still looked in the mirror and thought “hmm. Not good enough.”

So maybe the problem isn’t my weight. Maybe my real problem is that I am never satisfied with my body. This body, which has carried me through 31 years of life and given me a crazy-amazing kid and kept me healthy, is still a disappointment to me. And I think it’s okay to feel uncomfortable when your weight creeps up to a higher number than you’re used to, or want. But the fact that I weigh myself, on average, 2 to 3 times a day sets off alarm bells in my head. It puts me in the danger zone. It means that I hear words like “thigh gap” and “ideal build” and think that my body, for everything it’s done for me, isn’t good enough. That my body, when it’s not perfect, makes me somehow less than. It’s not true, but it feels true.

I think about how I, a fairly reasonable adult who has the maturity to understand on some intellectual level that my weight and how I look doesn’t define who I am as a human being,  struggle with this problem on a daily basis and I’m a little befuddled. I have thighs that jiggle. I’ve got a booty on me (look out, JLo, I’m coming for you). My stomach is soft and I have to hike up my jeans when I sit down so my little pooch doesn’t flap over my waistband. I’m carrying around 10 extra pounds that I’d love to take a hike. But that doesn’t mean that I’m not a rad person. I totally get that, and yet I don’t. I look in the mirror and think “ugh.”

Then and now (this was not fun to post).

Then and now (this is not fun to post).

This is not just my struggle. I love and hate that I’m not alone thinking these things. And I’m using Scoot as my diary today because I think that speaking these fearful thoughts out loud gives them less power. Also, I’m not going to turn down a pep talk or a “me, too” from you wonderful, kind readers.

I am working on living a healthier life. I hope that by default that sort of squashes the argument between me and my scale; I hate when we fight. But I know at the end of the day, the argument is really one-sided. It’s just giving me the facts. I’m the one who’s skewing them. I’m the one who’s making them uglier than they need to be.

Anyone else out there who feels the way I do? Or do you have some advice for me? Let’s talk it out in the comments. 

The good, the bod, and the ugly

A couple of months ago, Brooke wrote an awesome post about body issues and self-perception. It was something that I’d been thinking about a lot post-baby, for obvious reasons. This was part of the comment I left on her post:

This is very top of mind for me, for obvious reasons! I have been lamenting my post-baby body for months. I’m softer in a lot of places and my jeans are kind of tight right now, and when I sit down my belly flops over the waistband a bit. I have a nice little handful there where I didn’t before. It’s really hard getting used to a new body on top of getting used to a new human being who is yours forever.

I wish it wasn’t something I thought about so much, though. When I think about my body from a less critical place, I realize that I take it for granted. It has been good to me; it gets me from point A to point B (and C and D and…) every day. It is generally healthy and allows me to pick up my son and cuddle him and follow him around on all of his little crawly adventures. It saw me through the trauma/miracle that is childbirth! It has done nothing up to this point for me to look at it with anything but love and appreciation.

I know that when I’m scowling into my mirror, I am buying in to the media’s perception of what is beautiful or perfect. Hey, no one’s perfect, least of all me, but also the photoshopped-to-death celebrities in magazines. There’s really nothing wrong with a little cellulite or extra cushion. Are you healthy? GOOD. Count your lucky stars! This is the kind of stuff I have to tell myself so I’m not crying about the number on the scale. 

Fast forward to last month when I watched a documentary called Miss Representation, which explores how women are portrayed by the media and how that affects us in our everyday life. It was a total eye-opener. Not because I didn’t already know that the media’s representation of women is absolutely skewed, but because I saw so clearly the havoc it’s wreaking on us. According to one of the statistics shared in the documentary, 53% of 13-year-old girls are unhappy with their bodies. That number increases to 78% when they reach 17. Insane, right?

The message that the media is putting out is that we’re only as good as our bodies and/or faces. And we’re listening. What’s worse, we’re believing.

But even as I became more aware of how I was buying into that idea, I still found myself nit-picking at my body. I’m sure my weekly consumption of People  and Us Weekly didn’t help. And by didn’t, I mean doesn’t because I cannot and will not quit them.

Every week I noticed there was at least one article about how quickly celebrities were getting their body back after baby, or how Kim Kardashian was holed up in her house and chained to her treadmill so that when she finally made her first post-baby appearance she would be acceptable.


Don’t even get me started on the articles that came out after Kate Middleton gave birth. People were commenting that she had a baby bump one day after delivery.

Um, hello. She looks perfect.

Um, hello. She looks perfect.

So you get where I’m going with this. I was thinking a lot about my body and my relationship with it. I was aware of how effed up it was to have this constant inner dialogue of what was wrong with me and how I should/could fix myself, and yet I couldn’t stop.

Then a few weeks ago I got sick. It started out as a cold and morphed into a sinus infection, which then turned into bronchitis. I was miserable. As silly as it was, when I got into week two of still feeling totally crappy I started to forget what it felt like to be healthy. I thought to myself, “if I ever get over this (note: I am prone to dramatics), I will learn to love my body.” And, oh how I meant it.

Because when it comes down to it, this body is the only one I’ve got. It allows me to do anything I want and need to do. I’m able to climb the insane hills of San Francisco and chase after Bug on all of his adventures. I’m able to run and dance and full-body laugh. I don’t have to deal with chronic pain. It’s a blessing that most days the worst I can say about my body is that my thighs jiggle. Who gives a shit what some middle-aged white dude sitting in an ad agency office thinks I should look like? I am more than a face and a body.

Does that mean I’ll never lament over my imperfections again? Of course not. But now there will be an asterisk attached to that negative thought to serve as a reminder that I’m healthy and I’m happy. That’s the good stuff. I’ll take the cellulite along with it.

Thumbs up, bod!

Thumbs up, bod!

How do you feel about the media’s portrayal of women? Does it affect the way you see yourself? Do you know how awesome you are? Let’s chat in the comments!