On my list of thirty things to do before I turn thirty number 14 says: Delete the word
When I was growing up I never once thought about my weight or whether I was thin or fat. It never crossed my mind. Even in high school when girls started to place their self worth on how big or small they were, I was carefree. I was an athlete growing up. I worked out a lot and I ate a lot. I wasn't a little skinny girl. I have never been a skinny little girl. I knew I would never be one of those skinny little girls and I was okay with that. My body was healthy and it was strong and it allowed me to do what I loved, which was playing sports. Being a part of a team was so important to me and those friendships meant the world to me. I gained those friendships because my body was able to work hard and endure tough practices and the beating it took at times out on the court or on the field. I was not the quickest player nor the most talented, but I was part of a team and I contributed to its success. I loved who I was and the role I played.
When I graduated from high school and left the nest my eyes were opened to the world of dieting. I had friends that were beautiful and thin, but always complained about how fat they were or about how they needed to lose 20 pounds. I would look at them and then I would look at myself and in my mind I would think, "Wow, if she thinks that she is fat, and she is much skinnier than me, than I must be REALLY FAT." And that is when I entered the world of dieting and have been stuck here for the past ten years.
Through the years I have started and failed over forty diets. And with each failure I have lost a small part of my self worth. With each new diet I tell myself, "This time I will lose all of this weight, and when I do, I will be beautiful and everyone will love me." And then I step on the scale and I've gained two pounds instead of losing and I am a failure once again. So what do I do? I stuff my face with food and say that I'll start over again on Monday. If I could have a dollar for every time I've started a new diet on Monday and failed by Friday, I'd be a rich woman.
I have become a victim of the "scale god." I have let the numbers on the scale determine how I feel about myself. If I start my day by weighing myself and I have gained a pound or two, my whole day is ruined. The negative thoughts come in and tell me that I am fat and worthless and a complete disappointment. How horrible is that?!?!?! I have allowed the scale, a stupid machine, affect how I feel about who I am. For ten years I have stepped on that scale hoping in my mind that it will be a good day. That it will tell me that I lost weight. That people will like me better now because I weigh less. That I am more beautiful and lovable because the scale says I lost a pound. These horrible lies have filled my mind and controlled my thoughts for a decade.
BUT GUESS WHAT!?!?!?!?!!?! I DID SOMETHING HUGE TODAY. I did something that most women dream of doing but never dare do it. It is something I have been wanting to do for months, but every time I've thought about doing it I've chickened out. But today I had the strength to go through with it. I decided to no longer play victim to the scale god. I remembered who I really am and from what source my true worth comes from. And when I remembered that, I had the strength to do this:
That is right. I DESTROYED IT! I couldn't find a hammer so I went at it with a screw driver. As I lifted the screwdriver in my hand and looked down at the scale, I was suddenly hit with a wave of emotion. All of the pain this scale had caused me came rushing to my heart. I wondered if I had the strength to really go through with this. But then I remembered again that my worth does not come from the numbers on a scale, but from a very loving God, and in that moment I shattered that scale. I shattered every lie it had ever told me about who I was. I shattered every negative belief that told me that if I didn't weigh a certain amount nobody would ever love me. In what I thought would be a fun and aggressive way to get rid of my scale became a very humbling and spiritual experience.
I am beautiful. I am absolutely lovable. I am a child of God, the daughter of a King. My body has been created by the Master of the Universe. He knew what He was doing when He created these amazing bodies that house our spirits. Right now my heart is beating, it is feeling love and it is feeling hope. My eyes are filling with tears because my heart is able to feel and my mind is clear of negative thoughts. My spirit is fully alive because I have cleared out the junk and made room for what is good.
No more dieting for me. I choose to be kind to myself. I am listening to what my body wants. It is time to nurture myself and to love myself. My body is honest. It knows what it needs to be healthy and strong. I have been abusing it for years: starving it and then stuffing it with crap. Its been a vicious cycle. I have not treated it well. Yet, my body has been good to me. It continues to breathe in and out. My heart continues to beat. My feet continue to step forward and my hands continue to do everything for me. My brain continues to learn and take in knowledge and at the same time keep all of the parts of my body functioning properly. I am so blessed. My body is a masterpiece.
A month or two ago I read a book called, Women, Food and God. A friend had recommended it to me after I told him that I wanted to find peace with my body and to learn to love myself again. It opened my eyes and helped me see that the world I had been living in, the dieting world, was a made up, deceitful, painful, vain, ugly and horrible place. And nothing about it was true. Now that I am stepping out of that world and back into reality, I am at peace. I am back to becoming the true me. I love who I am and the role that I play. Because that role is me and no one else can play it for me.
I want to end this with a paragraph from Women, Food and God:
"You are not a mistake. You are not a problem to be solved. But you won't discover this until you are willing to stop banging your head against the wall of shaming and caging and fearing yourself...If you wait until you have Toni Oliver's eyes and Amy Breyer's hair, if you wait to respect yourself until you are at the weight you imagine you need to be to respect yourself, you will never respect yourself, because the message you will be giving yourself as you reach your goal is that you are damaged and cannot trust your impulses, your longings, your dreams, your essence at any weight...Either you are willing to believe in kindness or you aren't. Either you are willing to believe in the basic sanity of your being or you aren't. To be given wings, you've got to be willing to believe that you were put on this earth for more than your endless attempts to lose the same thirty pounds three hundred times for eighty years. And that goodness and loveliness are possible even in something as mundane as what you put in your mouth for breakfast. Beginning now. Once you take the first few steps, once you begin treating yourself with the kindness that you believe only thin or perfect people deserve, you can't help but discover that love didn't abandon you after all."
Be kind to yourself. Be gentle. Remember where your worth comes from.