Why My Scale Does Not Determine My Value
As a new mom of two, I feel too much and not enough.
There is not enough of me to go around. Not enough hands to hold the nursing baby and pull down my toddler’s pants so he can go potty. Not enough time to clean and play. Not enough mind space to handle the concerns of parenting and school work. Not enough patience. Not enough energy. Not enough sleep.
I am spread thin.
And yet I am also in my own assessment too much. Too needy. Too emotional. Too hungry…
And sometimes, though I try to drown out the accusations and whispers in my head, my mind tells me I am too heavy. Not too too heavy… but needing to lose say 10 lbs.
Which is ridiculous because sure I am 10 lbs heavier than I was prior to pregnancy, but I am healthy, and look healthy, and fit into most of my old clothes. Nobody besides me and my scale could probably even tell that I am indeed any heavier at all.
But I keep thinking, “I will be happier if once I lose these last ten pounds.”
As a woman whose life was controlled for years by an eating disorder, these are scary thoughts to me. Losing weight never makes me happy… it just makes me want to lose more. I know this about myself. I know that focusing on a number on a scale is at best a worthless distraction, and quite possibly dangerous thinking.
And the real question is one of motive.
Why does it matter to me that I return to my pre-baby weight?
The answer is that for some crazy reason I feel safer ten pounds lighter. I feel more acceptable, more worthy of love and that losing weight will somehow make me enough.
When I feel so inadequate, it helps to focus in on the detail of weight loss. In my mind I begin to believe that losing weight will suddenly make me better to the world at large. Which is so dumb— as if all I have to offer to the group is me, small and smiling. Sometimes I do feel that way, like I can’t string two words together, and I am not beautiful, and I don’t have the right clothes… but at least I am small”ish” and seemingly happy. And based on the images that pour into our homes through the media, being thinner makes me more okay despite my feelings of being a failure.
Of course admitting these thoughts on paper shows how false they are. The process of writing them down is just to show myself how crazy I would have to be to believe them. When look at this compulsion for what it is, the promise of thin is empty. Just like I have literally NEVER cared one iota what anyone else weighs; nobody cares about those ten pounds, but me.
Still it matters that I care. It matters because I can hurt everyone who watches my life if I allow the pursuit of weight loss to be the thing I cling to for safety.
No matter how much weight you lose, it will not increase your value as a person.
No matter how much weight you lose it will not keep you safe from rejection. If my life, if my language, reflects that I am only secure and acceptable if I am a certain size or weight— then I am promoting the lie.
I believe we all were made in the image of God. His Image makes us invaluable. His acceptance makes us beyond rejection. He is the Security we need in a world that makes us feel insecure. He is the Love that we need to overflow in our homes, to cover over our human efforts to be the perfect moms, to love perfectly. He is Enough. He will always be enough. We really can stop striving after the empty things of this world and rest in Him. In Him, I am enough. And dear mom, in Him, you are enough too!
Sarah Schiro enjoys writing when she can squeeze in the time— which between being mom to a toddler and an infant and studying to become a nurse is not as often as she would like. Being a busy-“worrier,”writing is one tool she has found which allows her to frame her thoughts in the context of the truth of the gospel.