What is the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning? I’m not going to lie. In the past, my daily morning ritual used to consist of getting up, going to the bathroom to pee and getting completely naked (get your mind out of the gutter) to step on the scale. Unfortunately, I know I am not alone, and many other women and young girls do the same. Why in the world would I hop on the scale and let the number (good or bad) set the tone for the day? That number does not show my self-worth or value and neither does the label inside my jeans, but why do we focus so much on those numbers?
One morning, unaware my 2 year old daughter was watching me, she stepped on the scale after me and looked up at me, and I knew in that moment, things had to change! This will not be her normal or what determines her self-worth. I NEVER want her to struggle with a poor body image that can lead to the dangers of an eating disorder, depression or the fear of being fat.
I saw a quote the other day, “loving your body only when it is perfect is like loving your kids only when they behave.” Wow, that’s a reality check! Of course, as mothers we love our kids unconditionally, so why don’t we love our bodies the same? Who or what determines what’s a perfect body? I would bet that if a size zero is perfect, many size zeros would still find things they want to change with their own bodies. As women, we must realize that there is more to us than just our bodies or physical appearance. What happened to generosity, intelligence, humility and compassion? Seriously, aren’t these qualities more significant than the number on a scale or inside a pair of jeans?
Currently, I am not overweight. I’m actually the thinnest I have ever been and in the best shape of my life. However, quite honestly I’m still fighting my body image delusions every day. It is a work in progress. I look in the mirror and instead of seeing the 80 plus pounds I have lost and this phenomenal accomplishment, what stands out to me is the loose hanging skin in my tummy or the jiggling fat in the back of my arms. It’s true, I can get 25 compliments about how great I look, but in the end, ultimately what I think about myself depends truly on how I see myself.
I decided to write about this after I went to a ladies event at church and was completely blown away by the statistics the speaker shared about body image and eating disorders. The speaker, Dianne Wilson is the founding director of The Imagine Foundation which helps women understand their true value and unlock their potential by focusing on self esteem and identify. The statistics really struck a nerve, tugged at my heart and gave me a sick feeling to see how many women, a majority of them extremely young, struggle with this issue. Statistics shared from Dianne Wilson’s presentation:
- 70 million people worldwide struggle with body image disorder
- Up to 24 million people in the USA suffer from an eating disorder
- 1 in 5 women struggle with an eating disorder or disordered eating
- 1 in 3 Americans are obese – that is 100,000,000 people!
- Childhood obesity is the #1 health problem in the USA
- Nearly 50% of 6-8 year old girls want to be thinner
- 78% of 3rd to 6th grade girls say they are very afraid of becoming fat
These statistics are heartbreaking. Why in the world do 6-8 year old girls want to be thinner? Why are the majority of girls in the 3rd – 6th grade afraid of becoming fat? There is no doubt, a combination of influences including media, family, peers, school and coaches can attribute to body image and self esteem issues. What can we do as mothers to help build a good self-esteem in our children? It is really simple: having a positive attitude and a healthy lifestyle, such as eating right and exercising, are a great recipe for building good self-esteem. Help your kids focus on how healthy and strong their bodies are. Teach them that everyone is imperfect and that is what makes us original and unique. Many people believe they need to change how they look to feel good about themselves, but all you really need to do is change the way you perceive your body and how you think about yourself. I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of fighting with the girl in the mirror! Change your thoughts, change your mind! I want to be strong so I can lift others up, especially my children!
Perfectly said Janie! I too, step on the scale every single morning after the same exact ritual that you explained;)
Thanks Shannon, I decided to take a challenge and put the scale up so I’m not hopping on it every morning.
Love this post Janie! It’s so true!
Thanks Andie 🙂
Love this. I really needed to hear it. I don’t think I let me weight define me, but it certainly affects me. I do not want my daughter to be on any of those statistics. I never mention the word diet in front of her, and the “f” word is banned from our house. Thanks for posting this.
Thanks Myndee, those statistics are scary and I love the “f” word referral.
Janie, thanks for being so transparent about an issue that plagues most women!! Those lioness scars on my belly stare at me everytime i look in the mirror!!! So, i am right with ya!!! Thank you for being so intimate and encouraging us to battle our own negative images with eyes that see beauty!!
Thanks Sherry for your sweet words and positive feedback. This wasn’t easy for me to write, but it seems a lot of women deal with the very same issues so I am glad I did.
Thank you for writing this, Janie. It really hit home to me. I do weigh myself every day, BUT I’ve taken the advice of a former Weight Watcher leader, and I simply use it as information. On my road to a healthier body, “How am I doing?” ….I remember that weight is only part of being healthy, and it’s important to exercise and be strong and fit, too, as well as taking time to relax and get enough sleep. Eating well, and realizing the scale is just ONE piece of information in the overall goal to being healthy. It’s taking me a LONG time to really internalize this, maybe that’s why I’m just now REALLY having weight loss success….the part where you said, “I’m tired of fighting the girl in the mirror,” hit me in the gut, in a good way. I feel that way, too. It’s exhausting. I’ve lost 50 pounds, and I still just focus on all the negative, like, “my legs are too big, etc..” What I SHOULD be saying is I have strong legs that work and get me where I need to go and let me do what I need to do – squat to get something for my toddler, run after my toddler, clean my house, etc…Thanks again, Janie. Very inspiring. I KNOW you have blessed many women by writing this.
So true Amber! You look fantastic and kudos on the 50 lbs weight loss, that’s incredible! I like how you mentioned focusing on the positive instead of the negative and don’t forget all those squats you with those strong legs are usually weighted because you’re carrying a toddler! Keep up your hard work and dedication and stay positive!
Thanks for sharing, Janie! We were talking about this at my small group on Thursday. While I think it’s important to do what is in our power to look, feel, and be our best, no one will ever have that elusive “perfect” body. In fact, I think that often our unique imperfections endear us to those who love us the most. We are beautiful, we are strong, but we don’t have to be perfect and must realize that our value comes from God!
LOVE this Cathy! I couldn’t have said it better! Thanks for reading and commenting!
Thank you for writing so openly and honestly about such a tough issue.
Madeline, honestly it was super tough for me to write it at first, but it was really freeing after I was done. Funny thing, just writing out all those feeling and emotions at the computer took a load off. I’m happy to share my struggles in hopes that I can help others with the same issues.
Well said, Janie!
Thanks Angelina 🙂