The Obsession

The sun has barely reached the tops of the trees, but Jonah is up. “I want my mommy!” he yells, then curls up next to me in bed.

After enough hugs and time for him to decide if he wants to play on my iPad or get up for the day, I head into the bathroom. Brace myself. Step on the scale.

141. Damn it, that’s one more pound than yesterday, and I ate under my calories and jogged in the miserable humidity for 35 minutes. That’s eight more pounds than I weighed at the beginning of March. I am a failure. I am gross. Some people don’t even gain eight pounds their first four months of pregnancy. I’m not pregnant. I’m just not working hard enough.

My day feels off before it’s even begun. 141 pounds. I wear a size 8, can still squeeze into some of the 6s I bought in the spring, but I’m short, so this isn’t comforting. 141 is on the very upper limit of what some calculation tells me my weight should be. I feel heavier than I did the day before, far heavier than that one pound ought to feel.

At lunch time I weigh myself again. Still 141. This brings some relief. The number hasn’t gone up, good, good. Other days, by lunchtime my weight might have spiked up two pounds, darkening my mood.

Before dinner I decide to put both feel on the scale again. 142. Shoot. Definitely will need to watch what I eat for dinner, and go for a jog. I look at myself in the mirror and pull on the waistband of my pants. Am I imagining it, or do they feel more snug than earlier? I turn sideways and cast a critical eye at my middle. Soft. Round. Hard for me to view, even hidden by my shirt.

After dinner the scale calls me again. 143. How is this possible?! I didn’t eat one pound of food. Anyone who can see me now will note my scowl. I ask Zachary if I can go for a jog.

My feet pad along the sidewalk and the stress leaves me. I try to run longer than I did the night before. Need to get back to the place I was this spring, when 3-4 miles fell behind me almost easily. Not so now. I fight the urge to stop. Jog up a hill, down another, up one more, then have to walk. I wave at a neighbor and wonder if she can tell I’ve gained weight. I feel sloppy.

When the jog is over I come back to the house and weigh myself again, as if somehow I might have gained or lost weight in 40 minutes. No, still 143.

Falling into bed at night I hope that the scale is kind in the morning. I’ve eaten well, I exercised, I’m doing the right things.

Morning comes again. 141.

Damn it.

I know this cycle is bad. I should throw away the scale, focus on my health and fitness and not the numbers. I would cry if I knew Isla felt this way about herself, if she were so obsessed with what the numbers flashed to her on the scale every day. Does she know? Do I hide it well enough? She will always be my beautiful Isla, how do I get her to realize that and keep it in her heart forever if I can’t accept the way I look? Every day my scale is above 133 I feel like I’m not working hard enough. When I was 133 I wanted 128. As if 128 will be the end. I don’t want that for Isla. I want her to be happy, healthy, content.

This was written to participate in Just Write, an exercise in free writing.



  1. Stopping by from The Extraordinary Ordinary. I completely understand. I used to do the exact same thing during my college years. But like you said, the number you have in mind will still not be enough. It never is. I would say to weigh yourself only once a week, or at least every other day, not even every day, because the numbers WILL drive you crazy. It is so hard, but at least you do care about your health and are trying to take care of yourself. That is what your daughter will see.

  2. I do the same…well at least once a day at the same time if I remember. I always do it in the morning before I shower but if I don’t do it then I don’t even bother to step on the scale later in my day. It’s important for comparison to do it at the same time each day since as you see in your blog it fluctuates throughout the day (mostly water weight). Anyways I use mine as a gauge to help me stay on track…if I’m a bit higher than I want to be in the morning then I’ll eat a lighter lunch or skip a snack or if I have time I try to move more.

    I can’t not weigh myself because then I have nothing keeping me ‘in check’…I can always find clothes that are bigger/fit better, but the scale (and your measurements) can’t lie. I think it’s important to instill good weight awareness to our daughters because so many just aren’t aware at how weight creep can happen so easily in this day and age where a size 6 is really a size 12. Weighing yourself multiple times a day though and beating yourself up about it may not be the best way to go about it though. I say pick a time, step on the scale and try to keep it at the same number after all it’s only a number — if it makes you feel any better I haven’t weighed 141 since I was in high school!

    • Yes, I started the weighing of myself as a way to stay in check, and for that it is good, I just need to stop letting the number control my mood for the day. Since I’m so short, I really “should” weigh in the 130s. I realize I haven’t been working out very hard this summer due to the kids’ sports schedules, so I know I can’t expect miracles, but I was in pretty good shape this past winter and early spring and I want to get back to it since I know I can do it! I agree that it is important our kids see us, as parents, being active and eating well.

  3. I had a coach in college who told us to only weigh ourselves once a MONTH because our water retention (and a string of other factors that I no longer recall) make that number shift widely. Take a deep breath. You look great. You’ll get it all back when the kids are back in school and some other factors are resolved. 🙂

  4. There’s so very much of this that I relate to – the need to run, the obsession with the scale, the need to beat the #s, even the #s that you’re working towards.

    But it’s the mothering part of it {I have two daughters} that strikes home for me.

    {Goodness I don’t want this for them.}

    My instincts are to tell you to be kind to yourself, but I know how that sounds and feels. So I’ll just say that I’m in your corner, and rooting for you.

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