I Won’t Buy My Daughter A Scale!


I won’t do it, I just can’t.  I will not buy my daughter a scale.  I will buy her more things than I should, but a scale is a firm NO. Why? That’s a good question with a long answer.

Where it began

Like most stories, it started when I was a kid. My parents divorced when I was three. My older brother and I were opposites in every way. He was outgoing and athletic while I was mousy and bookish. You could find me most Saturdays on the top of bleachers of whatever sport he was playing that season sitting backwards and completely entranced in whatever I was reading. Books were my friends, they still are; they are good for your mind, but not so great for your body. I would sit and read for hours and all the adults in my life loved it. No one heard a peep from me.

My mom and dad would both probably admit that their parental instincts weren’t the strongest when my brother and I were younger. By the time I was eleven, I had grown out of my mom’s clothes and I think she was slightly alarmed to realize that her youngest child was now the largest one in the family. I didn’t inherit her petite build or her metabolism so she didn’t really know how to help me. We did start Tae Kwon Do as a way for me to get exercise, but food was still frozen pizzas, take out, and lots of soft drinks.

The next year my brother and I moved in with my dad and his wife. This is where it got real. She became obsessed with my weight and had me weighed in front of her every day. I was given a reward for any weight lost. The reward was…wait for it…cookies from my favorite bakery. But then again, I was punished for any weight gained because, “no one wants a fat wife.” Remember, I was still in middle school. There were days that I was given an entire box of cookies and told to go ahead and eat the whole thing because they were “fat-free” and other days when I was told that I probably shouldn’t eat supper. I wasn’t allowed to take P.E. because shorts were required and that wasn’t happening for “religious reasons” so I became the librarian’s aide. All in all, it was really hard to achieve that special number on the scale that I was chasing.

In the end, I graduated high school and moved away for college. I rarely ate well. Most days consisted of three cups of coffee, two candy bars, free-flowing soft drinks, and no time to exercise because of two jobs and college. Until, that is, I started having medical problems. The doctor asked me what my diet consisted of and then very sternly gave me a strict diet to follow. Years later, I still could not achieve that magic number on the scale. Eventually, I turned to other ways to see that number. I tried to starve myself. It seemed to work, but I tend to like food too much. Then I decided to try laxatives. After a few months I became so ill that I simply couldn’t make my body eat because I knew what the effect would be. Still, I couldn’t reach that number. So I decided “to heck with it all” and did whatever I pleased. I would grab a candy bar from the impulse aisle every time I went to the store.

Enter marriage and pregnancy

When I was twenty-four, I got married. My husband knew that I had an issue with the scale and since he had lost seventy pounds in his early twenties, he felt that he could help me in my battle with the scale. I actually resented him for it because I couldn’t lose any weight!  Especially eating two or three candy bars a day! When I had my first child, I felt that I should be able to eat anything during pregnancy. By the time we had her and I was allowed to work out, I had actually gained seventy pounds. Luckily we decided to do something about it and joined a gym, got a trainer, and decided to start eating better. I also started seeing a doctor that agreed to help me lose weight medically. Unfortunately, I relied heavily on the medicine and couldn’t find the right balance. I did, however, reach the magic number on the scale that was supposed to mean all of my troubles would go away!

Then I got pregnant again. This next go around was really hard, including six weeks of bed rest at the end. I wasn’t even supposed to walk. I was shut in my own home and could barely move. I gained so much weight that when that sweet little bouncing boy was born, I thought that I would never again see that magic number.

Honestly, 255 is a big number and that right there just freaked me out. It has been years and I still haven’t reached the magic number again. But I’ve decided that there are many ways to lose weight. The main thing is you have to fight for it. I no longer set weight goals because I am more than just a number. I am a mom, wife, friend, business owner and blogger along with a multitude of other things.

I won't buy my daughter a scale

So far I have lost more than eighty pounds! But now I refuse to weigh myself. Why? It stresses me out too bad! No matter what I weigh, I will still be me. That number doesn’t control me! I know that I feel better when I exercise and eat well. Charleston has a bevy of ways to better yourself, from F3 (for men) and FIA (for women), to just getting out and running. I completed my first individual 5k in May and now I have signed up for a 1/2 marathon. A scale doesn’t make me. It is just a number that the doctor needs to look at once a year.

My hope is that I will be a good example for my daughter of how to set goals and find ways to achieve them. I want to teach her what I had to teach myself, that good food and plenty of exercise will keep her healthy and strong. I want her to know that she is smart, capable, and a beautiful ballerina. She needs to know that she is so much more than a number!

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Amber is a native Texan who moved to Summerville with her family in June 2015. The transition from career banker of fifteen years to a stay at home mom and moving halfway across the country where they knew no one was a challenge, but totally worth it. Now settled, Amber has become a paint brush wielding interior decorator who loves to build new things through her business, Chandler by Design, www.chandlerbydesign.com. But her most important job is to be an example to her kiddos, Lily (8) and Luke (5). Amber’s newest hobby is running and now that she has completed her first individual 5k she is headed towards a half marathon.