Theme: The Body


I don’t own a scale.  I haven’t in at least a decade.  It’s been a conscious choice to keep this small slab of metal out of my home, and luckily, my husband has been agreeable to it.

You see, I’ve never suffered from an eating disorder, but I know myself.  I know that having a scale regularly on hand would become a fixation for me.  I’d start out by just saying I want to see where I’m at. And I know soon after, the obsession would spiral out of control until I became so fixated on that number blinking back at me that I’d begin taking drastic steps to change it.

I’ve been small most of my life.  My nickname growing up was “Peanut”.  I’m 5 foot 2 and until I had children, always hovered around the 100 pound mark.  I was proud of that number and somewhere in the back of my mind, I was letting it define me.  As I grew up and out of high school, my body changed slightly, but never enough to really cause any outward panic.

And then I had a baby.

I was so sure I’d be one of those women whose bodies bounced back quickly after birth.  I’d be that friend at dinner that everyone would remark “I cannot BELIEVE you just had a baby!”  And I’d smile smugly while eating everything on my plate.

Rather unshockingly, because I’m a normal human woman, this didn’t happen.  Instead, those extra pounds, thirty if we’re being specific, hung around for years.  They started to weigh me down both literally and figuratively. I started to hate what I saw in the mirror.  I half-heartedly tried to change it more than once, but each time, when I didn’t see the results immediately, I’d give up.  I’d give myself excuse after excuse. I’d say, “Well, I’m not done having kids, so what’s the point of getting back in shape if I’m just going to get pregnant again.”

What I didn’t think about was those extra pounds adding onto the weight of another pregnancy.

And now, just about a year after the birth of my second baby, I’m looking at the extra weight of my first baby (from four years ago), combined with the added weight of my second.  I’m disappointed in myself. I’m disappointed in how I look and how my clothes fit. I’m disappointed that, as ridiculous as it sounds, I’m no longer “Peanut”. I’m just an average size 35 year old woman.  

I brought a scale into my home shortly after my second son was born.  I had it for three days before I sent it back. I felt the obsession starting.  I put it back in the cardboard box, affixed the Amazon return sticker to the front, and put it on the porch for the mailman to take far, far away from me.  

And then I made a promise to myself.  I would get rid of this weight in the healthiest way possible.  Not to become “Peanut” again. But to be happy with the way I look, to have my energy back, and to feel like myself again.  I want to return to loving my body for all its given me.

- Sarah Hartley

Writing Exercises

Prompt 1: Your body is your home, literally. It's with you from your first breath until your last. So, if you were to compare your body to a type of home, which one would it be? A temple? A cage? A mansion? An RV? Why?

Prompt 2: Write about a time when you felt super confident about your body. What were you doing? What were you wearing? Who were you with? What were you thinking about?

Exercise: Write a love letter to your least favorite part of your body.

The Body Features

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Mia Sutton