Rooted Mama Podcast

Episode 6: Throw Away the Scale 

Episode #6: Throw Away the Scale

 In our culture, being thin is often equated with being healthy–I strongly disagree with this view point. Our health goes beyond a number on the scale or the size of our clothes. In this episode, I dive into the negative relationship many moms have with their bodies and why we shouldn’t let our weight dictate how we treat ourselves. 

Shelby’s Experience with the Scale [0:42]

 Growing up, I was very uncomfortable in my own skin; I had a negative relationship with my body for 75% of my life. I grew up in a Christian household that had views–although never said out loud–that caused me to view my body and sexuality as inherently “bad.” When I hit puberty, I gained 20 pounds very quickly; I had irregular periods and bad acne. I did not know how to take care of myself and felt intense shame. After graduating nursing school, I discovered that I was prediabetic. I got on some medications that helped with my blood sugar and started adjusting my diet. I lost about 20 pounds, and while I was still overweight, it was great to see progress. However, this weight loss was not reaching the core issue; I still saw myself in a very negative light and spent a lot of time criticizing myself. About 6 months later, I hired a fitness coach who challenged me to go grain and dairy free. I won’t say this is for everyone, but it definitely helped my health tremendously. All of my research has shown me that diabetes is mostly an auto-immune disease, just like PCOS, which I also had. Inflammation is a common thread in these conditions, and by eliminating grain and dairy, this cut down on the inflammation in my body, allowing my gut to heal. During this time, I also began exercising. I found a yoga that I enjoyed and was able to do it consistently. I started going to counseling, and my counselor helped me challenge the misconceptions I had about myself and God. Over time, I gradually stopped hating my body. My relationship with God grew. My body was able to heal itself. I was able to get pregnant with our first child. Mentally and physically, I was transformed.

We Can’t Base Our Happiness on Outside Factors [8:51]

 It is so easy to fall into the trap of thinking that once we reach a certain weight or size, then we will be happy and fulfilled. The truth is, we really can’t control every aspect of our weight, so setting our goal of happiness solely on our weight can set us up for failure. Losing weight takes a lot of time and a lot of energy, and frankly, as a mom, that might not be our priority during certain seasons. After I had our second child in 2020, my weight did not come off easily. 2020 was an incredibly stressful year, and I realized that while my body didn’t look like I would have liked it to, I was genuinely okay with that because there were so many other priorities in my life. How awful would it have been for me to have spent the last two years hating my body? We are so much more than our weight, and I know that in a different season, I can put more energy towards working out.

Healing Trauma is Key to Losing Weight [11:55]

 Trauma has a profound impact on our nervous system. If we have experienced trauma that we have not fully processed, it is going to be very difficult to lose weight and keep it off because our energy is going towards keeping ourselves psychologically safe. Taking care of our mental health frees up the energy we need to take care of ourselves physically.

Un-ideal Times to Lose Weight [13:07] 

 I don’t recommend trying to lose weight if you’re less than 1 year postpartum; after you have a child, it is a time for resting, healing, and nourishing your body. Additionally, if you’re in a particularly stressful period of your life, you’re likely not going to have the energy to try to focus on weight-loss. You only have so much energy, and it’s important to be realistic about what can and cannot be a priority during very busy seasons of your life. Lastly, if you have patterns of disordered eating, I would encourage you to not focus on losing weight. I would encourage you to find a mental-health professional that can help you address the root cause of your eating habits and help guide you as you reach a place to start addressing your physical health.

Seeing Ourselves the Way God Sees Us [14:50]

 My life changed when I started viewing myself the way God sees me. I used to think I was a horrible human. The truth is, we all have short-comings, but all of us have value and worth that does not change. Every human is valuable. We do not have to look a certain way or perform a certain way to be valuable. I believe that every human was created by God, and because of that, every person has intrinsic value that does not change. When we are able to identify that value, it makes it a lot easier to appreciate our bodies, because we know that our worth does not change, no matter how much our body might. 

Loving Ourselves Like We Love Others [19:15]

 If we want our children to love themselves, they need to see us loving ourselves. By recognizing our strengths and taking ownership of our flaws–and being loving with ourselves throughout–we model to our children the importance of loving ourselves in the same way we love those around us. This is fundamental in the way we view the scale and how we treat our bodies.

 If you struggle with the scale, throw it away. If you struggle with your self-image, change the way you speak to yourself. Give yourself grace and focus on what you can control, such as your sleep hygiene and eating enough. Above all, recognize that extra weight can wait as you focus on other aspects of your health that are more important than any number on the scale.

 Check out the resources mentioned in the episode at the links below!

The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel van der Kolk M.D. 

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