Valuing My Body Beyond The Numbers I See On A Scale

by Joelle Wisler
Originally Published: 
valuing my body

I wake up and I step on the scale every morning. I don’t know why I do this. I measure my successes and failures from the day before by the numbers that I see. I really don’t know why I do this, and I recognize it isn’t the most healthy routine to follow. There are a lot of thoughts that swirl in my head surrounding my body since having children, and not all of them are kind.

I should start doing pushups. Or situps.

I shouldn’t have eaten the rest of her grilled cheese. And every single one of her french fries.

I shouldn’t have had that second (or third) glass of wine.

I should really commit to being super fit. Tomorrow.

I will drink green smoothies for the rest of my life.

Oh God, I will have to drink green smoothies for the rest of my life.

I have all of these thoughts about all of the “bad” things I’ve done, but somehow I seem to forget about all of the good things that my body does each day. My body does wondrous, incredible things and yet I often boil it down to those just those numbers. My mind, thankfully, has started to call bullshit on these negative thoughts and I’m starting to reprogram the things I tell myself about my body.

I know I’m not the only one who struggles this way, so here is a reminder to all of us that our bodies are strong and amazing and capable, and we should give them a lot more credit than the numbers that we see on that damn scale.


Our bodies can grow human beings.

Our lips can heal with a kiss.

Our fingers can tame the hair of rabid wolverines and cut the claws of squirming toddlers.

Our hands wipe stuff. So much wiping — counters, butts, tears. We spend hours of our lives just wiping.

Our arms lift pots and pans, and we chop and sauté, and then we end up scraping it all into the trash.

We schlep vacuums and scrub floors and clean dried toothpaste off the backs of toilets. (Why is there dried toothpaste on the back of my toilet?)

We bathe, shampoo, splash, and sing — and then we are expected to scoop random turds out of the tub.

Our bodies squeeze and cuddle and tickle and wrestle, and then we say, “Okay, that’s enough. No, seriously. Enough.”

Our arms and legs and abdominals exercise even when we aren’t trying to “feel the burn.” We jump and hop and run and pull and lift.

Our eyes watch thousands of failed handstands and canon balls and cartwheels.

Our legs slog us up the stairs, carrying that extremely heavy sleeping child from the car, begging whatever higher power we believe in that they will keep their eyes closed for just a few more minutes.

Our bodies drive us to the store to buy children’s ibuprofen late at night when that fever just won’t come down.

Our voices chastise and praise and ask and yell and whisper and congratulate.

Our butts shake to ’80s music, and our kids love this so much that they laugh and scream, “More, Mommy!”

Our inner spidey sense emerges when our kids get that look in their eyes that says they are lying.

Our arms have the ability to stretch long enough to reach out and hug all of our kids at the same time.

We tuck, and then we tuck again, and then we tuck again. And then we holler, “For Christ’s sake, go to sleep!”

Our legs leap up in the middle of the night, still sound asleep, and we walk and we comfort and we clean sheets.

Our ears hear everything — the steady thrum of their hearts as they sleep, that snotty tone, the words not being said, the whispers of our own demons.

Our bodies do the miraculous, the mundane, the impossible and the tedious. Our bodies are amazing, really. I am going to try and treat my body more like I would a good friend — by loving it because of its quirks and oddities, not by boiling it down to mere numbers and made-up shortcomings and self-defeating thoughts.

I’ll do it if you do. We are in this together.


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