Hi there! My name is Renee. I’m a style blogger, and I weigh 158 pounds. I have stretch marks, scars, cellulite on my thighs, and tiny spider veins on the backs of my knees.
Does that make you think differently of me? If so, maybe you and I should part ways. If not, which I’m hoping, you’ll stick around and hear what I have to say.
Screw the scale! That’s right; to hell with it!
I dreaded getting on the scale to check my weight for that annual doctor’s appointment, a time I knew I’d be scolded because maybe I’d over indulged at brunch with my girlfriends, or helped myself to dessert after a big meal (gasp!) I was always embarrassed with the number that showed up, even when I thought I looked good and, dare I say it, even a little leaner.
But you don’t need a scale, and I’m here to tell you why.
I will be honest with you: I do own one. It’s hiding under my dresser, out of sight, but I drag it out daily to weigh myself for a medication I’m on. The number doesn’t bother me as much anymore, but there are days I wish I was smaller. Still, there was a time in my life that I was completely and utterly obsessed with the number that appeared when I stepped on the scale. That number controlled my life, and it’s not something that brings me joy. You know what does? Having a donut for breakfast because I love them, and know I’ll burn it off in spin class later. You know what isn’t fun for me? Eating salads every day for lunch and dinner and always feeling like I should pass on dessert. All I want out of life is to be happy and healthy, and enjoy the food I eat. I’m not going to deprive myself of my favorite foods. Everything in moderation, I always say.
More often than not, I compare my body to other style bloggers and other women. You know the ones: tall, gorgeous, no bigger than a size 2- and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. I was jealous of these women, who seemed to be born with everything I didn’t have. I always hear people complain about style bloggers not being “real sizes” or “real women” and let me tell you, that makes me angry. They are real women; real women come in every shape and size. They are beautiful human beings with feelings, hopes, and dreams, and yes, even insecurities. I know there’s a stigma that surrounds these women that they must not have insecurities, but everyone has them. Everyone is a little insecure about something, and there’s nothing wrong with this. Too often, we find ourselves comparing our bodies, our faces, and our lives to others. For me, all that ends up doing is making me feel bad. We’re all perfectly imperfect in our own ways. I’ve realized that I don’t need a scale to be happy. I’ve become so in tune with my body, I can tell when I’ve gained or lost weight simply by the way my clothes fit, or how I look in the mirror.
I’m finally getting to a place where I’m learning to accept my body, but still make healthy changes after many years of abusing it by not exercising and eating poorly. But it wasn’t always this way. In elementary school and middle school, I was average. I was no bigger and no smaller than the other girls in my classes, and size wasn’t something I really noticed back then. I was pretty fit in high school; I ran cross country and track, running 8 miles a day, 5 days a week. We had meets once a week and pasta parties the night before to fuel up with carbs. I think it’s partially why I don’t enjoy pasta much anymore!
When I was in college, I hit my heaviest weight of 175. I was so embarrassed, so miserable with the way I looked and felt. Even my skin was bad from all of the terrible food I was eating. I had stopped running too; I was so stressed all the time and never exercised. I was way overweight for my 5’3” frame. Yes, you read that correctly. I still clearly remember the day I stepped on the scale, feeling completely hopeless. My weight had always fluctuated, but I’d never come close to this heavy before. I was more upset with myself for letting this happen. I knew I was eating poorly, I knew I needed to work out, and I knew my clothes were getting smaller and smaller. Still, I did nothing. Seeing that number just made me feel worse about myself, like I was worth less because I weighed more.
We put so much pressure on ourselves to look and feel good: why define ourselves by a number on a scale or the size of our clothes? I have an hourglass figure, and the type of body that gains weight easily. I’m tired of hating what I see in the mirror; I’m tired of comparing myself and my body to others. It never accomplishes anything positive, and it makes me a nervous wreck. I get obsessive trying to eat healthy, and sometimes not eat at all. I decided to change all that.
To me, it’s more important to feel good. When I eat healthy and still let myself indulge here and there, I’m much happier than I would be if I had to count calories or avoid my favorite foods. And I’ll also let you in on a little secret: I hate working out. Hate it. Going to a gym, I mean. If you ask me to play tennis with you, go kayaking, go for a walk, or go hiking, I’m all for it. Ask me to lift weights at a gym with you or run on an elliptical, the answer is no (sorry Megan!)
I was hesitant to share my story. There’s a lot of stigma around women’s weight and size, and keeping it private. I say, who cares? Who cares if you’re a size large or an extra small? I’m a size 10 in pants, because I have wide hips. I wear a medium or large in tops because I have wide shoulders and I’m busty, but I have a small waist. Yes, this does make shopping difficult sometimes. Size does not matter. What matters is how you feel. Every woman carries her weight differently. You can line 5 women up in a row who are all the same weight, and they’d all look completely different. Most women I know have struggled with their weight, and this size they think they should be. Take this photo for example:
If I told you all of the women in this picture were 154 pounds, would you believe me? Proof that everyone carries their weight differently, and that the number really doesn’t matter.
Of course I still have moments where I struggle with how I look. It takes time to truly love yourself for who you are and all of your imperfections. I still hate my stretch marks, but I’m learning to love my hips. I may hate the way my scars look, but they have made me stronger. I want other women to learn to love their bodies the way I’m learning to love mine. I want to support you on this journey, and make you feel amazing! Please join me on my campaign and learn to love yourself along the way.