In bondage ( or: the one that makes people uncomfortable)

in bondage
(I’ve been wanting to write about this for weeks. I wrote a little something on Flickr, and I’m going to post those words here until I’m able to express myself on this issue in the way that I want, without having an emotional breakdown.)
the scale. the measuring tape.
i’ve long let the numbers on those things dictate my value as a human being.
when the numbers go up, i hate myself. i feel worthless, i feel like i have no voice. i feel repulsive.
right now the numbers are up. and i am avoiding people, avoiding shopping for clothes. unable to enjoy the simple things in my life.
i think of my kids. of my daughter. this has to stop. now.
i hate that scale. and yet? i hold onto it for dear life. it’s all i’ve ever known. i’ve never known living without it. i might as well wear it around my neck all day long because it goes with me whever i go.
i need to rid my life of it. it’s killing me. it’s robbing me of joy.
i need to let it go, but i don’t know how.
i want to be free. free to live. free to love. free to be who i am regardless of the numbers. regardless of the inches.
i just don’t know how.

60 thoughts on “In bondage ( or: the one that makes people uncomfortable)

  1. Jazzy

    I say trash the scale. It’s how your clothes fit, not the numbers on the scale. And how you feel about yourself. I know you know all this. You are beautiful Y and you deserve to feel that way. Get rid of the scale. I have never owned a scale in my life. That doesn’t mean I like myself all the time, but if we are going to be hard on ourselves anyways, why have a number glare at you making it worse! If you have to weigh yourself, do it at the gym. At least you are there doing something. Me, I just keep complaining and dread the day I wean.
    You are beautiful.

  2. Louise

    Throw. Them. Out.
    I know it sounds easier said than done, and I know you’re probably thinking “I *can’t*” but seriously– you are physically able to do it, Y. I was anorexic and one of the first things my therapist had me do was throw away the scale and measuring tape.
    It’ll be hard and you’ll be left wondering “What do I do now” but you can’t get to that point without starting somewhere.
    Okay, enough assvice from me. I hope whatever you decide on helps you to stop basing your self-worth on a couple of numbers.

  3. Y

    It sounds so easy and perhaps I’ll do it.
    I need to change. I’m tired of living this way. I’m so very tired of it.

  4. Melina

    I’ve just recently started reading your blog, I found it from my friend Melissa’s blog (www.keepingtrackoftheinsanity.blogspot.com). We both love you. Anyway, I’ve never left a comment before but I wanted to just say that we all know how you feel and even though you feel helpless and a little bit crazy from that DAMN scale trust me you are not alone. I’ve gone from a size 6 to a 14-16 and it is very hard to lose it (partly medical partly I hate dieting). Don’t fret over your weight gain or loss, you are a beautiful person OUTSIDE and INSIDE you make a lot of people laugh and we do not read your blog to see if you’ve lost weight, we come to see how you are and how you are going to make us laugh. Have you ever notice that the first 3 letters of DIET are DIE, well don’t make yourself crazy by trying to fit into a mold that society (especially HOLLYWOOD) has made almost impossible for us REGULAR women to try to squeeze into. Hope I could help. BTW great pictures, you really should see about doing that professionally you have a great eye, I would buy some of your prints in a heart beat. You are an artist with your words and your pics. YOU GO GIRL

  5. xtx

    ditto
    ditto
    ditto
    self-loathing should not be a part of ANYONE’S life especially as beautiful as your own and, actually, mine as well.
    You’d think after 38 years I’d know this and stop this because to me it feels like I’ve been wasting over half of my life hating myself and not enjoying life because of how I look.
    when will I make it stop?
    thanks for putting words on something a lot of us are suffering from.
    Yes. SUFFERING.

  6. cursingmama

    Its the only way my brain knows how to establish my own self worth – all those damn numbers. Retraining my brain to find other, better things is a work in progress.
    I hope that you find your way too.

  7. Cheri

    When you figure it out, PLEASE let me know!
    I’m right there with you on this one. It shouldn’t be this way, this hard, this sad! :-(

  8. Karen Rani

    What a very brave post. You’ve written how alot of people feel Yvonne, and the picture is amazing.
    Throw the scale and measuring tape away. What measures a person isn’t these things, and you and I both know that.
    Big hugs!
    Karen
    xo

  9. Itchy

    I commented on your picture but I wanted to just ditto what the other ladies have said.
    You are a beautiful, beautiful woman. If the scale and the measuring tape are making you crazy – get rid of ’em. Just do it. Live your life for you. Base your days on how you feel. Not on how the scale says you should feel. You deserve to be so much happier and you have the power to do it. Get rid of these things. You are way too bright, and beautiful, and expressive, and thoughtful, and caring, and intelligent to be held hostage by these things any longer.

  10. Brandi

    Yvonne –
    I have been you. I also know that no amount of encouragement from others can change the way you feel about yourself. You hold the keys to happiness, sweetie. Your beautiful children, your adoring husband, a rich and wonderful life. It is my sincerest hope that you will one day be able to look in that mirror and see what the rest of us see. A beautiful woman who has been blessed with a life so many others wish they had.

  11. starrynite

    I commented on Flickr, but I just wanted to say a lil something here too. I love your blog and I love reading about you and your family. I may not “know” you, but I believe you are a beautiful person inside and out.
    I also have so much respect for you for being so honest and open. It’s hard to admit to our weaknesses or perceived failures, even behind the safety of the Internet. I know I struggle to do it for fear that if I point out the things I dislike about myself, people will go ‘oh yeah, you’re right’. Crazy huh?
    I think you are an inspiration to all the women who read you.
    *big hugz*
    Laura

  12. Laurie

    I grew up in a house with my mom who was a anorexic (I have never told anyone besides my hubs before this) and because of this I refuse to weigh myself or diet. I do what feels good to me – exercise and try to eat right / smaller portions. I know these demons – I grew up with them. I hope that you know you are beautiful and smart and witty and you don’t need the scale to tell you that. I have been lurking around here for a while and it’s your writing and charm that brings me back every time. Best of luck in fighting this.

  13. kim

    it’s hard. but you’ve been doing so great getting better and healthier and happier for a long time and i think you need to give yourself a break every once in a while. it’s okay to gain a little bit, it’s okay to eat what you feel like eating and not count stupid points.
    i think you’re beautiful and perfect exactly the way you are and i know A LOT of people would agree with me. but people tell me the same thing and i just don’t feel it. i wish i could and take the pressure off me but i can’t.
    it’s hard but i know you will get there. for you, and your family.because you’re just cool like that and you can do the monkey. just give yourself the time you need and take it easy. *hugs*

  14. Dawn

    Take that mother fucker outside and beat it with a hammer or roll over it with the van. Have Gabby help you. You’ll feel better. I promise.

  15. ambrosia

    That is an incredible picture and I would tell you so on Flickr if it didn’t have the damn ‘hiccups’ right now.
    I think I may do a belly shot today for my 365 pic. It’s the one thing that I hate about myself and lately it’s becoming more and more of an issue.
    I was back down to my pre-pregnancy weight less than 2 months after having Drake. One year later, I’m nearly 15 pounds heavier. And I can’t blame it on the pregnancy because that’s not what it is anymore.

  16. Tammy

    I feel your pain. EXACTLY.
    I am the numbers on the scale. I am the numbers of my blood pressure, my cholestrol no one is feeding me thru a tube or holding me down forcing me to NOT work out. It is me. It is who I am and I am lazy and eat for emotional reasons, and without thinking and I eat to feel a moment of pleasure in a crazy life I have.
    They say a journey of a thousand miles begins with just.one.step. And I believe that and I will be your biggest cheerleader. Why cant I be mine? Why do I love you more than I love myself?
    I dont know.
    But I feel your pain too.
    Love
    T

  17. sweetney

    trash trash trash. and yet… i understand EXACTLY where you are. i’m there. i’ve been there before. i’ve been thin and fat and everything in between. its so hard to let go, to accept our bodies. i don’t have any answers, but please let me know if you come upon any…

  18. Becca

    Wow, all of that described my exact feelings. I let the number rule my life. It has totally taken over. To the point where sometimes I don’t even want to see my friends… it’s sad. Sorry you deal with the same issues, I know it’s hard. You are beautiful!
    Oh and I have that same exact scale… let’s throw them out the window, what do ya say?

  19. Margaret

    Oh girl. I understand this all so completely. I have starved myself, exercised non-stop, I have been the skinny girl that people aspire to be. And there are two significant things about that: 1) I never felt any better about myself or my body and 2) I had a stroke. I hurt my body and put my time on this earth with my kids at risk.
    Keep your scale. It’s just a number. The number won’t hurt you. It’s what you DO wtih the number that hurts you. Vow from this moment on that you will NEVER call yourself names. That you will NEVER refer to yourself as fat, chubby, flabby, disgusting. Those aren’t words you would use on your worst enemy. Don’t use them on your children’s Mother. Replace those ugly words in your head with words that speak of love and value. And honey, I’m not saying that will come easy. It won’t. And it won’t “cure” you either. But it will help.

  20. JenT

    Hey, my name is Jennifer. I’ve never posted here before but I have read your blog for a while (you are hilarious!).
    Anyway, I see a lot of ymself in you in regards to your weight struggles. Just recently, someone turned me on to a book called Intuitive Eating. I’m not going to tie up this comment page by going into it all but it has been literally life changing and it may be what you are looking for. You are welcome to email me if you want me to tell you about it. :)
    Jen

  21. Leeny

    How sad that so many of us know exactly what you’re going through, Y! Society’s expectations are so harsh and it’s not fair. I used to be obsessed with my looks and constantly comparing myself with those so-called “beauty” magazines since I was a teen. I fed off the compliments and admiration from male and female alike. I have gained 20 lbs. in the past six years and it’s so hard to be consistent with exercise and trying to eat right all the time. And like the others are saying here, I have had to develop and learn to like the “inner” me, the “real” me, instead of depending on what I looked like on the outside. Believe me, when you base almost all your self-worth on what you look like on the outside and then it goes away, damn, that’s some deep crap to have to deal with. I wasted so many years worrying about what people thought I looked like. I’ve never told anyone this because I’m ashamed of it. Find what works for you without killing yourself and bask in the love of your family. It’s really all that matters in the end.

  22. julianna

    Ok, so i said this to you before :) but I just bought a scale after 10 years. I would recomend trashing the scale, trashing the tape. Then if you want to do weight loss? Focus more on your clothes. I focus on how I look in the mirror and clothes over a scale. I also trashed any and ALL full-length mirrors. Really. I don’t have any. It will take FOREVER to change your feelings about this stuff.. it’s not easy or quick. But it can happen.

  23. Maya

    I’ve thought about my weight every day since I was 11 years old. Every day. Several times a day. Scheming, planning on how to get rid of X amount of weight. It’s sad to me that I’ve spent so much of my life doing that. I hate it that there’s no quick fix, but there just isn’t.
    I look forward to reading what you have to say about it next.

  24. Jil

    Ok, I am right there with you… but let me share a few things that I have recently done to make me feel better about this weight thing.
    1. I went to Nordstroms and was fitted for a bra. Long embarassing story which will go up on my blog shortly… but I was AMAZED how I was wearing the WRONG size … thought I was a 36 C but I was actually a 34 D. Once my bra size was adjusted, I looked a LOT lighter…. so for all you folks wearing the wrong size, you WILL look thinner.
    2. GET NEW CLOTHES. I hate the fact that I am not my pre pregnancy, pre kid weight… but new clothes WILL make you look thinner.
    3. Go on walks…. I am having a hard time getting motivated, but at least I feel like I am doing SOMETHING when I walk….
    4. Go food shopping for healthy food choices. Clear out the cabinets of all your junk food.
    …. have more idea’s but that will be for my future post!
    Good luck … and good for you posting this!
    Jill

  25. Katie

    Y,
    You don’t know me but I read your blog… ALL the time! I just wanted to say, I love this picture. I feel this way ALL the time. I even had gastric bypass surgery and STILL struggle with the weight-loss every-single-day of my life.
    I fear, it’s always going to be that way… blah.
    Anyhow, good luck and I really love the picture. It home far to close with me.
    Hugs~
    Katie

  26. Kristin

    Y, this is how. Get this book:Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program That Works – By Evelyn Tribole, Elyse Resch
    That’s how I did it. Am doing it.

  27. tiffers

    i am so glad you posted that.
    the picture…
    it’s so perfect.
    i know that exact feeling.
    you know–days where you just feel like crap and you’re all miserable and crabby and someone says ‘what’s wrong’?
    and you feel like yelling ‘I’M SICK OF BEING FAT AND I DON’T EVEN WANT TO LEAVE THE HOUSE BUT YOU INSISTED I COME TO THIS STUPID THING AND CAN’T YOU SEE THE BACK FAT THAT IT BULGING OUT FROM UNDER MY BRA? IT IS RUINGING MY LIFE! NOW, WHERE IS THE FOOD?’
    ahem.
    excuse me.
    anyway. the point is, excellent post.

  28. Fold My Laundry Please

    Every morning after I get the kids’ breakfast together, I step onto the scale and usually end up crushing my spirit first thing in the morning. I’m nothing if not ambitious! I noticed my boys watching me do this the other day and started to think about what I might be doing to them and their own body perceptions. I still get on that scale every day, but now I say something like, “Healthy as ever!” with a big smile on my face instead of the usual deep sigh of defeat. Maybe someday I’ll actually convince myself of it!

  29. Maria

    (((((HUGS)))))
    If I knew the answer, I would definitely share.
    I don’t own a scale anymore. And the smashing of the scale sounds therapeutic. And also EXCERCISE! It could be a daily ritual.

  30. Opal

    It doesn’t matter what end of the scale you’re on, those numbers burn themselves into your eyes (dare I say soul?).
    I freecycled my scales. Gave them to someone who wanted them. I couldn’t look at those numbers anymore. The only time I know my weight now is when I go to my naturopath and he does my check in. He can put it into perspective for me: “you went up/down BUT look at your fat:muscle ratio. That’s better. That’s in a good range. IT’S NORMAL AND HEALTHY.”
    It’s perspective and acceptance. It’s oh-so-much easier to apply to anyone but you. You deserve the respect, dear Y, and only you can apply it to yourself. But we’re all here, reading, hoping, and encouraging.
    Stress does nasty, nasty things. If that scale and that measuring tape put that expression on your face every day, please send them to a new home.
    Finally? Those photos are fantastic. Period.

  31. Rae

    Y, that picture says more than all those words could ever do. (((((HUGS)))) We’ve never met, and for that I am truly missing out. You can obviously see that we’re all behind you and we all love you and want to see you happier.

  32. geeky

    i think not only should you throw the scale away, but you should go all Office Space on it and beat the shit out of it. show that scale who’s boss!

  33. Carin

    It’s so hard when you are not what you “think,” you should be. Especially, when you once were “thin,” like you wanted to be. I know I was there and now I’m not. Everyday, it’s a battle and most of the time food wins over dieting. It’s a hard battle and I’ve even asked my husband how he could love me looking like this. His response, “Let me take you home and I’ll show you how much I love you.” It makes me feel so good that he loves me no matter what. I’m pretty sure your husband is the same way. The thing is with me, when I was thin, I still wasn’t comfortable in my own skin. So, I don’t think it’s being fat or skinny..it’s being comfortable no matter what size. That is what’s hard for me. I hope we get over this one day. I say keep the scales because really it’s not about them anyway.

  34. GraceD

    I’m just five hours away via Interstate 5. Just say the word and I’ll get my old but still-spunky ass down there and toss out these instruments of the devil for you.
    Then, I’ll watch your kids while I send you off to a yoga class. You’ll return to a healthy meal I put together for your family. No tofu, I promise.
    xoxox

  35. jennifer

    This picture made me cry because it echoes what so many of us, including me, feel like on a regular basis. I have two gorgeous teenage daughters with their perfect bodies. I love them more then I love myself, but it also kills me when I see my stretch marks, cellulite thighs and sagging boobs next to them in the dressing room when we shop.
    My brain knows that I should get over myself and my heart doesn’t care because I traded that perfect body to be a mom but my ego says – Ewwwww!

  36. Lauren

    you are beautiful! i know it’s probably really hard to throw away the scale, maybe you could try going 2 weeks or a month without using it and slowly ween yourself off it? please don’t get so down on yourself for feeling this way. i think you are an incredible role model for your children.

  37. culotte

    Y, do not make me get all Latina on your ass, cause I can and I will. Toss it.
    The next picture you post better be of that godforsaken thing covered in coffee grinds and banana peels.

  38. Velma

    How timely that I’ve been drafting an e-mail to you to tell you how inspiring your struggle with your weight has been to me. After looking at your weight-loss pictures about 2 weeks ago, something suddenly just clicked for me. I think I finally recognized that because I’ve been overweight my whole adult life, I didn’t feel like I would ever get to a perfect weight, so why bother, right? Great life, kids, hubby, healthy, money, house – whole 9 yards. But looking at your pictures and reading about how you did it and how you are still doing it just resonated so deeply with me…and ever since, I’ve been watching what I eat and trying to exercise and just not feeling quite so worthless inside, more like I deserve it. Your struggle is yours, and mine is mine, but just know that by sharing yours, you have eased mine a bit.

  39. rach

    I’ve read your blog for months now and honestly? I love it. Damn it you’re funny, every new post is a distraction from my degree! (No bad thing).
    I’m only 20 but I’ve struggled with my weight all my life. I can’t go an hour without fretting about how I look. I shifted three stone a few years ago and I’m terrified of sliding back to that. Scales just aren’t a happy influence. Numbers are restricting and evil and they shouldn’t take over your life (but I understand how they can). I don’t weigh myself anymore because I obsess when I do. I know its hard to let go, but it’s the biggest favour you’ll do yourself.
    You and your family are an inspiration, and I hope I find strength and love as powerful as that in my own life.

  40. Jenn

    Y, you are a wonderful person. I know it’s hard to see yourself as others see you but your family loves you, you have amazing kids, and a wonderful, if crazy, husband. They love you no matter what and you should try to do the same.
    If you’re having a bad day try to go a little easier on yourself. Don’t beat yourself up if you gain weight or eat bad food for a while.
    And like most people here I’d advise you to get rid of the measuring tape and scale. I don’t think they help at all.

  41. lk

    hey, y.
    i’m a recovering bulimic, and i’ve been reading your blog for a long, long time now. I really believe you are stronger than you give yourself credit for. please, please please PLEASE throw the scale out. i know how hard it is, i had to go through it myself. First i thought it would be enough to just HIDE the scale, but it’s not. It had to go. It’s taken a long, long time, but i can now finally say that i’m better off without it.

  42. Papaya

    For me it’s never been helpful to get rid of the scale. I just end up acting like I think I don’t need to lose weight and then when I weigh myself it’s worse than before.
    I think that we all have our things – ways that stress in our lives (and/or negative emotions) manifests itself physically. Some people get migraines, some use sex or drugs or alcohol, some have a messy house, etc. It’s just that if your thing is overeating, there’s no way to hide it – you’re carrying a giant sign with you that says chronic emotional overeater.
    You have to stop those negative tapes playing in your head. It’s not the scale that hurts you, it’s you telling yourself that if you don’t look a certain way you might as well forget it and eat whatever you want.
    It’s always harder to eat less and exercise more. And it’s not fair. But that’s not going to change. So there you go.
    As for me, I’m taking my ass to the gym pretty much every day and watching what I eat most of the time and then blogging about it for recordkeeping. That’s all I can do. Anyone who expects more out of me than that (including myself – especially myself) can go to hell.

  43. Flipp-ay

    Bah, you’re hot, you’re funny, you’re nice – screw the scale. I know, easier said than done. During my year of total inactivity because of back crap, I didn’t bother weighing myself. I bought some comfy pants that fit and decided that for the time being, there was nothing I could do other than attempt to deal without the scale. It hasn’t been that bad. I know I’m not at my fattest, nor at my thinnest, but for right now, I’m okay with it.

  44. wordnerd

    I”m kinda late arriving at this particular party, but I gotta say this: you may have a dozen reasons for changing how you look, but DO NOT let the scale or a tape measure be one of them. Measurements and weight are entirely subjective, and what may be right on paper may not be at all what is right for YOU. Follow your heart and what you think is best, when YOU are ready.
    You are beautiful enough for us just the way you are. If you feel the need to change, then go for it. We love you no matter what!
    God bless you!

  45. Liz

    Everytime I read your posts like this I think to myself “damn….*I* could’ve written that.”
    Thank you so much for putting into words what SOOOO many people feel. No words that I say will change how you feel about yourself (i know….i’m right there with ya) so I’m not even going to try. Much love.

  46. Meg

    My body has screwed me over again and again with illness and rejection from men who wanted me to be taller, thinner, prettier, what?
    It’s at the point where I feel like it’s this useless thing I’m carrying around, this mistake, this issue. This imperfection.
    But I can walk, I can dance, I can breathe… things so many people are denied. I may not be able to have babies, but I can hold them and smell them. Regardless of the size of my hips and my ass, I can live a life that brings me joy.
    I’m trying to make function my focus now, and blessing. If I dwell on the rest and step on the scale and hold myself to a standard, I’ll worry to much to live the way I deserve to live.
    Trash the measures. The measure is your beauty as a person, inside and out, your gorgeous family, and your spirit.

  47. Jen

    Y, if you find a way to overpower the scale, let me know. If I’m not weighing myself 10+ times a day, I’m THINKING about weighing myself. I’ve gone from 284 pounds to 199 (was 194, but I lost my focus) and the more I lose, the more the scale controls me. I’m surprised I can breathe without running to get on the scale to see if I gained anything. How do we kick the scale habit?

  48. Jeanette

    I know how you feel. But did you know that as you gain muscle (from your exercise) you may actually GAIN some weight? It’s not a bad thing and the lean muscle helps you burn calories faster but muscle weighs more than fat. DON’T fall into the scale trap, even though I know how hard it is. Think of how you feel, look at the way your clothes fit you differently.
    It’s a tether we need to break ourselves away from. Since I started dieting again (and I am morbidly obese and doing this so I don’t keel over in the next few years), I’ve been a slave to the scale. *sigh* I only hope when I get back to a healthy weight, I can pull myself away from it.

  49. Carolyn J.

    Hi, I surfed over from Jenandtonic. I got rid of my scale years ago when I realized that my weight fluctuates as much as +/- 10 pounds in a month. There was just no way to know what was going on day-to-day from a number.
    Ask someone to throw the scale out for you, one day when you’re not around.

  50. justme

    Y, I know just how you feel. I was always very thin growing up, even after I had children. Sure I gained some weight after but, I always lost most of it in between. I never weighed over 100-105 in high (I was mostly under 100) school. After kids it was between 115-130. Now I won’t even say. more than you do anyway. I moved back to the area that I grew up in 20 months ago. I have only seen 2 of my closest friends since I have been back. And one of them maybe a half dozen times. About a half dozen of my close friends growing up all get together for a “Girls Night Out” every month. I have not gone to one yet. I just can’t go. I don’t want anyone to see me. Itsn’t that just awful? I hate being this way. I keep telling myself, maybe next month but, it never happens.

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