Habit

There it is, every morning, just waiting for Donna’s acknowledgement. Its gold, shiny appearance is appealing, hard to ignore. She steps on it with bated breath, knowing that what she sees will steer her mood to one side or the other. Only once in a while does the pendulum stay centered. Will she feel happy enough to click her heels in the air? Or will those numbers be the catalyst to a self-degrading approach for another day? It’s an obsession difficult to break like a bad relationship. And yet, she hasn’t been able to muster up the courage to snub its magnetic lure.

Donna still cringes when she looks at old photos of her as a young chubby girl. One memory focuses on her ten-year-old self in the hospital having her tonsils taken out. After the procedure, she rested in the recovery room where there were other children. One red-haired boy her same age wore a wicked grin while calling her “fatso.” His hurtful words caused her to crumble into the white sterile bed sheets. Maybe this bullying sparked her insecurities, along with those extra childhood pounds that dogged her footsteps into adulthood.

All Donna needs is a truck load of willpower to shed the weight. Sometimes, she’s there, and sometimes she’s not. It’s no easy feat to gain a strong grip on self-discipline, as though she’s trying to keep a slippery fish in her hands. She’s always been an emotional eater. She’ll find something to munch for any reason: when she’s happy or fighting back tears, when she’s in a celebratory mood, or in a nail-biting situation. Whatever the emotion, food tempts her like a dangling carrot to a rabbit. But she doesn’t crave carrots. She craves chips.

What’s even more challenging is maintaining the weight once she’s lost it. Those pounds seem to conjure up a foolproof system for finding their way back to her. It’s a never-ending cycle while she allows her weight to determine how likable she appears to others. She lets those digits control her self-esteem. When will she see in her reflection the beautiful, green-eyed woman that others see? Society itself doesn’t persuade her into feeling this low about her body image. She knows when her body is healthy and when she’s taken a detour. It’s simply time for her to make better choices.

Someday Donna will transform her thoughts into action to shed the pounds. Until then, her obsession with the scale has to end. She considers tossing it out the window! Her family often tells her how she gifts kindness to others, so when will she offer that same compassion to herself? She wishes for the moment when she can look in the mirror and say, “You look awesome!” and mean those words with every ounce of sincerity.

“Baby steps”, Donna says. “It’s just a number.”

Lauren Scott (c) Fiction
Photo: Google images

29 thoughts on “Habit

  1. I know many persons who wish for what people call a “perfect body” but lack the will-power to keep it. What I like more is the attitude of some of them… “I don’t care what they say.” While negative comments could be hurting for growing youngsters, the choice lies with them. Positive parenting and peer groups play a significant role in developing self-esteem.

  2. Those scales! A tough issue in our culture that so many women (and men) feel defined by their weight. A heartrending story, Lauren. I hope that one day, Donna feels beautiful on the inside… for that beauty will surely shine through her skin.

  3. Lauren, a moving story which captures the internal battle raging within Donna. She has great self-awareness of her pain, memories and current sadness yet realises her will to change is not strong enough. Yet! One hopes either she becomes settled with herself at present or finds a way to change so she finds inner peace. Well done on a great story! Xx

    • Thanks so much for your insightful comment, Annika, and you nailed it! I have a hunch Donna will find the strength necessary to feel healthier, along with showing herself more compassion. Thanks again for your encouraging words. xo

  4. My dear Lauren, your story touches so many people and you’ve written it beautifully. “It’s just a number” is so true and it’s really all a matter of realizing what’s good for each individual and then, well, following it. That takes love! 😉

  5. Why does this feel like my own story? Despite losing a great deal of weight, why has it become impossible for me to see myself as fitting in today’s societies ideals? And why is it so important that I do? Despite being aware that it is unhealthy and illogical and knowing that it is better for me to simply love my body for what it is, why does this subconscious need for losing weight resurface every now and then?

    • I’m so sorry you’ve struggled with this. Many have and it’s not easy. I wish I had the magical words to ease your pain, too, but I don’t. The only thing I can reiterate is to love yourself, try to be healthy, and not to care about what others think. Something hard to master, but not impossible. Take care of YOU! 💗💗

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