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