I am a fit, healthy, active woman. I run, cross-train, and eat well. I could list off a plethora of benefits of my lifestyle, including my mental and physical health, libido, and “me time,” but truth be told the list should start with “weight control.”

I’ve been active most of my adult life, with breaks for things like giving birth and major illness. It was after my most recent break, which ended a couple of years ago, that I realized what a nasty liar my scale was. I got back to running in May, and in predictable fashion, my body whittled down nicely as the miles added up. What wasn’t predictable was the reading on the scale. In 3 months I dropped 2 jeans sizes, and several inches from hips, thighs and waist, and not a single pound. You would think that I would simply focus on my sweet new jeans or my tape measure and be happy, but not so, the scale haunted me. 

I tend to over think things more than a little, maybe even obsess a bit here or there, and let me tell you, I obsessed. I had a goal, a flipping number on the scale from the last time I was really fit, and I simply could not hack it that the scale wouldn’t comply. I started counting calories, cutting far lower than my daily need, even though my pants were loose and my body lean, I agonized over what I was doing wrong, weeping and gnashing my teeth over my failure.

Then my scale broke.

It was all I could do not to hop on Amazon and have a new one shipped 2 day air. Instead, I dumped my nemesis in the trash and thumbed my nose at it.

I can’t say I never looked back. For a few months I rode the struggle bus, wishing I had a number to either hang my hat on or beat myself up over. I was still dreaming of that magic number from years gone by. But slowly, I let go of the number game, and realized I’m fine.

That was 2 years ago. Since then I have ditched the tape measure and skinny jeans, and traded them in for self-acceptance. My normal attire is either comfy dresses, maxi skirts or athletic wear. All of which are completely forgiving on those days that I overindulge a bit, or the weeks that I can’t get all of my workouts in. I’m building for myself a lifestyle which focuses less and less on numbers, and more and more on living. 

And in so doing, I’m finding my worth, which never could be measured in numbers. My body is more than numbers. My body is a sacred temple. My body is the vessel in which I go through life. My body has nurtured my children through pregnancy and breastfeeding. My body has endured sickness and enjoyed elation, and everything in between. My body has carried me through hikes in the mountains, half marathons, and years of gardening. My body has worth that could never be to limited to what numbers can say; it is a treasure. How dare I treat it like an unruly beast needing to be whipped into shape? 

I’m woefully late to the party, but I’m finally here, and it’s a lovely place to be.

Alethea Mshar

Alethea Mshar is a mother of four children; an adult child who passed away of a drug overdose, one typical daughter and two sons who have Down syndrome, one of whom has autism spectrum disorder and complex medical needs. She has written "What Can I Do To Help", a guide to stepping into the gap when someone you know has a child diagnosed with cancer, which is available on Amazon, and is publishing a memoir titled, "Hope Deferred". She can be found on Twitter as leemshar, and blogs for The Mighty HuffPost as Alethea Mshar, as well as her own blog, Ben's Writing Running Mom on https://benswritingrunningmom.wordpress.com/. She is also on Facebook as Alethea Mshar, The Writing, Running Mom.