Triumph Over The Scale

Me – the dancer – at age 12 when I thought I was so fat.

Me having packed on a few extra pounds – right before I was diagnosed.










I, like so many of you out there, have battled with food and weight issues my whole life.  Rereading old journals from when I was in 6th and 7th grade revealed an early hatred for my body (one that I’m sure was fostered by my life as a dancer).  Of course now, I look back on my 12 year-old self and think, “My lord!  I was so NOT fat in any way imaginable!”

Throughout the years food has been both a best friend and an enemy.  As a young dancer I tried to starve myself.  As a teenager I fed my sadness and loneliness with junk food.  Through college I stuffed my face to stay awake and write papers or study for exams.  As an adult I “rewarded” myself with cookies and cake when I was stressed and juggling too many things at once.  I’ve always had secret stashes of food that I hid from those I loved.  My weight constantly fluctuated up & down depending on what was going on in my life.

In the 2 years leading up to my breast cancer diagnosis I steadily put on weight.  20 lbs of it.  I was stressed out, taking care of everyone else but myself, and turning to food for comfort.  My mom was dying of cancer and I had a “fuck it” attitude.  I started smoking cigarettes again.  I stopped exercising.  I ate whatever I wanted – whenever I wanted.  And my weight steadily crept up.

Once those bad habits settle into place it’s so hard to break them.  I had every intention of getting healthy once we settled into our new life in Ohio…  But it was much too easy just to continue with the bad habits.  So I did.  Right up until I was diagnosed with breast cancer in November 2011.  That was my wake up call.

I started exercising again.  Started eating healthy.  Cut out sugar and processed foods.  Started inching my way towards becoming a vegan.  Started making myself (and my health) a priority again.

And it worked.  During my 12 weeks of chemo when most women tend to pack on the pounds (thanks to heavy doses of steroids and health professionals encouraging us to eat whatever we want) I instead, started to lose weight.  By the time chemo was done I’d lost 10 lbs.  And in the months since then I’ve lost 10 more.

But the scale has been stuck between 150-155lbs for the longest now.  Every morning I weigh myself I hope to see it dip below 150.  But no luck.  Until today.  This morning the scale said 149.  And I was elated!!!  Triumph!

I don’t know why the number on the scale means so much to me.  But I know that my complicated relationship with food has become even more complex since I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  Now every morsel of food I put into my mouth is fraught with meaning.  Every choice I make can either tempt my cancer cells to reproduce or keep them at bay.  The guilt and fear I feel from eating a cupcake is magnified.  What I eat is now a matter of life or death.

I am striving to find a balance.  But admit that many hours in the day are consumed by thoughts of food.  And changing my diet has been one of the hardest things in my breast cancer journey thus far (especially trying to give up sugar!!!)  I try not to beat myself up about it.  Remain flexible.  And remember that one little bowl of ice cream or day of horrible eating is not going to completely derail my health.  I just need to start fresh again the next day.

So to all of you out there struggling with your weight, eating disorders, food issues…  I feel your pain.  All I know is that the best path is the same one to use with any addiction or problem…  Just take it one day at a time.

Today I’m 149 lbs.  Today I feel good.  Today I ate some things that I probably shouldn’t have…  but I’m just gonna let it slide and start fresh tomorrow.  And I will try my best to be ok if the scale reads 150 again in the morning.

Peace.  – T

17 Responses

  1. Love u honey, love your post, u are beautiful inside and out even if you weighed 249lbs! Well done you for continuing to be strong.. I need to take your diet and way of life into our lives. Sending tons fo love xxx

  2. Terri, I know I can relate to the love/hate relationship with my body image. Thanks for blogging about it- I think many of us women have had weight issues because of unrealistic expectations set by ourselves and others. I have hit a plateau also, but I’m not panicking- it is a step on my journey to getting to a healthier weight. Thank you for your insights!

  3. I so hear you! Just had one of those screaming conversations with my mother about my weight and health where I ended up saying, “Stop, we are NOT having this conversation.” I’m 54 and she 82–you think we’re going to change now? But everything you said about having the love/hate relationship with food and dieting and starving when you weren’t even fat–I could have written those words myself. And have. I saw a picture of myself at 22 recently, when I was dieting and sure I was grotesque and I thought, “Damn, I was HOT! And I didn’t know it. And I want a do-over. And I promise to appreciate my body this time around. But since I don’t get a do-over until someone invents a time machine, I decided to act as if I were hot now. Because in 30 years, I’m going to think this body I’m in is hot compared to the one I will have then, if I’m lucky enough to be around in 30 years. I don’t have cancer, thank the gods, and I check my breasts religiously (Mom is a nearly 17 year survivor) and just got my colonoscopy (Dad didn’t make it) and it was clean, but I have other health issues that would be improved with better eating and moving, so I will let you be my inspiration.

    I smiled though, when you talked about how you got to 149 (mazel tov!) and ate a bit off program today. Because that’s just what I do–hey, i lost 4 lbs! Awesome! Where’s that ice cream? And that’s why I stay the hell off scales.

    Keep growing healthy!

    • LoL! It’s scary how the food issues impact so many people and for so many years! I LOVE your idea about acting like you’re hot right now. I bet we’re all a lot hotter than we give ourselves credit for.

      Cheers to your mom for being a survivor. And cheers to you for embracing who you are and finding the humor in life. -terri

  4. Wow…why do we DO this to ourselves?I feel like you are holding up a mirror so that i can see my own relationship with food.I have always been somewhat plump,but also strong and very capable.Then,4 years ago,I was diagnosed with Psoriatic Arthritis.Had to quit running,but took up yoga.3 years ago,I got hit by a truck while sitting in a parked car.No more yoga.But lots of steroids and methotrexate.Gained 35 pounds and came down with high blood pressure.Now,I have to turn that around.No more meds!No more junk food!More exercise!It’s a bit overwhelming,but if you can do it with cancer,surely I can do it too.Your attitude inspires me.Thanks.

      • Ironically,my mantra for dealing with my challenges is “It’s not cancer”.It won’t kill me.Not in any hurry,anyway.That’s why I admire you for your attitude…you already HAVE cancer,and you’re kicking major butt!You rock,lady…you are truly your mama’s daughter.

  5. Being able to buy organic oreos isn’t helping me currently, but they are gone now and I hope that means I will never buy them again.

    As usual, you worded it in a way I have never directly thought of. Of course we have a twisted relationship with food. A relationship. What an incredibly accurate way of putting it. I guess, personally, I try to manage mine with learning to love and appreciate good food that takes a lot of heart and soul to make. It might not always come out right, but we have the ability to choose and enjoy our food, so why not do it right? I am also currently trying to learn about foraging. When I’m done breastfeeding, I’m going to try some things I pick straight from nature in my cooking. Did you know that you can eat the redbud pods and flowers that grow on the tree in my front yard? Not sure if that takes twisted relationship to an entirely healthy level, but its better than organic oreos.

  6. I hear you about the love/hate relationship with food. Because I am disabled and also very ill, I must depend on my husband to shop and cook for us both, and he loves sweets. He also feels sorry for me and thinks he’s doing me a favor by giving me junk food, no matter how many years I’ve been trying to let him know it isn’t ;-).

    Because of me, we eat mostly organic food, and far healthier. Stress is so destructive, I’ve had to become less judgemental and hard on myself for my ‘failures.’ We need to make time to appreciate every positive change and goal met. And sometimes they need to be smaller goals ;-).

    • I hear ya Elizabeth! My hubby is not the healthiest eater either. Neither is my dad. When he was staying with us I told him to keep his cookies in his room so I wouldn’t be tempted. Cuz I’ve learned that if it’s in the house, I will eat it.

      Wishing you more good days than bad. And here’s to celebrating the little victories!

  7. “Remain flexible.”

    The goldenest words in a post full of golden words — thank you for them and for yourself.
    Many, many folks were holding you in their thoughts and prayers this past week or so — I’ll be sending along details in a bit. Meanwhile, much love to you and all your loving family —


  8. I don’t know what you like, but out of the millions of combinations of foods that are to be found on the planet Earth I’m totally confident that there must ve at least a few that meet all of the following specifications.

    A: healthy/non-fattening
    B: not a huge pain in the ass to make
    C: sinfully delicious!
    D: I’m just going to say delicious again. I mean like I cant believe that some fool doctor says that this is really better for me than deep fried jelly donuts delicious.

    I mean -every food maker in the world is trying to make exactly that, right? SOMEBODY must be getting close by now. I KNOW there’s good/good-for-you icecream-like things!

    Pretend you are entering a contest by submitting a small cart full of such healthy delectables to some kind of committee who will judge many such baskets and reward the best ones with gigantic trust funds for the snack-finder’s children. (okay, that was weird. But I always play these little games with myself because for some reason just pleasing or pleasuring myself never feels like reason enough to motivate me to do research like this. Sure would be good if I/we did, though… I mean you know that stuff is out there. We could be snacking down and losing weight at the same time! Maybe our Internet friends will have some good ideas?)

  9. Thats awesome. You go girl! You look amazing! But its not just about the beauty on the outside, the inside matters too. You’ve got both. Love you xoxo

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