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Karen Cigna Headshot

The Weight of Valuing Myself

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If you would have asked me what was wrong in my life, during the first 29 years of my life, I would have said, "I am fat, and I need to lose weight."

I would not have mentioned that my mother had a nervous breakdown when I was a child, ripped up my favorite Raggedy Anne doll, and that my father punched holes through the wall and covered up the eyesore with a "Home Sweet Home" sign after coming home drunk.

I would have blamed anything and everything that was wrong with my life on my weight. In fact, no matter how thin I was, and no matter how much I had starved and whittled my body to a low weight, I always, always thought that if I was five pounds away from having the body weight and the life I wanted. If only life was that easy!

Finally, after years of having been brainwashed by my family, society and myself that my body weight was the most important thing about who I was, I realized that my inability to be happy no matter what my body weight was, "was weighing me down both mentally and eventually physically, because eventually I would gain any lost weight back, since I never thought I was thin enough and would eventually turn back to food."

I was lost, I felt as if my biggest dream of being some "perfect weight" (which I no longer believe exists, other than the right weight for each person based on a non-destructive relationship with food), was taken away from me.

After all, although that perfect weight always seemed to elude me, in some ways it was easier to believe that a mere number on a scale could solve all of my problems, make me right, acceptable, good enough, and loveable. The question became, "Now what, if it is not my body weight that is going to magically fix me and my life?" and "If my body weight changed and yet I did not like myself or my life, where did and does the change need to come form?"

Then it weighed on me, what was weighing me down was not my body weight, but it was the weight of not being able to value myself from the inside out. The weight of not being able to value all that I had accomplished, for example putting myself through college and law school. The weight of not being able to give myself credit for having survived a childhood home where my mother was mentally ill and my father was a violent alcoholic. The weight of being unable to be aware of, acknowledge and accept my own feelings and needs. The weight of being unable to know that I was and am a unique person with my own likes and dislikes, with my own smile and laugh, with my own creativity, strengths and weaknesses.

The more I realize the weight of valuing myself from the inside out, the more I see that I am so much more than the weight of my body, I am more than a number on a scale, and I no longer need to pray to the scale god.

Are you willing to embrace the weight of valuing yourself from the inside out and give up valuing yourself by your body weight which is merely a number on a scale, which can not tell you anything about your true worth?

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If you're struggling with an eating disorder, call the National Eating Disorder Association hotline at 1-800-931-2237.

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