• Sara Marsden-Shreeve

Don't Let The Scales Define You!


Happy Woman In Undies, Don't Let The Scales Define You, The Image Tree Blog
Love The Skin You're In

Our weight should not define the living, breathing human being within, we're so much more than that.


It's been a drip fed diet culture for so long I'm getting truly bored with it all. Lose the weight and then you will be.... happier, more attractive, more popular, more successful, much smarter, find love, rollerskate in your pants and so much more.


"Get beach body ready", my arse. I have a body and there is the beach. Who are we getting ready for exactly? I'm pretty sure most people are on holiday there to enjoy themselves aren't they? Not look at my real life dimpled butt cheeks.


Yes, a balanced and nutritious diet is important but the restriction, the control and the sadness surrounding what your weight is and what you should and should not eat, is not.


There's no happiness in diets. Who the hell has ever enjoyed the marathon cravings, small plates and misery at a social event when the sausage rolls are calling your name. It can take over your life and even have a long lasting negative effect on your mindset in

the long run.


Sad Plate, Dont Let Your Scales Define You, The Image Tree Blog
Food Should Be Enjoyed

If it's health professional lead and it is beneficial to your health concerns and you're receiving mental health support alongside, that's different. Rocking up to a place where you get in line to be weighed and told you've been naughty seems an unhappy place to be, for me anyway.


I love food choices and I'm a bit of an intuitive eating fan. Food shouldn't come with a side helping of guilt or shame, it's a fuel source after all and such a flippin tasty one at that, beige or no beige.


Look, I know I seem ranty now (like an ex smoker) , but the truth is I was once consumed with what I weighed and what my body looked like, I think we all have been or still are to some degree.


So, why do we let our weight define us and why can we still be slaves to the scales?


My soul purpose and ikigai over the last 8 years has taken shape organically and thus, defined my business, my ethos, and my manifesto to help mindful women kick start a happier self-image from the inside out via my Mind, Body & Wardrobe connection strategy.


Good eh? Absolutely, and I flippin love it. However, there has always been one big shiny turd that has continued to spread its negativity and stink over my quest and that of the many women who it has taken prisoner of over the years…


Yes, I am talking ‘diet culture’ and the ‘weight loss’ mindset.


Woman On Scales, Dont Let The Scales Define You, The Image Tree Blog
Weighing On Your Mind

It hinders, restricts, and causes such sadness to both women and men because it feeds your ‘not good enough’ thoughts and makes you wait to be happy, promising the holy grail at the end of it when you’ve lost the weight, got a flat tummy, abs to die for and so on.


Now, before you start, I’m not dissing good nutrition, movement, and healthy values. I’m talking about society's obsession with weight, fat, ‘body ideals' and controlled eating here.


Why does our weight seemingly define us? Aren’t all bodies, good bodies in the end? Why is one better than the other based on just a glance? Why do we judge a whole person on just their weight and build?


Someone who is struggling with an eating disorder such as anorexia may be painfully thin and desperately needing help for their mental health… that’s not positive in any sense. It’s heart wrenching for them and their loved ones. Yet thin is attractive right?


Alternatively, a woman who is fuller in body and heavier in weight may be a dance teacher and full of vitality and health… that’s positive in all senses. Yet because they are deemed ‘fat’ by society, that makes them unhealthy and somehow less attractive?


It makes no sense to me at all and makes my blood boil when I see harsh comments and criticisms made by complete strangers on social media who know nothing about the person they are looking at.


Women of different shapes, Dont let the scales define you, The Image Tree Blog
Be Kind With Your Words

This societal turd has been feeding the notion that weight loss alone is the only gateway to happiness for generations.


Look, I hold my hands up, I have in the past thought, “When I lose 10lbs I will be happier” Then I will be more attractive, more likeable, more popular, more camera friendly. blah blah blah… What have you promised yourself? It’s such a massive stressor to put on yourself, particularly if you believe you have a lot of weight to lose.


WHAT DOES A WEIGHT LOSS MINDSET LOOK LIKE?


  • It focuses on how our body looks.

  • Numbers on a scale, size on a label, counting calories and the like are some of the factors that are used to influence much of our decision making to change shape and/or reduce or gain weight.

  • It loves a goal to aim for, whether it be weight, time periods or in preparation for an event.

  • It charts your progress and wants you to follow a diet plan criteria or regimen with various rules and guidelines.


SO WHY DO WE THINK THIS WAY IS THE BEST WAY?


Granted, some people take all this in their stride happily, especially if they are sports people or training for a physically challenging adventure or the like, and have an army of professional help, such as psychologists, trainers, and nutritionists to aid them with specialist care, but what about the rest of joe public? We’re left to go it alone? All you can eat cabbage soup for 14 days? No chocolate for you Sandra until Christmas 2022! Pffft.


The thing is it’s not your body that is the problem, it’s a combination of the following 3 factors that feeds a weight loss mindset: - (pardon the pun)


1. Shaped Beliefs


Thoughts and beliefs that have been passed down for generations through family, friends, colleagues, and total strangers that being thin is somehow best and for those who don’t fit their norm are criticized, commented on and discriminated against.


Don't get me wrong, not all comments are purposely underhand or critical, especially from loved ones, they just don't know any better either. It was what they were told and brought up with too and merely passing it on from their mothers, fathers etc. You can break that cycle with your kids though.


family generations of women, dont let the scales define you, the image tree blog
Pass down positive vibes and break the old stories

Cruel comments stick like shit to a blanket though, so if it’s said enough you come to believe it too, without question. I have a personal story that relates here and I’m sure you do too, at some part of your life. Time to let it go..


The truth is though, they’re not your beliefs to keep, they are someone else’s opinions and often are a transfer of their own misconceptions, short-comings, or outdated mentality.


You can choose to dismiss them and stay strong to your own path, but I realise this is easier said than done. I know, it took me nearly 10 years to embrace myself and learn to rebuff any negative comments offered out.


I took it upon myself to seek out that little girl in me that loved to dress up in my mum’s shoes and wear the tutu with the wellies and had no thoughts of fat, calories or supposedly ‘sinful foods’. I just enjoyed everything and saw wonder in anything. My advice find her again.


Free Little Girl, dont let the scales define you, the image tree blog
Remember Her? She's Still in There

The world taints what we see and skews our mindset as we grow but we can find solace, it’s just a matter of finding where to begin with your journey and getting the right help or guidance.


2. Society’s Ideals


The glossy magazines, the photoshopped selfie, the professionally applied make up, the stylist, the lighting, the camera, the luxury setting and more paints this picture of perfection and sells it to us with a neon sign that reads “this is beautiful, you need to look like this”. Buy the dress and look like a fashion model, oh wait we only go up to a size 14 pftt. Those shaped beliefs are weeding their way in again and fueling those beliefs we are holding onto.