Chasing Freedom

My Mother’s Weight Log

By March 5, 20123 Comments

My Mother's Weight LogThe small stack of papers was about 1/2″ thick, varying shapes, sizes, and colors. Some curled and tattered along their edges, brittle with age. Very simply held together with a clip.

“What’s this?”, my little brother asked, as we went through our mother’s possessions, separating the keep, sell, and throw-aways. “That’s mom’s legacy and it’s mine!” I told him.

I had hoped I would find these papers; that mom hadn’t thrown them away after she became paralyzed 25 years before and could no longer stand on a scale. These papers that held such a fascination for me; the list of numbers that she wrote down through the years.

I had first seen them in her medicine cabinet when I was a young girl. I remember asking about them and being told she wrote down her weight. I knew from pictures that she was “bigger” in her high school years, but I always knew her to be small & petite.

This log of numbers began in March 1957 (how much earlier she had noted the numbers in her head, I will never know) and actually continued to the year 2000, 18 years after her paralysis. I try to imagine what may have been happening in 1957 that would have compelled her to begin this almost daily habit of writing her weight, sometimes with a note, “dressed”, “naked”, or “period”; she married my dad in November 1956, so she was still a newlywed, and she would not have me until 1959.

The significance of my mom’s papers may be lost on my siblings, but I understand them, and their control, as I deal with my own disordered eating and body image issues.

As I continue my journey of recovery, I am learning to leave the control to my Savior Jesus. The numbers I prefer to record and remember are Psalm 18:2 and Galatians 5:1.

“The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold” (Ps 18:2). I am reminded to reach for him and not food when I am in need of comfort, support, and protection.

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” (Gal. 5:1). Christ has given me freedom from the bondage of my food issues by my simply turning to Him instead of the refrigerator. When I look to Him, I can stand strong on a firm base of support, not on the shaky balance of a scale with numbers that can change.

My God is unchanging, never wavers, and as long as I give my recovery to Him, I will be successful.

Related Article: A Healthy Diet for a Healthy Weight

Join the discussion 3 Comments

  • Mallory says:

    Thank you for this post. I’ve often wondered what my future children will think when they see my years of logging my food, weight, and exercise. This really puts it into perspective.

  • Eugene Hung says:

    Hi Amy,

    It’s Eugene over at the +Parenting blog. Your post really packs a punch. I wonder how many other people out there have kept such a detailed set of numbers for more than 40 years … it’s heartbreaking. It’s great to hear that you are breaking the cycle of family heartache! And I love the line: “The numbers I prefer to record and remember ….”

    Thank you.

    • Amy Schaller says:

      Thank you, Eugene! When Constance asked if I still had the log, I told her “fortunately, or unfortunately” that I still did…sitting in the hutch above my desktop. I occasionally question how healthy keeping it is, as it sits there for the past 4+ years. At this point, it is more a symbol that represents our similar obsession rather than a burden or curse, and that’s a good thing. Hope to meet you at HFH!