Summer is almost here, and I am not bikini ready. I am barely zip-up-my-pants-without-passing-out-ready.

So after months of deliberating - usually over ice cream because it makes me think - I have realized my battle with weight might not be my fault. Those food network people who air explicit content are definitely a part of a conspiracy to sabotage my diet efforts.

I mean, here I am, innocently flipping through channels and suddenly people are doing inappropriate (absolutely sinful) things with chocolate and butter.

Right on national television.

One things leads to another and find myself on the couch tearing off wrappers and devouring Twinkies. Yet the same industry wants me bikini ready by March.

Talk about expectations.

The fight for self-control in this atmosphere of jelly-filled, sauce-covered, delicious desire is hard to keep in check. And like a child of dysfunction, my weight is always caught in the middle. In my closet are the bittersweet ruins of a once healthy marriage between food and willpower - that’s right skinny jeans hang as a solemn reminder of days filled with calorie counting and better choices.

Was there a time I was truly happy with one slice of pizza and a salad with no cheese and dressing on the side? I think I was happier then than now, where splurges of pleasure come between consistent disappointments for failing to fight the temptations I once stood strong against.

Then again, I certainly find joy at the bottom of a buttery tub of popcorn and a large Mountain Dew, and so I wonder where the happy medium is.

Then it strikes me that happiness shouldn’t depend on my weight at all. Happiness is meant to come from a deeper place of satisfaction where confidence stems from my value as a human being.

As a wife, mother of two boys, and a 40-year old woman who questions her choices every single day about every single thing, perhaps I need to give myself permission to not be bikini ready - or their definition of that at least.

All these years I have placed the scale on a pedestal and sacrificed my peace of mind of mind to it as I stepped on and anxiously awaited its number to analyze my worth. Five pounds down - success! Three pounds up - failure. I am either up or down - depending on what the scale says.

Oh, and sorrows are easily drowned in fudge ripple. It’s a vicious cycle, I tell you.

So, I think I am going to chuck the idea of having a society-defined perfect body, and go for the idea of having a healthy one instead. I can certainly claim no expertise in the field of weight loss (years of evidence and various pants sizes indicate that) but for me, happiness means taking control of my daily choice without a a scale-driven.

I understand that being overweight and not exercising cause major health problems - like heart disease for one, and certain food will escalate that. So, in this, I can regulate my food intake, learn better exercise habits - which don’t include Googling how many calories necessary to burn a Big Mac - and realize good choices will lead to better health.

So this summer for me, bikini-ready means being healthier and probably one of those little skirted swimsuits with some extra support on top - and I might just let myself feel beautiful.

Meg Duncan