Why I 86’d My Scale…

by shawne on September 24, 2013

in Lifestyle, Wellness

As a lifelong dieter, I had grown dependent on seeing those digitized numerals that appeared between my big toes. Same routine each time: first thing in the morning, upon rising, but only after eliminating. Always prior to eating breakfast and consistently wearing the lightest pair of underwear I had. The numbers on that scale could completely make my day. But more often than not, those dastardly digits were detrimental to my mood and to my psyche.

bathroom_scale_clip_art_23558

 

Year after year, my relationship with this inanimate object grew strained. I cringed during every medical appointment when I was asked to get on the scale. I tiptoed on after stripping myself of shoes, sweaters, and jewelry, like I was being dragged off to solitary. Each week at weight loss meetings the scale served as the reminder of my failures. During these weekly torture sessions I would get on and close my eyes. On any given week, I would decide if the warden (I mean weigher) should tell me my results or not. If I was feeling the tiniest shred of confidence, I would open my eyes and squint to peek at my weight du jour. If the third digit was a higher number than the previous week, I would quickly turn away as if I were able to erase the unsatisfactory result from my mind. Although there had been a few successes here and there, the negative impact of climbing numbers gave way to the negative emotions that ran amok in my mind and sent me into a downward spin. Frustration, self-doubt, and low self-confidence were the ingredients in my recipe for a toxic cocktail called “misery”. My total sense of self worth was dictated by what the scale said AND the scales I used never once uttered a single word.

 

Thankfully, I was able to free myself of the shackles of weighing in and I found a safe way out of diet prison. Through loads of self work, going back to school for nutrition, and even becoming a health coach, I have found the foods and lifestyle that serve my body and mind best.  I have lost the unwanted weight and more importantly, I have been able to maintain that weight loss. So, why ditch the scale NOW?

  • I used to weigh myself frequently for accountability. Even when I was happy with the number I saw, I played little mental games with myself. I allowed myself a little more wiggle room at my next meal because I had just lost weight. I behaved that way because I was always dieting. If I had made a true commitment to a lifestyle change, I would not have to play those games anymore. My goals no longer have to do with numbers. The number doesn’t validate me.  My goals are action oriented now like signing up for class I’m interested in or walking outside in a beautiful new location.
  • I used to be really hard on myself over the tiniest fluctuations in weight. Daily deviations are most likely due to fluid retention. It began to make little sense to me to beat myself up over the biological processes my body needs to go through. It ultimately didn’t mean a thing. When I’m fit and toned, I can see it and feel it in my clothing. I feel energized and alive! The number on the scale may not budge at all because I’m working out and gaining some muscle density.  I know when I’m working hard and I know when I’m phoning it in. The number doesn’t have to tell me that.
  • I have come a long way physically but I needed to dump some damaging behaviors in order to maintain my emotional health and my new lifestyle. The most powerful weight loss tool is our mind. Ritualistic weigh-ins got me nowhere except for down in the dumps. Instead of waiting to reach my goal weight to begin being happy, I decided to try being happy first instead of waiting for the “right” number. I was only able to change my weight once I changed my mind. This is the most difficult part of weight loss. We are used to years of negative self-talk and sadly, body image issues are widely accepted as normal. Being happy doesn’t just magically appear. It takes conscious effort. But shouldn’t this be the goal? After all, we believe that’s what we’ll get after we finally lose weight. But do we?  Find what makes you happy now and live it! The pounds and inches will most likely be released once you decide to release the heaviness in your mind.

These days, I’m not really sure how much I weigh and I suppose I will find out at my next physical exam. I do know that I feel healthy, happy, and free. The scale now takes up residence in a hard-to-reach space in the closet.

Is the scale a big part of your life?  How much do you depend on it?  How often do you use it?  Honestly!  Please respond in the comments below.  I’d love to hear from you!

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Shelly Block September 24, 2013 at 7:53 pm

Shawne!
What a powerful piece!!!! You told MY story , only I’ve lived mine a lot longer than you !!!!
You’ve got my attention BIG time – and as soon as I get back home I will be in touch and hopefully I can get started.
By the way – you write beautifully.
Hugs
Shelly

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Cathy | The Health Coach Group September 25, 2013 at 3:12 am

I hear you! There are so many people whose identity is tied to their scale. My husband is kind of cute. He gets on the scale every day. For the 35 years I have been with him…he has fluctuated 3 lbs. The middle number is ideal and if he is over…he thinks he is getting fat and if he is under…he isn’t eating enough. He is a funny and cute example. I know even more who have very serious eating disorders that are tied to the number. Thanks! Nice blog.

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Dana September 25, 2013 at 4:09 pm

Loved reading this. Your honesty and humor are perfect. So true for so many people. I can totally relate to being a slave to the scale. I’m a once a week, not more and occasionally less. Glad you freed yourself and found such a health and clean diet.

Reply

Johanna October 1, 2013 at 3:48 am

What a lovely article! Thanks for putting this together in such an honest and thoughtful way!
I enjoyed it.

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