For many of us, we grew up thinking of weight as an indicator of health, wellness, attractiveness and more. We became accustomed to heading to the doctor and documenting our height and weight, sometimes measuring our BMI and often tracking them on a graph that seemed to tell us whether or not we were “normal” – whatever that means. But what, really, does the scale tell us?
For a long time I was obsessed with the scale. My weight was my worth (and, as you can imagine, this fluctuated multiple times each day – and yes, I was weighing myself that often). The numbers meant everything to me. They seemingly told me whether or not I was healthy, pretty, fit and happy. That number held enormous power over my mood, confidence and self-worth. That number defined me.
Recently, though, I’ve thought long and hard about the scale and the number and weight. I’ve spoken to many people and learned a lot. But, most of all, I have learned that the scale doesn’t determine any of the things I was giving it credit for (or blaming it for). It doesn’t determine my health, prettiness, fitness, happiness, mood, confidence or worth. It doesn’t, really, tell me anything other than a number, which means, well, very little. In fact, some of the most fit women I know (including professional athletes) weigh “a lot” (again, whatever that means), even though they have bodies many of us envy.
Don’t get me wrong: this is something I still struggle with constantly. But, (after much self-growth and work,) I have made the commitment to (try) not to weigh myself. I’ve thrown my scale away. I have hidden scales in hotel rooms. I even asked at a recent doctor’s visit if my weight was really necessary – it wasn’t. (Which only further reiterated the absurdity of the weighing process – really, how silly is it that they would even ask my weight if it were not medically relevant – what’s next? Charting my favorite color?).
So, 4 months into not weighing myself, how do I feel? Better than ever. No longer are my mornings spent dreading the weigh in – and no longer is my entire day determined by the number.
Do I still worry about what that number would read if I were to succumb to my urge to weigh myself? Absolutely. Thankfully, though, I don’t anticipate stepping on the scale in the near future – and that assuages much anxiety. I still prioritize fitness, but now I go to the gym to be fit and strong and healthy, not to drop pounds. I still care about what I eat, but for healthy reasons rather than self-destructive ones.
Most importantly, though, I’m hoping that the saying “fake it ‘till you make it” applies here. I’m hoping that after consciously avoiding the scale, eventually my fears will fade and the weight I both literally and figuratively put on the scale will no longer hold value. I know it will be a long process (likely with some set-backs) but I also know that I now think about the scale and body weight in a new way and I hope some of you can too – for it doesn’t determine health, wellness or fitness and I hope it will, over time, continue to determine my emotions less and less.