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The Scale: Friend or Foe

  • LiveWell360 Staff
  • September 30, 2015

How many of you can relate: wake up in the morning and the vicious cycle begins…

Just get on the scale, (name here). Weigh yourself. Do it. You know you probably gained weight since your weekend shenanigans. It’s best to just face the music. You are never going to get to your goal weight if you don’t fess up and get serious. You better weigh yourself now before you eat or drink anything because then you know you will weigh less, and make sure you pee first too!

And on and on the drill sergeant goes.  No, this was not some sort of sick “fat camp” counselor. This was actually the daily thought stream running through my head at one point in my life on a regular basis. I was so horrible to myself, and the ironic part is that I actually believed that this type of thinking was beneficial. I thought that this was what I needed to stay on track to losing the weight that I wanted to lose and to achieving the long, lean legs and non-round face that I was oh-so-wishing to achieve at the time.

Held Captive by a Small Metal and Plastic Thingy

In reality, the scale was my knight in shining armor and my worst nightmare all in one. If I stepped on and saw a loss, I was the happiest girl on Earth, but if I stepped on and saw a gain, I was depressed for the rest of the day, and would most likely restrict my eating in order to create the weight loss I chased after. What I saw on the readout would affect me right down to my core. What kind of self-esteem is this? What kind of LIFE is this?

It reminds me of an excerpt from the book, Locker Room Diaries: The Naked Truth about Women, Body Image, and Re-Imagining the “Perfect” Body by the awesome and hilarious Leslie Goldman, where she recounts her experience with seeing women approach the locker room scale, which she refers to as Mount Toledo due to it’s mammoth size, with an eerily similar routine of quick glances to make sure no one is looking, leading to a strip-tease of towel, flip flops, and jewelry, that often ends in utter sadness as the woman stands naked, sulking in the final number which all too often represents so much more than her weight: her self worth.

Perspective Changes Everything

Since those days of self-torture, my relationship with my scale has changed immensely, and proportionally to the massive changes in my relationship with myself. I do still get on the scale, but only occasionally now. And these days I don’t beat myself up over what I see. I simply use it to gauge, and if it begins to sway too far in one direction or another, then I know that I need to pay attention and adjust.

I realize that the question of “to weigh or not to weigh” is pretty controversial, and I have overheard some heated debates over this topic.

My opinion is that when I allowed myself to let go of the scale as a measurement of my self-worth, it suddenly became just another tool. I am now able to look at the number objectively and my self-acceptance is totally unattached from what I find when I step on it. I actually find it really interesting to see how my weight can fluctuate quite a bit when I eat foods with more sodium, higher carbs (which absorb more water), or drink alcohol. It is so much more scientific for me now and non-emotional.

How to Get from There to Here

I realize this sounds far easier than it actually is to get from the “scale obsessed” extreme to the “scale indifferent,” but it can be done. And it has far less to do with the scale than you think. In order to get myself to where I am now, I actually didn’t focus much of my attention on my issues with the scale OR my issues with my body. I focused my time and energy on things like:

  • Working out for the purpose of being healthy, active, and enjoying life.
  • Building better relationships with friends and family.
  • Surrounding myself with empowering people.
  • Taking a very honest inventory of my career in respect to what inspires me most in life, and deciding that I needed to make some big changes.
  • Being appreciative for the health and vitality that I am so blessed with right now.
  • Realizing that I am perfectly imperfect… meaning that I AM perfect, and in my perfection, I have imperfections that I embrace and accept as part of my growth and my road to my best life.
  • Realizing that I am in control of my experience and if I want to have a better body and a better life, the first step is to choose to have it.
  • Deciding that I am not in pursuit of a better body or a better life for anyone but myself, so therefore I must do what feels good to me.
  • Repeating affirmations such as: I AM confidence, I AM brilliance, I AM beauty, I AM abundance, I AM awareness, I AM the creator of my experience, I AM love, I AM joy, I AM happiness or any others that bring a feeling of wholeness and peace with myself.

These are just a few examples and it’s a process that takes time, but will take root and become ingrained and second nature if we take the time to “do the work.”

It’s Not You, It’s Me…

So you see, in my opinion, it’s not about banishing the scale and telling ourselves that we are forbidden to step on it, because that is like putting on a blindfold and pretending the problem is solved, when really we are just stuffing it away.  It’s not about the scale, it’s about the feelings we attach to the scale. Instead, the solution is to improve the relationship with ourselves, and then as a RESULT of this self-healing, the scale will no longer hold us captive. It will simply become the tool for measurement and accountability that it is meant to be.

What are your thoughts? Leave a comment below and fill me in on your relationship with the scale.

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