I remember my obsessive affair with the scale. Every morning, I would hop on the scale to weigh myself. And every afternoon, I would weigh myself again after working out.
If that number went up even a half a pound, it sent me into a self-induced panic. Irrational thoughts of an instant ten pound weight gain launched me into a frenzy, and I would force myself to jump on the treadmill.
If the number went down at all, it also sent me into a flurry of frenzied thoughts. When the number was lower, I spiraled down an addictive path of thinking “yea, but that number could be even LOWER…” And then hop back on the treadmill.
Where did my affair with the scale leave me? Obsessively caught up in self-torture and misery. I realized something needed to change.
If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten.
If I continued to fanatically weigh myself every day and let my life be run by a number, I’ll always get what I’ve always gotten: suffering, anguish, and distress.
I decided to explore what would happen if I stopped weighing myself. Just stopped cold turkey. I resolved to banish the scale for exactly one month. Which turned into 3 months, then 6 months, then a year, then a lifetime.
What I found was a freedom beyond my wildest dreams. When the scale wasn’t my tool for determining how I felt about myself, my life began to change. I didn’t judge myself on a number. I didn’t have “bad days” just because of a number on the scale. I didn’t neurotically worry about that number being higher if I ate a big meal.
And then slowly, I began to notice how I felt IN my body. How I felt just moving, walking, eating, and being. How I felt better not knowing my weight. Slowly, but surely, my affair with the scale faded into the distance. Ending my obsession with the number on the scale allowed me to gain a freedom I hadn’t felt before.
If you feel compelled to weight yourself every day, remember:
Weight Doesn’t Tell The Whole Story: What if we walked around judging everyone by their weight? A number is restrictive and limiting. It doesn’t allow us to get to know the person, explore their personality, or become acquainted with the quirky traits unique to that individual. And so it is with you. Your weight isn’t you. You are your experiences and dreams, your distinctive qualities, your exceptional talents, and your irreplaceable character. You would never judge your best friend by a number, so try to extend that same compassion and kindness to yourself. Your weight certainly does not convey the story of your life.
The Scale Fluctuates: Your weight can waver between two numbers depending on what you’re eating, seasonal differences, body composition, and other factors that fluctuate throughout the month or year. How can we judge ourselves on something that is always changing? This only sets you up for misery.
A Number Can Cause You Suffering: When the number on the scale isn’t what you want to see, destructive thought patterns of self-hatred and judgment may arise. It’s easy to get sucked into the habit of using weight as an indicator of your health and wellness. But using that number every morning to dictate how you feel about yourself, what mood you’re in, and how your attitude is throughout the day isn’t a satisfying way to live. When you let go of the association between that number and your mood, motivation, confidence or self-esteem, freedom is sure to find you.
Here is your challenge: step off the scale for one month. Yes, a whole month. Gauge your body’s health and wellness on how you FEEL. Not by what some number tells you how you should feel.
Explore your resistance, confront those opposing thoughts that arise, and refuse to give in to the fanatical affair with the scale. It’s tempting and difficult. But worth that freedom that comes with it. Try it and experiment with stepping off the scale for one month. Leave a comment below and let me know how it’s going!