Or in my case, when you destroy your scale with a righteous vengeance.
Yup, that’s me in the lab coat and goggles, driving a metal staff through my scale with the force of one thousand suns. Why did I do this, you ask? Yes, good question…
As many of my friends are aware, a large portion of my life has been spent battling rather severe eating disorders. It has been the biggest obstacle in my life thus far, but I’m finally on the road to a healthier, more peaceful existence in my body.
As others who have struggled can attest to, even when you are well on the path to recovery, that small part of the disorder that is still living in your brain convinces you to hold onto relics of your former (unhappy, unhealthy) self. I’ve made great progress with destroying these things; a pair of jeans from my lowest weight, a truly awful “thinspo” book I made during my teen years, etc. The last thing I just could not give up? The damn scale.
This is how the scale makes me feel. Like I’m in a crazy, manipulative relationship. T-Swizzle, you get me.
You convince yourself, ‘Oh, well, everyone has a scale. You need to know what you weigh! That’s not a crime is it? Is it a crime to weigh myself now?!’ It is though. It’s a crime against your recovery, against all of the amazing progress you’ve made. Even though you’ve made great strides toward your well being, you’re still letting that big bold number dictate your every bite, your every mood, your every day. Even if others would look at you and call you recovered, you know you’ll never be truly free until you stop looking at the number altogether.
And so, I destroyed the bitch. I drove a stake through her cold, glass vampire heart and watched her die. And you know what? It felt fucking great. I highly recommend it. I realize this is easier said than done, however, so I thought I’d present my findings to you in my first week without a scale to step on every morning like a criminal marching off to the gallows.
1. You save a ton of time in the mornings.
When I had a scale in the house, my morning routine was always the same. Get up, go to the bathroom, take my pajamas off, weigh myself. Whatever number I saw had the ridiculously overpowering ability to affect my mood for the rest of the day. Down .4 pounds? ‘Awesome, I now allow myself to wear that thing that I think I only look good in when I’m feeling thin!’ Up .3 pounds? ‘Well shit, I guess I’ll wear big jeans and a baggy sweater but what I really want to do is hide under the covers so no one can see how huge and disgusting I am. Fuck, fuck, fuck.‘
Yes, rationally I know that one’s weight fluctuates wildly within any given day. Problem is, the scale makes you think very irrational things. With a scale in the house, I’d weigh myself, pick out an outfit, look in the mirror, change, weigh myself again, change again, battle the negative self-talk in my head, eat breakfast, change again… phew! That is a lot of time and energy to spend on one aspect of your life.
In the week since I chucked the scale, I spend maybe one or two moments worrying about how much I might weigh, and then quickly remember there’s no way I can know, and who cares anyway? My mornings have become infinitely more efficient and gloriously devoid of (at least some) body anxiety.
2. Your body stops magically morphing in the mirror.
Same logic as above – is your weight down on a given day? Suddenly you start focusing on your good features, think you look better, think you actually look smaller, start going down the mental path of ‘Hmm, maybe I should lose some weight…’
Weight up? Amazing! You have fat in places where it wasn’t just a day before! You’re blowing up like Alice on mushrooms! Soon your arms will be poking out of the sides of your house and a garden lizard in overalls will be trying to burn you out.
Without having a number to focus on every day, I’ve finally been able to look at my body each morning somewhat objectively, at least unattached to any stats. It has been truly eye opening.
3. You remember that it’s perfectly okay to stay the same size.
Even though it has only been a week, I can finally see without the filter of thoughts tinted by figures – I see that I have a body, and it stays generally the same size. Without a scale, I am tormented so much less with thoughts of ‘What if I were smaller’? I am practicing the art of appreciating my body for what it is and understanding that it’s okay to take up space in this world. In the rare moments that I grasp that concept, it’s pure ecstasy.
4. Your mind is free to be creative.
The most unexpected change I’ve noticed with the absence of the Numbers Nazi is that my mind has naturally wandered to creative spaces in the free time I have gained while not obsessing over what I weigh. I’ve written more this week than I have in months. I made headway with a friend on a music project we’re working on together. I threw a beautiful dinner party for friends and didn’t even think about what food I was putting in my mouth while we talked and ate. I finally mastered how to do Chaturanga in my yoga practice!
Not that I wouldn’t have done any of these things with the scale still around, but I know my mind would be at least some significant percent elsewhere had I known what I weighed. I cannot stress the amount that that stupid little number affects some peoples’ lives so severely.
If you can relate to this article at all, I would challenge you to envision your life without the scale. What would it be like? Would you worry? What would change? I appreciate that everyone is on a different path with these issues. For me at least, at this point in my recovery, throwing away my scale was one of the smartest decisions I’ve ever made.