I was blessed with some time around a campfire recently. Like most conversations, we got to the topic of weight. Everyone was sharing their weight loss strategies, and how it was going. A friend asked, “How much weight have you lost dancing?”
“I don’t really weigh myself anymore. I had my yearly appointment a couple weeks ago and didn’t bother to look.”
The sad thing is, I was somewhat embarrassed to admit I broke up with my scale. It was a relatively amiable split. He (of course my scale is a “he”) still hang out in my bathroom and wants me to climb on top of him in the morning. Because of my neglect, he is so covered in dust that it’s almost gross. I have daydreams about taking it out and just destroying the hell out of it, Return of the Jedi style.
Weighing myself was such a rough part of my morning ritual. It reminded me of when teachers would hand out grades. I was either going to feel like a good student, or like an idiot.
The scale has the same effect on my mood. Even though it only measures my relationship with the gravitational pull of the earth, I would read so much more into those three numbers. They measured my worth and dictated my self esteem. If I gained weight, I would punish myself with negative thoughts until the number improved.
It was until I stopped silently flogging myself that I realized the damage I was doing. My constant focus on the scale didn’t make eating better easier. If anything, the constant self loathing and focus only made it more difficult. The doubt I carried only sucked away the energy and courage to be active. I felt shitty about myself. When I don’t like myself, I have a hard time believing anyone wants to be around me. If I’m feeling ugly and lazy the last thing I want to do is work out in front of people.
I know some people really benefit from using a scale. It’s an invaluable tool. In the beginning of a diet, when the weight is coming off but you don’t see it, it’s hard to stay motivated. Seeing that number slowly drop is a huge help.
But, for me? I stopped worry about the number a long time ago. I focus on non-scale victories now. I focus on my health and “performance.” A year ago, walking three miles would have wore me out. This year I’ve done nine miles in one trip. I used to get incredibly winded doing one line dance. Now I can make it through four. And, yes, I have dropped a couple pants sizes. I can notice all of these things, and really be in tune with the changes of my body, without having to weigh-in. My focus is on what I am able to do and how my abilities are increasing.
Break ups can be hard, especially when your Ex still lives with you. I bet it’s hard for him to see me so happy. He lays, dirty and unused, on my bathroom floor while I get dressed to go dancing. Goodness knows, it must hurt him to see me all covered in dirt and sweat when I come home from hunting another amazing waterfall.
I suppose my scale does remind me that I have lost a lot of weight in emotional baggage. Maybe that’s why I keep him around.