One of my favourite blogging days, courtesy of the beautiful Sloane.
So one day last week, I was at the treadmill in the gym, getting ready to do some interval work. With the way that my gym is set up, I had the big gym scale right in front of me.
At this particular moment, there was a group of five girls gathered around the scale. I watched each one as they stepped up to the scale, a nervous look on their face. As they moved the weight bit by bit to the right, I watched the looks on their faces change to one of absolute dismay.
Afterwards, they all compared each other’s results. “That can’t be right!” and “I’ve gained weight!”
One girl announced: “Usually I weigh (insert perfectly healthy weight for a young adult woman) but right now I’m FAT, so I weigh (insert a weight that’s three pounds heavier than first weight given).”
There are no words for how sad this makes me. It’s depressing how three pounds makes the difference between “normal” and “fat” for this girl. And really, if the scale hadn’t told her that she had gained three pounds, would she have noticed? It’s depressing how much value and how much emotion was behind the number that this scale was spitting out.
Of course, this makes me thing about scales, and numbers, and why we put so much value on them.
Of course, during my ED I was an absolute slave to this little beast (yes, I’ve had it for years and never bothered to take the stickers off). I would weigh myself first thing in the morning, and sometimes at night too. I would feel nothing but pride when it went down, and nothing but shame and despair when the number went up.
Even during recovery, I would weigh myself weekly to “make sure my weight was going up.” Of course, whenever it stayed or the same (or went down), I would scold myself and say that I was going to try harder next week, but deep down knowing I felt nothing but pride.
Eventually, I told my mom to hide the scale. I knew it was hurting me mentally and hindering my process, so I couldn’t have it around me. She did, and I didn’t weigh myself for a long time – years. I got to my current weight, and held it for a while; not having any idea what that number was.
When I felt ready, I brought the scale back out. I needed to learn how to accept the weight I was at, without feeling obsessive over it. When I first saw the number, I was disappointed, I was dismayed. But I accepted that this was my healthy weight, and I moved on.
Now? I still have the scale in my bathroom. Currently, I’m hopping on it once every four weeks as part of my stats for my workout program. For the first time, I’m hoping that the number goes UP – Because that would mean that I’m gaining muscle, which is my goal. But really, no matter what the scale says, I’m not losing sleep over it.
I realize now that a mechanical device that spits numbers at me has no effect on my value as a human being. It does NOT matter! Really, would I rather my gravestone tell the world “She died at x amount of pounds” rather than a memory, or a beautiful quote…anything more meaningful than that? Of course not! (I apologize of that’s morbid, but that’s how I see it).
I really wanted to tell those girls that the number did not matter and did not change who they are as a person. I didn’t (not sure how well random stranger-advice would have gone over) so I’m telling you guys instead. Do not let a small piece of machinery have power over you! If you can’t handle knowing your weight, get rid of the scale. Smash it. Throw it away. Get someone to hide it. If you can know it without it affecting your happiness, than that’s awesome. Just don’t let it dictate your worth, ok?
And to end on a more festive note…
Jenny‘s Christmas Blogger Challenge!
My favourite holiday tradition: watching Christmas movies with my dad! We have the same favourites, so we always make sure to have a Christmas movie night. Since I’ve moved, I’m not sure when it’ll happen (it may end up being Christmas day) but it’ll happen!
<— Where do you stand on the scale issue?
<— Any holiday traditions in your family?