Better With Sprinkles

The Colourful Side to Healthy Living.

freEDom: Sam 1, Scale: 0.

28 Comments

It’s Tuesday!

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.

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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?

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28 thoughts on “freEDom: Sam 1, Scale: 0.

  1. You go girl! Seriously, you are one of my biggest inspirations in this blog world…I love how confident and comfortable you seem to be with yourself…it’s wonderful 🙂 I don’t have a scale for all of those reasons…I know I should be past it especially since I totally believe that everyone is worth so much more than a number, but it’s still something I don’t want to risk right now. So I just don’t keep one or go near them at someone’s house! Love your memory, too….Christmas movies with dads are the best 🙂

  2. I love this. It breaks my heart when I see girls getting on the scale. I don’t understand why people always feel the need to say something negative about whatever number they see. In swimming, we have a thing called the bod pod that takes comprehensive measure of our bodies’ makeup, and every 6 weeks it is all anyone can talk about. “I shouldn’t eat this, I have bod pod. I bet I gained so much fat I’ve been eating like shit. My number was this last time and its this now. I’m so fat.”I IT makes me sick. I wasn’t allowed in it, but I still heard all the comments. They’re ridiculous! The point is to track changes in your body through different training cycles. Its a tool to show you how your body responds to different types of exercise, and you can also look back and say “Okay I was eating like this during this phase, and getting enough sleep. I saw muscle decreases here, but we were lifting a lot so I should have seen increases. Maybe I’ll up my protein”. But does anyone actually understand that or talk like that? NOPE. It makes me sick. I think about my relationship with the scale and it terrifies me. Not being able to sleep until I get on and see a decrease. Waking up and measuring to make sure I didn’t gain overnight. Having it determine everything about my day and state of mind. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to get back on it, and I really have no desire to. I just want to pay attention to how my body feels–does it feel weak, tired, stronger, more flexible, run down, underworked, overworked? There are many different ways to measure my body’s makeup (like what it can do) that I would rather focus on. I know that using it as a tool to measure my gains would only be destructive. I can’t have that number in my life, and I’m okay with that.
    Thanks for posting sweetheart. Love you!

    • I’ve heard of those things – they definitely sound intense! I know people (especially women) don’t use those sort of things for their intended purposes…it does make me sad!

      And that’s fine! I like your way of measuring your body’s makeup – it’s a much better tool than a number on a scale.

  3. i had a relationship with the scale to and that thing would tll me if i was having a good or bad day it was horrible, i finally broke that cycle of weighing myself daily one day it just hit me that i had to and i never looked back.. im so glad you learned to and your sharing this experience bc it will def help others ! sucha good post! :-)!

  4. I really loved this post, Sam. The scale, and numbers in general, are things that I feel really strongly about, and hearing about your mended relationship with that dratted thing on the bathroom floor really brought a smile to my face. I used to weigh myself compulsively when I was in the depths of my ED, and the amount of pride I felt when I saw the number go down was actually kind of scary. As my weight continued to decrease, eventually fear began to replace my pride, but I still couldn’t handle seeing the number go up. When I fully committed to recovery, I avoided the scale like the plague because a stupid number had too much potential to cause a relapse, but after a few years I wanted to prove to myself that a number didn’t have any control over me, so I stepped on and hoped for the best. It was a strange feeling, knowing how much I weighed, and there was definitely a part of me that wanted to slip into despair, but I tried to talk myself down from the ledge by focusing on how good being healthy made me feel, and how I was the same person as I was before I knew. These days I weigh myself once every few months if I remember, and the number honestly doesn’t make much of a difference to me anymore…. thaaaank goodness 😀

    • That was my approach too…I wanted to make sure I could handle it in case I was ever in a situation where I would/could hear my weight (the doctors office, etc.). Apparently, I can – I like knowing that a number doesn’t that power over me anymore!

  5. I haven’t weighed myself since I started my recovery. I am actually pretty curious. I have been eating MORE, but I haven’t been stuck in a crazy binge-restrict cycle, so I really don’t know if the scale will have gone up or down. I know that I feel great and am pretty happy with the way I look, so if I do choose to step on the scale sometime soon I am going to remind myself that this is what “happy” feels like and if my “happy” weight is a few pounds more than the last time I [miserably] weighed myself, then I’ll take it 🙂

  6. This is a wonderful post. It’s so hard to reach that point where you accept that your weight is a healthy weight and you just can’t worry about it. When I was in the middle of my ED, I would weigh myself first thing in the morning and again in the middle of the day. Sometimes even a third time in the afternoon! It was so obsessive. Now, I don’t weigh myself because I know it will trigger obsessive thoughts. Every few months I might check to see if I’m still staying healthy, but for the most part, I have ditched the scale because I know that’s healthy for me.

  7. This is definitely something that needed to be addressing for this campaign – such a great post, Sam. I also went through a period years ago of obsessive weighing myself and I own a scale now but have only stepped on it once. I weighed myself after gaining weight (my appearance I could tell and got my period back, TMI) because I knew I was at a healthy weight so kind of like you I needed to see one time. It was definitely not the best feeling after seeing the number but you know what, I put it away and moved on, happy that it wasn’t in control of me. A number is a number and no one else in the WORLD cares how much we weight except ourselves! (and our loved ones if we aren’t taking care of ourselves). When I signed up for a gym near my work a few months ago, I had a free training session and the trainer weighed me and said we should set a goal for myself to lose a few pounds, “just to get me to the bottom of the healthy weight range.” I actually thought this was hysterical and decided I would not be taking any advice from that trainer ever. Ha 🙂

  8. I absolutely loved this post, thank you so much. I simply cannot be around people who talk like that, it makes me sad and angry and stressed in equal measure. I particuarly liked what you said about what you would rather have your gravestone say. I would much rather be remembered for having a good time, being a great person and making my way in the world – not a girl who obsessed over her weight, was grumpy and unproductive because she didn’t eat enough and never took part in anything out of the ordinary in case it messed with her routine. Love, love, love your blog (and you’re pretty awesome too ;))

  9. I never owned a scale and I am sure happy i didn’t. i hate the emphasis that has to be put on weight in any part of a disorder, even recovery but that is why i always put that power in someone elses hand, like my doctor. not once did i know how much i weighted because to me it didn’t matter. it is all about how you feel and how you embrace the body you are in. way to go on creating a much healthier relationship with it. you are way more than anything a scale can tell you

  10. Great post, girl. I too was a slave to my scale starting my junior year of college. I had a goal number in my head and once I got to that number and didn’t like how I looked still, I resolved to go for an even lower number. In fact, I stopped stepping on the scale the worse my ED got because I didn’t want to face how low my weight had gotten. That’d mean I had a problem.
    I started using the scale again when I entered recovery because I wanted to know how each doctor’s appointment would go. I wanted to be able to predict whether I’d leave a weigh-in crying in shame because they recommended inpatient treatment, or half crying half happy because I’d gained back some weight. I wanted to know if I should chug water before my weigh-in, “just in case”.
    When I started getting more serious about gaining back weight I knew I wouldn’t be able to do it with those numbers in my face. I moved back home from college around this time so it was the perfect chance to toss the scale in the dorm dumpster instead of bringing it back home with me. The only time I’ve used a scale and SEEN the weight since, it spun me into an almost-ED relapse. For that reason I still haven’t looked at the scale. I have no clue how much I weigh and I don’t WANT to know.
    I can’t stand people attach their worth to the number on the scale like you saw those girls at the gym do. It’s not right. However I don’t think I’m at a place yet where I could safely know my weight and not beat myself up, so I just avoid the scale. I’m much happier for it.

  11. Great post, I was also a slave to the scale for a long, long time, and it is truly amazing how much that number affected me. One time, after eating and drinking coffee, I weighed myself (no clue why) and I was 3 pounds heavier than I had been in a long time, and I actually cried, I was so embarrassed I weighed that much (now I weigh 7 lbs more than that and am healthy). I finally gave the scale up for about 6 months, and just recently got back to using it about once a week, just to monitor. I have accepted my weight, and am so happy that number does NOT affect my mood for the rest of the day. Thanks for being so brave and posting this!

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  14. This post makes me more sure than ever that it’s good not to have the scale right now in my recovery. I’ve been struggling a bit these past few weeks, and while I don’t have access to a scale, I find that my mind is starting to drift back to it. During the worst of my ED, I was weighing myself 40+ times a day. It got taken away in treatment, and I haven’t had one since. I only get weighed under supervision, and even then, backwards (I know I will eventually need to acknowledge the number. Not ready yet). However, I find that I’m constantly wondering … hm. I wonder if my weight is going down? I need to know what I need to do not to lose weight. … But that’s not the point!! (1) If I were eating and living healthily, it wouldn’t matter regardless. and (2) since I am currently underweight, I shouldn’t be saying “I wonder what I should be doing not to lose weight” it should be “I need to eat to fuel, nourish, and gain the necessary weight”. Your post reminds me that I am still very much afraid of the number and accompanying size.
    I would love to get back to the point where I don’t notice or care about 3lb. Admittedly, I don’t know when the fluctuations are happening now (precisely), but I think that if I saw one number one day and a number 3lb higher the week next, I would be upset still.
    Thank you for showing me just how far I still have to go. ❤ Congrats on your freedom — you deserve it. 🙂 Such a smart, resiliant, courageous, and strong lady — so proud to know you.

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