I remember the first day I started caring about my weight. I was a junior in high school and track season was about to start. My friend, Nicole, and I went to to the nurse’s office together to hand in our completed sports physical forms. I placed my form down on top of Nicole’s. I noticed we were the same height, but that she weighed five lbs. less than I did. Now, Nicole was really beautiful. In my teenage brain, I decided if I weighed the same amount as Nicole then I would be pretty, too.
And so it began: My quest to attain this “perfect” number on the scale. Throughout high school and college, I weighed myself each week. But thanks to a love of pizza, fries, and mudslides, the number on the scale ended up going in the wrong direction.
By grad school, I achieved some balance. I understood nutrition better and enjoyed exercise. Through these healthy habits, my weight got back on track and finally settled to the weight I was back in high school.
Still, that number was too high in my mind. I ate better and ran further in an attempt to see this magical number appear. I weighed myself every morning, and I finally got there. If I was at or close to my goal weight, I’d feel great about myself and make an extra effort that day to keep up my healthy habits. If I saw a number on the scale I didn’t like, I’d beat myself up. I’d feel ashamed and, ironically, I’d turn to sweets to cope.
Eventually I told my husband about this, and as I said the words out loud, I realized how ridiculous they sounded. How could I let my weight determine my mood for the day? How could I let it set my self-worth? How could I let an arbitrary number I didn’t have much control over take control of my life?
So, the scale and I broke up. Now, I gauge my weight by how well my pants fit and by how I feel. As long as I continue to eat right and be active, this seems like the best approach. In the six years since the scale and I broke up, the only time my pants didn’t fit was during pregnancy.
Ditching the scale may not be for everyone, but I’m much happier now that weighing in is no longer part of my daily routine.