It started innocently enough.
Out of curiosity.
I stepped on to see what it said because all of my other friends talked about what their said. It was sometime around 6th grade.
I never thought I looked that different, so I wanted to see.
WOAH. I was not prepared for that.
For the next several years, I avoided it like the plague. I only stepped on it when I absolutely had to because it NEVER made me feel good. It ALWAYS made me feel worthless. Pathetic. Gross. Unlovable.
And then I joined Weight Watchers. And I had to face the music.
I hated it.
And then I loved it.
And then I became addicted.
I was deceitful. I’d starve so the number went down. And if it went down too much, I’d either chug water (but not too much because then it’d go up and I was a failure) or fill my pockets with something heavy (usually quarters). Sometimes I’d wear multiple layers of clothing. At the end of the day, I was a liar and a cheat and I hated it. I was known for my integrity and took great pride in it, and yet here I was searching the house for loose change so I could continue controlling the scale and the pace at which I was progressing in WW.
When it was out of my control and my weight went up instead of down I was ruined.
And then college happened. I found my “magic formula” to be plain lettuce, carrots, Bacos (because that was what I thought was a suitable meat substitute), and ColdStone ice cream at least 1-2 times/week. It worked because I kept getting smaller. On the days when I ate ice cream, I spent extra time punishing myself at the gym. I slept all the time. I was tired, I was hurting, I was foggy… BUT the scale was going down so I was OK with it.
At my lowest, here was A Day with my Scale:
Wake up around 7am, peel out of bed, put on my favorite PJ pants and go to class.
Come back around 10am and the first weigh-in takes place to determine how worthy I am that day. Strip down to a sports bra and shorts (the same ones every day), put my scale on my desk, move the closet door so my roommate can’t see how much of a freak I am, climb up, and face the music.
If it’s down. Great. I rock.
If it’s up. Dammit. I suck and today sucks.
If it’s the same. Well, I can do better.
Get through the next group of classes and lunch. Come back to my dorm room and repeat- same bra and shorts, same location, same manner of execution, same labeling of self based on numbers.
Go to the gym if time, nap if there’s time. Supper with friends and ColdStone based on weigh in’s for the day. One last weigh in around 6:30 or so. You know the drill.
Except this time the binge comes into place.
If I’m up– no treats. No food. Perhaps a second trip to the gym even though my body is screaming for a break.
If I’m the same– no treats. Maybe a trip to the gym, but not as likely.
If I’m down– BINGE. I’d often thing about what I was going to consume ALL DAY LONG. It was usually an entire box of cereal and milk, because that’s a “healthier” alternative to cakes and cookies. I told myself for MANY years that I don’t eat cake, cookies, chips, candy, or anything of that sort. I didn’t want to mess with my inability to control myself so instead I just avoided them altogether. Which turned out to be not so awesome either, but that’s for another day.
This was literally my life. And I rarely did anything that would cause me to stray from my weigh-in schedule.
I was trapped.
It consumed all of my mental energy. It robbed me of my physical energy. It destroyed my emotional energy.
I was empty.
Because of a battery operated machine.
This went on for years.
But not anymore. I took back my power the day I threw out my scale. And they are still not allowed in my house. I shiver when I talk about people jumping on their scales and celebrating those wins- because what about all of the other stuff? Where they listening to their body? Did they find a new way to move that they genuinely enjoy and look forward to doing? Did they swap out a trigger food for a positive activity?
Sure, the numbers are a set of data that you can use to determine efforts in living a healthier lifestyle, but really they are SUCH a small and inconsistent measurement. What if you’re gaining muscle? What if you’ve quit bingeing or starving yourself? What if you rested on a day when your body begged for it?
That’s where the wins really exist.