I never thought of myself as a scale driven person—there was never a real need to know what I weighed.
For me it was simply a part of my morning routine. After stripping down and before jumping in the shower, I stepped on the scale that conveniently sat beside the shower door. The number would popped up and I’d simply justify why it was high that day. That usually sounded something like: “well, I did eat out last night and not drink much water, it’s just water weight.” Or on days I was down a pound: “yep, I knew that last trip to the gym would make the difference.”
Over the last 3 years my weight has fluctuated through a 35-pound range. The original 35 pounds lost was much needed. It was the beginning of me taking control in my life, getting healthy, and kicking habits that were on track to kill me. I quickly lost the weight and started getting strong. Over the next couple years I slowly put on 15 pounds, not a big deal at all. I was working out regularly, specifically I was lifting lots of heavy weights, so that weight gain was desirable. But in the last 12 months my mother’s prophecy for me came true: I turned 30 and my metabolism screeched to a halt. I put on 18 pounds in less than 6 months and no matter what I did that weight wasn’t melting back off like my past pounds had.
My daily scale-before-shower routine started to take a toll. As a health coach I talk about the scale and self-worth with my clients on a weekly basis. Too many women I work with immediately tie the number they see to their worth—the bigger the number the less they deserve to be loved. I was never jolted by the number I saw on the scale, but I unconsciously started hating my body. I felt that nothing but jeans and a baggy hoodie fit. I started to avoid sex with my husband. I stood in front of the mirror crying and convinced that I was hideous.
I started to obsess over everything I ate and doubled my workouts only to end up exhausted and starving, and still hating my body. At this same time I was working with a client that weighed herself daily and typically wrote the word “yuk” next to her weight in the food journal she kept. I challenged her to stop weighing herself for a month. And then it hit me that I needed to take my own advice.
So a few months ago I ditched my scale habit and here’s what happened:
1. My clothes started to fit again.
Often our fit is a figment of our imagination. I had several shirts and 2 pairs of pants I was convinced wouldn’t fit at my current weight. I tried them on one last time before planning to haul them to donation. Guess what? They fit great.
2. I ditched the exhaustion and food obsession.
I cut back on workouts and returned my eating to normal (which is still pretty healthy most the time). With that, my energy bounced back and eating became less of a chore and returned to being a pleasure.
3. I was able to give myself a clear reality check.
I took time to reevaluate my goals: why did I need a six-pack? Absolutely zero reasons. I knew the reality of those “fitspo” girls filling my Instagram feed. To get back to the weight I thought I needed to be, or to have a six-pack takes a huge amount of dedication and sacrifice. Neither of which I wanted to put in. I simply want to be healthy enough to hike with my husband and lift heavy stuff without help.
4. My sex life got better.
As my confidence started to rebuild so did my libido. I had more energy and less depression, which in turn made me receptive to my husband’s flirting. I regained my confidence to strut my stuff in some racy lingerie and the rest just followed.
5. I took back my beauty and power.
I don’t look like the fitness models in my Instagram feed. I’ll certainly never grace the covers of Victoria Secret and that’s okay. I am healthy and strong, my husband can’t keep his hands off of me, and I can keep up with the dog on long walks. That is all that matters. The number on the scale doesn’t tell me anything about my value.
Ditching the scale only made life better and I have no plans to get back on any time soon.
Author: Casey Jourdan
Editor: Alli Sarazen
Photo: Mason Masteka/Flickr