I haven’t weighed myself in two years. And I have never been happier.
You might be someone who can weigh themself a couple of times a week and use it as a way to keep yourself at a healthy weight. That is awesome.
I, however, had a different relationship to that piece of equipment. For me, stepping on the scale was like entering a battle zone. I played the “scale game”. Every morning, depending on what number showed up in front of me, I would either feel awesome and very accomplished or like an idiot who needed to get her act together. I felt, more often than not, like an idiot. During the scale game I would completely forget that I am also a wonderful, loving, smart, funny, and kind person. It seems that somewhere along the path of my life I bought into the crap society tells us women about what is beautiful. And I managed to add another layer on top: being a dietitian, I should be the correct weight and eat all the correct foods and have perfect health. There was a lot riding on that number on the scale. Some days I wasn’t sure which weighed heavier: my thoughts or my body.
When I started Intuitive Eating (IE)* I was ready to let go of the frustrating relationship I had with food and my body. I just wanted to feel better. I wanted to be okay with food and enjoy eating again.
After I gave up on dieting and embraced intuitive eating I spent quite some time really listening to my body and noticing my hunger and fullness. You can’t listen to your body without noticing your thoughts and feelings and behaviors as well. It became apparent to me that I was really hard on myself. Once I felt like I was doing well noticing my hunger and fullness, I decided the next step for me would be to give up my dieting tools. One of those tools was the scale. This was one of my first steps towards being kinder to myself.
I literally threw the scale away. As it arched through the air the breeze it left behind felt like freedom. It felt awesome. (In hind-sight I wish I had also taken a hammer to the thing). It felt strange to get up every morning and not judge myself. There was no mental anguish. Instead, I replaced the negative pattern with a positive one; I practiced thinking one nice thought about myself. The change was satisfying.
But also VERY HARD!
This self-trust was new. I had so many years of following a calorie count or eating plan of some kind. It felt weird to think my body would naturally know how to feed itself. I worried for a while. I worried a lot. It took a lot of guts for me to do this but it also felt awesome to learn that my body could self-regulate. I soon learned my clothes still fit. I wasn’t gaining weight. My body could tell me when it needed to be fed and when it was satisfied. It did not have to be my enemy. We could work together. I didn’t have to have this super level of control to keep it in place. Things could be more natural. Over time it was so freeing. In fact, since I was really listening to my hunger and fullness, my body size very slowly started going back to the size that was more “normal” for me when I was younger.
Ever since I gave up on my morning routine of self-judgment and criticism my mornings are so much nicer now. Being nice to my body and myself is something I am re-learning to do. I try very hard to accept myself as I am.
I consider throwing away the scale a very worthwhile step in my journey.
Here are a few things you could try when you replace the scale with something else far nicer:
1. Say one nice thing about your body every morning.
2. Try a new lotion your enjoy
3. Buy a fun new nail polish color
4. Find a quote that inspires you and post the note on your mirror so you can read it daily.
5. Put on lipstick and kiss the mirror so you give your image some love and leave it on the mirror as a reminder
6. Put a picture of someone or something (a pet) on the counter by your sink that makes you smile so you can start your day off feeling love and support.
7. Sing your favorite song – really loud to yourself – as you get ready for your day
*Intuitive Eating is a program/book written by Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD and Elyse Resch, MS, RD, FADA, CEDRD. You can get more information at intuitiveeating.com
Sarah Gold is an intuitive eater, dietitian, chocolate lover, and dog lover,