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Breaking Up with the Scale

This is a hard post for me to write because it creates a dent in the image I’ve been trying to sell you, and myself. I want you to believe that I’m 100% at peace with my body image. I want you to believe that at almost forty years old I don’t struggle with something as stupid as a number on a scale. I want to believe (and I want YOU to believe) that I practice what I preach:

“Don’t weigh yourself every day, it’s not accurate and it is pointless.”

“Remember muscle weighs more than fat, so if the scale goes up while you’re in a heavier lifting phase, it doesn’t mean you’ve gained fat.”

“Measure your weight by the way your clothes fit and feel.”

“Excessive sweating (from long cardio sessions or intense heat) creates fake weight loss.”

The sane part of my head knows all these things are true. I believe them. I trust them. There’s data to back them up; there’s proof; it’s science.

The problem is, the BMF (bullshit manufacturing facility) operating in my head still feeds me lies, and I still buy them.

“Your weight has been up by four pounds for two months. It MUST be fat.”

“There’s no way you’ve gained this much muscle in this short period of time. It’s definitely fat.”

“That ain’t water retention, honey, you’re gaining fat.”

“If you don’t weigh XYZ, you’re not enough.”

Because I’ve actively accepted these lies, I’ve been weighing myself every morning and obsessing over hitting a number on the scale for more than two months. Each morning I get up, use the potty, and step on that plastic day-determiner to find out if I’m enough or not. And each day, I’m not enough, because the number I want to be there isn’t there. Each day the tone is set by that scale. Each day I begin with feelings of failure, inadequacy, and consternation. It affects everything I do. My interactions with my family, my mental dialogue, my food choices, other decisions I make during the day (ie: I’ll overcompensate and overachieve in other areas to make up for the fact I’m failing with my weight).

I could run through the checklist with you of why my weight is four pounds higher than “normal,” but none of it matters. None of it has made me feel “enough.” The problem is I have become obsessed with a number on a scale and made achieving it an idol in my life. In large part, I have looked to this number to give me the feeling of enough-ness I can only receive from a closer, more reliant dependence on God.

A wise friend says to me “Things work until they don’t.” This daily judgment of weighing in doesn’t work anymore, and it’s no longer serving me. I’m breaking up with my scale, and with my “magic” number. Maybe one day I’ll be sane enough to handle the data the scale provides, but I know right now I’m not. Right now, I’m sane enough to know it’s toxic to me, and that, for today, is enough.

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