- Dina Cohen
We Stopped Weighing Ourselves. Here's What Happened
In my part of the world, the number one obstacle to establishing a healthy relationship with food is fear of weight gain. This fear can be very deeply engrained and it is hard to conquer. Unfortunately, it is also mightily reinforced by society. But if you’re reading this, you may be one of those brave souls who no longer wants to be subject to the rules of the dieting world. You want an existence in which food revolves around life rather than the other way around.
If this sounds like you, bravo! I imagine you must have had quite a journey before getting to this point. It’s tough going against the tide. Want to know one of the most effective ways to make things EVEN tougher? Own a bathroom scale! Be sure to store it in plain sight. Weigh yourself frequently. Oh, and keep that number in your head. It’s a wonderful way to stay cut off from trusting your body and keep diet messages circling around your brain. Yeah...don't.
For many people who are exhausted by restriction and really want to eat more intuitively, the scale is the final holdout. It can be SO tough to cut down on how often you weigh yourself, never mind get rid of the scale entirely! But while you may not be ready to get out a hammer and smash that scale, I do suggest you keep reading to get another perspective. Here’s what a few friends had to say when I asked them, “When you stopped weighing yourself, what happened?”
I was never an obsessively diet-y person, but I did have a scale in my room and every morning I would stand on it and it didn’t make me terribly depressed, but it had an impact. I always knew what I weighed and whenever I went on a different scale, I would hope the number was lower. The number would be an indication in the back of my mind of whether I was good enough. Three years ago I chucked my scale out and I don’t weigh myself anymore. I kind of know what I feel in my clothes and it’s so irrelevant. It’s so totally irrelevant of anything to do with me. It used to this measure of self-worth in my life and now I don’t have anything putting me down the second I wake up in the morning. It’s very, very liberating. -KE
When I stopped weighing myself, I stopped attaching meaning to the numbers on the scale. When I weighed myself my mood could very much be influenced by what I saw that day. I stopped being overly sensitive to minor fluctuations in my weight- in either direction, which is great because weight is constantly shifting and it’s not a big deal! When I weigh myself it’s one of the first things I think about when I wake up. Now I can think about how I’m feeling and what I need or pretty much anything else. Overall, this made me happier in myself and in my body, and less stressed in general and helped me find this place of caring for myself from the inside out. -AS
-I gradually stopped assessing my worth in numbers
-I dropped one method of self-criticism (I have enough in any case)
-I was able to be kinder to my body, and more grateful for its functions
-I stopped unfairly comparing my size to my children's weight
-I became more accepting of hunger cues -SL
- I showed my daughters a confident mother
- I found it easier to get dressed in the morning.
- My mood everyday was not decided by a random piece of equipment. I actually felt happy or sad by the events of my day.
- Focusing less on my body means more focus on things greater than myself -YM
- I didn't die.
- I slowly stopped associating the scale number with my worth
- I felt terrified and uncertain, but learned to be able to tolerate that uncertainty, and to listen to what I really needed.
- without knowing every tiny fluctuation of my body's gravitational pull, the triggers to restrict lessened.
- I had to learn the fill the space that weighing myself provided, with coping skills, attunement to my own emotions, and self-care
-I started respecting my body. -CL
Breaking up with the scale cold-turkey works well for some people. Others might need a more gradual approach, such as moving the scale to a less-convenient location, such as the trunk of your car. There are lots of creative ways to break up with - and break free from - the scale. If your heart is telling you that you no longer deserve to have your worth measured by a piece of plastic, listen to it. ❤