I have a confession to make. I still weigh myself pretty often – and by that I mean daily, unless I’m away from home.
Why is this? Well, partly sheer habit. It’s just something I’ve done for so long that it’s automatic, like getting dressed and brushing my teeth. I also didn’t think it was causing any problems. It’s not as if let the numbers overly depress or uplift me. It was information, that’s all – or so I thought.
But recently, I noticed something else. My weight didn’t impact my mood, but if the numbers went up, I slid into some old but very tenacious restrictive thoughts, along the lines of, “I see I gained weight, so I should eat less today.”
That “should” is very telling. I used the numbers to justify a certain way of thinking, even if I didn’t realize it, even if it was all subconscious. This in turn made me less mindful. I felt like I already knew what I needed to do (i.e., eat less) so I didn’t have to pay much attention. This felt different, and far more restrictive, than me noticing I’m not as hungry and therefore choosing not to eat as much because my body didn’t need it.
The real kicker is the fact that I could generally tell by how I felt what the scale was going to say. Apparently some part of my brain still didn’t trust myself, if I felt the need to verify with an external “authority”.
So I’ve decided to scale back, weigh myself maybe once a week, and then see if I wanted to extend it, to maybe once every two weeks, or even more. We’ll see.
What amazed me about this was how freeing it felt, and almost illicit or rebellious. To think I could choose not to weight myself! In our diet- and weight-obsessed culture, this seems very daring, and also wonderful.
Instead of starting my day by staring at numbers that, to some people, define my health and worth, I can assess how healthy I feel, and if I’ve done enough to keep me spiritually, emotionally, and intellectually healthy a well.
With those as my guides, life becomes both simpler and grander – at least, that’s the hope. Time will tell if the reality bears that out, but for now, I’m simply enjoying my chosen freedom from the scale.