Did you know that some women lead perfectly happy and healthy lives without ever stepping on a scale? There are women out there who don’t even know what they weigh! If you are one of those women, as I’m sure some of you are, then you will spend the rest of this post shaking your head in bewilderment. See, I am not one of those women. I have had a long tumultuous history with that little number, my weight. About a year ago I was weighing myself multiple times a day and driving myself crazy with the implications, ie. “That was the biggest poop ever! How did I not lose any weight?!” I was even one of those nuts who would waste precious alone time in the bathroom recalibrating, checking, and even relocating my scale in case the gravity was more favorable on the other end of the room. (Note: this doesn’t work. You’d have to relocate to the moon to see a noticeable effect on your weight.)
I am not proud to say how much that number meant to me. A high number spelled doom for the rest of the day. A low number was good but made me panicky to figure out what I had done to get it. I obsessed about that number, worried about that number, and finally broke down and had one of those gut-wrenching cries that leaves you so puffy eyed that you’re embarrassed to go in public, all over that stupid number. As I sobbed to my husband I had a realization: I’ve got to get over this number.
My therapist and I came to an agreement: the end goal, which seemed too scary to approach at the moment, was to give up my dependence on the scale. In the meantime, however, I would limit myself to just one weigh-in a day. Unlike some of the things my therapist has asked me to do, I surprised myself by being able to do this one and stick to it right away. It was a relief, actually, to not be such a slave to my scale. But I still had my once-a-day ritual to keep the anxiety at bay. Because after all, everyone knows that one of the proven ways to keep from regaining lost weight is to weigh yourself every day. The number still drove me crazy but it was a more controlled crazy.
And then, like magic, my scale disappeared. In a house with three tiny tots things are often relocated on irrational whims. (Salad dressing in the piano bench? Crayons in the heater vent? My eyelash curler in the toilet? Why not!) This time, however, I strongly suspected my husband. Despite several days of whining, cajoling and begging none of the males in my house ‘fessed up nor relinquished my scale.
Fine, I thought angrily as the anxiety mounted – there was Halloween candy in the house, people! – I’ll show them. I’ll just get another scale. And so, being a cheapskate, to the thrift store I headed. Long story short: the same place that sells lead paint (right next to the baby spoons) and 8-track players and half of a sandwich maker, doesn’t sell scales.
“It’s a sign,” my husband commented dryly. “The universe doesn’t care how much you weigh.” The thought was overwhelming. I just wasn’t ready yet!
I wish I could say that I’ve totally kicked my scale addiction but being pregnant, if anything, has only made me more attached to that magic number. Knowing that my doctor is going to weigh me every time I come in and that that number can be affected by what time of day it is, what I had for lunch and my clothing, it seems even more important to weigh myself at home so I know the “real” number. What’s your stance on the scale? If you have managed to kick your addiction, how did you do it?