Addicted to the Scale – When the Number Rules Your Life

This is my first Guest Blog Post from a friend of mine.  I was close to tears reading this.  She sent this to me asking where and how she could spread the word because no doubt other women can relate.  She didn’t want to start her own blog, so in the meantime I’m posting it here. Please comment and share because this is all-too common and I feel that MANY women (maybe even some men), no matter what the scale says, are feeling these emotions right now and could use this “Challenge” to empower them and finally say NO to those numbers.

I have an addiction.  On the spectrum of addictions, it’s not the worst.  It’s not even crippling.  I guess you would say I am a high functioning addict.  I can carry about my day normally, but I think about it all day.  I think about the next time I get to do it.  I tell myself I need to stop.  I wonder if I can beat it the next day and the day after and never do.  I am addicted to my scale.  I get a literal high when I see the number go down and I beat myself up all day when it goes up.  It can make or break my mood in one beep of the digital display.

It is never one beep though.  There is a system.  Every morning, I wake up.  I can feel my heart rate pick up as I go down to the bathroom.  I wonder if I will see a new and lower number.  Will today be the day I hit an all time low?  I take all my clothes off and I pee so as to be sure to rid myself of every last ounce.  Then I tap the button with my foot and step on.  I don’t look down until it has beeped.  Then I do it again.  I take the best of three.  Sometimes I take the best of five.  On my worst days I take the best of 7.  When it is up, I remind myself of the foods I ate the day before and chastise myself for not having more self control.  I tell myself I sabotaged my goals once again.  I tell myself I will do better today.

I am abusing myself.  I know that I am.  It is mental and emotional abuse.  It is not something I would ever allow another human being do to me.  That is the irony.  I am a strong woman.  I would never let someone treat me the way that I treat myself when I am locked away in that dark tiny room with my own thoughts.  The mantra in my head from my childhood, “If you just lost 5 lbs, you’d be so pretty.”  It’s on repeat.  It’s ridiculous.  I know that.  And except for that pesky number, I actually really like myself.  I like who I am.  I am kind and friendly and fun.  I am a pretty woman.  I’m a size 8 pant size.  I am currently the thinnest and healthiest I have ever been in my life.  Another irony, but it’s not enough.  It’s not “ just 5 more lbs”.

This becomes even more ridiculous when you know what I have done in my life.  A little over 9 years ago I was over 200 lbs. and a size 18 pant size.  I worked diligently to lose over 50 lbs by slowly knocking out one bad habit after another.  I have run 3 half marathons, one full and many other shorter races.  I have given birth to 3 kids in 2 years (this includes running one of those half marathons 19 weeks pregnant with twins).  I regularly get compared to Anne Hathaway in my appearance. Do you want to slap me across the face yet?  I want to slap me too. 

So today, I woke up and went down to the bathroom.  This time, instead of hopping on the scale to see what “damage” I had done after a fun night out with friends, I took the batteries out of the scale.  I put the scale upstairs in the bedroom closet.  I put the batteries in the kitchen.  No more scale.  I am not going to lie to you and say never again.  I am giving myself 3 months.  Today is February 8th.  I will not bring it out until May 8th.  I am scared.  Truly terrified.  I am afraid that if I can’t monitor my weight and keep myself in check, I will be a size 18 again in no time.  I don’t know why, because I’m not going to change anything else except for not getting on the scale.

I am not doing this just for myself.  I am also doing it for my daughters.  The twins are too young still, but my 3 year old is not.  She is old enough to watch me.  She is old enough to ask me if she can get on the scale too.  And she has.  She thinks it is fun.  It beeps.  I think it is heart breaking.  I would never want my daughter, who is beautiful, smart, kind and funny to ever think that she is not these things because of a number.  It will be bad enough that she will have to battle with society about what is “beautiful” when she gets older.  She does not need it from her own mother too.  I know that I am the first and most important model of what healthy is.  And if it weren’t for the scale, I would consider myself very healthy.

This seed to stop obsessing about my weight was planted a few days ago.  Two people posted things on facebook.  One was about how inaccurate scales really are in telling us how healthy we are or are not.  The other was a before and after picture of a woman who had gained 10 lbs in the last year and placed 5th in a fitness competition.  10 lbs!  Ten.  Pounds.  She is a lean mean muscle machine.  I’ll give you one guess what my New Year’s Resolution is, to gain lean muscle. 

So now the scale is away.  Nothing else is going to change.  I’m going to continue to eat clean, workout out every day.  Get stronger.  Try not to beat myself up in the process if I indulge in the occasional baked treat or pizza night with my amazing husband or the even rarer night out with friends.   But now my goal isn’t just to get stronger physically, but to also get stronger mentally and emotionally.  I need to do it for myself first.  I need to do it for my daughters. 

3 thoughts on “Addicted to the Scale – When the Number Rules Your Life

  1. Omy Gosh I am the same way I started last May 2012 at 191.6 and now April 2nd 2013 I am 115.0 (fluctuate around 2 extra pounds a day fluid!) But I am going to be 51 and I step on the scale in the morning after I void and again after lunch and 3 hours later and before I go to bed.. It gets tiring (THAT’S AN UNDERSTATEMENT!) every few hours go to the bathroom disrobe and wait for the numbers and pray I am maintaining and the silly thing is, I know it does not determine the size pants/capris I wear! they still fit with a little room and yet I am still a scale numbers freak! I literally hate what I have become and I keep telling myself even if I eat, I will still fit in my clothes, what about the other skinny people.. Am I right ladies?
    I am not sure if it is allowed to give my email out for support but here it is in case someone has advice for me..

    thisiskimmie@gmail.com

    Kimmie

    • Hi Kimmie,
      Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts!! You are definitely not alone. I’ve talked to alot of women who feel the exact same way about the scale. For me, personally, I take progress pics instead of focusing on the scale. It’s so much more informative for me to see specifically what areas I need to work on. But even better, if I line them up week to week I can see progress being made in areas that can’t be seen in a mirror (like the back and back of the legs). So it’s really neat to see that. THAT gives me motivation to keep going. It’s not obsessive either, it’s more informative than anything.

      Another blogger mentioned to me she weighed herself every hour on the hour one day “just to see what the fluctuations would be.” And she said it went as far up and down as much as 8lbs! Just further proof that a scale is pretty useless when it comes to judging progress.

      Toss it out Kimmie, you won’t regret it! 🙂

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