I have a confession. About 2 months ago, I stepped on the dreaded bathroom scale. I know what you’re thinking–“Umm Amanda, don’t you tell us all the time to stay away from that thing?!” And yes! I absolutely do. If you’ve been following me on social media or reading my blog for awhile, then you know that I never encourage clients to weigh themselves and I’m an advocate for ditching diets.
I’m actually not sure why I still have that scale in my apartment. I couldn’t tell you the last time I thought about my weight…until this particular day, that is. Even with all of my knowledge of what the scale cannot tell us, I found myself reaching to the top shelf of my linen closet to grab that dusty old glass object.
As I stood in the bathroom waiting to step on it, I unexpectedly grew nervous.
“Wait, what if I don’t like what I see on here?! What if I’m a fraud of a non-diet dietitian?!
What if seeing this number really DOES affect me?!”
As I was standing there with thoughts running through my head, it dawned on me that no numbers were showing up. That old scale was completely dead. DEAD!
I actually laughed out loud in that moment as it seemed like the universe was trying to send me some kind of reminder, like — “HEYYY! REMEMBER HOW WE TALKED ABOUT HOW YOU DON’T NEED TO KNOW THIS NUMBER?? YEAH, THIS IS YOUR REMINDER!”
That dead scale was a blessing in disguise that night. Instead of finding batteries to revive it, I grabbed my journal and started writing and exploring WHY I felt compelled to lean on the scale that night.
Through reflecting, I identified that I had been feeling overwhelmed and stressed for quite some time. Feeling overloaded is not a foreign concept to me. During the time of my disordered eating in college, I was spread thin with difficult science classes, two part-time jobs, and multiple student organizations. During that time, my coping mechanisms included running and exercising excessively, restricting my food intake (and often subsequently bingeing), and weighing myself daily to measure my “sense of control.”
When I think about my life today, I can see some parallels. While I am no longer in school, I do still have a tendency to struggle saying “no” to any work-related opportunities — which often leaves me a little worn out. So in my exhausted body that night, pulling out the scale was my body’s default mode for coping.
Old habits die hard, as they say.
But I was lucky that my scale actually WAS dead that night.
Instead of Stepping On the Scale
In learning from my own fairly recent scale debacle, I wanted to offer you a few things you can do instead when you are tempted to step on the scale:
- Throw your scale away. No really! I wish I had done that prior so weighing myself wasn’t even an option that night.
- Sit down and write about what you are feeling. Scribbling in a journal is one of the most therapeutic things I do for myself. You don’t even need to write in a way that makes sense. Sometimes I just make random lists and it gets my discombobulated thoughts out of my head.
- Record yourself on your phone. Writing what’s on your mind sound too daunting? Sometimes I open up the note section of my phone, use the voice text option, and just word vomit any thought on my mind. It feels good to get those thoughts out my head when I don’t have a therapist on call 24/7.
- Take some grounding breaths either with meditation or a moving meditation (ie. yoga). Meditation and yoga have helped me tremendously in finding peace in the present. Both practices are not about changing your emotions. Instead, they are intended to note what you are feeling without judgement.
- Go for a walk. I tend to pace a lot when I am stressed, so sometimes a walk feels natural for me. It’s also a great time for any reflecting.
- Call a friend. If you need some feedback while you are ranting in suggestion #2, consider calling a friend you trust. Whenever I need a good vent, I text my best friend in Florida and say “Hey. Do you have a minute for a quick vent session?!” She also helps provide me some perspective with anything I am feeling in that moment.
If there’s one thing I know to be true, it’s that the scale has never genuinely made me happy. Even when I weighed myself daily and the number went down, I still convinced myself that it needed to be lower.
But I’m done letting an object have such control over my life. How about you?
What are some strategies that help keep you from weighing yourself? Tell me in the comments section. 🙂