I haven’t weighed myself for 42 days.
This means I’ve missed about 150-200 weigh-ins. Friends, you think I’m kidding, but I’m not.
I’m a board-certified, Master’s-degree holding nutrition professional. I’ve spent 7 years in full-time nutrition education and I could spell out for you the metabolic pathways of protein synthesis and lipogenesis (but I like you, so I won’t.) But all this head knowledge does not spare my heart and mind from the pressures that living in this world of social media and perfectionism and yes, even the pressures that being a nutrition and fitness professional bring. It can make the mind crazy and obsessed with the number on the scale. Gotta keep up the look, man!
I think I’m not alone in this… I believe many (certainly not all, but many) nutrition and fitness professionals enter the field precisely because we have struggled at one time with weight or eating issues. I also believe that the fitness industry itself is largely to blame for placing undue emphasis on appearance rather than on health. We are daily bombarded with pictures of what we should look like or could look like, if only we had enough discipline.
But I’ll tell you one thing, in every extreme picture you see, the model has #1) been photo-shopped, and #2) likely gone to extreme measures to achieve that look.
Over the last year I’ve been promoting my business more, and consequently more “out there” on social media… so I see the kinds of things that are going on. Everyone responds to pressure differently, and my response is always to clamp down on control of myself in terms of eating, exercise, and weight. Not that much fundamentally changes, mostly just my mindset. But as the pressure grew, I found myself weighing several times a day, telling myself it was just to “check in,” but knowing deep down it was more insidious than that. I was doing it to make sure I was “ok”… even knowing, KNOWING, that my “okay-ness” does not come from the number on the scale. But like all bad habits, I was addicted.
So I quit cold turkey.
And guess what? I haven’t become a fat cow!! Nor have I lost that “last 5 pounds” that I thought was so essential to my mental well-being… How my body has remained relatively unchanged, I’m sure I don’t know, considering I haven’t been keeping tabs on myself 4 or 5 times a day. Really, how can I possibly still be ok without the external sanctions that this square of metal and glass used to provide for me? How do I know how much to eat and how much guilt to feel without knowing the number on the scale??
And what I found is, my body is ok. I do know how much to eat. I don’t feel guilty anymore.
What I found is freedom.
I’ll share with you the truths that I’ve discovered (or maybe deeply realised) during this journey:
TRUTH #1: The scale is not the judge of my worth, only God is. And believe me, friends, God is way more compassionate and forgiving!!
TRUTH #2: The scale does not get to decide if I have a good or bad day, I do.
TRUTH #3: The scale reflects only small, unnoticeable changes in my body. If there is a big change, I’m gonna know it, & have known it for a long time because I’ve changed my eating and exercise habits.
TRUTH #4: My true health & fitness is not represented by the number on the scale. So anymore I just think of myself as weighing “around X amount,” and call it good.
So what’s changed since I stopped weighing myself? Not too much, actually! I still work out hard and frequently, my muscles still show, I’m still lean. I still eat a plant-based, whole foods diet that is delicious and satisfying. But I appreciate my body more and focus on its strength and fitness, not on its imperfections. And I nourish, not punish, myself with food and exercise. And that feels great in every way!
It was hard at first, the not weighing. It was such a habit!! I felt like I would be so out of control if I didn’t know at every moment exactly how much I weighed. And how would I ever lose weight if I didn’t keep track all the time? (By the way, why was my objective always to lose weight?? I can hardly remember now.) But I think the scale does that to people… it’s that “never-satisfied” mentality. Does anyone relate?
But as I went along, my desires to weigh became less, and my focus on appearance became less as well. The less frequently I weighed myself, the more satisfied I became with my body. Tying a number to your appearance can only contribute to dissatisfaction: you either want the number to be lower, or you want to make sure it doesn’t get higher… am I right?
But not weighing in means trusting yourself to eat wholesome, nourishing foods most of the time and allowing yourself to indulge when you want to. It means trusting your appetite to tell you when to start eating, and your full signal to tell you when to stop. It’s intuitive rather than sanctioned eating. It’s freedom.
Will I ever weigh myself again? Probably. But not today.
Do you weigh yourself? How often? Is it beneficial for you?