This week for my heart-to-heart blog series about some of the most common struggles women (and men) face with food and their body, we’ll talk about the dreaded scale. Because let’s face it, the way we relate to food can really be a reflection of how we live our lives.
I have been working so hard on trying to eat healthy in the last week.
I was so proud of me!
It took a lot of my time and effort to find better food for my body, prep it and cook it almost every day. I was feeling so much better in my body and with myself.
But then, I decided to step on the scale this morning.
I really wanted to see if I had lost weight. I was so excited because I really felt like the number should have gone down.
But it didn’t change. AT ALL! Despite everything I’m doing.
I feel like such a failure for not losing weight.
I was so disappointed that I tried comforting myself with food. 🙁
Now, I feel sick to my stomach and I feel like an even bigger failure (if that’s even possible).
This is not the first time this happens. What’s wrong with me?
Thank you Scale Failure for your question!
This is Aglaée here, your non-diet dietitian and heart & soul nutritionist. 🙂
Oh that damn scale! It has such power over us.
It sounds ridiculous but one of the biggest fears I had about going backpacking for a few months in South America was that I wouldn’t be able to weight myself. How crazy is that?
Over there, I realized that pretty much nobody actually owned a scale. There would usually be a guy with a scale at the local market where you could weigh yourself for about $1. But that is not something I even remotely consider. Weighing myself in public? No way!
Isn’t it crazy that people can see me yet I never would have wanted them to see that number.
So I went without a scale for months but… and that’s a big BUT, I had a measuring tape to regularly measure all of my circumferences. And measure at least 3 times at each spot to average it out. And write them down in a notebook. And compare the numbers. And obsess about them.
When I moved back to a more permanent home, a scale was on top of my list of things to buy. Right along with getting a mattress for my bed and plates for the kitchen. Now I have not weighed (nor measured) myself in months and it was a big CRUCIAL step in my recovery from disordered eating.
💜 Here’s my reply back to you:
Dear Scale Failure,
Thank you so much for writing.
First of all, know that your story was also mine and is also that of so many other women.
I have a feeling you probably already know that your scale shouldn’t have such power over you, but somehow you thought it could be different for you.
No matter how much you try to look at the number objectively in an effort to become “healthier” and leaner, the scale seems to always have a way of making you feel like you’re not trying hard enough and then makes you think that you should try controlling yourself even more. lt always makes you feel like you’re a failure and that there’s something inherently wrong with you. Why else would the same story keeps repeating over and over again, right?
Let’s face it, the scale makes you (and all of us) feel terrible.
Even if the number goes down, the happiness is very short lived and we start thinking of how we can lose even more weight so that we could finally get to that weight that will make us live happily ever after. Putting your life on hold in the meantime.
I have a feeling you know all of that already.
Yet you’re afraid of giving up the scale because you think that your weight would become completely out of control if it wasn’t for you watching it closely.
You really seem to want to have a healthier relationship with food and your body, BUT:
- It’s very hard to do when you rely on a third party, something external to you, all the time and you don’t even trust your own body.
- It’s actually impossible to achieve if you keep thinking that your body is going to betray you the second you stop watching it and you don’t even trust yourself.
- And it’s very painful to keep trying to get there while you’re doing everything you can to NOT be in your body and feel the sensations, emotions and feelings it produces to communicate with you.
Maybe I need to say it more clearly because it’s actually really hard to see how vicious this cycle is when you’re stuck in it.
Here are the facts:
- Your scale doesn’t say anything about you, not even about your health.
- You are NOT your weight.
- You are NOT your body or body size.
- You are NOT even your health status.
- You are using your scale and desire to control your weight as a DISTRACTION from the real issues in your life.
- You are using food and your dieting obsessions to NUMB yourself and ensure that the pain you feel appears to be caused by something external (your appearance) rather than looking at what is really hurting inside.
- You are a worthy and lovable human being EXACTLY as you are RIGHT NOW.
- If something is unworthy of you here, it is your SCALE.
- Your scale makes you MISERABLE and is an instrument of TORTURE.
- You don’t need your scale.
- I repeat: YOU DON’T NEED YOUR SCALE.
I know you might not believe me right now. I know you might be very scared of giving up what appears to be an important tool for feeling in control. But I would ask you to trust me here.
I’m not asking you to smash your scale like my friend Summer if you’re not ready for it. But I challenge you to go 30 days without your scale.
Just to try how life could be without it. I suggest you hide it somewhere to avoid the temptations. A friend of mine put it in the trunk of her husband’s car!
I promise nothing horrible can happen to your weight in 30 days. 🙂
And if you’re still unsure, PLEASE answer these questions:
- How long have you been using your scale as a tool to motivate yourself?
- How has it been working for you?
- Does it ever seem to backfire for you?
- How does it usually make you feel?
A scale detox is not a miracle black-and-white solution. But it’s a BIG step in another direction. You might have some tough days during this detox but you might have more better days too.
Simply take note of what happens and let’s talk again in 30 days! 😀
Your non-diet dietitian and heart & soul nutritionist, 💜
Side note: I am not even addressing the fact that science shows that your weight or even your BMI say nothing about your health. At all. It’s a ridiculously archaic tool and we should seriously get rid of all of the scales in the world, at least those in your doctor’s and dietitian’s office. You can read my article on this topic here.
p.s. if you feel like you could have written this letter, you should check out my free online training “The Whole Batch Syndrome.” Click on the link to find out if you have the symptoms and how you can start healing your relationship with food and your body. ♥♡♥