For some of you it might not sound like a big deal, for others it might be impossible to imagine right now. For me, it was a long overdue and important step to take in my Eating Disorder recovery. Throwing out my scale. While I have been in recovery for a while and my Eating Disorder is thankfully not as thought-consuming anymore (though the thoughts are yet to fully disappear), I still kept my scale at home and weighed myself almost every day. The number on the scale does not trigger a relapse anymore, but it still has a massive effect on my day. If I am being honest, the number I saw in the morning would sometimes still decide whether I was going to have a dessert or not and now that I am reading this out loud, this is still the ED-voice talking.
Scales have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I started Judo when I was a young child and I loved that sport. I was really good at it, too, which gave me a lot of confidence. It helped me during a time where I was extremely bullied in school as it was a way of escaping the daily struggles. At one point I trained 3 times a week plus special training for our state team on day four and tournaments on the weekends.
The thing with Martial Arts is that you have to stay in a certain weight class for the tournaments. I was in the same class for a long time and with moving up a weight class you would also oftentimes fight people older and taller than you and who might have a higher belt. So trying to stay in a weight class you were good in and accustomed to was a big deal. So, what did I start doing before a tournament? Only eat salad for a week and not eat anything the day of the tournament until I was weighed and then eat right after. Thus began the calorie counting and probably the earliest signs of my messed up relationship with food.
Skip forward to today and I am finally in a better place when it comes to food and my body. Yet, I did not want to get rid of the scale for a long time so I could still make sure I was in a certain weight range. Last month I finally had enough and decided I was done with it and FINALLY threw my scale out (sold it to be exact). Honestly, I never felt better.
If you, too, are considering getting rid of that mood-ruining thing I highly recommend it and I would like to remind you of a few aspects to consider and why it would be a good idea to be throwing out your scale.
Muscle is more dense than fat
This is self-explanatory. You gain muscle and lose fat. The scale will show a higher weight even though you look different. If you like to go to the Gym or do any other sport, stepping on a scale every day might ruin your workout if you are one of those people that let a number dictate the way you feel about yourself. Rather than weighing yourself after a workout simply focus on how you feel. You are stronger and the endorphins and the dopamine will make you feel happy and cheerful.
It affects your mental health
Weight fluctuates and scales just fuel fatphobia. We have been indoctrinated by a fatphobic society to be scared of a stupid number so that big companies can make a profit off of our insecurities. All it does is to ruin our day and makes us feel bad about ourselves for no reason.
Your weight does not define your health or your worth
Low weight does not equal being healthy or fit and neither does a high weight equal unhealthiness. This also goes back to the Muscle-Fat issue. According to the BMI (don’t get me started on this messed up stuff) many athletes would be considered overweight or unhealthy even though their health is impeccable. If you don’t know where the BMI comes from, look it up and then never EVER listen to anyone using it as an argument for anything.
If a medical professional tells you you fall into a range of the BMI that you should get out off, run as fast as you can and find another doctor. Many people with Eating Disorders were the unhealthiest at their lowest weight and many people with a higher weight are much more healthy.
Focus on how you feel, not a number. No one gives a shit (excuse my language) about a number on a scale. You are not less worthy or less lovable because of it.
Body Positivity vs. Body Neutrality
Body positivity has become this big buzzword used everywhere to encourage people to love and cherish the way they look and appreciate every body (nothing bad about that). During recovery this is also what I thought I had to accomplish. Stepping on a scale is not very helpful when you are trying to love your body every day. Besides that, my problem with body positivity is also that it simply focuses so much on the body itself. Body positivity advocates want you to love your body at all times which for many people is not possible or very hard to do. Some days you might feel like shit and standing in front of the mirror telling yourself you look amazing will most likely not change your mood that day.
Instead, I am a big proponent of body neutrality. Telling yourself: “I appreciate my body and my legs because they help me run and get me where I want to go” might help more than telling yourself “I love every little bump on my legs” at all times. With the positivity movement everyone is so focused on telling each other how amazing everyone looks at all times, which then again might make people feel bad as they don’t feel the same way that day and people are reduced to their appearance.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s good that all bodies are celebrated, but it would be better if we would simply leave bodies alone and appreciate what we do and accomplish instead. No matter how we look, we are smart, talented, strong and lovable. This is what we should focus on. Throwing out your scale might help you to move to body neutrality instead of getting fixed on body positivity. It surely helped me. Since throwing my scale out, I don’t ruin my day anymore by looking at a meaningless number that doesn’t say anything about myself and my self-worth. Now I don’t even know my exact weight, but I feel good and healthy like a literal weight has been lifted off my shoulders. 🙂 Instead, I focus on what my body helps me do and accomplish in my life.
The iweigh movement is a great example of the body neutrality movement. As nice as it would be to love our bodies all the time most people struggle with that. Instead, we should try to love ourselves, not just our bodies more. Love the way you act around your friends and family, the way you laugh, the way you accomplish your goals.
You are so much more than a number!
Also by Rebecca: I Shaved My Head & Got A Buzz Cut. Here’s How People Reacted
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