I would have never considered ditching the scales until I read a book that changed my life.
My hatred of my body started at 8 years old. It started with a comment from a friends Dad that made me compare my body to other people’s for the first time. Over the years it was fuelled by many things, including the impossible beauty standards portrayed by the media. My teenage years coincided with the ‘heroin chic’ look when size 0 was the ultimate aim.
Hating my body has had such a huge impact on my life.
Whatever size I have been, and I have been them all! My relationship with food was completely screwed. Starvation or binge eating is not normal. I have definitely held myself back from doing things and avoided certain situations because of low self esteem.
But last year I read Body Positive Power by Megan Jayne Crabbe. It was a serious light bulb moment. I cried when I read it. Cried because I felt a fool for being conned that I had to look a certain way for all of these years. I cried because it was a huge relief to see things differently. And I cried because I wasn’t the only one who felt this way.
In order to learn to love my body (whatever it’s shape or size) I had to step away from diet culture. I had to realise the damage that diet culture had done to me.
The first step was ditching the scales.
How ditching the scales has helped me become more positive about my body:
1 My worth isn’t measured by the number on the scales.
My whole week used to focus on weigh day. Although let’s be honest, the scales were stood on every day, sometimes several times a day. But the ‘official’ weigh in was what mattered. And that’s what my entire worth came down to. It didn’t matter if I had had some work published that week, If I had been out and had a great time with friends, If I had helped someone out, or if I had done one of those jobs I had been putting off for ages. My entire worth and success came down to whether that number had come down. And by how much. ‘Only’ a pound wasn’t good enough.
Now I focus on who I am rather than how much I weigh. I’m a wife, mother, friend, daughter. I am funny, I am kind, I am emotional. My favourite food is chocolate, and I love Gerard Butler and Shark Movies. I hate mushrooms, bad manners and Jeremy Clarkson. I am passionate about equality and women’s rights. Organisation brings me joy. I am ambitious and I run my own business.
Yes, I am more than a number on the scales. Yet it took ditching the scales for me to be able to realise this and focus on this.
2 I have broken the cycle of starvation and binge eating.
Most people on any kind of diet will do this to an extent. On weigh day and the day before you virtually starve yourself in a bid for that number on the scales to come down. Then when it does you celebrate by binging on all the things you weren’t allowed to eat all week. Or it doesn’t come down, or it doesn’t come down enough and you comisserate by binging on all the things you weren’t allowed to eat all week.
Ditching the scales has stopped this cycle. And I am healthier as a result.
3 I’ve stopped seeing food and exercise as punishment
Food was always good or bad. And basically you shouldn’t eat the bad, even though the bad is nice. But the more you don’t eat the bad, the more you become miserable because you want it, to the point that you break and eat tons of the bad. It’s another viscous circle with no balance. I exercised to punish myself for the bad things I had eaten. And unsurprisingly I hated exercise as a result.
By ditching the scales I have let go of all the messages around food. Some days I make healthy choices, some days I don’t. But that’s ok. I am human. And sometimes I just want a chocolate bar and I am going to eat it and enjoy it and not feel any guilt about it. And I now quite enjoy exercise (Once I’m doing it). Because I’ve started seeing it as a celebration of what my body can do. As something I should do to keep my body happy. Seeing it as something positive, rather than a punishment I had to do because I had been bad.
4 I’m not being held back by the scales
I am doing the couch to 5K. I am doing it at my pace. I’ve not progressed past week three yet, but I am out there three times a week pounding the pavement. I started by walking it. And now I run. I may run slower than old ladies walk. BUT! I am doing it.
If I was still weighing myself obsessively there is no way I would have ever believed I was capable of running. The scales told me I was too heavy to do it. But now I have ditched them I don’t have to listen to them!
5 My moods are more level
It doesn’t take rocket science to realise that when you are pinning everything on what the scales say you moods are pretty much dictated by the outcome of weigh in. The grumpiness of food restrictions. The frustration over not losing enough. The guilt and self loathing when you lapse. None of them positive emotions likely to make you feel happy.
Ditching the scales removes that roller coaster. I am more emotionally stable. Most of the time. I mean there’s still PMT!
6 I am kinder to myself
The things I used to think about myself and say to myself when I looked in the mirror, were so bad. I would never say them to anyone else, yet it was ok to say them about myself.
A huge step in learning to be more confident in myself and accept my body is to stop putting it down. That top doesn’t suit me because it’s not the right cut for my body shape. Rather than my body is hideous and looks horrible in that top. Small things make a big difference. By ditching the scales it has helped me be more positive about the way I look and kinder to myself because the focus isn’t constantly on changing myself.
7 I’ve realsied that happiness isn’t related to the scales
I would like to loose weight. But rather than it being about how I look, I am working to be healthier. The focus isn’t on a number on the scales, but how much fitter I am getting through exercise.
I know from experience that reaching a number on a scale will not magically make me love my body. I need to learn to love me regardless of what the scales say. And the best way to do that is by ignoring the scales completely.
I’m done with putting things off until the scales tell me I am the ‘right’ number to do them.
I am not at the stage where I can say I love my body. But I don’t hate it anymore. My body and I have kind of called a truce. We are learning to respect one another, and I am positive that one day we can be friends.
If you struggle with body confidence please read Megan’s book. There are also some amazing accounts to follow on Instagram that do wonders to make you feel good about yourself. Here are some of my faves:
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