Should you throw away your scale? No. Absolutely not. There is no reason to throw away a tool that measures the weight of an object. Scales don’t make people crazy.
Scales aren’t evil. They can’t exert power over people who use them. They can’t make people feel a certain way – no joy, not despair, not failure not success. If you think your scale is affecting you badly, you’re mistaken.
Lorene King, 44, shares, “I was once unable to go more than an hour without stepping on a scale. I kept a scale in my office closet and, I swear to God, I stepped on and off that thing so often my co-workers called me the Scale Queen.”
Lorene’s mood went up and down with the scale. If she liked what it read she was happy, if it was even lower than she expected she was elated. If it was a little too high she was frustrated, and if it was much too high she became severely depressed.
“I honestly thought the scale had power over me,” she confesses. “It had the power to make or break me. I skipped meals when it said I was fat, and I overate when it said I was skinny.”
Of course the scale neither told Lorene she was fat or skinny. It revealed what she weighed at the moment she stood on it. She determined, by the number, if she was fat or skinny – good or bad – happy or sad. The scale didn’t “make her” anything. She decided how she would feel based on the number on the scale.
“I’m embarrassed to say I made an event out of throwing away my scale. I thought it would liberate me, make me feel strong and powerful. I invited a few friends over to witness me bash the scale before I ceremoniously tossed it into the trash. Oh my God, what was I thinking?”
“I threw away my scale, but I wasn’t over it,” Lorene recalls. “I was as bad as ever, maybe worse. If I was at a friend’s house I’d excuse myself to use the bathroom, but not for the normal reason. I wanted to weigh myself. I weighed myself on those scales in front of stores – you know – the kind that you put fifty cents into the slot. I didn’t have a scale in my house, but I was still no freer. I still felt the power the scale had over me.”
Lorene had a problem, but it wasn’t with the scale.
“My problem was with myself. I was looking for constant validation that I was good enough. Good enough was a number. The number was fleeting. I needed a new way to feel good. I started by asking myself what did I really want.”
Lorene discovered that she wanted to feel strong and healthy. She wanted to nourish her body with good food. She wanted to repair her unhealthy relationship with food because she said, that was at the root of her scale insanity.
“Once I knew what I wanted, I made my plan. It was simple. I made my goal to eat 9 servings of fruit and vegetables every day. I made sure I got at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity activity everyday.
These goals were achievable. I felt good reaching them each day. I ate fruit and vegetables that Ioved – lots of broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers, tomatoes, apples, grapes, berries, watermelon and oranges.
I got my physical activity by walking and playing more. I kept a little notebook to track what I ate and my physical activity. It felt great, awesome even, to do these things. I felt empowered to see it all recorded in my notebook. It put me on a path of doing more to take care of myself”
Lorene bought a new scale and she steps on it once a week.
“That’s enough to know that the healthy goals I made for myself are doing the job.”