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Weighing the Scales

scale

There is a scale in my bathroom. It usually stands harmlessly between the wall and the sink and I try to keep it there as much as possible. Every few weeks I’ll pull it out, set it down, make sure it is properly zeroed, and then step on for a check-in.

It’s not a big deal. It really isn’t. I just like to see that I am maintaining a healthy weight, to know I haven’t drifted too far to the left or right, to be able see the number and leave it there. I step off and forget about it. The scale is only there so I don’t have to wonder and worry and stress about whether or not I’m in my healthy range.

However, there have been times when it was a big deal, when I would weigh myself every day and the number would have the power to either crush or console me. I would step on with dread, and the rush of relief or the heaviness of disappointment is something I would carry around with me the rest of the day. On the “good” days, I would sometimes weigh myself again, just to see if maybe I really was lighter with that burden gone.

I have lived without a scale as well. It was then that I realized the benefit of having one close by. Without it, it was easy to ignore the way my pants were getting tighter, or to explain the tightness as a trick of the laundry, to rationalize that it probably wasn’t anything serious. But then, I couldn’t ignore it any more. I found a scale, and realized that in a few short months I’d put on nearly 20 pounds.

How could I not have noticed? How could I have thought it was nothing? I decided that I couldn’t be trusted to keep myself healthy without a way to hold myself accountable. At least not yet.

Since then I’ve tried to strike a healthy balance in my relationship with the scale. I’ve tried to live my life so that the scale does not have any power over me. It plays a small supporting role in my quest to learn to trust myself, to be comfortable in my body, and to take care of health so that I don’t spend any more time or energy worrying about it than is necessary.

For me, this means exercising nearly every day, eating plenty of fruits and veggies and whole grains (and not feeling guilty about a weekly bowl of ice cream or cookie), and letting the scale rest in its place by the wall most of the time.

Do you have a scale at home? Why or why not? Is it something that motivates you to stay healthy, or is it better for you to keep your distance?

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