How To Instantly Love Yourself More In 3 Simple Steps
1) Walk into your bathroom.
2) Bend down and pick up your scale.
3) Proceed to the nearest trash bin, and chuck it in.
I’m not joking.
Throwing my bathroom scale away was one of the single best things I’ve ever done for my health and my self-esteem, and it’s my honest belief that you should do the same.
How It Started
Growing up, I’d always been some variation of chubby, chunky or “big-boned”—quite possibly the worst euphemism ever invented. Naturally, when I was about 14, I decided I should be 125 pounds for the rest of my life. Totally reasonable. (Not.) And so began 15 years or so of obsession about my weight. I look back at pictures of myself then and there were plenty that show a normal-sized me, but I only remember fixating on the fact that the scale didn’t read 125. Ever. Sickening as it may sound, I let the scale dictate how I felt about myself for a long time.
Then, I found Paleo four years ago, and while I was eating healthier than I ever had, I continued to fixate on the scale. My daily routine was down pat: Wake up, don’t drink anything, use the bathroom (#1 and #2), and only then was it okay to weigh myself. You can only imagine how dismayed I was when my weight actually started going up.
The Tipping Point
And then, I had enough. I realized I felt healthier than I had in years even though I weighed more.
My energy was stable all day long. My moods were nowhere near as volatile. My skin cleared up. I was stronger than ever. I enjoyed eating such nutritious food and for the first time in my life, wasn’t focused on calories. And, I was performing well as an athlete.
What the hell was I so bothered about? So what if I weighed more? I got so fed up with how much time and mental energy I’d wasted on chasing some arbitrary number on the scale, and I was ignoring all the signs of how much healthier I actually was. Would I actually be happier if I got down to that number I set for myself when I was 14? Could I get there and still be as healthy? I decided the answer to both was “no.”
So in 2011, I threw my bathroom scale away. Forever.
And Then, I Gained
When I tossed out my scale, I continued to gain.
I gained a love of self that I’d never had before because for the first time, I wasn’t using my weight to measure my self-worth.
I gained more mental energy to devote to the things that really mattered, like helping other people and being a better friend.
I gained confidence in myself, that I had more to celebrate about my life than achieving a number on a scale. (Because, even if I got to 125, would I be happier or healthier?!)
But, Isn’t Weight an Important Indicator of Health?
Yes and no.
Carrying an excess of body fat and not having much lean muscle mass—generally termed poor body composition—is obviously not ideal for health. Chances are, if you’re reading this and you’re at an unhealthy weight, you’re acutely aware of it, even if you haven’t set foot on a scale. How your clothes fit, how you look in the mirror, blood markers of disease and how you feel both physically and mentally are all very powerful indicators of health other than bodyweight.
Said another way, it’s possible to be thin and unhealthy, so bodyweight isn’t the only way to tell if something’s gone wrong.
Perhaps the “ideal” weight you’re pursuing was given to you by someone else—such as a doctor, from a BMI chart or even chosen by you at a time in your life when you weren’t actually ideally healthy. (I wasn’t done with puberty yet when I chose 125 pounds so of course I was going to get bigger and heavier. It sounds so irrational now, looking back.) How productive is it to fixate on weight then, ignoring the other signs?
When I went Paleo, ate more nutritious food and started weight training, I lost fat while increasing muscle mass. Simply put, I got heavier even though I was a bit leaner. Bodyweight can be a deceiving thing.
My Challenge To You
If weighing yourself makes you apprehensive, causes you stress or enables you to fixate or obsess, that psychological stress is subtracting from your health.
Take a long, hard look at whether weighing yourself is adding to or detracting from your quality of life. Your worth as a person is not quantifiable by numbers on a scale: It can’t measure your kindness or how much you enrich the lives of others. It can’t tell how funny, intelligent or talented you are. It can’t tell you how good a person you are. It can’t show how much you are loved.
All the scale dispays is how much your mass is affected by the force we call gravity. End of story.
My challenge to you is to get rid of your scale completely, right now. Focus on other ways to measure your health. (Here’s a fantastic list of what to look for from Whole9.) Be kinder and more accepting of yourself and your unique gifts, because you’re pretty freaking awesome, imperfections and all.