Mind vs. Scale

In my attempt to immerse myself into the world of eating disorders while I have the opportunity during this rotation, I am gathering as many references and resources as possible, both physically and mentally. What I mean by that is, anything that I can’t take a copy of, I spend my free-time on one of the comfy therapy couches reading through.

The great thing about this is that I’m not just flipping through textbooks. No, eating disorders are much more complex than that. Psychology comes into play, making the reading material much more enjoyable, at least in my opinion.

There are many books, self-help novels and long stories that are helpful in recovery from an eating disorder. Most of the time, these books are helpful not only to the patients, but also for the therapists, doctors and dietitians involved in recovery. It helps to understand.

So, today I picked up a book from one of the dietitian’s bookshelf and plopped down to read through a few chapters: Eat, Drink and Be Mindful, by Susan Albers.

Albers’ book is all about mindful eating. In fact, it’s woven with workbook-pages so that you can not only read the book, but become engaged and practice what you’re reading. If you’re curious about mindful eating, I suggest you read this book. It’s incredibly helpful, and if you haven’t a clue where to begin when it comes to eating mindfully, this book is for you.

But it’s not mindful eating that compelled me to write this post. No, there was a specific chapter that caught my attention. It caught my attention because, although I have a healthy relationship with food, there is one relationship that I still struggle with: the scale.

You see, I don’t quite know life without my scale. I started weighing myself in high school and really haven’t stopped ever since. Every morning, before I get into the shower, I step onto the scale. It used to be an obsessive-thing, but now it’s out of habit.

I know that it’s only habit because, back when it was an issues, the number on the scale dictated the mood for my day. Now? I take a mental note and move on. The number no longer affects my emotions.

But in Albers’ “Self Assessment” chapter, she addresses the need to not focus on specific numbers. She states that if you focus on your weight in numbers, you are less likely to focus on the behaviors that are being reflected in the weight.

She also acknowledges that there are those people that just use the scale to keep themselves accountable, being aware of what they weigh.

“These are the people who gain weight and don’t even realize it.”

I read that, and then re-read it. And then read it again. Is this like an editing error or something? I just didn’t get it.

But then I sat and thought about it, and realized that when I gain weight,  I almost always see it on the scale, and not in myself. I see the numbers creeping up day by day, and that is what tells me I’m gaining weight. But I never stop to acknowledge whether or not my body feels this way. Are my jeans tighter? Is my face fuller?

Because of my habitual morning weigh-ins, I’ve totally disconnected my mind from my body. I may have the healthiest connection between mind & food, and body & food, but what about mind and body? The connection isn’t even there anymore.

This is urging me to do two things:

1) Ditch the scale. There is absolutely no need for me to know my weight. I am worth far more than the number on the scale. The way my clothes are fitting is a better indicator of my body, and in order for me to be more connected then I need to start taking this into account.

2) Be more aware of my body during yoga. I tend to be in my mind more often when I’m doing yoga because it’s a huge way to relieve stress. But this makes yet another disconnect with my body. Yoga is all about balance, so I need to take this into practice with my focus on both mind and body.

 

Hopefully in doing this, I’ll find that connection with my body and mend the relationship.

 

Do you weigh yourself often?

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15 thoughts on “Mind vs. Scale

  1. SCREW THE SCALE! I ditched that a-hole a long time ago and have NEVER looked back… Never even been tempted. I am happy with what I see in the mirror and that’s ALL that matters to me! 🙂 If I can complete my usual work outs, be happy with my friends and family, work hard, etc…I am happy with me! That’s what defines my happiness, NOT what’s on the scale. Health and Happiness is FAR MORE important to me than a number… Plus, I am more of a words person, not numbers! Screw Sudoku! lol

  2. I try and weigh myself once a week at most but at the moment I’m trying to lose a couple of kgs, when I’m not in weight loss mode I limit it to once a month just to check it but I have reduced the amount I check so it doesn’t affect my mood and behaviour too.

  3. I haven’t weighed myself since last September because I don’t want to know. It holds too many emotions and I don’t want that. I use my clothes as judgement. The scale isn’t worth my energy. I think you should try a week without it and see how it goes, even if it doesn’t hold any emotions for you 🙂

    • Yes! See weight is a big emotion thing for some people, and for others it is not at all! If someone asks me how much I weigh, I don’t hesitate to talk about it because I don’t care, I am who I am. Which is why I find it so strange that the scale has become some kind of habit. Gotta kick it!

  4. The scale is such an interesting beast! I used to weigh myself nearly daily when I was trying to lose weight…but it wasn’t until I had maintained my 15-lb-weight loss for over a year that I finally felt comfortable not weighing myself all the time anymore. It was like something had finally clicked and I trusted that I probably won’t gain weight if I maintain my current level of fitness/diet.

    I don’t have a scale in my apartment, but there’s one at the gym…I only weigh myself occasionally there out of curiosity 🙂

  5. This post hit so close to home for me. I am currently overcoming a binge eating problem (just admitting that has been a HUGE step) and ditching the scale has been a helpful tool for me. It has definitely allowed me to stop focusing on the number and ask myself “how do I feel today?” instead and eliminated some anxiety from my life, which is the main source of my problem. I am also definitely going to check out this book, it sounds like a wonderful resource!

  6. Oddly enough I haven’t weighed myself in over a month! It is so freeing but I’d like to know where I’m at weight-wise right now. I feel like I rely more on how I look/how my clothes fit to help me manage my weight.

    • I wish I could be like you! I agree though, the two days now that I’ve been without the scale is very “freeing”.. and that’s sad it’s only been two days but I still feel it!

  7. Ahhhh. I can’t remember the last time I weighed myself! I always get weighed when I have my annual doctor’s appointments, but Nick and I don’t even own a scale. I know some people adhere strictly to the number but to be honest my body hasn’t changed since I was 18 ( I still wear some of my high school clothes…whoops) so I don’t really see the need to weigh myself. However, if I ever felt like I was gaining weight I feel like it would be beneficial to have a scale to kind of track my weight and get back to my healthy weight. I really think it depends on the person-some people prefer to know their weight, some don’t!

    • As funny as it is, I am the same height and weight from 8 years ago!! My weight has shifted on my body a bit but numbers wise, literally the same. I don’t think its necessary for me to know my weight anymore, considering the fact that it is sooo consistent haha

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