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Mental Health

I Threw My Scale Out For A Month: Here’s Why You Should, Too

Society seems to be a bit obsessed with the force gravity exerts on our bodies. Weird way of phrasing it, right? It’s such a specific fixation, yet I can almost guarantee most of us have had a scale in a closet or under a bathroom sink at some point in life (or maybe in another odd location). And why? Obviously it’s good to stay healthy, but jeez can scales wreak havoc on your mental and physical health.

Thinking back, I don’t think I’ve ever heard a single one of my friends speak about a scale in a positive light. It’s always “I’m too ___” (and the blank was never encouraging). And yet we all still use them, sometimes multiple times a day! It’s a slippery, neurotic slope. As Emma Chamberlain put it in her podcast, Anything Goes, “It’s like an itch you have to scratch”; it’s too easy to step on a scale out of self-destructive curiosity. I really resonated with that. Then I realized I hated that I resonated with it. So I threw my scale in the trash. This is what I got out of it.

Increased Intuitive Eating

I had always kind of known about intuitive eating prior to ditching my scale, but I never really understood it. Now I get why: because my scale was 100% controlling my appetite! I’ve talked to a few friends and they’ve also had the same experience: weighing yourself before a meal, feeling dissatisfied, and restricting just a little bit to counteract the number on the scale. It sounds harmless… but it’s actually a pretty foolproof way to develop an eating disorder. 

Since switching things up, I’ve let myself eat balanced meals till I’m satisfied, which has been life changing in the absolute best way. After a while of doing this, my appetite has naturally changed because I know the food would be there later. 10/10 would recommend. 

Less Shame + More Exploration

It’s mega easy to derive self-worth from a number on the scale. Which would be fine… if scales weren’t a tool to encourage self-criticism! When I no longer had a number to base my mood off of, I was forced to build my self-worth using other sources. Best decision of my life. Since then, I’ve started getting super into fashion and self-care. Not only did I replace my shame with way more constructive emotions and activities, but I’ve also learned a lot about who I am (outside of my weight).

Numbers Aren’t Painful

It took me a long time to work up the courage to attempt this challenge. Believe me, it had been brewing in my mind for a hot minute. I think the biggest fear I held was “what if I gain too much weight?” First of all: what the hell does that even mean? “Too much?” I couldn’t answer my own question, but I just knew not having control would be terrifying.

I’m happy to report that it hasn’t been as bad as I thought it would be. I gained some weight, sure, but then everything seemed to magically evened out. It wasn’t “too much”, it was exacly what my body needed. Now, I feel like my body is at its natural, happy state of balance. I exercise when I want and eat when I want, all based on intuition… and things have seemed to regulate themselves.

I think most people have their own healthy equilibrium and it just takes a bit of uncomfy liberation to get there. And an added bonus: numbers aren’t as scary now. I’ve stopped freaking out over gaining or losing a pound because when your scale disappears, so does a lot of your self-loathing. 

When starting this challenge, I seriously thought I wouldn’t get through it. I figured I’d give in at some point, go back to the crappy (but comfortable) cycle of stepping on a scale, and scrap this whole idea. Now, it’s been about 4 months total since I started and my relationship my body has never been better. Most importantly, throwing away my scale helped me to better define what health means to me: it doesn’t have a set weight, it just means making level-headed decisions that help me thrive and stay well. Needless to say, I highly recommend giving it a try sometime.

Sierra is a junior at Christopher Newport University. She is majoring in psychology with intent to receive her masters in teaching. In her free time, she loves thrift shopping, going on Target runs, and caring for all of her plants.
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