Getting on the scale is an inward-facing act of aggression. Don’t take my word for it – listen to your own thoughts.
For most folks, getting on the scale is a harmless action with no negative consequences.
For women struggling to get healthy under the weight of shame’s paralyzing yoke, getting on the scale is an act of inwards facing aggression. 1
Trigger warning: This post will make you think of the harmful bullshit that may happen if you get on the scale. 2
If you get on the scale, you will see what you weigh. Whatever the number is, you will suffer.
If you gained weight…
If you weigh more than you did last time, you will be cast into a hopeless mental prison where you feel foolish for making all those meaningless healthy choices, while viewing any unhealthy choices you have been making as evidence of your inability to get your fucking shit together you useless piece of crap. You will remember that life is pain, good things are reserved for other people, and that you – you – are broken. Conscious or unconscious, these thoughts will make you uncomfortable, and what’s the quickest way to change the channel in your head? That’s right, food.
If you stayed the same…
If your weight is the same though you’ve been making some solid food 3 choices, then all the other benefits you’ve been enjoying 4 will feel as insignificant as a sneeze in a hurricane. You will remember that any self-care that doesn’t result in weight loss is a waste of time, money, and energy (let’s never mind that it improves every aspect of your life). 5 You will fall back into old, familiar patterns, sabotaging yourself and your health with food, excuse-making, and self-neglect.
If your weight is the same despite having eaten tremendous piles of crap and moving only as much as you had to in order to sustain life, reading that your weight hasn’t changed will drop you into a dystopian fantasy where self-sabotage, recklessness, and self-harm have no consequences. Momentarily convinced of your own immortality, you’ll mouth “f#ck it” and show the world what the dark side of All-Or-Nothing looks like when you know what you’re doing.
If you lost weight…
If you weigh less than you did last time, you will feel good. Ten seconds later you’ll want to celebrate. The celebration will consist of you eating foods and/or amounts you’ve been avoiding in order to lose weight. You will remember that the whole point of losing weight is so you can be one of those gap-thighed hot girls you see on TV and in magazines, wearing cute jeans in sun-drenched rooms eating cake with blissed-out smiles on their ageless faces. 6 7 8
After celebrating with cake that isn’t anywhere near as delicious as it was in your imagination you will want to know how much “damage” you did, so you will want to get on the scale.
If you get on the scale, you will know what you what you weigh. Whatever the number is, you will suffer.
Choose with care. 9
- Yes, yes, there are a handful of exceptions. Blow it out your prose-bloating inclusion hole. ↩
- Yes, yes. I know the scale in your bathroom isn’t the only scale in your life. I know your doctor makes you get on the scale when you go in for a checkup. If an examination of your own past reveals that the scale is not your friend, you can alert the nurse that you’re happy to get weighed, but that you do not want to know what you weigh. Unless she’s been placed in your path to challenge the depth of your commitment to care for yourself and your body in meaningful ways even when it’s difficult (bonus!), she’ll respect your request and keep the number to herself and your chart. If anyone at your doctor’s office gives you guff, send them a link to this post. Maybe your personal trainer or other wellness professional wants you to get on the scale, too. If they’re worth their salt, they’ll respect your request to not get weighed, or at least that they not tell you what you weigh. If they give you guff, send them a link to this post. ↩
- And exercise, and other… ↩
- Feeling energized, alive, sexy, capable, peaceful, and well-rested ↩
- And self care does improve every aspect of your life, from work to play, from romance to friendship, from top to bottom, stem to stern, and inside out. ↩
- It’s an ad. It’s not real. Those girls are all living in a single-room apartment in Brooklyn scraping by on babysitting gigs and the occasional Hail Mary check from Mom. ↩
- Those women are 19. ↩
- Odds are in real life those gals are cripplingly self-conscious. Imagine them rushing home to get on the scale to see if the wee nibbles of cake that they barely took during the 48 takes it took to get that unrealistic video clip made them gain any weight. ↩
- You deserve it! And I had to put that in here as a footnote, ’cause if I’d ended this piece with “You deserve it!” the eye-rolling that might have ensued may have interfered with you internalizing what you’ve just learned: The scale doesn’t belong in your bathroom, or anywhere else in your house, period. Let’s put the ‘care’ back in ‘self care’, ‘k? <<high five>> ↩