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In Which Karen Weighs Herself For The First Time In Over Three Years

Posted Oct 10 2012 12:33pm

Until this morning, I hadn’t stepped on a scale since the spring of 2009. And until the thought – “Hmmmm…I feel like weighing myself” – crossed my mind this morning, I hadn’t even been thinking of it.

For a long while, not weighing myself was an act of self-preservation. I let “the number” have way too much power over me. One of my last memories of being weighed (I’d gained 2.75 pounds) is described in my book . I wrote:

Sadness, frustration, and a sense that nothing will work and “I can’t do this” overwhelmed me. I couldn’t stop crying…crying like a distraught little girl.

I went on to write:

Afterward, I went grocery shopping, feeling fragile and drained.  Crushed, even. The number on the scale has so much power over me.  When I got home, I cried some more. I was hungry, but felt chastised.  Like a good girl, I ate a tangerine. I didn’t feel like bingeing. In fact, I felt the opposite. I made some tea and noted that the kitchen was a mess. I still hadn’t unpacked the groceries. I had that “I’m a bad girl” feeling, and it compelled me to clean the kitchen. As I thought about it, an old feeling or fragment of memory came to the surface: I should be punished, either by myself or someone else. I felt like I should be ashamed and send myself to my room, as if I am still a little girl.

And then this:

It’s almost like I can’t take care of myself unless someone is nagging me to do it! Is that where my motivation comes from?  From shame and guilt?

I needed a break from these emotions and not weighing myself provided that for me. I was able to get to know myself on a deeper level without the weekly emotional turmoil of seeing ” the number.”

Then, not weighing became a “thing” that I was doing. I was slightly defiant and I loved the reaction I got when I told someone. Some praised me, while others said they’d never be able to go without weighing because they were afraid they’d gain too much weight.

As time went on, I realized that not weighing myself was also an act of trust in both myself and my body. It required me to be honest with myself if, say, my clothes started feeling tight or I was bloated. It required me to examine what was going on in my life if I found myself engaging in self-destructive behaviors like binge eating.

It also helped me realize that my health was best indicated by my cholesterol, blood pressure, resting heart rate, blood sugar, and so on.

There have been plenty of times when I thought I must be in denial if I didn’t weigh myself – that it was the ultimate proof that I couldn’t accept myself. There were days when I’d think, “I’m never going to weigh myself again” and then others when I’d think, “When the time is right, I’ll just do it.”

So why was the time right this morning? I had just gotten out of bed and did a little half-naked yoga a la Yum Yucky . I decided to do the Mirror Exercise (which you can download for yourself by signing up for my newsletter in the sidebar on the left).

As I stood there admiring my naked, nearly 50-year-old self, I became curious to see what the scale would have to say. Without hesitation, I went to it, and stepped on slowly and confidently. I saw the number. I smiled. I had a fleeting thought, “I’d like the number to be 10-15 pounds less than it is.” I smiled again. I looked at myself in the mirror again and smiled at me. I like what I see in the mirror. And then I got off the scale, got dressed, and had breakfast.

I’m really glad I gave myself the gift of these three-plus years of being scale-free.

Tell me about the last time you weighed yourself. How did you feel? Would you consider going scale-free for a while in order to take a break from those emotions? Why or why not?

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