There’s a beast in my bathroom!
I’ve tried to conquer this barbaric creature, but to no avail. And everywhere I go, people seem to have this same unsightly creature in their own bathrooms. Let me share with you my personal battle with this common bathroom apparatus.
We all have anchors in life. We can choose to anchor ourselves to trust, peace, truth, choice, and ultimately joy. Or, we can anchor ourselves to our debilitating beliefs. We can focus on the evidence around us that reminds us how ‘good’ or ‘bad’ we are. We can lean on other people, objects, food, and addictions to make us happy or miserable. But, what happens when one of those anchors crumbles or ceases to serve us?
One of my negative anchors was the scale.
For me, getting on the scale felt like a papercut. With salt and lemon juice poured into it. Every time I succumbed and stepped onto its cold, unsympathetic face, it spewed back numbers that would pierce my soul. I would tip straight into a day of wallowing over those numbers, trying to dig them out of my brain so I could live my life. But I couldn’t. No matter how much I tried to shut down the image of those numbers with food or loud activity, it wouldn’t go away. Eventually, I began avoiding the scale like a bottomless pit trying to draw me in, because it had an uncanny power over me. I felt the pull of its power, trying to drag me down into depression. For years, I left the monstrous scale alone for fear of getting sucked back in.
Then, I joined a weight loss competition. I told the facilitator that I refused to look at the scale. I couldn’t look at it, I was in too much fear. She agreed to weigh me without my having to see the numbers. That worked fine, until I was on a trip, and had to weigh myself and report to her. With some deep interval breathing (known as LITE), trying to get the anxiety under control, I stepped on the scale. I didn’t like the numbers, of course, but where did the bottomless pit go? It wasn’t there! I wasn’t spiraling into depression!
Why you might ask, was this so exciting to me? Because in the previous year before I started the competition, I had worked hard to find the underlying issues that caused my depression, my anxiety, and my weight gain. I spent so many years as a young adult trying to lose weight and it wasn’t working, so I sought help through a life coach and eventually decided to take a different approach. I wasn’t even focusing on losing weight -which was strange for me- I was focusing on being happy; no matter who I was, where I was, or what I was doing in my life.
My focus shifted from not being good enough based on pounds and other evidence to support that belief, to learning how to live in trust, choice, and peace. Learning how to accept myself and live life in joy!
Now, standing barefoot on my friend’s scale, I was NOT wishing I could hide with a box of cookies. Apparently, the path I was on was working!
I discovered the hope that I didn’t even realize was there until I was brave enough at that moment to step on that scale and look.
After that momentous experience, getting on the scale was fun for me. Having worked through the emotional issues that caused the weight gain in the first place, I was able to watch the numbers go down without the feelings of despair tormenting my soul. The pounds dropped pretty easily, actually. I was enjoying my new lifestyle, the joy I was experiencing, and the food I was now eating: lots of veggies, no more sugar, beautiful dishes created with an energy of love. To learn more about my new-found blissful journey, read my blog titled A Day In The Life of Eating by Heart: How I Lost Weight and gained Joy.
End of the problem, right? I wish…
For most people, the first thing you lose is water weight, which can come off pretty quickly. Then the fat starts coming off. For people like me, that means the weight loss slows down. I started to panic about my weight loss plateauing and feared to see the numbers start to creep back up.
I found myself paying tribute every morning to that same cold, all-powerful, unsympathetic bathroom scale. It didn’t spiral me into depression like it did before or drop me back into a bottomless pit, but it did dictate what I ate every day, the way I felt, and the thoughts I lingered on. I felt the weight of the scale all day long, which often times lead to eating more food to “bear the burden of the weighty dictates of the Scale Sovereign.” I no longer listened to my body and what it needed, but I listened to the rules that the scale set forth.
While working on the book, Veggie Snacks, with my business partner Ron Wayman, we talked about the issue of giving your power over to the scale. We wrote in the book, “That which you focus on, is what will manifest in your life. So, if you are trying to survive the dictates of the weighty scales, then the body might forget that eating is for living, not for scaling the rolls of tummy fat and vanity shows.” In other words, our body obeys our thoughts. Do I want to continue to support a belief that trains my body to do whatever it takes to be thin, or do I want to support a belief that retrains my body to be and live healthy and happy? In my experience, retraining my body to be and live healthy and happy means I lose weight more effectively and more permanently. The focus isn’t on the loss of weight itself or the numbers shifting, but rather the joy of life experiences. Discovering who I am on the inside. Finding what sparks joy on the inside, where I get to make choices, where I am still stuck in old debilitating beliefs and discovering how to work through them.
Anyway, I tried to ignore the fact that I was not living the way I was teaching others, but those realizations kept finding their way into my thoughts. I was definitely not eating to live! The joy of living and experiencing was being sucked out through my feet every time I stepped onto the scale. I didn’t mind when the numbers went down, or even when they went up. But, if I’m being honest, there was an underlying stress and frustration over the fact that I wasn’t consistently losing anymore. I figured it was an ok emotion to live with since I wasn’t spinning out of control like I had been before.
I was stuck. Stuck in my weight loss. Stuck in the dictatorship of the Almighty Scale and stuck in the thought process that if I didn’t continue losing weight, how will people ever see the example of how well following the Live by Heart program works!
So, I made a decision. Stop living by the scale.
But then, when should I get on the scale? Do I get on the scale at all? How do I keep track of my progress? How do I keep myself in check? Some people teach about eating and living according to how you feel, your energy levels, other body symptoms; basically listening to your body. Others suggest following a strict regimen, both in physical activity and diet. And there are many methods in between.
I’ve tried these methods. They are great for various reasons, but I didn’t need an answer on how to eat or what exercises to do. I needed an answer on what to do with the scale on my bathroom floor. Ron suggested, perhaps I should try only getting on the scale when I intuitively feel drawn to it. I already had a lot of practice eating, exercising, and living intuitively; it is a huge part of who I am, and now a huge part of the foundation of my business!
Now, I was being given the opportunity to dig a little deeper. I thought I was good at listening to my body, and in a lot of ways, I am! But I find that being human, I am constantly presented with opportunities to fine-tune my listening skills. Take back my own personal power and trust that I will be drawn to what I need in my life when I need it.
Stepping away from the scale has been a big step in helping me better connect with my body and the food I am eating. I have slowed down, stopped worrying about if the scale will punish me if I eat the “wrong” thing or about whether or not the stress of what the scale is saying will take over my day.
I live more in the moment, focusing on what really matters in life.
A month later, I had a surprise waiting for me when I felt ready to step on the scale again. Even though my diet was not technically “perfect,” I was past my plateau! After months of not budging, I was moving forward again. And, I didn’t hear the dictates of the scale nor did I see the bottomless pit of depression. I was in peace again, balanced in body, heart, mind, and soul. The weight-compass turned from a tyrant to a non-living, useful tool that is only there when I feel the need to check in with myself.
So, I recommend walking away from the Sovereign Scale. See it for what it really is. Allow your mind, heart, and body to direct you toward what will help you look, listen, feel, connect, and live.
I’m so glad I did!
To learn more about our LITE program mentioned in this blog post, click on this link! And comment below on your experience with a bathroom scale. Do you have one? Do you use it? What does it do for you?