Emily HawkinsComment

Life Beyond the Scale

Emily HawkinsComment
Life Beyond the Scale

Every morning my little family stumbles from our beds into the golden light and that is when the first impulse finds me. The scale. Get on the scale. I ensure my daughter is happily occupied before I pull it out of hiding and step on it. I don't want my child to see this morning ritual. I don't want her to grow up looking to a number for acceptance. 

As I vacillated between dieting and intuitive eating I still found myself tethered to the scale. I couldn't get past my obsession with a number — that smallest number I'd seen in adulthood. I arrived at that number by accident, likely due to stress and lack of self care. But I got obsessed. The thrill of that low number gave me an elusive goal. Try as I may, it continued to evade me. 

It seems like I knew, long before I was willing to admit it to myself, that something was off. My efforts to hide my behavior from my inquisitive toddler should have tipped me. We are an open family, so why was I in hiding? 

I didn't know it then, but I was looking to the scale to tell me something about myself. I wanted it to tell me I was enough in my own skin. I wanted the number to tell me that on that day, I didn't need to try harder. I could rest.

When we attempt to find our value in a number — or any artificial measure of identity — we are forfeiting our opportunity to substantiate ourselves. We are succumbing to the cultural pressure that female bodies are best when slight. To step off the scale, to define myself outside of numbers, is what I'm trying to do.

What if there is nothing wrong with my body? (Who can say that any body is wrong? And how did they get that authority?) What if by accepting how my body is today, I can move in more gratitude and grace? 

Every day, when I wake and the scale comes to mind, I have the opportunity to remind myself that an inanimate object should not set the tone of my day. A number that wouldn't make a difference without me dwelling on it should not have the power to make me feel shame. I can just as easily choose peace. There is a newness in rejecting the self-loathing that comes with never being enough — or always being too much.

I know it can be frightening to take a leap into the unknown, to embark on an emboldening adventure that it seems like few are on. But our lives should be led in love, not fear. All great things, including growth, come with risk. This giving up of artificial numbers that validate our personhood? I think the struggle, one that arguably never benefits anyone long term anyway, should be laid to rest. It is time to loosen what confines us, and step into a more liberating life — one that is more than just a number. Will you join me? I can't wait to hear.

P.S. If you are in need of resources, check out my last post for a list I will continue to update as I continue to delve into books and materials on body peace, intuitive eating, and life without disordered eating. And if you have a hunch you really need help, please seek an intuitive eating counselor or a professional supportive of this approach near you. There is hope. You've got this.