Weight is Just a Number: Why I Broke Up with the Scale
When people think of exercise, they usually view it purely as a means to lose weight. Being unhappy with the number they see when they step on a scale + wanting it to change are the reasons many decide to start leading a healthier life. But fixating on a number is the quickest way to leave yourself discouraged + frustrated.
It’s understandable. You put effort into eating well + exercising, but the scale doesn’t always reflect your hard work. Your weight may be a fair way to track your progress in the long-run, but you don’t need to live by it + you’ll be much happier if you learn to focus on how you feel, not on how much you weigh!
Like many college-aged women, my weight fluctuated while in school. I’d go through periods where I’d eat healthy + work out regularly, but then exams would take over or my social life would take priority + I would fall into unhealthy habits. Despite this, I constantly fixated on how much weight I wanted to lose. I would weigh myself everyday — waiting for that number to change + when it didn’t happen fast enough, I would just get angry at myself. I viewed food negatively, instead of as something to fuel myself. I was in a vicious cycle of being angry for not seeing the results I wanted + using that anger to push myself to exercise harder — leaving me feeling burnt out + frustrated.
When I would look at health + fitness-related blogs + Instagrams, I would see people talk about NSVs [non-scale victories], but that wasn’t something I identified with. I felt good on days when I saw my work paying off on the scale + I was unsatisfied when it didn’t.
Eventually, I got tired of letting my life be dictated by a scale. When I moved out of my parents’ house in January, I didn’t bring a scale with me to my new apartment. I told myself I’d be better off checking in every few weeks, rather than having the temptation to falling into old habits. Although this may seem like a small change to my life, it has really helped my outlook towards health + fitness!
When I would weigh myself the morning after an indulgent day [or couple of days], I’d start my day disappointed in myself. That negativity led my actions for the rest of the day to serve as punishments for the previous day’s decisions. Instead of working out because I enjoyed it or eating healthy because I wanted to take care of my body, I did these things out of spite.
I still weigh myself from time to time, but now I do it just to be aware of where I am. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have a *goal weight*, but I no longer work just to see the numbers change. For the first time in my life, I exercise because I enjoy it, not because I’m trying to chase a lower number on the scale. At the end of the day, reaching the goal of enjoying exercise is infinitely more important than any form of measurement.
I challenge all of you to do the same. You don’t have to throw your scales away, but if it’s sitting out, hide it. Put it in the back of a closet or somewhere else where it’s out of sight + mind. Weight is just a unit of measurement. It is one [of many] ways to track your progress, but it’s not the only way. Don’t let yourself be defined by what you see when you step on a scale — you are more than just a number. A number doesn’t describe your beauty, talents, or your worth.
WEIGHT IS JUST A UNIT OF MEASUREMENT. IT IS ONE [OF MANY] WAYS TO TRACK YOUR PROGRESS, BUT IT’S NOT THE ONLY WAY. DON’T LET YOURSELF BE DEFINED BY WHAT YOU SEE WHEN YOU STEP ON A SCALE — YOU ARE MORE THAN JUST A NUMBER. A NUMBER DOESN’T DESCRIBE YOUR BEAUTY, TALENTS, OR YOUR WORTH.
Instead of working towards a certain number, measure your success by your abilities. Run an extra few minutes after you’ve reached your mileage goal. Do an extra set of weights. Push yourself a little farther out of your comfort zone. There’s a lot more to celebrate in those victories than in any little number.
+ Ali [ali.inchaarg], Virt CHAARG from Philly