Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Weighing in on the Scale of Success

Do you weigh yourself every day? I do. Each morning, before I've had so much as a sip of coffee, I strip down to my underwear and - gripping the bathroom counter - gingerly lower myself onto my digital scale. Then I hold my breath and wait for the number to flash.

In that split second, my whole day hangs in the balance. Am I good, am I acceptable? Can I go forth and face the world with confidence? Or am I a big bad fatty?

Yesterday, I read one of my old journals and realized I've been using the scale to measure my worthiness for my entire adult life.

Here's what I wrote 16 years ago:

Fat = Failure

Back then I'd just turned 31, had a baby, and was overwhelmed trying to balance the demands of my job, my marriage and motherhood.

I hadn't had a full night's sleep in months, I felt weepy and insecure. I felt like I was struggling on all fronts - I was the first person to leave the office at the end of the day, yet the last mom to pick up her kid from day care.

And the sure sign that I was a loser was the number on the scale, eight pounds over my "ideal" weight. Eight pounds may not sound like much, but to me they represented all my flaws - my laziness, my lack of discipline, and my general unworthiness.

But here's the thing that got me: my weight back then was exactly what I weigh today.

Is it possible that I've spent the last 16 years beating myself up over the same eight pounds? What a freaking waste of time. You'd think by now I would have either A) lost the stupid weight or B) stopped worrying about it.

The obsession over weight is narcissistic self-sabotage. What if, instead of looking to the scale to validate myself, I looked in the mirror every morning and said "hey gorgeous"? What if I opened the window and took a deep breath of fresh air and said "Zippity doo da, it feels great to be alive!" Why choose to start the day with a harsh self-judgment that more often than not makes me feel lousy?

Well, I'm not doing it anymore. I'm not going to let the scale tell me how I can feel about myself. My weight is just a tiny facet of who I am, and by focusing on it I dishonor all the other qualities that make me me.

So screw you scale! You may measure pounds, but you're no measure of success.

I'm off to have a Zippity doo da day.

2 comments:

Celticred said...

I hope this means you've stopped weighing yourself every day! We don't have a scale in our house. I know how much I weigh just by looking in the mirror. I don't always LIKE it, but at least I don't have a number to weigh down the pudge. That would drive me to distraction!

Marjie Killeen said...

I still have the scale, but I'm not weighing myself every day. Like you, I always knew what the numbers would read based on how I felt.

I must say, I really am in a better mood these days.