I should probably throw out my scale. I don’t know why I still have it. It sits in the corner of my room, collecting dust, inviting me to step on and care what it says. Maybe I’m attached to its once-in-a-blue-moon ability to give me a boost, as much as I’d rather bury that truth in a dumpster.
In high school, I only got weighed at the doctor and the number held little emotional significance. It wasn’t until I quit organized sports at 17 and fell out of my athletic lifestyle that my body felt like something I should or could control. Suddenly, my weight mattered to me, and I didn’t wield my new interest responsibly. Tracking my soccer and running scores gave way to tracking calories and pounds.
I weighed myself every morning freshman year of college, jotting down the number with an odd sense of analytical duty. I remember returning home for Thanksgiving break and finding a small piece of paper in my parents’ bathroom, revealing that my dad had been doing the same. His habit seemed innocent and nerdy; mine felt a little sick. I kept at it all year anyway.
The level of self-focus required for daily weight management was embarrassing. It felt so backwards from my purported value system, so I hid it. I think a lot of women feel like this. The secrecy, the self-discipline, the self-consciousness. I couldn’t sustain it. Eventually I got off the treadmill, emotionally and literally. I stashed my scale and all the habits I’d mentally chained to it. By then I was 19 and understood my relationship to all of it was toxic. Mostly, though, I was just exhausted.
I had a lot of breakthroughs over the next few years in regards to feminism and my self-worth, but there was this unwieldy, immoveable part of me that still cared about my weight. No matter how many times I thought my way out of it, I’d somehow tumble back in. By the end of college, I was closing my eyes on the doctor’s scale out of self-preservation.
In the decade or so since, I’ve gone through periods of daily weigh-ins and year-long fuck-its. My scale remains among my things, somehow making the cut every time I move. I’d explain my logic, but I’m still untangling it. If I’ve learned anything about my own mind through all of it, it’s that knowing better does not always equate feeling better. We’re a society obsessed with measuring value with superficial tools and resisting that paradigm takes an obnoxious amount of energy, consistently applied. Fostering self-compassion is like taking care of a needy pet. The waxing and waning importance I place on my weight has always been tied up in that process.
What’s your relationship to the scale? Do you weigh yourself? Do you skip it? Do you give a shit? Why?