“This is why I’ll never step on the scales again”.

Stop weighing yourself
“I’m 42 and I’ve stopped doing this”

 

 

By SUSAN HAYDEN

So finally, at the age of 42, after being a slave to my scale for as long as I can remember, I have stopped weighing myself.

It’s been about six months since last I voluntarily made myself feel crap first thing in the morning, post-wee, pre-coffee.

It’s not because at last I reached a level of self-acceptance and understanding that my I am more than that what those numbers say. It’s because my scale takes those little round batteries like you used to get in Nintendo games and I have no idea where you buy them.

And while, at first, the site of that blank screen filled me with panic (How would I know how fat I was? How would I measure yesterday’s level of gluttony or – less commonly – denial if I didn’t know my exact weight?) an interesting thing happened:

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Nothing.

At first it was weird not starting my day with the rush of oh-yay-I’m-down-300-grams-since-yesterday-I’m-not-gonna-touch-a-carb-all-day OR the crash of oh-fuck-why-did-I-have-those-three-glasses-of-wine-now-look-I-might-as-well-have-ciabatta.

I missed the smug (albeit hollow and short-lived) feeling of victory when I had gone hungry and the scale was my best friend, but I didn’t miss the other feeling which happened rather more often – the dismay and the quiet self-loathing. Because it’s really quite difficult to feel okay about yourself as a woman if you’re not pretty thin. And somehow, achieving that goal can feel like the most important thing in the world. Which is seriously messed up.

Stop weighing yourself
“The biggest challenge we women face is being nice to ourselves.”

Three years ago, roughly, I got on the scale midday (midday, what’s more) and it read 57kgs. That’s low for me as I’m not a naturally skinny person.

The reason I weighed 57 (as opposed to 62, my body’s happy weight) was because I had recently moved countries with two small children, had no job or home, my husband was working overseas, I had chronic insomnia and our marriage was unraveling. I have never been so stressed and on edge in all of my life.

But, by god, I was thin! And that made up for all the other stuff.

Needless to say, my delight was short-lived. We bought a house, I got a job, we settled in and found the love, and with happiness, (for me) comes food.

We cook and we eat and drink wine and talk into the night because we’re friends and we’re alive and days are hard enough without living on grilled chicken.

I don’t weigh 57 anyway, and – barring a terminal illness or my head falling off – I never will again.

I have no idea what I weigh, and I don’t really care. Okay, that’s not true. I do care, but not enough to make me go buy those batteries.

My really skinny jeans are too tight on me, but luckily I have others. I exercise a few times a week without being mental about it, and instead of imposing crazy rules on myself, I try to listen to what my body is asking for. Sometimes it’s an enormous salad; other times it’s Kettle Fried chips.

I have days when I eat too much and days when I eat just right. Sometimes I clutch at my muffin tops and hate the way I look naked; other times I think: hell, you’re not doing not too bad, lady. I think the biggest challenge we women face is being nice to ourselves. And without that mofo scale to torment me, I’m finding this a little bit easier.

Susan is a freelance writer, editor and blogger who is currently working on her second book. She doesn’t understand numbers, and is inclined to overshare. You can find her blog here.

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