I went to weigh myself one August morning and was horrified to find that my husband had taken my scale away.
He had threatened to take it as we drove home from our lake vacation. I was complaining about what the next day’s scale number would be. He didn’t follow through on that threat. Post-vacation weight wasn’t as high as I thought it might be, so I continued with each day’s weight check.
I was surprised a week or so later when it vanished from where I safely tuck it under my dresser.
For as long as I can remember, I have weighed myself daily. The number on the scale sets the tone of the day for many things – what I eat, how much I exercise, my mood, and how I generally feel about myself.
None of this is healthy, and I know it, but as a young overweight child who was sent to a dietitian by her very skinny pediatrician in elementary school, it has become my lifestyle. While my friends drank their juice boxes and ate their dipsy doodles and ring dings (80’s kid lunch staples), I drank water and was packed an apple. Even with a dietitian and my parent’s various tricks to get me to lose weight, my size increased.
Food, exercise, self-image, and my size has always been a struggle.
In 2013 I had what my former pediatrician might have called my healthiest BMI. This was, for me, a size eight, and I got there through healthy eating and taking up running. It was a year before I had my first child, and that BMI was short-lived.
I still love running, and I eat well about 80% of the time. I tend to YOLO on the weekends with carbs, alcohol, and takeout. I also won’t turn down an ice cream trip with my kids or a girl’s night out to dinner.
I’m a size 10 with some new lumps and bumps that come with housing a singleton and twins within two years.
The number on the scale shouldn’t matter anymore, but it is a hard habit to break. It is incredibly hard after my husband threw me cold turkey into scale detox.
What have I learned from my time away from the scale? I’ve learned that I can be happy without knowing my weight each day. I’ve been reminded that I can exercise and eat healthy, have a glass of wine, get takeout, and the daily digital number doesn’t have to make me feel good or bad about myself.
I’m not sure when I’ll be ready to get my scale back or if I even want it back at all. On most days, I am thankful for my husband’s tough love and the reminder that I am not defined as a number on a scale.