Letting Go of the Number on the Scale

Categories: Family, Fierce Self-Love, and Personal.

Devan and I just got back from a weekend with extended family in Washington. It’s always a great time, as I get swept up into the fun and chaos of so many people under one roof. Laughter and love and stories of the past, all bundled up into a couple of days spent with some of my favorite people in the world.


Another thing that is there is a scale.


Through the years, I’ve had a love/hate relationship with scales. I’m sure many of you understand–the joy some numbers can bring. The torture and frustration others carry in their digits. Doctors trying to make you believe that your carpal tunnel is somehow a result of falling into the obese category on their ridiculous charts.


Loving my physical body has been an important side-quest on my Fierce Self-Love journey. There was a time, decades ago, when being miserable in my life resulted in a protective layer of extra weight. I honestly hadn’t even realized it was happening… I think it was a combination of having small children to care for, the stress of a marriage struggling because of addiction, and not having a single form of movement I enjoyed. 


Anyway, what turned things around for me then (and resulted in 40+pounds lost) was working with a coach who focused on mindfulness. And finding my love for Polynesian dance! It was not a magic pill that caused the pounds to melt off, it was a change in how I viewed food and my body. I was, for probably the first time in my life, paying attention to what my body was asking me for. 


After about a year and a half, I was at my body’s ideal weight (based on how it felt to be in that body!) and I stayed there for over 10 years. At some point, I’d gotten rid of the scale, and just “managed my weight” based on how I felt in my body.


When we moved to Marina in January of 2019, the stress of working in two different cities and traveling between them twice a month, and having to give up my beloved dance class, resulted in changes I could see in my body pretty quickly. Around that same time, Torin was newly interested in fitness and weight lifting, and decided to buy a fancy scale that somehow calculated not only your weight, but also body fat, muscle mass, bone density and water weight. 


I tried to support his passion for counting calories and macronutrients without falling prey to the method myself–I knew from past experience that it just doesn’t work for me. But I did join him in weight lifting sessions in the little gym we created in the garage. It was fun to have him choose the exercises we did, and lead me through them…we were getting into a routine with it, and I loved my time with him, even if I didn’t love the exercise itself!


About 4 months after Torin died (and I put on 60 pounds of grief weight) I had become obsessed with the numbers that scale showed me from day to day, without rhyme or reason. The weight I’d gained after his death was a mystery to me… certainly not a result of calories in/calories burned–I was barely eating! 


I was relieved when a young mother posted on my local Buy Nothing group that she was searching for exactly the scale I had, to help her be able to correctly dose her daughter’s medication. I saw the perfect opportunity to bless another family while freeing myself of the device that was torturing me–I was having a hard time getting rid of anything that Torin’s hands had touched, so it felt like divine intervention for sure. The obsession with my weight left with the scale, and I was grateful to see it go. 


I have been trying to be loving and kind to my body during these years of grief. Staying hydrated. Frequent walks along the Willamette River. Taking up hula dancing again! And now that my sense of taste has mostly come back (another physical manifestation of my grief) I’ve been able to get back to the mindfulness around food that works best for me. 


Over the last few weeks, I’ve felt something shift. I noticed that my clothes were fitting differently. That my belly seemed smaller when I was doing my after-shower ritual of kind words while putting lotion on my skin.


So when I stepped on the scale this weekend and the numbers confirmed that what I’d been sensing was true, I was excited! And then immediately felt disappointed in myself. Why can’t I just be happy that my body is feeling less sluggish? That I’m feeling stronger! Why delight so much in that number on the scale?


I’m still working my way back to my Truth–that I am loved and worthy no matter what my body looks like or weighs in this moment.


I had years (decades!) of practice buying into what the medical and fitness industries tell us about health and wellness and some idea of perfection that they want us to spend our last dollar and every minute of our lives striving to reach.


That perfection is bullshit. 


So in this moment, I do what I can: I come back to my breath. Sink into my body. Know that THIS is the body I get to have and care for, in all the various forms it has had and will have, for however many years I get to live. 


Why waste another moment thinking about a number on a scale?


Have you had struggles with the scale and striving for that unattainable “perfection” we’re told can be ours with just the right diet, supplement or exercise regime? 


How do you find your way back to yourSelf and your Truth?