So, we moved recently, & the scale had gotten packed away.
It’s not my scale- I don’t use it.
Believe it or not, I do not reign holy terror across this household, and I do not have the power to dictate if anyone else decides to torture themselves with a scale in this house or not.
The gym is currently in the garage, so I was out there lifting.
And there it was.
Sitting on the garage floor, and it appeared as if from out of nowhere.
I hadn’t seen it in what felt like years. It probably has been years.
I thought “fuck it, let me just see.”
The world’s biggest trick bag ever. The “let me see” trap.
I hopped on.
I blinked twice in disbelief.
I hopped off.
I scooted it over an inch or two.
I hopped back on.
The fucking scale dance. We’ve all done it.
And there I was, doing it again.
I’ve gained 10 pounds in some time frame that I am honestly completely unsure of.
It might actually be 15.
And actually it might be 20?
It’s hard to tell because I don’t really remember the last time I weighed myself or what the number was- but this was a number I definitely do not remember seeing in years. Like, this is a number I haven’t seen since before I became obsessed & completely overtaken by diet culture.
And I wish I could say it lead to some big drama where I sat in a pit of despair and self-loathing and then came out the other end as some sort of enlightened person.
But, I didn’t.
What weighing myself gave me was an opportunity to practice self-compassion.
We are still in the middle of a global pandemic.
I closed my business down less than a year ago.
Which means I navigated the first iteration of Covid for months on end, keeping my gym and online business afloat- completely uncharted territory- with zero game plan, zero idea what to do or how to do- I just… did it.
I managed a move.
One I wasn’t necessarily ready nor excited for, but it happened and here we are.
I haven’t shared much about this move or how stressful it was/has been, but let’s just say
I wasn’t ready and it was hardly my idea.
Have any of ya’ll moved recently? That shit is stressful AF.
Have any of ya’ll moved in the middle of a pandemic? It’s next level stressful AF.
You want to know what I have done over this past almost 2 years?
I never lost sight of myself.
With the collective grieving, fear, and sadness, I never lost sight of myself.
Not perfectly, of course, and not without several shortcomings, but I have managed to:
-Give attention to my sleep, and continued to make it a priority to get into bed at a reasonable hour, even if I just laid there staring at the ceiling.
-Paid attention to my period. Our menstrual cycle, especially if we are not on HBC, gives us a monthly report card into our internal health and environment. I am not anti-HBC, at all. I just prefer to have an uninterrupted view under the hood of what’s going on. I know the months that I am too stressed, too tired, too something based on my experience of PMS. I will tell you, many months have been pure agony. But, I’ve never stopped paying attention and I think that’s more than half the battle.
-I never stopped moving. This one’s loaded. And it’s kind of emotional as well. I went from lifting in a 2,000 sqft gym of my dreams, to being crammed back into a single car garage that was FILLED TO THE BRIM with extra shit after the gym closed. So, I had the least amount of space I’ve ever had available to get a lift in. It was also the start of a midwest winter, leaving the garage around 20-30F on any given day, and requiring at least 2 hours with a heater on to make it bearable to stand inside for any length of time. I had about 4×4 feet of space to move. So, yes. I hated much of it. My desire was down the toilet. My consistency was lower than ever. But I still managed to get my ass in that freezing cold, 4×4 space in the garage to move, even when I didn’t want to. Even when I was upset about it all. Yep, even if it was only 2x per week, which is less than I have ever lifted in well over 15 years.
-I walked and ran all summer. Exploring this new neighborhood on foot was exciting and also relaxing. I had zero intention to use the walking/running as a way to control my body. It was absolutely medicinal and meditative.
-I drank my water. Of course, not perfectly, as there were many days I went to sleep and realized “shit. My lips are chapped!” which is always my first telltale sign that I’m dehydrated. But, more often than not, I chugged my water all day long and looked for light-yellow pee 🙂
-I tried my best to play and have fun. While I’m totally an introvert and love spending time alone THE MOST, I felt lonely for the first time I think ever, over this past almost 2 years. It didn’t start at first. It took a few months. To be honest, I’m nervous. I have an autoimmune disease, my parents are almost in their 70s, my grandmothers are almost in their 90s. I had a choice. Sit around and feel scared and lonely, or sit around and feel scared and lonely while also trying to enjoy my own company. So, I bought a kiddie pool. This $54 Target kiddie pool became a summer staple with its own ritual that I came to love so much. I gardened a lot- in the hot, hot sun, hands and knees covered in dirt, moving worms out of the way before I dug too deep into their current spot. I bought flowers, I planted them, I nurtured them. Much to my black-thumb’s surprise, most of them survived the summer! And they were beautiful. I spent a lot of time with Mack- we played a lot of fetch, we found new trails to explore, we learned he WILL NOT be water dog and does not enjoy the kiddie pool and now he has trust issues about it LOL. I allowed myself for the first time in my ENTIRE adult life to watch mindless TV- turns out, I love trash TV and I’m not sorry about it. I played a lot, relaxed as much as I could, and looked for simple, easy, accessible, and safe-for-me ways to unwind.
-I ate a lot of salads. I ate a lot of protein. I ate a lot of fruit. Shocker, right? You gain 10 pounds and you’re like “I must be a lazy, worthless, piece of shit who eats nothing but “JUNK” food!” Nope. To be honest, my eating hasn’t changed much, if at all. I’m eating the same way I’ve eaten for years. If anything, I’d been eating less, but not on purpose. Grief will do that to you and your appetite sometimes.
So, what gives, right?
The problem is that you’re using your weight as your way to define something for you.
You’re using it as another way to measure enough-ness.
You’re using it as a way to prove failure.
What do we know?
Behaviors have more of an impact on health than your weight.
We also know that behaviors aren’t the whole picture, either.
If you haven’t done any reading about the social determinants of health, do a quick Google search and dive in.
So, what was I supposed to do?
Run around like a chicken with my head cut off and desperately try to figure out why I gained weight even though I’m “doing the best that I can?”
What am I supposed to do?
Believe a digital scale run by two double-A batteries dictate what I should be doing? Feeling? Thinking? Believing?
I’m doing the best that I can.
We all are.
It’s taken me years, but I am no longer triggered into a shame spiral by the scale.
I am aware of my actions.
I am aware of my well being.
I am aware of myself and my existence.
Is it reflected on the scale in a way that diet culture will praise?
And it is a mindfuck. It is. I totally get it. I’m experiencing it right now! I totally get it.
If you’re still living and dying by the scale, or any form of “body checking”, whether that be photos, clothing, measurement, or even performance metrics, you’re choosing to disconnect from yourself. You’re living your life outside-in instead of inside-out.
If you’re still using external metrics to “decide” how you’re doing, you’re reconfirming the belief that you are not to be trusted, and that your compass exists outside of you instead of being internally driven.
Using a scale, or any external form of measurement, fools you into believing that your actions don’t matter unless they yield a specific result. This is a slippery slope, it removes autonomy, and it’s ultimately suffocating, confusing, and maddening.
The scale cannot, does not, and never will accurately assess how you’re doing.
And do not fall victim to the trap of other measurements, either. IG will come in and be like:
“F the scale! Use your clothes!”
Nope. Same shit.
“F the scale! Take photos!”
Nope. Same shit.
“F the scale! Take measurements.”
Nope. Same shit.
“F the scale! Look at your performance!”
Do I love my body right now? No.
Am I “bad” for not loving my body? No.
Because I am more than my body and my delight, or lack thereof, in what my body looks like does not
make me any less of a real person with a real life than someone who is just smitten at their own reflection.
We can withstand the hard and negative emotions that we feel surrounding our body and still not participate in harmful, diet-culture driven behaviors.
You can take real good care of your entire health and still gain weight.
Next week, we’ll talk about the performance-obsession trap– aa sneaky and totally “socially acceptable way” to feel like you’re “anti-diet”, but really- it’s just another trap. I cannot wait to update you on the state of my physical performance recently. It’s going to be a doozy.
Stay tuned 🙂