Before tip-tapping away about why we shouldn’t value our lives with a strong focus on a number, of course, scales can be absolutely vital in determining health for some people; a tool needed when wanting to health up. I also am no nutritionist, but I love health, however, despise the notion of obsession that so many experience. And often, at the heart of it, is this sad step (as Joe Wicks brilliantly calls it) that we are repulsed by and yet also worship; eager to impress it; eager for it to bring us happiness. Wait? A device can bring us happiness?! (Spoilers: it can’t.)
I probably weigh myself about four or five times a year. I really buy into the idea that if we are eating a balanced diet and exercising lots (whilst also looking after our mental health), how we feel is what health is. Of course there are ifs and buts but I’m lucky enough to say that’s all that there is for me. Healthy and happy? That’s what I strive for. Call me selfish but I want to live for as long as I possibly can- longevity is my priority. A month or so ago was one of my “ooooh, I forgot about scales” moments. I brought down the scales and stepped on them. In this moment I fully understood the term “flabbergasted.” I’d gained 5lb. For someone who “never” fluctuates from a particular weight, yeah, I was shocked, astounded and most certainly flabbergasted all at once.
I’ve always been pretty sensible about how I think about my body. Even when I was a self-conscious teenager, I’ve been raised with a healthy attitude towards food (with the accidental eating of five galaxy cake bars some afternoons). And in a change of some digits, I felt that monster so many of my friends are slaves to. I got it. It crept up inside me, my eyes widened and I hurriedly popped the scales back in their spot. Rationality was out of the question; panic was well and truly on the table. Alongside my porridge with fruit- a breakfast I’m eating as often as possible to compliment my lifestyle. I stared at the breakfast I used to despise and I scoffed: well, you’ve been no help.
I know I’m lucky to have a healthy mindset without any invasion from awful illnesses but after half an hour, I decided: scales shmales.
Our bodies are clever things. They deal with a lot. They try to help us out even when we aren’t helping them out. They forgive a lot. Now I know muscle weighs more than fat (and if this is the answer to that 5lb, I was still aghast). And I know us women have a million factors that affect that silly number (and, once again, I still didn’t blink for a minute or so). And, yes, I know I’m pretty respectful of my body (and I still questioned what I haven’t been doing to maintain a particular weight). But, despite all of this and more, I freaked out.
My friends – male and female – suffer with a number that isn’t as easily translatable as we all still believe. A friend checks her weight every single day- even though she knows how nonsensical the science behind this is. It simply doesn’t accurately define anything. A friend works out at the gym and looks brilliant- but he gets down about his “number” never getting heavier. Body worries come in all different shapes and sizes; just like us. There is no one size fits all, but I’m pretty certain abolishing the scales’ (or dramatically reducing) input in our lives makes a brilliant difference. Find alternative ways to measure your health- it sounds cliche; but start with happiness.
That 5lb? Honestly, I don’t know if it’s still there. I don’t know if I’ve lost, maintained or gained weight. Blissfully ignorant is how I like it. I’m at the gym or swimming, running or Zumba-ing to inspire those endorphins. I’m eating in my own balanced kind of way. And while I’ve been cracking open a bottle of beer a bit too frequently lately (note to self: choose gin more often), I’m super happy. I think I’ve spotted my arms tightening and my longer runs I wasn’t able to do a couple of months ago have congratulated my legs. It’s a good thing to like ourselves, and maybe we go back to the scales because they make us feel so glum. We’re not supposed to like ourselves, my goodness. But our bodies are here for the long-run and let’s fuel them with a balanced diet, exercise and strive for far better outlooks while it looks out for us every single second of the day.
So many factors affect our weight and health is not easily defined, but we fall for this idea that we just must be this perfect weight to be happy. And yet I’m happiest when I define my health with a smile at my reflection or a happy sigh at some new muscle definition. While I will probably wipe the dust of the scales a couple of times a year, I’m going to avoid them even more. If we are doing our best (and are lucky enough to have this outlook and choice), scales shmales.
~ Kat ~