Weighing yourself...a balancing act
Content warning: Mention of diets, weight loss and weight gain, weighing yourself and eating disorders. Please use caution when reading. On Instagram this week I asked if you weighed yourselves regularly.
Most of you said you do. For those who don't - I asked a follow up question...did you used to weigh yourself and have stopped?
I received a range of responses about why you stopped weighing yourselves, or why you just don't do it at all. Some were relating to physical health, as a way to monitor if you've lost weight because of a health condition. Some were suggesting we stop weighing and started measuring instead - some admitted they only weigh to see if they've lost weight - but don't pay attention to the result if they've gained. It was really interesting to see everyone's view points. The reason I asked is because I am someone who has given up weighing myself. I have always been a bit of an all or nothing kinda gal and weighing myself is no exception. I had an eating disorder for approximately 20 years (that makes me feel very old but that age is a construct that I will complain about some other time...). During this time, my weight fluctuated regularly. Probably every other year I was 'slim' and had dieted to lose weight - and then every other year I'd have gained it back. I don't have a lot of pictures of myself from years past (as I am sure many people with ED don't...too haunting), but friends will often send me pictures from 'memories' of nights out and I can see a pattern. I can also see a pattern of how badly I have treated my hair over the years but again...another time!
I gave up weighing myself in early 2020. Just before the pandemic, I'd been on the Slimming World Diet for about 6 months, dropped a load of weight, and my Friday weigh ins determined my weekend. If I'd lost, I could relax and enjoy my weekend, if I had maintained or gain - I'd not have 'cheat days'. Except it wasn't that simple. I was using the Slimming World Diet in a desperate attempt to be 'thin' in time for my 30th Birthday. I was obsessed. I HAD to look a certain way by 30 otherwise...well there is no otherwise, this wasn't logic this was fear. I can't even tell you what I was afraid of. All I knew is that I needed to be slim for my 30th. I did it - I lost the weight. I didn't feel any different. All of the things I obsessed about when I was bigger I still obsessed about. The only difference now would be how often people commented on my body. My weight. My shape. How well I'd done. Friday's became the day I looked forward to because if I'd lost weight, I could reward myself by having a takeaway. I could eat chocolate. Have a drink if I wanted one.
Of course though if I hadn't lost - I couldn't do those things and I would spiral into punishment mode. Not losing weight became a personal failure. I went away for the weekend in Brighton for my 30th. I love Brighton, it's definitely the kind of place I could live. I love the art, the clean streets, the lanes, the bars, the atmosphere, the GAYNESS...I just love it.
I didn't enjoy any of that though because I was certain I would gain weight if I enjoyed myself (eat food and drink drink).
I chose the 'healthiest' option on every menu instead of what I wanted. I ordered water instead of wine. Black coffee instead of a latte. I deeply regret this now - but I look back on all of it with compassion. I had different ideas about weight back then. My view on weight loss, weight gain, 'healthy' options, good food, bad food - my outlook has completely changed. In the first lockdown - I realised how much of my appearance was for others. It wasn't for me. I stopped doing a lot of things during the first lockdown that I had done religiously before hand. I realised how much I was doing because I felt I 'should' - and being a certain size or being a certain weight was one of those things. I grew quite content with my body over the first lockdowns - it wasn't until the restrictions started to lift that I became very aware of those fears creeping back in. It's still something I'm working on - I haven't got it all figured out. However, I have made progress. I can look back and recognise that my mindset is different and I feel better for it. I see and understand where my fear of weight gain comes from and that helps me to deal with it.
BMI? Ridiculous. I no longer desperately try to reach this magic number that makes no sense - I let my body determine its size. I no longer punish myself. I deserve to feel happy, comfortable and confident in my body. What could you today that would help to change your mind set about the number on the scales?