Like the vast majority of people my weight fluctuates. In the past I have been overweight and unhealthy (& 2 dress sizes bigger than I am now), I have also been super-fit and healthy (& 2 dress sizes smaller than I am now).
Some weeks I am working hard to exercise regularly, eat healthily and tone up, other weeks I just don’t care enough and find myself slipping into bad habits in terms of eating, but most frequently I fall somewhere in the middle, exercising regularly but not obsessively, and eating healthily most of the time with a few occasional treats.
Some days I feel happy and relatively comfortable and other times I am unhappy and berate myself for having put on weight.
Weight and wellbeing
One day it occurred to me that the way I felt about myself was inextricably tied up with how much I weighed at that point. When the number on the scales was at the lower end of my weight range I felt happy & confident, but when the number began to increase or was bigger than I would have liked, I felt bad, uncomfortable and was often miserable. I have always been a positive person, but for some reason I was allowing a number to make me feel bad!
When I thought about this idea objectively I realised how ridiculous it is! How much I weigh does not impact upon how hard I work, how thoughtful I am, how I respond to other people. It does not affect my ability to be kind, caring or helpful, so why does it impact so negatively on the way I feel about myself? It was at this point I realised that I needed to stop weighing myself.
So, what next?
I don’t own a set of scales so stopping weighing myself wasn’t as difficult as it could have been. I had previously used a pay-as-you-go set of scales found in high street shops and sports centres. Once a week I would spend 50p and find out my weight. Invariably this would then play on my mind as more often than not, I would not be happy with the number on the scales. So deciding to give up weighing myself not only stopped me fixating on weight as a way to define myself, but it also saved me money!
Plain sailing? …. not quite!
At first it was difficult to break the habit of stepping on the scales & finding out a number that would (more often than not) make me feel bad. However I reminded myself that whilst my weight would not be any different whether I weighed myself or not, my state of mind would be infinitely better if I didn’t. After a few weeks I realised that giving up weighing myself was actually pretty easy, however I have encountered a few problems along the way. Sometimes people need to know how much you weigh, for medical, insurance or research purposes. However I have stuck with my refusal to know how much I weigh and have found creative ways to get around this by making educated guesses, or by allowing somebody else to weigh me while I looked away.
What have I learned from this experiment?
- Not a lot has changed in terms of my habits
I still go through phases where I exercise lots and eat healthily, I still have phases where I do just the opposite. Most of the time I am somewhere in the middle – I eat healthily most of the time but do enjoy treats, and I regularly enjoy playing badminton and doing yoga.
- Like most people my weight still fluctuates
However, I am more aware now about how my weight fluctuates throughout the year in relation to my working and exercising patterns. I also know that however healthy I am on a daily basis I am never going to be able to give up sweet treats! But, I no longer stress about this now as I know that I will go through periods where I lose weight, as well as periods where I will gain it back (I now gauge this by how tight my clothes are & adjust my habits accordingly!).
- I am much more in tune with my body
Giving up weighing myself does not mean that I am always happy with my body – I do still put on weight, but I am much more in tune with my body these days and know how, and when to adapt my habits accordingly. I no longer get obsessed by the numbers on the scales, but I do focus much more on making healthy changes to benefit my body.
It has been over 16 months since I last weighed myself. I no longer allow a number on a set of scales to have any power over me & I feel so much better for having no idea how much I actually weigh!