I’ve been dieting on and off since I was a kid. I’ve tried prescription diet pills from shady doctors and every kind of fad diet imaginable, and about a year ago, I just quit. I stopped (for the most part) counting calories or dieting or anything that remotely resembled restricting the food that I ate. It was bliss. It was the first major step I'd taken in accepting my body.
Since then, I’ve really never been happier. Occasionally, though, I would catch myself stealing glances at one of the omnipresent diet ads in ladymags, or lingering down the diet pills aisle at the supermarket, trying to talk myself out of buying the latest batch of snake oil. More frequently, I was still using the most common household torture device for the modern woman: the scale.
It was even Weight Watchers branded. I kept it tucked under a shelf in my bathroom. I made sure, though, to leave about an inch of that judgey blue plastic sticking out. Every time I went in to pee or do my makeup, the scale was always visible. It always seemed to be glaring at me for not stepping on for my daily dose of humiliation and failure, like it was something I should be doing in between brushing and flossing.
In the past few years, weighing myself was a pretty occasional thing. I’d step on whenever my jeans felt a little loose (or tight), or just after I’d gotten over a nasty case of the flu. Before that, in the diet-pill-and-cigarettes days, it was part of my everyday routine — an obsession that I could sometimes beat back to once a week or every few days. After months without even weekly weigh-ins, I knew I was doing better, but the scale still got occasional use.
One month ago, I moved. When I made the trip to my new apartment, I threw my bathroom scale in the trash. Along with all the other things that just didn’t belong in my life anymore, like worn out clothes and furniture, it needed to go. I wish I could say that I had some kind of grand, transformational moment in which I decided that I no longer needed the approval of a bathroom scale. In reality, the scale was just dirty and I didn’t really want to clean it.
I did decide, though, that it was time for a little experiment: how long could I stay away from the scale? What would it be like to not even have the option to weigh myself whenever I was feeling particularly diet-motivated? It sounded good in theory, but I wasn’t too sure that I’d be able to stay away for long.
As of a few days ago, I’m officially one month into living life without a scale, and it’s awesome. I have no earthly idea what I weigh, and this experience has showed me exactly how my personal weigh-ins were causing me to hate on my body for no reason. No matter how much progress I was making in respecting my body in all its awesomeness, every time I stepped on, I was undoing a little of that hard work.
I now realize that to really radically love myself as a fat woman, the scale has to go permanently. I guess the doctor can still weigh me, but for the most part, I’ll just keep paying attention to my clothes. I know there’s still the possibility that I could buy a scale in 6 months during a low moment, or go back to dieting. The thought of losing weight sometimes lingers, though less constantly than before. I’m working hard to stay on track.