Let’s talk about the scale.
WAIT NO DON’T LEAVE! COME BACK! COME BACK! I promise you’ll want to stick around for this discussion (okay, I can’t actually promise that. But still, you should stay.)
We all know how much the scale sucks. It lies! It doesn’t measure beauty or brains or compassion or general bootyliciousness! Don’t listen to it! Throw it away! Kill it with fire!
But here’s the thing: the scale doesn’t lie. The scale is just a thing.
We’re the ones who lie. We’re the ones who convince ourselves that life will be better once the scale shows us a smaller number. We’re the ones who long for the time when we were “soo much skinnier” than we are now. We’re the ones who obsessively search BMIs and celebrities’ weights, trying to compare our bodies to somebody else’s. We’re the ones who give the scale power…Power that it shouldn’t have.
And in the process of giving the scale power, we’re taking that power away from ourselves. That is simultaneously immensely comforting and insanely terrifying. It’s comforting because life is crazy and scary and complicated; if we can pin our woes on a number on the scale, it takes some of the responsibility off of us. On the other hand, it’s terrifying because we’re giving power (of our moods, our happiness, our self-worth) to an inanimate object. (And not even a cool, high-tech inanimate object, like an iPhone.) It’s dumb. Real dumb.
A couple weeks ago, I put on a bathing suit to go lay out by the pool (and then got really sunburned). It was the same bathing suit I had worn in Hawaii a few years back. I remember seeing the pictures from that trip and feeling huge. I remember weighing myself during that trip and seeing my highest number ever. I remember being devastated.
So a took a picture of my present-day self (which is now my 3-weeks-ago self) and put ‘em side-by-side.
Here were my initial thoughts about these two pictures:
- I weighed 20+ pounds less in the left picture.
- I felt insanely self-conscious in the left picture. Much less so in the right picture.
- I miss that tan.
- I miss Hawaii.
- I think my body looks fine (great…hot) in both pictures.
- I think I look more or less the same in both pictures, despite over 3 years and 20-someodd pounds of difference.
Now here’s the important stuff:
In the time span between these photographs…
I started college.
I maintained my relationship for another 3 years, for a total of 5.5.
I fell in love with so many wonderful, beautiful friends.
I traveled to Italy and Costa Rica, and ate an unbelievable amount of gelato and drank and unbelievable amount of frozen rum drinks, respectively.
I probably ate the equivalent of 22 wheels of Brie.
I definitely ate at least 30 pizzas.
I gained weight. I lost weight. I maintained weight. I gained more weight (see above). I was okay with it. I am okay with it.
I fell into the kale fad and drank lots of green smoothies.
I got an iPhone.
I started a blog and met a whole lot of wonderful people.
I sweated a lot. 30% of the time it was because of a workout. 70% of the time was because I’m a sweaty human and it’s hot (#globalwarming).
I graduated college.
I started the daunting process of figuring out what I want to do and who I want to become.
I watched waaay too much Netflix.
I cried and laughed and snorted.
I learned a little about a lot.
I found passions and lost friends.
I loved and I hated.
How beautiful is all of that?!
Yes, in 3 years I gained the equivalent of a fairly chubby house cat, but I also did a lot and learned a lot and saw some amazing things. My life is so much more than a number on the scale. I refuse to give the scale the power to take away the magic of three years. I refuse to look that those two pictures and see “20+ pound gain.” I want to look at those pictures and see how much happier and more fulfilled I am today. I want to appreciate how much I’ve grown (metaphorically, hah). I refuse to allow the number on the scale to make me forget all of the important things that have transpired between those pictures.
The scale only has power if you give it power.