Thursday, July 11, 2013

My breakup

"I have always thought the actions of men the best interpreters of their thoughts." -John Locke

What I was saying and what I was doing were in complete contrast. On one hand I was saying that the scale and other similar measures didn't matter. That my character was not to be judged by any number. But my actions told a different story. Each morning I would step on the scale to be judged: good or bad. I would get out a tape measure weekly to see if the jury would convict or exonerate me. I based my self worth on how my smallest jeans fit.

My actions were displaying my true thoughts.

The scale was an idol. The tape measure a ruler. The jeans a shrine. All shouting that my size was the most important thing about me, no matter what my words were saying.

The first principle of Intuitive Eating is to reject the dieting mentality. To really grasp once and for all that "dieting" doesn't work. Usually "dieting" results in weight gain in the long run. We are often able to "white knuckle" it through bouts of restrictive eating only to find ourselves in situations of uncontrollable binging after...which is a mix of biology (our ancestors didn't want to starve) and psychology (tell me I can't have something and I want it even more). Or we find ourselves at the other end of the spectrum where we are truly afraid to eat.

Part of letting go of the dieting mentality is getting rid of the false measurements of success. If I really believed the scale didn't determine my worth, why did I step on it everyday to determine my mood? So in March I packed away the scale. I also packed away diet books (seriously, with at best a 5% success rate, why had I wasted money on these??) and clothes that would fit "if I just lost five pounds." It was scary. I was afraid without those measures I would surely pack on 100 pounds within a few months.

But I asked myself, in the next five years if I could eat nutritiously, exercise for mental and physical health, and have a healthy relationship with food but the scale remained the same or (gasp) even went up, would it be worth it? And what was I risking? I was already struggling to keep off the weight I had lost. If I tried this grand experiment of ditching the scale (and the dieting mentality) and it was horrible, I could always buy another book.

Almost four months after packing away the scale I can honestly say it's been one of the most freeing things I've done. My day is no longer determined by the scale. I don't just say my self worth isn't determined by a number on the scale, I follow through. The scale is packed away in the deep catacombs of my basement, and I plan to leave it there...unless I dig it out to throw it out our second story window.

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