Ditching the Bathroom Scale

My newly neglected bathroom scale. I should just pitch it. April 2013.

As I took off my shoes and stepped onto the scale, I said I’d close my eyes. She asked whether to read out the number. I said, “No.”

Recording the information, the nurse said, “Girl, if you won’t take that number, I will.”

I last weighed in on August 1, 2012.

Before that date, I weighed myself on Friday mornings.

When the number didn’t represent what I thought it should because I’d been so “good,” I often ate too much that day and weekend because, after all, what’s the point of eating well when you don’t lose weight?

If the number on the scale looked good—whether or not I’d had a “healthful” week—I starved and over-exercised to make the number even better the following Friday.

(And when it wasn’t, I overate.)

Toxic cycles.

From what I can tell through cursory research, the personal scale became a common household item in the 1940s—less than a century ago and roughly around the time the United States began to face a weight problem. (Interesting. Fear not, I know the difference between correlation and causation. Yet perhaps, in some fashion, obsessing about numbers “does a number” on everyone’s health?)

Once I focused on eating healthfully, exercising intensely but moderately, sleeping my fill, and measuring how I feel and how my clothes fit—rather than my body weight—I began to trim down. (More details on the program here.)

My clothes no longer fit—in the right way. Friends and acquaintances have exclaimed over how lean I look. Do I know how much weight I’ve lost in poundage? Nope. But I’ve lost a ton of weight when it comes to how I feel: My mood has cleared and grown more resilient, my energy has soared, my health has improved, and my fitness levels have climbed.

The nurse, noting my weight from the previous check-up, asked what I’d changed. I told her I’d gotten off the scale. As I have here, I explained why. “I do the same thing,” she said, referring to the toxic cycles. Then I saw a light ignite. “I’m going to have to try that.”

Should you?