I Ditched My Toxic Relationship With The Scale And It Has Been Liberating

I Ditched My Toxic Relationship With The Scale And It Has Been Liberating

Say goodbye to this toxic relationship.

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If you struggle with your body image as I do, then you understand having a complex and complicated relationship with the scale.

For my whole life, I've determined my self-confidence on what number popped up on the screen, whether I was stepping on an old, plastic scale from 1970 or a modern, digital glass model from Bed, Bath & Beyond. I remember running a lot the summer between elementary and middle school, and I lost 10 pounds. I was 11 years old, and I was already proud of my weight loss.

And don't get me wrong, losing weight is great if you need to lose weight. If your doctor recommends weight loss, and you get your body back to a healthy weight, that is amazing. But in the grand scheme of life, when you're at the proper weight for your age and height, three to sevens pounds shouldn't be the determining factor on whether or not you feel good about yourself for the rest of the day.

About a year ago, I began really struggling with my hormones. I've struggled with my hormones since I was about 14-years-old, but this last year was one of the most difficult times with my hormones.

I had never felt worse in my entire life. I gained a lot of weight, and I felt super bloated. I had heartburn for three months straight no matter what I ate or what activities I did. Working out was hard; my limbs felt like lead and I would become insanely drained afterward. I was tired all the time, completely unable to motivate myself to do anything, but when night came, I couldn't sleep.

I felt anxious a lot, but also mildly depressed. Nothing really felt like it even mattered or was even worth doing, and that kind of mentality felt endless. I didn't find enjoyment in any activity.

I remember thinking all of the things I once really liked doing, I no longer cared about. My sorority, my job, even going out with my friends, which was always something I loved, felt like a major disappointment.

It was like I was watching life happen around me, but I wasn't actually there living it.

The only time I truly remember feeling my brain make the proper amount or cortisol and serotonin was when I was laying in my bed, watching "Friends" and eating semi-sweet chocolate chips by the bag. That was the only time I really felt satisfied, happy and calm.

So it was a rough few months, and my physique showed it.

As time went on, I was able to slowly work my way out of the pit of hormonal struggle. Although my hormones aren't still a walk in the park, I definitely manage this annoyance a lot better. The one thing I really couldn't figure out how to improve on, though, was my weight.

My weight didn't decrease, and I struggled to figure out how to fix it. When it felt like I was making progress, it didn't show on the scale at all, and it would discourage me. And little slip-ups in my routines would immediately show on the scale, and it would discourage me again. I would weigh myself at least twice every day, and for months I saw no improvements. No matter what I tried to tell myself, I couldn't muster up enough motivation to really set myself back on track health-wise.

And then I decided to ditch the scale.

I had become addicted to stepping on the scale, and I was basing all of my confidence on what it was telling me. If it didn't say what I wanted it to say, I would ditch my routine completely and lapse back into unhealthy habits. And I let it make me feel bad about myself.

It was so hard to quiet all the negative thoughts about myself when the scale wasn't saying what I wanted it to. Finally stepping back from the scale was honestly the best thing I could've done for my health goals.

I stopped worrying about an arbitrary goal that didn't show me real, genuine progress.

Does a scale tell you if you PRed at the gym that day? Does a scale tell you that you finish a 5K for the first time? Does a scale tell you your body is full of nutrients and minerals? Does it tell you how much sleep you're getting at night? How much energy you have during the day? And mostly, does it tell you how good you feel about yourself?

Absolutely not.

It's been almost a month since I've stepped on a scale, and I've never been more on track with my health. Going to the gym feels like something I can enjoy. Eating fruits, vegetables and protein is just me keeping a balanced diet, not me dieting to lose weight. Removing the "weight loss" pressure from my fitness goals gave me the freedom to be healthy and fit for myself, and not for some image I'm trying to keep up.

Watching my body become fitter, stronger, and feeling it become more reliable and nourished, is so much better than any number I've ever seen on a scale.

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.
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Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

Suicidal thoughts are thought of in such black and white terms. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is there are some stuck in the gray area of those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble; and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead. You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time, until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling; whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die," or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you, you are not alone.

If you're thinking about hurting yourself please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit suicidepreventionhotline.org to live chat with someone. Help it out there and you are not alone.


Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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Take A Break, Trust Me, You Need It

It was something I didn't know I needed. And I feel much better from it.

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I recently went on a little mini vacation. Where'd I go, you ask? Nowhere.

That's the best part.

Thankfully, I have a full-time job with great benefits. One of them being paid time off. I recently used all of my PTO, plus the two days I get off a week, which turned into a long and well-needed mini staycation. I stayed at home, slept, caught up on my programs, did some homework, and decluttered.

And you know what? It was something I didn't know I needed. And I feel much better from it.

I wasn't sick. I was mainly just stressed out and overwhelmed. It was like getting the rest I didn't know I was lacking. It was like having all the time in the world to do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. No due dates, no deadlines. No time crunches, no schedules to follow (except my school one).

I'm not telling you to take a week off work and school. But, if you have that opportunity—PTO, spring break—then take advantage of it.

You don't have to go on some extravagant vacation either. Doing something as simple as staying in bed all day, watching Netflix, and spending time with your loved ones is just as relaxing.

It also taught me the importance of self-love and taking care of yourselves. I was stressed, and I feel like I'll never be fully "de-stressed," but for a while, I was able to sit back and smell the roses. I was able to recollect myself, spend some time on me.

Sometimes, you just need a day. Whenever I feel like I need a day off, whether it be with work or school, I usually feel bad about it. I feel awful missing class, or having to call out sick to work. I eventually get over it, though, because at the end of the day, I'm taking care of myself.

Missing one day won't kill you. Take care of your mental health.

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