I recently moved country, and during the moving process I found myself no longer in possession of a scale. For many, a scale is probably of no significance. For me, the absence of a scale helped me notice how I was subconsciously weighing myself everyday. As someone who is striving for inner growth and connection with the authentic self, I suddenly find myself facing this subtle hypocrisy that I've hidden in my bathroom for the last 20 years.
Isn't it funny how as a child growing up you never really think about your weight, but then at some point, you become aware of this concept of body size and perhaps your size is 'not right'? This shift happened to me when I was 14 - one year after I moved to the UK. Without parental guidance, I was left to my own device in choosing what food to eat. I remember feeding myself with digestive biscuits, jam donuts...things that weren't part of my diet growing up in Taiwan. Within the span of one year, I put on a whooping 15kg!
The thing is, I never noticed my body changing, I was unaware of it, until my roommate at boarding school kindly pointed out to me that I should go on a diet with her. My roommate was under 40kg and she was maintaining that weight by eating only salad. Once you've been made to see yourself as fat, it's really hard to un-see it again, even when in reality you're no longer overweight.
So, I went on a diet for about half a year eating mainly salad. I thought my struggles as a foreign kid in boarding school were attributed to me being chubby. I thought perhaps if I lost weight then I would have more friends. I managed to lose 10kg in 6 months, as well as my menstrual cycle. That was an alarm that brought me to the doctor and got me back on a more 'normal' diet. But, if I'm being really honest, I don't think I've really truly stopped watching my weight since.
I workout, I do yoga, I pay attention to nutrition...I think underneath all of that, the fears of being chubby, being alone, being ridiculed were driving my efforts to be healthy. Thinking back, even until a couple of months ago, I would weigh myself everyday, sometimes more than once a day, just to make sure I still weigh the same kilograms. If I was a kilo heavier, I would secretly eat less for dinner. This was all happening without me consciously thinking about it, almost as if my mind has adopted a 'scale' that judges me.
There's nothing authentic about this scale. It's built on some arbitrary range that I've linked to my self-worth, and I got the idea of that range from others who were around me during my formative years. On the positive side, this scale has pushed me to exercise, to keep fit, to eat better; but on the dark side, there's always this slight anxiety related to food and worries of not working out enough.
Through my work as a coach, I've been honored to hear others' stories of this 'scale' in one way or another. It may not be to do with weight, but could be appearance, school grades, work achievements...etc. This scale can take so many forms, but the common theme is that often we don't realize, or we don't want to confront the fact that it's driving us towards goals that may not be truly meaningful for ourselves. The efforts come from a place of lack, of feeling not enough.
My relocation coincided with my commitment to dedicate more time to live out my authentic-self and also to support others to do so. I still get that daily feeling of wanting to check my weight, and every time I realize I don't know how much I weigh right now gives me minor anxiety. However, I've decided to not get a scale. I want to explore how I truly feel about my body without a kg tag attached to it. It's also a daily reminder of my commitment.
Is there a scale in your head that judges you? Is it taking you towards a place you truly want to be?