Yesterday as I was leaving my gym, I noticed a young woman 20-ish, standing naked on the scale in the locker room. I also noticed standing near her was another naked woman who was probably her grandmother, waiting for her turn to weigh in. This caught my attention because I thought to myself why do we weigh ourselves?
Now a lot of you are thinking, “Gina done lost her mind! Duh!” But hang with me here, because you all know that I look at things from a different angle, and generate new perspectives that I share with you. The important thing, as I am prone to do with EVERYTHING is to ask the question WHY. Since I was a kid, that question is so prevalent in my life that I should be known as a whyman, instead of a woman. ( Ok, you know I always sneak in a weird pun. Let’s hope that’s the only one today.)
Today I want to invite you to explore the WHY to this question so that you have a vehicle to become more conscious of the many things we all do unconsciously and to break away from the herd and THINK FOR YOURSELF. This way of thinking is like a muscle, and the more you use it, the stronger it gets.
Ok, so seriously, why do we weigh ourselves? What real purpose does it serve? What does that number on the scale have to do with anything important or relevant in our lives? I’m speaking here of a healthy person, just as a disclaimer. I know that there are some perhaps medical conditions where weight is a determinant or a marker of something, or professional fighters weight themselves for fairness in the ring, but I’m speaking just of the average person and particularly women. What’s the first thought that came to your mind in answer to that question? Did your brain go all fuzzy with, “hmmm, to find out what I weigh?” Think again…
That number on the scale has absolutely no meaning other than its purpose to frustrate and lower the self-esteem of almost every woman who steps onto one. Once you get that number, you IMMEDIATELY (talk about instant non gratification) feel that there’s something wrong with you. The number is wrong and you need to change it, even if it’s only a couple of pounds. Which then leads to your endless googling and obsessing about the ultimate weight-loss products, or deciding to go on a diet. That number leads to comparison of what other people weigh, like that woman you saw in the magazine (which one, so many!) that made you hate your thighs even more than you already do, or your facial lines, or your eyebrows,or your butt, or your…..fill in the blank.
THAT FREAKIN’ NUMBER is a trigger, a catalyst that’s damned near Pavlovian to make you feel bad about you! Pretty soon all you have to do is SEE a scale and you’re terrified. All those bad feeling start a rush of chemicals in your body, aka hormones, that make you feel like crap about yourself and soon you’re depressed. In fact, most women will tell you that just the sight of a scale provokes anxiety. I saw a statistic that said most women weight themselves an average of twice a week, or 104 times a year! Think about the repetition of an act that makes you feel bad about yourself that many times in a year and the effect that has on your psyche. That irrelevant number on the scale leads to depression and the sense of inferiority for almost every woman. Tragically, even anorexics experience exactly the same thing because the number is never small enough.
Realizing they’re not their “ideal” weight, some women eat their feelings, so may end up self-soothing with food, and voila, when you step on the scale, guess what?? That sneaky number is bigger. So you’re now more depressed, and you end up on an anti-depressant, which can make you eat more, eat less, feel suicidal, lose your sex drive, and affect your hormones. Do you see the vicious cycle that develops just from stepping onto a scale?? Do you see the path of disempowerment that can be triggered by this practice of weighing ourselves? To some of you it may seem I’m exaggerating, but for many this is truth.
You might argue that someone who is chronically overweight and on a program to lose weight would be inspired by the number coming down, and while that is true to some degree, it is also setting them up to define their successes by THAT NUMBER, rather than celebrating their discipline, commitment and choices, and the obvious visual that they’re shrinking.
Is that number a goal, a target, a golden ticket? Is it like winning the lottery? And what is the RIGHT number? There is no right number on a scale. It’s an insidious tool to keep you in the marketplace of all the consumerism revolving around deflating and destroying women’s bodies and beauty — and ultimately our power. The right number comes from you living a healthy, balanced life; body, mind and spirit. Our mindset is to reward ourselves for a number goal, rather than the goal of living in integrity with our authentic selves. I wrote a blog post a while back called “Joy, the Key To Weight Loss” (in the archives), and in it I talk about the idea that when we are content inside, we are content outside, and our weight arrives at our most healthy, natural number.
So you see the scale is actually a tool that undermines your self-esteem, your self-worth and a healthy sense of your body. What if instead of stepping on the scale you simply paid attention to how you feel, to the way your clothes fit? What if you ate a healthy diet and allowed your body to take the shape that it naturally wants to inhabit? What if you exercised regularly, were emotionally healthy, self-loving and had a strong and comfortable connection to your sexuality?What if you became guided by what you felt on the inside, instead of by the number reflected on the outside? A number, by the way, chosen by an industry focused on taking your money and your self-worth. As it’s used by most women, that scale is a weapon of self-destruction
What if you decided to never ever set foot on a scale again to find out what that number is? What if you decided right now to chuck the one you may own?
Because I do share personally, I can tell you that I have truly lived this way. I’ve never personally owned a scale, nor will I. Like any woman, my weight has fluctuated throughout my life, and I’ve had a child, so weight gain was part of that experience obviously. I know personally that when I’ve been unhappy or in self-betrayal, my weight has increased or decreased from what was MY HEALTHY. My feelings and how my clothes fit were my clues that I needed to make changes in my life. I wasn’t striving to arrive at a number on a scale, but to arrive at a place of equanimity and joy within me. And only I know where that place lives inside me. That place determines my weight, but the number has been unknown to me for years.
Yes, of course I’ve weighed myself at times, but it’s how I know NOT TO. I’ve been just as affected by seeing a number not aligned with the “ideal.” I live in the same world with all my sisters and I’m not immune to the subliminal and overt mental manipulations all around me. I CHOOSE to unplug from them and listen to the voice within me. She is my compass, my wise woman, and the keeper of my health; body, mind and soul. In my opinion, our mental health, aka our belief system, is more of a determinant in our self-esteem and physical health than almost anything else we do. When you pay attention from the inside, life changes radically.
So I ask you again: why do you weigh yourself?
I’m now asking you personally as you read this to stop and to answer what may seem like the most mundane and simple question, but to answer it for YOU personally. Answer it with the ideas in mind which I’ve shared with you in this post. This will give you a window into your own feelings which may be unconscious about your body and your relationship to it. And I truly hope it inspires you to become a WHYman about EVERYTHING. (sorry, there it is again.)
If you enjoyed this post, please share it with someone you care about, Especially the women in your lives. And that goes for you guys reading this, too. I hope that for the guys who read my posts, that doors and windows open in your mind to generate a better understanding of some of the challenges women face in the struggle to feel good about themselves.
Ladies, if you’re sick and tired of all the negative manipulations around your body, beauty and power and would like some solid tools to unplug from them and to live aligned with YOUR truth, join me for an interactive teleclass, Eleven Tools to Help You Love the Body You Live In. If you enjoyed my perspective here, I guarantee you’ll love the tools I give you that will allow you to travel a different path, one where your beauty, your body, your power, are defined by you, and one where you won’t give a damn about that number on the scale, or any of the other self-limiting and deprecating beliefs you may be plugged into.
So if you already know you’ve had enough, sign up HERE. If you’re asking “Why should I sign up?” then this post has been effective. But to answer your question, it’s because I KNOW that I can make a HUGE difference in how you feel about yourself, because I GENUINELY care about you, and because I live these tools. You’ll find just a few of many testimonials on the page for the teleclass.
And if you’re still not sure, join my mailing list and receive a free 60+ question Body Inventory that you can download when you subscribe. The e-mail sign up box should be right below this post.
And remember to share this post with those you feel would appreciate the message. And I invite you to weigh in here with me (got one last one in!) and leave a comment below. I’d love to know your thoughts and have you share your feelings. I’m deeply passionate about helping you shine your light and your beauty as fully and brightly as you can.