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1.07.2011

one of many small and tangible resolutions...

the scale i own is sitting in a bag next to the door waiting for a goodwill pick-up.

that was one of my new year's resolutions: rid my room of the scale.

to be fair i never really used it. once or twice in the past year, maybe. instead i would find it stored away in strange places like in my suitcase or sandwiched in a storage bin under my bed--such is the life of a new yorker where there's never enough space and storage is a commodity.

so while i never used it, i'd every so often unearth the thing.

and i'd feel it taunting me, climb on, it would say. let's play--let's have some real down-home-fun. 


i got the thing my freshman year of college when this disaster (i mean, adventure?) began and i still thought that the measure of one's health (and thus subsequent worth) was determined by the three numbers the scale offered up to me.

now in my old-age and generally-aknowledged (ahem) wisdom i know better. my health is the culmination of countless factors--many of which i can't control. but i know when i'm eating well. and i know when i'm exercising. and i don't need a scale to measure those things. so ipso-facto-ergo...what use have i for this antiquated device? scales provide the surface amount of information. they hint at things. like health. but they aren't the end-all-be-all.

i remember seeing something on a blog once about bus-stop benches in sweeden? norway? denmark?--some progressive european country. as a way to discourage obesity they had taken to measuring the weight of the seated person and projecting that number up above. i know what you're thinking: shocking, appalling, the wrong approach, right?

well...maybe a bit misguided but the more i thought about it the more i realized the number projected is simply that: a number.

our outrage stems from the shallow notion that weight is the ultimate end. in our culture each number comes with a stigma--an emotional attachment. bridget jones tells me that 140 is an unacceptable number. whereas, when i'm at 140 i border on looking way-too-thin. i see tweets all the time--people saying they're this tall and this is their goal number because that's how tall so-and-so is and that's how much they weigh. but weight sits differently on different people. we truly cannot compare our body to anyone else's--it's not fair, not healthy, and a really ridiculous benchmark.

maybe what we need to work on before we can worry about lowering the number that's flashing above us is detaching the number from the story we've assigned to it. it's just a number, that's all. and yes, it provides us with some information--but it's such a small slice of the pie.

when i started physique i looked leaner almost immediately and the number on the scale increased by more than a few pounds. oh wait, this was mean to be a physique update, no?

okay, okay, that'll come this afternoon...

23 comments:

Camilla Leila said...

oh bravo you.

i for one am in love with my scale. and slightly too dependent upon it. not sure if i'd ever be able to just trust my body and let go.

so this is a big exciting step!

Chelsea said...

I couldn't believe that i gained 4 lbs in one week! Oh these pregnancy cravings are going to be the end of me! It is JUST a number, I know, but that damn number taunts me! ;)

Good stuff my dear! You are totally lovely no matter what that number says!

A Serenade for Solitude said...

You are wise. Unwavering determination and strength. You are learning something that many of us women and girls will struggle with for their entire life. I commmend you. xx

Krysta said...

Hurrah for you! When I ditched the scale I became happier, healthier, and, I assume, a more interesting person.

We fret or rejoice over the smallest changes in that number, which, in the larger shceme of the world and our lives, is the sillest thing to spend our time and energy on.

Laura Marie said...

A-freakin-men. Seriously. To all of it. Thank you (as always) for the reminder that we can't keep measuring ourselves against The Numbers/other people/anything but how we feel.

Much appreciated :) Have a great weekend!

AbbieBabble said...

Good for you!

I don't have a scale. I'm in a situation quite a bit different from yours- I DO need to lose weight (quite a bit of it, actually), and I'm doing that. I thought about buying a scale, but I realized that it would be easy to go from doing this exciting thing that's making me happy to being completely obsessed with the scale. Instead I weigh in once a week, and it's as un-crazy as any weight loss effort can be, I think. So far, so good.

Which is a whole lot about me, when really I just wanted to say, hooray! Big step!

kara lynn said...

i don't own a scale either. i agree if you take care of your body and feel good then numbers don't really matter!

communikate. said...

i hate numbers.

i hate that some jeans i wear one size, and another pair of jeans it's a MUCH bigger size. i think that's why i like shoes so much. i've got a small foot, so the shoes are always a low number.

i'm getting rid of my scale. instead of motivating me, it throws me into despair, and i just want to eat more.

Anonymous said...

it's funny to read this now, as this morning i came home from the gym feeling amazing, stepped on the scale and was immediately thrust into the Pit of Despair. then i reminded myself of how much better i've been treating my body lately, and that how i FEEL is really all that matters. i then tossed the damn thing into the yard sale pile by the door and told my (shocked) husband i was tired of having it dictate my mood for the day. i already feel a million times better.

D&D said...

i can honestly, genuinely say that i can't remember the last time i a) weighed myself and b) worried about that number.

i am free of all that, well, weight.

Ana* said...

The bus benches on Sweeden are beyond ridiculous!

ps: I have given you the stylish blog award. stop by my blog for more details. I would love to read your 7 facts.

Jenni Austria Germany said...

oh, i just love for you blog. for reasons such as this post.

Shorty said...

Great post! Bravo! I wish more people (girls in particular) understood this game we play with numbers. It took me a while to detach myself from my numbers, but I've never been happier. :)

c.e.l.i.n.a said...

Good for you!!! That is awesome!

Georgette said...

Oh My goodness! xo

http://tomywife.tumblr.com/

Miss E said...

Yay! I personally have never owned a scale nor do I ever intend to own one. I think it puts way too much pressure on. I prefer to judge my weight by how my clothes feel. Are my jeans a little tight this week? Ok, time to cut back on the chocolate. Or, I've been running 5 times this week and the waistband of my skirt feels just right. I don't believe those ugly red numbers can tell what real health is. So go Meg!

Platypodian said...

the scale is my enemy. But, I have been working on it (at an awesome pace) since New Years!

Mackenzie said...

oh i know this all too well!
all i can say that helped me through my own ed struggles is, why on earth are we so concerned on how the earth's downward gravitational pull upon our bodies?
it's a silly thought, but sometimes it's fun and useful to pick apart weight, and numbers. and all those silly things that keep us from drinking that girly cocktail or baking up brownies for friends on a friday night, ya know?

i love this. i love when people can be productive about talking about their struggles, especially with nasty old men like neds. (mine was bald and had ridiculously strong eyebrows, how did yours look?! )

:)

andrea said...

I constantly try to remind myself that, like you said, weight IS just a number. But...I forget a lot, so thanks for the reminder this morning, Meg.

PS: I gave you a silly little blog award over at my blog, so check it out if you'd like! :)

Anait said...

Good for you! I think we could all use a reminder that the numbers on a scale are just that, numbers.

ALFIE said...

i banned the scale years ago-- after i found myself face-to-face with my best friends little sister--- urging her that numbers on a scale don't matter. numbers on a tag don't matter.

how you feel is what matters.

i figured i better start living it.

i raise my proverbial glass to your scale purge!


ps: my current reading suggestions:: johnny panic & the bible of dreams, ROOM, and Howl & other poems.

Kelly said...

I love this post. Love love love it. It's true - weight is just a number. It is a guideline to help people estimate their health at a given point - but is not a total picture of their health, by any means. Love your posts on body image/being healthy, they inspire me so much.

In A Class Of Her Own said...

I have never commented on your posts before, but I was told by a friend that you suffered from an eating disorder. I suffer from bulimia, and a couple of years ago, it almost killed me. This post really struck me because I used to weigh myself 5 to 6 times a day. If I gained more than a pound throughout the whole day, I panicked. I purged like crazy. I stopped eating the next day to purge on an empty stomach in hopes of losing the pounds. After I almost died, the moment I got home, my family threw away the scales. They decided that my measurement of some insignificant number was not healthy. These days, I don't know what I weigh. I don't want to know. If I have a number in my head, it screams at me to challenge it. I have to admit, I still purge, but not like a I used to. I wonder if I can be as strong as you are and get my body back. This disorder is ruining my life and consuming me entirely. I have gone through counseling, but no counselor has made me feel comfortable. Suggestions are welcome...from anyone really. I'm nearly desperate.