Thursday, October 16, 2014

To scale or not to scale?

I have never personally owned a scale. Not in a great many years now have I even had regular access to a scale. None of my roommates had scales so I haven't had access to one at all since I moved out of my parents' house better than a decade ago.

Lately I've been pondering if a scale would be a useful thing or a detrimental one. Obviously I'm attempting to get into proper shape which should eventually come with a good deal of weight loss. I'm also healthier now than I have been in a long time so I'm not visiting the doctor all too often so I have no accidental/coincidental scale access either.

My memory of having access to a scale is not friendly. The scale was a source of stress and a way to control something in a world that was spiraling out of my grasp. My weight became the only thing I even attempted to control and I did that through very damaging eating patterns.

So on the one hand, I think it would be motivating and helpful for me to know how I am doing in attempting to lose weight. On the other hand, I never want that disordered eating in my life again and I'm afraid of what having a chart of my weight would do to me.

On the third hand, I like to think I'm overall much healthier now than I have been before. Most days I think my mental health is pretty well taken care of and my physical health is improving with exercise. Maybe I'm giving the scale control of my life without it even being present to impact it at all. Maybe it would be no big deal to weigh in once a week or once a day.

But there again, I don't know. I want to make sure my girls develop some kind of healthy relationship with eating and their bodies. The kid eats so little and at most meals, Little Monster eats at least as much if not more (sometimes by double or more) what her older sister eats that I worry their approaches to food are going to set them apart as they get old enough to notice how different they are. We are probably already ruining them by pointing out the good things Little Monster does when presented with a new food ("Look, she's picking it up and smelling it up close! You could try that too! Why don't you just touch the fish stick? Oooh and now she's taking a bite! What a brave Little Monster! See? She likes it! That fish stick might be your favorite food and you are missing it, Kid!") and how great it is that she eats her food instead of ignoring it at meals and demanding 5 desserts afterward (and I'm sure Little Monster will also do that when she has words for it but since nobody ever gets 5 desserts, no matter how much they whine and tantrum, she hasn't tried to develop words for it yet).

I remember times when my mom spent days and weeks weighing herself a couple times a day before giving up or before giving up dessert and then dinner in favor of some fad diet snack she'd eat before we all did. I bet that stuff influenced me more than I realize. It isn't something I consider often but I know my body image is very skewed.

So where do you stand? Scale or no scale? Should I get one? How long of a trial do I give it? How would I even recognize if the scale were a problem?


  1. Wow. We are so, so similar on this. I never owned a scale and I only weighed myself at the doctor or at my parents house when I was over. I also associate the scale with dark times and disordered eating. It thought a lot about whether or not I should get one when I was trying to lose the pregnancy weight recently.

    In the end I did get one. I wanted to get one of the fancy ones that measure body fat but some research suggested that the more affordable ones (which still cost A LOT of money) were bullshit so I ended up getting a regular scale. I promised myself to only step on it once a week, to measure my progress. And you know what? I did. And I never felt the pull to weigh myself more often and I since I lost all the weight I wanted to I haven't stepped on it again (it's been over a month). So I would say that it is possible to have a positive/neutral relationship with the scale even after a history or negative/traumatic experiences with it. Just my two cents, for what it's worth.

  2. I have a scale and I get on it maybe once a week. But I don't fret over the number much. I can tell when I'm feeling, err, plump, by the way my clothes fit. If I do get on the scale, I can vary as much as 5 pounds in one day (always higher at night).

    My mom and dad had a terrible example for us when we were kids, my dad calling my mom chunky and pinching her lovehandles, my mom dieting, etc. I don't want to set that kind of example. I want my kids to see me love my body, whatever shape it is, and make good healthy eating and exercise choices. Easier said than done as I wince when my kids slap my jiggly bellyand laugh. it's a work in progress, i guess.