"Hi, my name is Fitmom, and I was addicted to the scale."
My love affair began with the scale on November 12, 1971 at 5:48 pm when I came kicking and screaming into the world. It ended several months ago upon discovering that it was a dirty, rotten, lying scoundrel.
As a child, the scale fascinated me, shiny white with a big needle that moved if you stood on it. My mom used to keep ours on the bathroom floor in the corner. I didn't understand what the numbers were until I got a little older. It was almost like a toy to me, something to play with to pass the time.
When I was 13, puberty hit and my fascination with the scale grew. I remember getting weighed at the doctor's office and him telling me that I was now 100 lbs. I thought it was cool at first to have hit the triple digits but afterwards, I panicked thinking that the number seemed too high.
Junior year of high school we were told by our gym teacher to line up in the locker room because it was time to get weighed. There was mass hysteria among the girls in my gym class. Everyone looked like a deer in headlights as they waited to step on the dreaded scale.
I got on and was 5 lbs more than I'd been a few days earlier, crushing me beyond belief. My best friend told me her weight and she was below 120 which I considered to be the holy grail. To counteract this, I skipped lunch at school for 2 whole weeks, only eating a chocolate bar. At the end of this experiment, I'd dropped the 5 lbs and the scale and I were friends again.
Preparing for my wedding, I fastidiously dieted down to 110 lbs (I'm 5'6) and felt victorious. Yet to look at my honeymoon photos, I was anything but bikini-ready. Depending on the almighty scale led me to be skinny-fat: soft and flabby. I cringe now when I view the photos as back then I thought I looked good because I went by what the scale said.
This obsession with the scale followed me into the hospital when I had my first child. The head nurse caught me in the supply closet stepping on the scale, the day after delivery! She shook her head in amazement and silently walked me back to my room. The next day, I discovered the supply closet had been locked.
Upon returning home, I made it my mission to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight. I succeeded in 9 days (I had only gained 25 lbs) and basked in the glory of my achievement. Yet looking back, I was very soft and dough-like. A fit body still eluded me.
I started weighing myself throughout my 30s several times a day. Depending on what the number said would determine my mood for the day. A low number made me happy whereas a high number would send into a tailspin for hours afterwards. This addiction was starting to wear me down, physically and mentally.
A lightbulb went off earlier this year when I started focusing on body fat as I was now lifting weights, and loving the physical changes to my body. For once, I wasn't depending on my scale. I went by how my clothes fit, and used my mirror as the ultimate guide. I learned to take what the scale said with a grain of salt as it was a fair-weather friend, at best. I now weigh almost 130 lbs and am the leanest and fittest I've ever been, proving that the number on the scale is meaningless.
I can't believe I ever allowed the scale or its number that much power over me. It's finally released the lifelong chokehold it had on me. The scale doesn't define who I am. Honestly, I could care less what it says because sometimes a number is just simply a...number.