I unfriended my scale. I threw it out. We’ve never been real friends anyway. My scale was one of those fake friends who pretended like it had my best interest in mind but then acted like a catty little bitch whenever it had the chance. I heard a phrase a while ago that reminded me of my scale: People who believe in brutal honesty are often more interested in brutality than honesty. Yeah.
There was no positive reinforcement from my scale. There was no “You had a great day yesterday! You said no to birthday cake and you know that you love birthday cake! But you didn’t take any! So here! Check out THIS number, which is reflective of the emotional sacrifice that you just endured! Yippee! Go, you!”
None of that. Instead it was more like, “You saw cake. You thought about cake. I’m going to have to charge you five pounds for that.” But I didn’t eat it! Not one crumb! “Doesn’t matter. You wanted to.”
All scales must be Catholic.
So I’m done. I don’t need that kind of judgment in my life.
I threw out my scale once before. When I was in my early 20s I moved to New Orleans and went through some life-changing stuff — living far away from my family, getting my first “grown-up” apartment on my own and also dealing with the tiny little detail of horrible, soul-crushing betrayal and heartbreak. I hit bottom. The bottom of the bottom. At one point I sat there in my apartment and said, “You know, no one knows me here. I could just stay in my apartment and quietly go crazy and turn into an alcoholic and there’s not a soul to stop me.” And I realized that that wasn’t going to be an option for me. I chose to survive as a real member of the human race. I chose to not go running home because my romantic life blew up in my face in a spectacular fashion. And I chose to be me.
So I said to myself that if someone wanted to love me, they were going to have to take me exactly as I was, at whatever weight I was. And you know what happened? My clothes started getting looser. I had to buy smaller sizes. Friends came to visit and remarked on how great I looked. And I felt good. I had no idea what I weighed but for the first time I felt like I had a decent figure.
But I didn’t stay that way, unfortunately. A couple of up-and-down years went by and then the babies came.
I don’t need much in the way of an excuse to pig out, so pregnancy was the perfect scapegoat. One of my lowest points was after my first child was born. I was downstairs early in the morning, bleary-eyed after watching bad TV all night while nursing the baby who never stopped crying. It was 6 AM and Tom came downstairs to get ready for work. He was greeted by the sight of his disheveled wife in her giant bathrobe, nursing the baby while standing in front of the TV with the phone in one hand and the credit card in the other, ordering a $300 Pilates machine from QVC. I could actually feel the crazed, guilty look in my eyes when he came down and found me there. (Which reminds me, I need to put that gadget on Craigslist — anyone want to make me an offer?)
It took forever to lose the baby weight. I thought it couldn’t be as bad the second time around. But — you guessed it — it was worse.
However, tossing that scale back in January has been empowering. Since then, I’ve dropped one pants size. And the new pants I got two weeks ago in the new size are already too big. I don’t have to unbutton my jeans to get them off — which is sure to be useful in all kinds of situations.
Granted, it has taken me a long time to get to this point. This has taken a lot of reading and self reflection. One that I really love is called I Can Make You Thin by Paul McKenna. The very over-simplifed concept of the book is that you eat when you’re hungry. You stop when you’re full. You pay attention to what you’re eating. You fully enjoy it. You eat what you REALLY want to eat, even if it’s cake. That way, you don’t get all rebellious later and binge on stuff you’re not supposed to have. (And by “you,” I mean “me.”)
And the baggier my pants get, the more motivated I am to be aware of what I’m putting in my mouth.
For example, a few days ago I was at the car dealer for a long time. By the time they were done with my car, I was starving. I haven’t had a doughnut in a really long time (for me, anyway) and decided that that was what I really wanted. It felt like a little treat to myself and I was looking forward to enjoying it on the way home in the car BY MYSELF — no kids yapping at me, no Hannah Montana on the CD player. Just NPR, me and a coffee roll. Ah.
But about halfway through the glazed mess, I realized it didn’t taste as good as I thought it would. I wasn’t enjoying it anymore. And I also wasn’t hungry anymore. So I decided to stop. Just stop. No more eating just because there happened to be food in the vicinity. In the past, stopping would’ve required me to toss the doughnut out the window so I would be FORCED to cease and desist. But not now. So I tried to put the doughnut back in the bag. But I dropped it. Near my feet. Near the brake pedal. I got scared because when I was in college a girl died because a soda can rolled behind the brake pedal while she was driving and she plowed right into an intersection.
And that’s when I realized it: This doughnut was trying to kill me! It was like it decided that if it couldn’t take me out with its fat and sugar, it was going to find another way.
I managed to wrestle it away from the brake pedal and keep the car on the highway at the same time. I returned the evil little bastard to its bag where it couldn’t hurt anyone else. It took me a minute to catch my breath but then I had to laugh. There I was, feeling so proud of my recent weight loss success. What if I had been in a fatal accident? The police report would say, “Cause of malfunction: Glazed coffee roll under brake pedal.” (Incidentally, I drive a Toyota. I wonder if that would’ve sparked a new inquiry into the cause of Toyota’s recent defects. Perhaps Toyota owners have a higher propensity to eat — and drop — baked goods while driving.)
So I survived. To write another day. To eat another day. To live. To enjoy. To quit beating myself up! To be KIND to myself! To be loving to myself so I can be loving to others. And to share another story with you all.
Have a lovely night, peeps. Watch out for those devious doughnuts.
(NOTE ON COMMENTS: I started the blog because I wanted an easier way to look back on conversations without having to weed through the landfill of my facebook account. However, some of you have mentioned that you don’t like to login to make comments. I have twice attempted to set the blog so you can comment without logging in and both times I have gotten murdered with spam. So dear friends, I ask you to please not be afraid to comment here if there’s something you want to say. It only takes a sec to login and no one else will see your email address unless you want them to. You will not get spammed in return for your comments. And that way I can look back on our conversation and remember how smart and witty you were. And how nice your hair looked when you wrote your smart, witty comments. And how nice your breath smelled. Do you want to cuddle?)