Your body is the first place you live and the only home you are guaranteed from your birthday until your last day. It can be a home filled with loving support or filled with conflict. For many of us, it’s a confusing home where they co-exist.
About a year ago, I was on a Zoom call hosted by Nourish Coaches. It was a lively conversation—discussing the negative words we use regarding our bodies and food. And on the flip side, could we tell when we were being compassionate with ourselves? During the call, the conversation turned to the habit of weighing ourselves and women’s fraught relationship with their bathroom scale.
In full disclosure, I have not stepped on a bathroom scale in I don’t know how many years. At some point, my husband bought one, but it stays in the closet until he wants to figure out how much one of our cats weighs.
An even riskier disclosure is that I politely tell medical staff that I will not step on the scale in a doctor’s office, unless there seems to be an immediate medical necessity—so I haven’t been weighed since around 2002, though I will offer them my best guess.
As a former dancer, the bathroom scale used to hold a lot of power in my life. The scale’s haughty read-out could giveth, or taketh away my inner peace. That went on for years. I’d wake up feeling great, only to be taken down when my weight hadn’t dropped. And what was my end expectation? That I’d just keep dropping weight down to zero?
Working with women in my Feldenkrais practice for the last 18 years, they tell me their stories and I know that my experience with the bathroom scale is not an isolated one—that the number on the scale can determine if we feel worthy of happiness or not.
You do not have to give your scale that power. Remember that you can enjoy the breeze on your face, the love of a pet or a delicious tidbit, without the scale’s permission.
So before you take that step . .
How are you feeling at that moment? Does your life look like an incredibly tall mountain to climb? Maybe you are schooling your kids at home, making your way through your workday, behind on chores and maintaining personal relationships . . on top of whatever demands you have regarding your appearance. Take a moment to consider all you’ve got on your plate and how you feel.
Wait for Awareness-
Pause long enough until awareness arrives. Consider why you are stepping on the scale. Ask yourself what good comes from this practice today . . and then take a moment to attend to your breath and listen to yourself for the answer.
Many of you understand what I am saying. For you, stepping on that scale may set the tone for your entire day, which may already be filled with challenges.
Do you need that in your life today?
How we live in our bodies is the first place where we have choice, even if we are not in practice of granting it to ourselves.
In the small moment between thought and action, I invite you to consciously pause before you step on that scale.
You may be used to submitting to the authority of the food and weight loss industries, but here’s a radical idea and I stand by you as you do it—
You can be brave enough to tell your bathroom scale, “Not this day.”
And finally, when you begin to make small choices on your own behalf, against habit and culture,
You may find that you feel better and give yourself permission to say “no” to stepping on the scale that day, that week, or not at all—until you choose to. Just try it out. Nothing is written in stone.
Take the time to consciously pause, become aware and choose whether a practice supports or diminishes you. Try it out first with your bathroom scale. Maybe you’ll also discover that the best use for your scale might just be to weigh your cat. You might also discover that you have the courage and wisdom to choose what serves your needs in other areas of your life.
You’ll come to trust yourself to know the difference on any given day. And you get to choose what that looks like. This is the road back to support and delight as you learn to live compassionately in your first and forever home—your body.