As a teenager, I created a daily ritual which consisted of me heading straight to the bathroom every morning and stepping on the scales before school. Some days they were my best friend, others, my worst enemy.
Unfortunately, the number they would display would determine how I felt about myself for the rest of the day; whether I loved or hated myself.
Society had ingrained in me the idea that the lower the number on the scales, the better – this belief was without consideration for things like wellness or health. My diet and exercise regime focused solely on getting those numbers down, no matter what.
This became very problematic if the number on the scales wasn’t going down, and would set off a rollercoaster of emotion. It was a rollercoaster of self-loathing, frustration, disappointment, and sadness that lead me straight back to throwing in the towel and eating my emotions. This sad cycle for me was on repeat for years and years, it was not until I hit a really low point and I sat myself down and had to ask myself what I was doing. I was so unhappy that I was waging a war with the numbers on the scale and losing time after time.
I eventually came to a tipping point and decided to stop this cycle, saying goodbye and leaving my scales on the nature strip!
I reappointed my goals to be focused on health and fitness. Instead of using the scales to determine my self-worth, I began focusing on moving my body and eating lots of fresh produce, as well as taking time out to reflect on how good I was feeling, as a healthier and happier person.
Why do we put so much emphasis on the scales? Now that I look back, it is easy to see how distorted this view was. Everyone’s weight fluctuates daily, depending on many variables such as what we have eaten or drunk, water retention, hormones and even ‘that’ time of the month. However, at the time there was nothing that could make me feel better about that dreaded number.
Fast forward several years and the number on the scales is not as low as it used to be, but I can truly say that I have never been healthier, and in turn, happier.
Over the past few years I have conquered some of my own personal fitness goals like trekking to Machu Picchu and completing a 10km fun run and these experiences make me feel so much better than any number on the scales will.