Do you remember when the scale became the dictator of how you felt about yourself?
For some of my clients and myself, it was usually around a time when there was some sort of chaos in our lives. Assessing the scale became a bucket to dump all that uncertainty into.
I remember after chemo, finally losing the weight I couldn’t lose on Weight Watchers. Being 14, I conflated health and weight loss, even though I lost weight from being so sick!
The scale became a place to channel my PTSD and a noble purpose, to stay “healthy.”
Of course, I had no idea I was doing this because our culture sells a story that weight loss will offer belonging (i.e. normal enough), ease and recognition. And damn did I want some normalcy and ease in my life.
Belonging, ease and recognition alchemizes together to know or feel it is safe to be seen for exactly who we are. I must have felt targeted by life to get a 1 in a million diagnosis for someone so young.
Other client examples of the scale’s promise to band-aid chaos:
- Bullied in middle school? Watching the scale go down will show them how cool you are, and you’ll never be misunderstood again.
- Parents getting divorced? It’s easier to manage life falling apart at 120 pounds and you get a BOGO! You can funnel the chronic home tension into the scale.
- Invisible until you slim down? Weight loss is a clear path to attention.
When the formulas to lose weight eventually fail us, which they will, then the scale becomes the very trigger for uncertainty that we were trying to band-aid!
Why is the scale stuck?
Why does the scale keep going up?
When is my real life going to begin?
Not only do we have these experiences at an early age, which makes them so powerful, in our culture the promises of weight loss are often true!
Thin people have privilege and aren’t judged for their body. Life is easier because clothing, seats, and most of the things sold to us are designed for thinness. Others will applaud your weight loss.
However, the scale doesn’t have a monopoly on the deeper layer of belonging, ease and recognition that makes us feel free. And mastering the scale does not make us a master at uncertainty or any of the other emotions the scale triggers in us.
The deep need and craving we have for it being safe to be seen can’t be satiated by a number on the scale. That’s why we are always “10 pounds away” from our goal scale number or can look back on our lives when we weighed less and see that we still weren’t satisfied.
In one of my favorite Insatiable podcast episodes ever – Eating Triggers: The Scale – we dive DEEP into the emotional and soul hungers that make the scale so damn powerful, and how to unhook from the illusion that a mechanical device can fulfill one of our deepest human needs.
I hope you pay special attention to how pursuing weight loss shapes our to-do list towards health and weight loss. This makes the scale our main focus, which actually builds up and complicates health and wellness (true health and wellness restores the simplicity and elegance reflected in nature). This then makes us even more dependent on the illusion of the scale’s power.
It’s a vicious cycle from which we can remove ourselves for more satisfying pursuits. I know this episode will provide inspiration to get what you really need and want.
Also, a side note I didn’t make clear in the episode: ease and easy aren’t the same thing! That’s a whole other post but, in short, I think of ease as a flow; whereas easy is quick. Very different things!
Digging below the surface of food to uncover the root cause of your eating is the foundation of my Why Am I Eating This Now? program. This deep exploration reveals your personal triggers – like the scale! – and why they have such an influence on you. Empowered by newfound clarity and mindset tools, you have choices you never knew existed and zest for living the life YOU want. Registration for WAIETN is open. I hope you’ll join us for this year’s LIVE session.