Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Smash the Scale- New Year's Confessions

Tomorrow is New Year's Day.  For a good portion of my 33 years, I wasted that day writing long lists of "resolutions" (aka unreasonable-and-unreachable-goals-disguising-themselves-as-healthy-lifestyle-changes), complete with calendars, benchmark goals, accountability measures, etc. only to have the goals eventually fail, usually by about February or March. Then, as an all-or-nothing perfectionist, I immediately labelled myself as a hopeless loser, and gave up on my "healthy lifestyle", crashing and burning with flair and Oreos.

But here's the weird thing.  The reality is, that's what I wanted.  I wanted the failure as much as I wanted the Oreos, in fact probably more.  Oreos are a nice calming, happy-inducing, non-judging friend.  But failure is even better.  You see, there is a certain safety in being a fat failure.  It took me a long time to realize it, but I have a suit of armor I carry around with me at all times.  It protects me from having to let people see the real me.  If anyone rejects me, I have an instant scapegoat- it's the armor they're rejecting instead of myself, those shallow jerks.  I get to look noble in comparison to their prejudice, and I also can wallow in self-pity.  It's a win-win.

Several years ago, I stopped making resolutions to magically transform my body and my life, mostly because it always turned out badly and emotionally devastating, and I decided to be kind to myself and no longer put myself through that abuse.  I occasionally still make goals of things I plan to accomplish that year anyway, like paying off my car, taking lots of hikes, or doing a summer internship.  This year is no different.  No body transformation goals.  Instead, this:

I'll get to the "because" in just a moment.  But first, smashing the scale (ie with a sledge hammer) is an interesting notion for me, because I have already weened myself off the scale.  I actually don't own a scale anymore, and I have only a rough idea of what I weigh.  It's nice living without a scale, and I highly recommend it.  (So if you haven't yet, go smash yours!)  No person actually NEEDS to know their exact weight every day or even every week.  The only time I ever have to know my weight is for filling out my driver's license application, and filling out medical forms.  I find out my weight a couple times a year when I happen to get sick enough to go to the doctor.  Being mostly in the dark about the number on the scale is just fine with me.  Instead of a number dictating how I'm going to feel about myself on any given day, how I FEEL dictates how I feel.  (Imagine that.)

Beautiful, even sans makeup

So since I have no scale to smash, I will have to smash other modes of hiding and protecting myself.  Giving my body fat status as protective armor ensures that I both love and hate it and subsequently love and hate myself.  I want to remove that status and give myself permission to love myself (including the fat), while also letting my true self shine through.  That won't be as instant as smashing a scale with a hammer.  And I have to be careful to avoid thinking my true self I've been hiding is a skinny hottie that has to be let out of the fat suit.  I already am the hottie, and the armor is actually in my head.  My physical appearance probably won't actually change all that much as I disrobe and let people see the real me.

A few things I have already started to do this past year, and plan to continue.
  • Play more!  I have actually had times where I would exercise at home so I could get myself looking presentable enough to work out in public.  Now I don't care what people think when they see this fat girl hiking, backpacking, and river rafting.  I just do it, cause I enjoy it.
  • Smile at myself in the mirror.  Instead of focusing in on little parts of my appearance to see if they look okay, just smile at beautiful me.
  • STOP making shaming comments about myself.  Making negative comments about my appearance teaches the wrong things to my sons and anyone else who hears me.  Only positive comments, and try to avoid comments focused only on appearance.
  • Avoid commenting on others' appearance.  Compliment their character, their hard work, their health, their joy.
  • Lose the makeup.  I do this not because I think makeup is evil, but because my natural "me" is without makeup.  I only started wearing it when I was 19 when a guy indoctrinated me with the idea that I should wear makeup.  I eventually convinced myself I needed it in order to be acceptable or presentable.  That belief is not me, and I'm getting rid of it.
  • Hug people more.  (This is a newer one.) I like to hug but I hold back in case it will make someone else feel weird or uncomfortable because they don't like me enough to hug me.  But in the process I end up making the situation feel really awkward and it's just dumb.
  • Be myself.  I will only attract awesome friends if they can see my awesomeness. 
So, that is how I will "Smash the Scale".  Now for the "because".

Because I'm a human being.  Because I deserve to see my body as a means rather than an end.  Because I'm a complex person and my worth is not dependent on how I look or what others think of me.  What matters is what I think.  Because my body is a tool to do awesomeness.  Because my sons will learn much from me about the worth of women and how to treat them, and how they should treat themselves.  Because I am happier when I just live.  And I don't need anyone's permission to do so.

What about you?  Are you ready to smash the scale?  What's your "because"?  Please comment!

Smash the Scale is a body love movement put on by The Militant Baker and her Body Love Conference.  (Read about Smash the Scale at her blog, and visit the FB page for the conference.)  Thanks for the inspiration, Jes.


  1. I could be happier. I could be more active. I can run and walk a surprisingly long time. It's the fact that it is surprising that disturbs me. I am stronger than I look, but I could be stronger. Thank you for the inspiration. It's not about A number, it's about THE number: How often do I engage my kids in games like baseball, hopscotch, and jump rope? (Ok, maybe not that. I have KIDS.) They are growing fast. It's not the number on a scale that matters, it's the number of memories I make with them. Like spending hours ice skating with them. I haven't been on skates in...at least 15...maybe even 20 years!

  2. pajammamamma, I really love that: "It's not the number on a scale that matters, it's the number of memories I make..." I think that is very important for all of us. I made some memories with my kids last night by doing fireworks and building a puzzle together. It's the simple little things like that- I have those memories with my own father, now I'm passing the memories to my kids. Thanks for commenting, enjoy a happy, strong, memory-filled year!

  3. Thank you some much for posting this. I needed to read this more than you will ever know. " It protects me from having to let people see the real me. If anyone rejects me, I have an instant scapegoat." This is ME!!! I never though of it that way but it is exactly true. I don't do new things to meet new people because I already have it in my mind. I really feel like my mind is blown, i feel like a completely different person than i was 5 minutes ago. Thank you! No really THANK YOU. You have helped me understand something about myself that will help me make the changes i need in the future.

    1. Sam D,
      Thank you for commenting, I'm so thrilled that this meant something to you. It took a long time for me to figure it out and it was quite an epiphany when I realized it myself. I hope we can both do some things to reach out to people and shed the armor that keeps us distant from others. Best wishes!

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