Via instagram: @healthyisthenewskinny Image credit: Unknown
Written by: Maya
I recommend for those of you who have not read my first post about body image, which includes my own personal experience, to click here and read it first.
I came across the image above and it inspired me to write more about my experience with my own body image, to be precise, my experience with my ex-lover, the scale. Saucy…
Why we* (continue to, or used to) define our worth based on scales is beyond me. We, as women* base (ed) a lot of our happiness down to a number on a scale. A damned number. ON. A. SCALE. Seriously?! Have we all lost our minds—minds that are blessed with intelligence and talent? When we do not see (or used to see) the number we want (ed) on the scale, we start hating ourselves, we forget all our other achievements, and our actual character. We forget that we are so much more.
l lost my mind to the scale a few years ago, Yes, I based all my worth on a scale, idiotic to say the least. During the ‘good’ times, I would wake up with absolute joy in the mornings, not because I was happy to actually be alive for another day, or that I would be going to study what I was passionate about and seeing my friends, and so on. No, it was none of that, but as I am sure you have guessed, it was because every morning would be the time when I would weigh myself. Now I know it may sound rather odd that a woman was actually glad to weigh herself, as normally it is deemed as a somewhat ‘horrific’ experience. However, it was not for me because I knew that every morning the number on the scale would be less than the morning before, every morning it was decreasing and decreasing, and I loved it—it was such a high that nothing else could compare and even matter. I was so proud of myself. I felt it was such a good achievement to be able to watch my weight go down so much on the scale. I was succeeding in losing weight, therefore to me, I was succeeding in life. (Pfft. Succeeding in life—what the hell was I thinking!? Douchebag. Moron. Idiot!!)
I had an ecstatic love affair with the scale, it is a good thing I was actually single back then. (Relationship status update: nothing to update on, still single!) Anyone that was not a scale, had to endure the wrath of the Maya (bad, real bad), as all I truly cared about was my weight.
In an ironic twist, I ended up hating weighing myself and you guessed it, the scale. Yes, the love affair with the scale was truly over, and speaking as a young woman who has grown and learnt from this experience… GOOD ******* RIDDANCE to it. May I never live to see the day where I base all my worth and happiness on that wretched thing again.
It ended because I felt betrayed by the scale. Every time I looked in the mirror, I saw my body still looking the same as it was before my ‘obsessive weight loss movement’ (I had a bad case of body dysmorphia, as my body really was so much thinner). Why is it that every morning the numbers on the scale were decreasing, therefore meaning I should be getting thinner, yet I still looked pretty much the same?! How can this be possible, I kept wondering. Of course at the time, I knew the mirror could not be lying as the evidence was there right in front of me. ‘Oh how the mighty have fallen’, I was thinking to myself, as there was me, previously so happy to weigh myself, basing all my worth and happiness on the decreasing numbers on the scale because it meant that I was closer to my ‘dream body’, yet, when I would see my body still looking the same, I would hate seeing the number on the scale every morning, those were the ‘bad’ times. That is right, the ‘ecstatic love affair’ turned into pure hated because I then realised how I was not losing enough. The number on the scale, and my body were not matching up. The decreasing number clearly was not decreasing at a rapid enough rate, because the evidence was not showing in my body (even though it actually was, I just could not see it). I started to hate everything. I was not succeeding in losing weight, therefore to me, I was not succeeding in life. (What the hell was I thinking, part two!!)
I basically gave the scale all my power. It was all in the mind. I started my diet with an awful state of mind. I was obsessed and manipulated into thinking I needed to have a certain kind of body to be deemed as ‘worthy’. I never cared about my health or mental state, I just wanted my body to only look a certain way. I did not respect or value my body at all. It was like I was punishing my body.
When you want to get in shape because you love and respect your body, because you want to push your body to the best it can be, to the shape you genuinely want it to be, without the outside influencers, it is different. You will start your healthy eating, diet, whatever you want to call it (I prefer saying healthy eating now) in a good state of mind. You will not base all your worth on your body, as you know you are so much more than your body. Of course, you need to respect your body, but you know that you need to also respect every other part of you. You know it is something that takes time if you want to do it the right, healthy way, so you will not put so much pressure on yourself. You know that you will have days where you may slip—you may not stick to the food plan, or miss doing exercise, and that is fine with you. You will not start hating yourself and thinking you are not good enough because of those slip days. You will not get into an obsessive mode because you feel you are not seeing the results straight away. You will not let your mind become so obsessed and brainwashed that you end up developing body dysmorphia and other serious disorders. Lastly, you will be satisfied and proud with your progress in the present moment.
However, when you want to get in shape because you hate your body, because you want your body to only look the same way as the bodies that are being glorified in the media and other outside influencers (like I did), you will start with a bad state of mind, an awful state of mind. You will want to punish your body. You will not care how you are losing weight (or gaining), as long as it is fast and effective. You will not care that you are damaging your health by losing (or gaining) weight too fast. You will have days where you may not see the results you want, and therefore will start to think of your whole self as worthless. You will let your mind become so obsessed that this obsession will over shadow everything else. You will possibly develop body dysmorphia and other serious disorders. You will not be pleased or satisfied with your progress in the present moment. You will keep thinking that you will only be pleased once you reach your ‘dream body’ without realising that even if you do reach it, you either will not realise it, as you may have body dysmorphia which will take over, or you may realise, but it will still not be good enough, and so the vicious cycle will therefore keep continuing on.
Learning to love and respect your body is one of the hardest things to do. It is something that requires daily ‘mental training’ to keep maintaining the love and respect, and of course, incurring many slip-ups along the way. However, if you never try, then you will never know how liberating and free it truly feels.
Thank you for reading.
*These words are used in a generalised way, there will always be exceptions.
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