It doesn’t matter if life’s going well, if the scale doesn’t say what I want it ruins my day. I always hope my scale is wrong, but what if it’s not?
I have been miraculous healed from an 8-year-long eating disorder since 2001. I’ve had six beautiful children that I have more or less recovered weight-wise from. I have learned how to eat without regret. I have willpower as strong as iron, but put me on a scale and I melt into a blob of tears and snot.
If the number says something lower than expected, I judge myself a success.
If the number says something higher, I judge myself a failure.
If the number stays the same, I feel a mix of failure/success emotion.
I have put my faith in the scale. In that number. Still. After all these years.
Jesus is supposed to be where I find my identity, right? Why is this so difficult?
But I’m not alone. In the book Ghost Boy, a paraplegic, whom everyone though was a vegetable yet could actually hear and see everything, said that there were three things women always spoke about: husbands, children and their weight (and how it was always too high). He said they never recognized the sweet things they did for him or the hard work they put in as nurses/caregivers.
We are so quick to praise others, but even quicker to demean ourselves. Why?
The Scale & The Law
When the 10 Commandments came – people had to adhere to these laws…or else.
If they obeyed these principles, they could go before God with a clear conscience.
If they had disobeyed even one, they were doomed.
Of course, God made a way for them through sacrifice, but it was always a tug-of-war.
Sin. Blood sacrifice. Sin. Blood Sacrifice.
Just like our weight.
Eat this, be skinny. Thirty-minutes on the elliptical. Opps! Too much chocolate cake on my birthday, must avoid sweets for three days.
It’s nasty business full of blood and guts. Only instead of lamb’s guts, it’s our own. And we play both the sacrificed and the sacrificer.
When we judge ourselves by the 10 Commandments we will always come up short or on top at any given moment, just like the scale.
Yet no matter our success on the scale, there is always some temptation waiting to strip us of any success we might have.
The battle is exhausting.
Throw Away the Scale, But Not the Heart
Finally, I did something I never thought I would when I was bulimic – I threw away my scale.
I didn’t sell it on Craigslist. I didn’t give it away. It went in my big blue trash bin.
It felt freeing.
When I go to the doctor’s office and they want to weigh me, I ask them no to announce my weight and I turn around so I don’t see the number.
Sure, I’m curious, but I haven’t had one of those ruined days since that day!
I’ve thrown away the scale, but not the heart of the scale — which is to judge my health and eating.
Instead of the scale, I pay attention to how I feel both physically and emotionally. I notice how my clothes are fitting. I make adjustments accordingly.
Throwing away the scale doesn’t mean you throw caution to the wind and eat whatever you want, it’s a call to be more aware.
Jesus said that not one jot or tittle would be erased from the Law, but that he came to show us what following the Law really meant.
It wasn’t intended to be a list of dos and don’ts only for the sake of being a list of dos and don’ts, but rather a guideline for loving God, others and ourselves.
The Law was just the tip of the iceberg. God says that His Law is written on all our hearts. (Rom 2:15) Even the heathen in the jungle in the middle of nowhere has a sense of right and wrong, he follows his conscience without knowing the Law.
Just so, the scale shouldn’t be our guide – we should be guided by our own internal cues.
One time my girlfriend came home from the hospital after a severe health episode. They must have released her too early. She asked her husband for bananas. She said she had an overwhelming craving for them. He started to go to the store, but decided to turn back to the bedroom where she was laying to give her a kiss only to find her completely crashing from a potassium deficiency (the EXACT vitamin found in bananas). They rushed her to the hospital and pumped her full of the vitamin she needed and she recovered.
Despite the fact that she was a little late in getting the potassium from a food source, her body was sending strong signals that she needed a certain vitamin. Praise God that He made the husband turn back.
Your body is fearfully and wonderfully made. It was made to show you exactly what you need.
It will (if you listen) tell you when you are hungry or full.
It will tell you when you are tired or need a little exercise (I promise).
If you stop gauging yourself by what you see on the scale (or in the mirror) you might start noticing these other signal more often.
Starving After a Binge
If you eat too much one day, should you starve yourself the next?
This is a bad habit that leads to another binge. It’s a known cycle. Don’t fall into it.
If you eat the entire box of Triscuits like I did, chalk it up as a mistake and move on.
The next day resolve to listen to your body’s hunger cues (not your emotional cues) better.
Not Enough Veggies/Fruits
Another bad habit is not adding enough veggies and fruits into your diet.
Veggies and fruit have vitamins that carbs/proteins have only in small amounts.
Your body only cares about survival. If it needs 95 mg of vitamin C a day, it will continue to eat as much as it needs until it gets it. If that means eating 9 bowls of cereal when eating two oranges would due, then so be it!
When your body gets the right amount of vitamins, you will stop craving food.
Many times we are eating, eating and eating because we are vitamin deficit. (Check out my favorite vitamin that I swear by).
I like thinking about it as not enough fruits and veggies instead of “stop eating xyz” – the benefit of eating more of something will directly be eating less of something else!
Not Drinking Enough Water
Oh…this is my biggest issues.
I’m pretty sure this is a spiritual metaphor…I’m only joking. Halfway at least.
Sometimes you feel hungry and you are actually thirsty. (Or so I’ve heard. ???? )
Trying to Do it Alone
You aren’t an island.
Even if you don’t have a workout partner or eating-right partner, you have Jesus.
Jesus’ name is Immanuel, God WITH us.
God wants to help you. Give you ideas.
God placed the idea of giving up creamer and nothing more into my head after the birth of one of my babies. I lost 15 pounds in 6 weeks and I didn’t change ANYTHING else in my diet or workout routine.
Do it with God, it’s much better that way.
My Scale is Wrong
My scale might tell me the right weight at any given time, but my scale is wrong because it can’t tell me anything else.
It can’t tell me the weight of events that might affect my workout patterns, it doesn’t gauge my efforts toward healthy eating and it surely doesn’t give me a little green light indicating that those extra five pounds is only water weight because I’m going to start my period.
I know it’s easy to say “don’t judge yourself by the number on the scale” – it sounds trite. Cliche.
The number on the scale is not unimportant either. To say that would be a lie. One that I think it too often promoted in the hopes of making people feel better.
The number on the scale is just a number – neither important nor unimportant – just a measurement that helps us determine if we need to watch out.
Is Your Scale An Idol?
Many centuries ago idols looks like creatures, men or women carves out of wood and stone. They were set in a special place and looked upon each morning and evening.
Does this sounds all too familiar with your scale?
If you find yourself defining your happiness by the number on the scale, then it’s become an idol in your life and it must be discarded.
If too many days are ruined because you weighed yourself, perhaps you might consider throwing away the scale (or at least letting your mom/sister/husband hide it for a little while).
The Lord wants to be your God and He doesn’t want to share that position with anything.
Head covering Christian woman who loves good wine, coffee, stinky cheese and missionary books. My favorite dessert is Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheesecake. I am a Christian author, blogger, and speaker. I fell in love with my husband because he had rain drops on his glasses (true story). In my spare time I homeschool my six children (5 girls, 2 boys).