The day the number on the scale became irrelevant

Rachel Flanagan Uncategorized Leave a Comment

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I’ve had a love-hate relationship with the scale for a long time.

When I’d look down at it in the hazy light of morning, this is how my inner dialogue usually went:

“Should I weigh myself today? How much sleep did I get? Do I look puffy? Did I eat a lot of salty food last night? Oh, right – I also had that beer. Hmm.”

Then I’d give myself a good once-over in the mirror. If I felt okay about the way I looked, I would usually decide to roll the dice and step on the scale.

But then with one foot dangling over the scale, I’d waver. Then the dialogue in my head went like this:

“Dear scale, please be my friend today. Low number. Low number. . .”

I’d hold my breath, step on the scale, and wait for the number to appear.

If it was low, I’d feel validated. Positive. Thin.

If it was high, my shoulders would sink. I’d shake my head, angry at myself for eating trail mix the night before. Planned for a day of salads.

That is, up until recently.

Over the past 20 or so years, whenever I’ve set out to lose some weight, typically my goal weight has been the same: 112. But this year, as summer approaches, I’ve decided to just let that number go.

When I say I’m going to let it go, it’s not what you think. I’m not planning on giving up my gym membership and kicking back with Bojangles takeout every night. It’s just that I’ve finally realized just how irrelevant that number actually is for me.

Here’s why: each time I’ve gotten down to that weight, my body has looked completely different.

At 17, I went on a pretty drastic diet of 1,000 calories a day. When I hit 112, I was thin but definitely not fit looking.

After gaining weight in my late 20’s—thanks to multiple knee injuries and lots of takeout—I dieted down for my 10-year high school reunion. But when I reached 112, I looked different than I did in high school, largely due to the muscle I gained playing rugby.

Then in my late 30’s, after giving birth to each of my kids, I’d diet down once again. But after the two pregnancies, wow – my body had changed. A lot.

And now, at 43, after spending the past few months focused more on weight training and less on endurance running, my body has transformed, once again. I have a bigger booty. Bigger, stronger legs. Stronger arms. And I’m kind of enjoying it. Screw the thigh gap. It was never really there to begin with.

I’ve been loving my time in the gym. I feel strong, upright, and powerful.

I’ve finally decided to just be content with using the way my clothes fit as my guide and ditch the scale. It’s freeing.

So take the plunge with me this summer. Let’s call this the summer of no scales. Who’s with me?

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