For Lent this year, I decided to give up my scale. Yup, that thing we all hate! I could have picked any of the standard catholic lent favorites…chocolate, cookies, chips, bread or candy. Yes, we all give up food in hopes that God will finally be the person who will hold us all accountable to our diets. But when I was thinking about something that would really make me a better person the scale actually came to mind.
Was this hard? In a weird strange way, yes. That’s because for so much of my life, anytime I’ve ever done anything remotely good, I’ve run to that darn thing for approval. So if I had a week where I made it to the gym more than usual, or a stretch of 3 days where I ate pretty well, or a glimpse in the mirror where I thought I saw an ab, I’d pass it at the gym and see it peaking out from underneath the cabinet in the bathroom and be tempted to go against God and grab a glimpse at my weight. BUT I didn’t.
But on the other hand, when I didn’t eat well I got to secretly celebrate. Sorry scale, I get to pass up this chance to ridicule myself because I made this promise to Jesus and I won’t break it.
Now we all have those people in our lives that say, I never go by the scale, I only go by how my clothes fit. And yes, that’s great too but in my mind, that tactic just transfers the power of the scale to the power of the size. The same way you want a return on the scale for your hard work, you hope for the same from your pants.
So removing this from my life for the past 40 days (actually 46 because I didn’t go on this week either!) has made me really learn to take inventory of my emotional health. Let my emotions dictate my mood. We all have the strong urge to feel happy and when it’s up to YOU to create your happiness when it comes to health, its a lot easier than when you let the scale.
For example, if I went to the gym 3 days one week and I stepped on the scale and didn’t lose a pound, or worse, gained a pound, I’d completely neglect the accomplishment of going to the gym and criticize myself for not going enough. When I didn’t have the scale, I was able to just give myself praise for going. And without the overwhelming thoughts of that number, it freed up brain space for me to focus on feeling stronger and better and happier.
I am someone who let the number on that scale rule over them for way to long. So this past 40 days, I did what I love to do most and that’s take the power away from the scale. That number doesn’t define us. It never did and it never will.