My Month Without the Scale

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“It’s about more than the number on the scale.
It’s about loving my body.
It’s about embracing what maintenance looks like.
It’s about nourishing my body with foods I love and exercise I enjoy.
It’s about hope.
It’s about PEACE.”

A woman holding a scale over a trash canThis was my reason for stepping off the scale for the month of May, and stepping into freedom.
I was above my goal that I set at Weight Watchers and I had started to give the number I was seeing on the scale a little too much power.

I have wanted to share how my month off the scale went, but to be honest, I’ve been scared to do so.  What I learned was different than what I anticipated.  I thought I was going to abandon the scale and throw it away for good… keep reading to find out if that’s what happened or not.

I’m learning SO much these days.  I always had all or nothing thinking, but over the last decade, I’ve realized that that way of thinking doesn’t serve anyone… let alone myself.  The more I break free from that way of thinking the more free I become.

So, once again.  I’m breaking free.

A woman walking out of a building holding a bookWhat I learned the last month feels messy.  It feels scary to admit and in a lot of ways, I don’t want to to be honest.  But, part of sharing my journey is being vulnerable and sharing all of it… even the parts that may warrant backlash and judgement.  But, here I am, owning all my imperfections and embracing my truth and sharing it, unapologetically.

This is MY journey, and over the last several weeks what I have learned is my journey isn’t for everyone and I am working on being okay with that.  There are people who don’t want to be a part of my journey, and though that feels personal, I’m learning I need to work hard to not take it personally.  There are people who don’t agree with my thoughts, and I’m trying to be ok with that too.  This is my journey.  It doesn’t have to make sense to anyone else except for me, even if it stings a little.

I need you to hear this before I tell you how my month went… what I discovered in my month off the scale is my story.

What works for me may not work for you, and that is totally ok.  This is not about comparison.

I spent YEARS in therapy.  Every day I’m learning more and more about what it looks like to be in recovery from binge eating disorder and the things I have to avoid, and things I’ve been able to add back into my life.  (i.e. I will NEVER ever do a detox again.  Ever.) There are things I can do today that I absolutely couldn’t do right out of therapy, I’ve worked up to this point of recovery, therefore it’s going to look different for me than someone who is still struggling with binge eating, or is still in therapy.

I do not have all the answers.  I just know now what works for me, because I’ve put in the work to figure that out.  My advice to you is to put in that same work in your own journey.  It is worth the self discovery.  The freedom and peace you will find when discover what works best for you is worth every ounce of work you put in figuring it out.

Now, I’ll get to it…

Emotionally, how did I handle not weighing for one month?

In the beginning I was totally fine.  I had my scale in my bathroom and wasn’t tempted at all.  About mid-month though, I wanted to see the number.  If anything, just to know where I was.  I didn’t want to weigh to beat myself up, or to see if I’d been “good” or not… in all honesty, I was just plain curious.  I never stepped on my scale during my month away, and by then end it was challenging for sure.

black and white photo of a scale with trust me god written over the numberYears ago, before binge eating therapy, the scale RULED me.  It determined whether or not I was going to have a good day or not.  That number determined whether or not I was ugly, worthy, or important.  I have spent the last decade taking power away from the scale, and I am SO much better today than I used to be.  With that said, prior to my “No Weight May”,  I was using the scale for information, and not having that “data” felt a little strange for me.

The Results.

I gained 5.2 pounds in my month away from the scale.  Was I frustrated?  Yes.  Did I beat myself up?  No.

This was an experiment.  I needed this experiment and I’ve needed the last few weeks to process it to be honest before I could share how I will be moving forward.  I’ve had long talks with my husband, I’ve spent some time in self reflection, reflecting on what this means for me and where I am in recovery.

Am I weighing myself again?

Yes, I am.  This is what works for me and it’s taken me a few weeks to accept that I’m not a failure, or doing something wrong, because I weigh myself.

As I sit here typing this, I have tears streaming.  I’m going to pour my heart for a moment…

I feel stuck many times between two worlds.  I lost 100+ pounds on Weight Watchers, but I am in recovery from binge eating disorder and eat intuitively. The first thing I learned in therapy was diets cause disorders, and many would argue with me that Weight Watchers is a diet. I haven’t treated it like one the last 2.5 years because of what I have been through, and I work very hard not to treat it like a diet.

I listen to my body, and I eat when I’m hungry, regardless of how many points I have left for the day.  My body and it’s hunger cues will always trump smart points.  It’s a deal I made myself when I walked back through those doors.  No more restriction.  No more all or nothing thinking.  No more diets.

Figuring out where I “fit in” is proving to be harder and harder for me.  I love using Weight Watchers as a guideline, but then I feel like I don’t fit in with the intuitive eating community either because I shouldn’t be on any type of program.  I feel like I don’t make sense to a lot of Weight Watchers members because I don’t live and die by Smart Points either.  It’s a weird, strange and lonely place.

In the last week I’ve found some hope in the book by Brene Brown, Braving the Wilderness.  What I’ve learned is that I don’t fit perfectly in either “camp”.  I’ve created my own… and that is NOT failing.  It is becoming.  Becoming my truest self… even if it means I stand alone.  I’m learning more and more about who I am and what works for me and learning to be exactly who I need to be, unapologetically.

Braving the Wilderness book by Brene Brown

I want to feel understood.  I want to have a tribe.  I want to offer encouragement and hope… and some days I feel like no one else can relate to me and I’m standing in the wilderness by myself.

It can be really really lonely here.  But, I’m fighting the loneliness.  I’m fighting the urge to totally withdraw.  When I withdraw, I sink back into binge eating and I can’t do that.  I won’t do that.

During my month off the scale, a dear friend of mine shared a song with me that I’ve had on repeat for over a month.  It gave me the courage to walk away from being a Weight Watchers Ambassador and the courage to start pursuing the path that works best for me, even if I’m all alone.  The song is Grace by Rachel Platten and this verse inspires me…

 
And I need grace
To step inside my mind and help me be a better person
Release the better version of me
‘Cause right now, what I wanna do is scream it
I need grace ’cause I’m running low on faith
And I really wanna change my heart
‘Cause I’m falling apart these days
And what I really need is grace, grace, grace
 
 
I feel like I’m a ghost
I forgot the most important thing I know
That there’s nobody else I have to be
There’s no one else I need to please
I have the answers that I need
 
~Grace by Rachel Platten
 

How did this experiment change my journey?

This experiment was proof that I was using the scale as information only and was totally fine doing so, which is why I started weighing on my home scale again when I want to.  Sometimes it’s daily, sometimes its not, I weigh when I feel like it with zero expectations.

I’m officially up 14 pounds from my Weight Watchers goal weight and though I want to get back to where I’m more comfortable, I don’t beat myself up when I see the number on the scale.  I am learning.  This is a process that is going to take time.  I don’t know what I consider my goal weight anymore, but I know how I want to feel and that is what I’m working towards.

I’m fighting for a feeling, not a number on the scale.

I am confident in my decision to weigh myself and know what I weigh, and do not feel like it is an issue for me in regards to my recovery from my eating disorder.  If I feel that it is becoming an issue, I will promptly head back to therapy.  I’ve been two different times, and I know when I need to have a mental reset.

What did I learn?

  • I am perfectly imperfect.
  • I am a fighter.
  • I will never give up.
  • I do not have all the answers, but I always want to learn.
  • What my journey looks like today may look totally different in a year, and that is ok.
  • Change is good, though it is hard.
  • I am more than the number on the scale, but it’s ok to know the number on the scale too as long as I promise myself it is used only for information and NOT to beat myself up.

Every day I wake up and recommit to my mental and physical health and promise myself that today I will do my best to give my body the three things it deserves most… grace, forgiveness and a lot of love.

**Since this post was originally shared I have left Weight Watchers and fully embraced Intuitive Eating.  You can read more about my decision on my blog post, “Why I Quit Weight Watchers

 

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What I learned in my month without the scale is different than I anticipated, but so important for my journey and long term success.

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28 Comments

  1. I would say you belong everywhere and nowhere, or at least you are learning to embrace that your journey is taking you to both places. I applaud you and am inspired by you. Perfectly imperfect! You are amazing Amy! 🙂

    1. Thank you. That’s exactly what that Maya Angelou quote says that Brene talks about in the book. I can relate to it so much.

  2. Thank you for always being so honest and up front. I’ve taken a break from instagram besides checking in because of Anxiety and depression. I had to fix myself. Trying new meds and even tho I feel human again I have gained almost every single lb back. Since taking a break, I have gained back 30lbs since last summer. Does it make me upset seeing myself in the mirror? Oh yes it does. I hate my body and nothing fits anymore. But I had to fix my mental stage;. Then my fridge and freezer died that was 2 yr old. I’ve been without one for 6wks already. SO going out to eat for meals didn’t help me at all. They are suppose to be here Thursday once again to fix it and I plan on going grocery shopping Friday and starting back up on Sat. I’m nervous about getting back on and having people think I’m a failure. I feel like I don’t belong there anymore bc my journey isn’t as perfect as other people make it seem. It’s caused me anxiety but I love the community and just want everyone to be ok with my broken journey as you call it. You are one of the first people I started following and I admire you, I have cried with you and felt the pain of a lot along side of you. You need to continue to do what is right for Amy. Regardless of what you do I will follow along. xoxo

    1. Thank you Michelle. I assure you no one is perfect, even if it seems that way. I hope you find what you need to do for yourself and long term happiness and success. If it’s causing you anxiety, then I would explore other options. You shouldn’t feel anxious. Praying you find that answer.

  3. Amy,
    Love to follow your blog, Love to see you on Sat. mornings. Your thoughts are inspiring, Always want to see your smile and hear your thoughts. Take this as a HUGE virtual hug.
    The fact is that we all are on this journey of life. We are all imperfect. But we are beautifully broken and God is our ultimate healer. He has made us in His image. We are fearfully and beautifully made. We find our strength and peace in Him. He is always our help in time of need. We are truly are all on our very own unique journey and as believers we have a certain connection which is very special.
    I have battled emotional eating for years as well as depression from the emotional eating,( or maybe vice versa) but I know that aligning the mental, physical,emotional and spiritual aspects of my life is the key to “my balance”. It is a work in progress, a walk of faith, as I can not do it alone, or on my own strength, “There is a God-shaped vacuum in every heart”-Pascal and “Life is not a dress rehearsal” Two quotes which are often a reminder to me of my purpose and need.
    Keep sharing, loving, walking to the beat of your own drum, as our journey is life long with all sorts of ups and downs. Love ya bunches and keep in touch. PS : loved the tee shirts,
    Rita

    1. Thank you so much, Rita. I appreciate your support and encouragement over the last few years. Thank you for accepting me just as I am and always speaking truth. We cannot do this alone, we DO need Him. I’m leaning on His promises more and more these days in hopes I can find total and ultimate healing. I know it will happen as long as I continue to trust. Thank you Rita, for your friendship.

  4. You are truly an amazing and inspiring woman. I am so glad that I found you through Weight Watchers and now reading your blog and also following you on Instagram. You are truly such a kind and genuine person. And I am glad that you are true to yourself and you are not defined by the number on the scale. Keep on doing you. I want to hear all the good and all the not so good. So keep on writing. And thank you for sharing your journey.

  5. Thank you so much for this! I feel like I am in between the two worlds and don’t “belong” in either one. I’ve done so many different diets that I feel like I can’t possibly start another one, yet I want the guidelines and structure to loose weight. But intuitive eating is intriguing and feels like that is the long term path I should be on. I love that you are so real and share all the different aspects of your journey. You truly give me hope that I can keep moving forward on my own path!

    Thank you for being you!

    1. I know exactly how you feel. Press on… down your own path. Intuitive eating feels so scary, but so freeing too.

  6. Thank you so much for sharing this. I have found myself in a downward spiral and was giving up hope that I would ever be able to find my way back. I felt alone, and like you, I have been struggling to find where I belong. Since Thanksgiving, I have gained back 20 of the 72 lbs that I have lost. I was only 10 lbs from goal…and now I feel like a complete failure. I also suffer from binge eating and really thought that Weight Watchers was the answer. I got complacent, and thought I could do it on my own so eventually quit. I started binge eating again and the pounds are quickly coming back on. I finally realized that I cannot do this on my own, I just rejoined Weight Watchers and I will go back to my first meeting in months this Saturday. Your honesty means so much to me, more than you will ever know. It really helps to know that I am not alone. Thank you, Amy.

    1. You are not alone and you are not a failure, Jessica. This is a journey. It is not something we ever “arrive” at. We will always be learning and growing. I bet you learned a lot during the last few months, and this next time you will begin again with more knowledge than before. When I find myself in one of those seasons I try to remind myself of the lessons learned when times got tough. Praying that you find some peace, and happiness with yourself and your journey. You are strong and brave.

  7. You are such an inspiration!! I learn so much from you! I took struggle with binge eating and each day is a restart for me to keep my head in a good place! Thank you

  8. Amy so much of what you say resonates so clearly with me. I love Weight Watchers and I’m doing good on it but sometimes I feel so alone in it. My family is so supportive and I have friends who are encouraging but I feel like I can’t share my thoughts, achievements and disappointments with too many people. I know I have friends who want me to fail for their own selfish reasons and it hurts. I am honest when I say I look forward to your Instagram posts and stories, I feel like I have a friend who is in this with me. Thank you for being so honest.

    1. I know exactly how you feel. I’m so glad you consider me a friend that is in this with you, I am, and you are not alone!

  9. Amy, this is all of us. I promise! Maybe not the exact same issues, but something! You are perfect and you belong exactly where you are!

  10. The words that opened the blog post and to the song, Grace, really spoke to my heart. I wanted you to know that so much of what you’re sharing is resonating with me and my journey, both weight loss and faith related.
    Without going into my whole story, I’ll tell you I’ve been struggling with depression and anxiety over the last few years and while I spent a year in counseling, I continue to go back on occasion. I have learned a lot but I’m still struggling with finding my purpose again and what God wants me to do. I lost some of what God was doing in and through me due to the depression, anxiety and other circumstances. Maybe I should consider reading Brene Brown’s book too! I know God has something for me but I can’t quite get there yet. I’m lost, fearful and confused. I struggle to go back to my blog because it keeps getting interrupted and I keep having to “start over” with it – I struggle to know what it needs to be… So I understand that feeling of being lost and lonely as you mentioned, feeling stuck, in between. I want to get back to writing and leading women as I had started in my church before the depression, but I’ve lost so much confidence.
    So even though that part of your post was about what you’re doing as it relates to sharing with a desire to help others, God used it to speak to my heart. To let me know He is still here and He is still working in me even though I can’t see it yet. He is in you too. and what you are doing will help people. Your words and thoughts are genuine and they’ve brought me to tears.
    Though this faith side of my journey and struggle is so close to my heart, God is also working and helping me to fight this battle with my food struggles. I really feel this time is it and I’ll finally see victory over this cycle of defeat. While I don’t have BED, my relationship with food has not been healthy but I’m changing my mindset and I agree with so much of what you’ve shared (also listened to your podcast story today and read several posts). I can see God at work in this weight loss journey and the reasons (my why’s) are becoming so much more than body image and weight loss.
    I appreciate also what you’ve said about Weight Watchers. I believe they work hard to help us make a lifestyle change and freestyle is just another way they amped it up to do just that. It’s the only program I’ve been able to do and not feel restricted although there are foods I need to learn more self-control with. WW just makes more sense for me while it provides balance and freedom.
    Anyway, I wanted you to know that what your doing is helping! Even if it’s not health related. Thank you for sharing your story with us. Thank you for including your faith in sharing your story. Thanks for making it real. And thanks for being obedient to God and allowing Him to work in and through you. Sincerely…

    1. Thank you so much for sharing part of your story with me. I believe God does have a plan, even if you feel a little lost right now, too. I think that in this time of “pruning” we can discover who and what we need to be. Wishing you peace and understanding, and I want to personally thank you for being here, and encouraging me.

    2. Thank you so much for your encouragement. My hope for you in this season of “pruning” is that God brings forth what is truly important for you to give your attention to. The more you lean into him, the better you’ll discover what that is. Wishing you understanding, grace and peace 🙂

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