Ending my War with the Scale

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Toronto, ON, Canada
Before I started Weight Watchers in 2006, I wasn't in the habit of weighing myself.

We never had a scale at home growing up and in my early 20's I would only occasionally peek at a friend's scale or check in at the gym if I felt inclined. Should I have been paying more attention? Maybe. But it wasn't until 2006 that I really started to think about my weight when a director asked me to lose 20 lbs for a role and then again when I returned from 3 weeks in Europe unable to recognize the girl that was staring back at me in the photos.

Doing Weight Watchers, becoming healthier and losing the weight that I did was one of the best things that ever happened to me. I stand by the fact that it absolutely changed my life and set me up for success in so many ways.

It did however create a bit of an obsession with the scale.

It's interesting that as a leader I was able to support so many members through their weight loss journeys and encourage them to look beyond the scale, especially when things weren't going as they hoped. I would often remind them that it wasn't just about the scale and that there were so many other factors that they could examine - health, eating habits, clothing sizes, fitness level, measurements - and celebrate as a measure of their success. While I definitely believed this myself, I, like so many others, had trouble always putting it into action.

Looking back at my weight loss journey, I can tell you that I was never really happy or satisfied. I was unhappy at my heaviest. I was unhappy at my thinnest (which came as a result of a lot of stress in my life). And at my fittest, I still wrote in my journal about wanting to lose 5 more lbs. I was notorious for stepping on the scale all the time, and far too often, the number that appeared would consume my thoughts and influence my mood. There was a point in 2011 where I nearly took a leave of absence from Weight Watchers because I was obsessing about my weight and didn't know how to turn things around. I worked through it, changed my perspective, but my weight still held great power over me.

This year I started to feel more comfortable with my body, though as part of my job with Weight Watchers, I needed to weigh in at least once a month and send my weight to head office. After I stepped down as a leader in March, I still intended to weigh in each month as a Lifetime Member, and did so just after I left. For whatever reason I wasn't able to weigh in in April or May and recently it dawned on me that it had been a long time since I had weighed myself.

I also realized that I felt really great.

Yes, I've been doing lots of great things physically and with my eating, but I believed that there was a direct correlation between how I was feeling and the fact that I had no idea what the scale had to say.

I bought a new bikini last week and posted the above picture on Instagram with a comment about the fact that I was feeling great in my own skin and that I hadn't weighed myself in a few months. The comments I received from people were amazing and unexpected; I only posted the photo as a testament to my own feelings of empowerment and happiness in this new state of being, but the idea really resonated with people, as did the quote on my mirror (get rid of the thoughts that don't serve you) and I'm pretty sure a bunch of boys just pressed like because I posted a photo of myself nearly naked. I'll take it. I feel awesome and appreciate that other people can get behind it too.

I plan to continue on this path without a scale for as long as it feels good. I've started to take some classes at Primal Movement, I'm getting back into the swing of things at the gym and I'm eating mindfully to nourish my body. These are all good things that make me happy, which is something the scale hasn't consistently done ever really. We'll see how this goes. I would like to get back to WW as a member at some point, but I think this break is doing me so much better than a monthly weigh in could. I'm done with giving so much power to a silly inanimate object.

Without the scale I feel lighter.

Does the scale help or hinder you? How do you stay on track without weighing yourself? What are your measures of success unrelated to the scale?


Danielle said...

Great post today. You look beautiful in your picture! Over the past year I have lost a considerable amount of weight. Yes, I weigh myself occasionally but I am moving away from being focused on a specific number. Countless people have asked me how much weight have I lost, what do I weigh now, etc. I would love if people stopped focusing on the number and asked me instead... How do you feel. Are you sleeping better? Do you have more energy. It is frustrating when I can embrace the change in my life and other seems so focused on the minute details/scale!

Gillian said...

I love this post - you look fabulous and it shows that you feel fabulous too. You will always be a pin up girl to me! I am not a fan of the scale at all! The only time I step on it is to go with a fitness assessment at a gym every couple of years and I always find it mildly traumatizing. I feel much better just going with the flow and trusting my body!

Gillian said...

You look gorgeous and it shows that you feel wonderful too! You are the true pin up girl. I am not a fan of the scale at all - always dampers my spirit and puts my priorities in the wrong place!

Meghan said...

Scales are for fish ;)

Sean Foster said...

As a follower of yours on Instagram, you have nothing to worry about. You're a gorgeous person.

I've been trying to lose some wight lately, but haven't once stepped on a scale, cause it's not about that. I just want to look in the mirror and think "Hm, I look pretty good today." I don't care about the numbers.

Tom said...

This really hit home for me. I've been getting back to weight loss; running and watching calories, and I stepped on the scale today to a sudden and seemingly random weight gain. It hasn't been too long, but I still find it discouraging.

So I'll consider this a little timely nod from the Universe to remember I'm on the right path, and to keep going. So, thanks for sharing this, Ashley. :) Your journey has been a bit of an inspiration to me, and I hope one day to comfortably post a picture of myself in a swimsuit. One day!

Rayanne Langdon said...

You ARE gorgeous and a super huge inspiration. Love you, girl!

Anonymous said...

Yes, yes, yes yes yes, YES!

Julia said...

Thanks so much for this Ashley. It is a great reminder about loving ourselves and feeling great in our own bodies. Julia

Christa said...

Ashley, this is such an important part of each of our journeys, whatever they may be. I have also completely taken the scale out of my life. Does that take away all of the obsession? No. But I have my own self to keep in check with, not a stupid scale.

You have been a huge part of my journey, and still are. You are an incredible woman, and inspiration!

Nicole Toronto said...

I read this blog entry back in June, and just re-read it and had to comment.

I love it!

You're smart, thoughtful, and an inspiration!

And you're gorgeous, both inside and out (LOVE the new bikini!)

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