Why I ditched my scales and you should too
From a pre-teen, I was obsessed with thoughts about my weight. I had grown up watching the adults around me weigh themselves every morning, scrutinise their reflection in the mirror and count every calorie they ate. So naturally, I grew up believing that it was pretty important to be ‘slim’
From a pre-teen, I was obsessed with thoughts about my weight. I had grown up watching the adults around me weigh themselves every morning, scrutinise their reflection in the mirror and count every calorie they ate. So naturally, I grew up believing that it was pretty important to be ‘slim’. I remember going on my first diet at around 11 years old, and the dieting continued until I was around 24. Looking back now, I’m so sad that I wasted 13+ years of my life worried about that number on the scales.
My first wake up call was at around 22 years old, when I was experiencing a bout of depression and wasn’t eating as a result. I lost a heap of weight, and all I received were compliments from the people around me. I’d spent my whole life believing that being a certain size and looking a certain way would bring my happiness - and when I got there, I was the most miserable I’d ever been. So I finally realised that my weight and size wasn’t an indicator of my happiness, and I started looking deeper.
I spent a long time healing my relationship with food and with my body. I started to use food for nourishment and fuel rather than as a punishment to my body. I started eating foods that made me feel good, not foods that some diet plan said I should eat. And I started reconnecting with my own intuition when it came to eating - trusting that I knew when I was full, and listening to and honouring my body’s hunger signals.
And then it came time to change the way I felt about and thought about my body. I started by practicing gratitude for everything my body does for me - like, how cool is it that I have two strong legs that can take me almost anywhere I want to go? That is way more important than how they look. How cool is it that I have two arms so I can hug my loved ones? That is way more important than how they look. I gradually shifted my perspective on my body from one of appearance to one of gratitude, and it really helped me heal my body image.
Ditching the scales was a huge part of my journey, and it’s something I recommend to all of my clients now. Aside from tracking medical issues, there really is no need for the average person to have scales in their own home to weigh themselves regularly. All it seems to do is influence our mindset and make us feel really great or really terrible about ourselves. And I have made a very conscious decision that my happiness does not rely on my weight, so ditching the scales was a natural progression from there.
If you’re someone who currently uses the scales regularly, you can either gradually reduce the frequency of weighing yourself (e.g. daily weighs to weekly weighs, then monthly, and so on) or you can just throw the scales in the bin and go cold-turkey. My approach was the latter, and I haven’t looked back since. When you stop weighing yourself, you stop focusing on that number and you can start to focus on what truly matters in life. When you stop weighing yourself, you have more control over your mindset without being swayed by a little number and what you might make that mean about yourself.
If you resonate with my story at all, I highly recommend you ditch the scales. Make it the first step in your journey to reconnecting with your amazing body and healing your relationship with yourself. And you might find that the rest of your healing journey unfolds as a result of that one small, but significant, first step.
Dannielle Illingworth is a kinesiologist, naturopath + author. After struggling with emotional eating, uncontrollable food cravings and poor body image throughout her teens and early 20s, Danni now helps women overcome their own struggles in those areas. She is on a mission to help as many women as possible to heal their relationship with food and with their body so that together, we can raise the next generation to enjoy food without guilt and love + accept their bodies as they are. You can find out more at her website or follow her on Facebook and Instagram.