From Our Readers
September 15, 2012 3:00 am

I don’t know what I weigh and I’m totally fine with that.  I have an approximate figure in my head from when I last got weighed at the doctor’s, but even that doesn’t seem real to me. The doctor’s scales were in kilograms and where I’m from, no one ever talks about their weight in kilograms, so she might as well have told me my weight in Newtons, that’s how little kilograms mean to me.  Even thinking back to that weight, I get the two numbers confused as to which way round they were on the scales, despite the fact that there’s about 30kg difference, so I really have no concept of weight and how much I weigh, which is great.  I don’t have to lose that extra 10 pounds because I don’t even know for certain if I’ve got that extra 10 pounds.

I haven’t always been ignorant of my weight though. Back when I was a little kid, we used to have a pair of scales in the bathroom and my older brother and I would sometimes weigh ourselves.  In a scenario that I imagine is the complete opposite to what occurs in many women’s bathrooms all over the globe, I was thrilled when I’d put weight on.  I was getting bigger and more grown up, which is an important thing when you’re a kid. And who knew, one day I might catch up my older brother.

These scales broke around the time I was 7 and never got replaced.  I just thought this was an oversight on the part of my parents who had more important things to do and better things to buy.  Whilst this might have been the case for my dad, I found out when I was older that not buying scales was a conscious decision my mum had made.

Mum had at some point realised that her little 7 year old darling was going to turn into a teenage girl and she didn’t want me to be paranoid about my weight.  We all put weight on during Christmas and our birthdays. If you don’t put weight on, then you’re not doing it right.  My mum didn’t want me to worry about these temporary weight gains or to become obsessed with my weight, so she never replaced the scales.

And I can’t say I ever really missed those scales.  In fact is, it was kind of great without them. The only point of reference for my weight during the whole of my teenage years was when I was 13 and we had to weigh ourselves for physics homework. Wouldn’t this be illegal nowadays?  Instead, throughout my teenage years and now into my twenties I just rely on myself.  We can all see with our eyes and the fit of our clothes when our body shape changes, which is fine as long as it doesn’t change too much, but there’s another tool that we can and should use.

As cheesy as this sounds guys (and man, this sounds so cheesy) we need to listen to what our bodies are telling us. Because my body will sometimes shout at me: “Grace, what the hell?  I, the brain, know that you’ve only walked up two flights of stairs but your respiratory system seems to think you’re at the half way point of a marathon. Sort this out.” and so I know that I need to do something.  It doesn’t matter what my weight is because health isn’t a number on a pair of scales and health isn’t even always proportions, health is not getting winded doing something ridiculously easy that a spry 90 year old grandma could do backwards in heels and so the answer to my health problems isn’t going to lie solely in a pair of scales.

I can’t tell you whether or not it’s hard to quit the scales because I’ve never had to. I’ve just grown up in an environment where it’s unusual to know your own weight, but I can tell you it feels good not knowing what you weigh.  You don’t berate yourself for putting on or not taking off a certain amount of weight, but instead live in blissful ignorance of the numbers, using whether your body looks and feels healthy as your barometer.

So, unless you need those scales for reasons that are specific to your health, then just ditch them. Put them in a wardrobe, kick them under the bed, leave them in that bit of the garage where all the spiders live so you won’t be tempted to have a sneaky weigh-in. We get so hung up on reaching a certain weight that is often an arbitrary figure we’ve imposed on ourselves that we lose sight of the fact that the end result, being healthy, is the most important part in this equation, not the numbers that we’re putting into it.

You can read more from Grace Cox on her blog and follow her on Twitter.

(Image via Shutterstock).

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