Are you like me, perhaps? When it says something you like, it makes your whole day. You have seconds on chocolate cake and order the full-fat mocha.
When it says something you don't like, it makes your whole day crabby. You analyze every reason it might possibly have said what it said - water weight, that time of month, last night's pizza, last year's baby weight, all the running made you gain muscle...etc.
(But even though you're crabby about what it said, you still have seconds on cake because you think it might make you less crabby.)
Ahh, the scale. Has it done us any good?
Okay, probably some good. But really. Why do I own one?
I've had a topsy-turvy relationship with the scale since I was 16 and started to obsess over it. I've yo-yoed between having a healthy relationship with my scale and an unhealthy relationship. I've told it I was never going to look at it again, only to cave to its enticement the very next day.
I've gone through stages of seeing what it says about me every single day to going months without stepping on it. I've obsessed over it and I've forgotten about it.
And I think it's time to break it off altogether.
The other day I was running on the treadmill at the gym, people-watching to make the miles pass more quickly of course. A beautiful young lady, healthy and fit, maybe 22 years old, stopped mid work-out, went over to the scale near the weight machines, stepped on, adjusted the weight-thingy, frowned, stepped down, stepped back on, adjusted the weight-thingy, frowned. Walked away looking frustrated.
She was lovely. She was fit. She was healthy. She was strong. She looked vibrant and fun. But apparently she didn't like whatever number she saw. Whatever the scale told her, she must have internalized it to mean something far more than it actually does mean.
All it means is the total sum of her body mass. And what is that? Bones, muscle, organs, blood, skin, fat. That's all. The numbers she saw said nothing about her intellect, her heart, her sense of humor, her gifts and abilities, her true identity.
I wanted to jump off the treadmill and run over to her and tell her not to care about the numbers. Tell her that she was a beautiful daughter of God, loved and cherished by Him.
Maybe I should have.
Now, please don't misunderstand me. In a nation that has an obesity epidemic, I'm not for a second suggesting that physical health doesn't matter. Quite the contrary. I am simply suggesting that the scale is giving us a distorted view of our physical health. Just because we like the number doesn't mean we are healthy, and just because we don't like the number doesn't mean we aren't healthy.
After four babies I don't necessarily love the number on the scale. But I'm healthy. I can do more push-ups now than I could before I had my babies (probably because I carry around a 30 pound toddler all day!).
I can't run as fast as I could then, and my hips remind me often that they've born the weight of four babies, but I can run nonetheless, thank the good Lord. I eat alot more cake than I did before I had babies too, because our household has so many reasons to celebrate and children that love to bake cakes. Praise the Lord for reasons to celebrate. If eating cake means my number being slightly higher, I'll take the cake.
So I'm a proponent of fitness and health for certain. But for many reasons, not the scale:
1. The number on the scale is not who I am. It's not a measure of my identity. My identity is in Christ, in His righteousness covering me, in His love for me. And that has nothing to do with the number on the scale. I am made in the image of God, and no "number" can reflect His image.
2. I am the mother of two daughters. I am their primary role model in all things, including health and beauty and fitness. I want my daughters to be strong and fit. I want my daughters to know as their bodies mature that they are as beautiful as they know they are right now. I don't want my daughters to obsess about whether or not to enjoy a DQ blizzard simply because of a number on a scale.
3. I am the mother of two sons. My husband is their primary role model in all things. My sons will grow up modeling a man who loves his real-life wife. His real-life wife who has body fat and who never passes up a piece (or two) of chocolate cake - but also rarely passes up the opportunity to take a walk or a jog on a sunny morning. I want my sons to know the beauty of real women.
4. The scale doesn't know my story. It only knows my body mass. But it doesn't know that those extra pounds came from four babies in six years. And it doesn't know that blueberries and chocolate equally make my heart happy. The scale doesn't know your story either, so don't let it say more than it actually says.
5. Fitness is so much better than numbers. The numbers only tell you if your body mass increased or decreased. Fitness strengthens your heart, your muscles, your mental health, your organs, your skin. Fitness brings endorphins and energy and laughter and joy and deeper sleep. Fitness allows you to run and play and really live. Fitness brings joy. Numbers usually bring condemnation.
6. Cake is so good. I mean really. So good. (I'm actually eating oreos as I type this.) I don't recall ever seeing my mom pass up cake. She loved cake. She loved DQ. She also loved long walks and fresh air and being healthy.
7. The numbers change every day anyway, and I can never figure out why. It makes me mad, it takes too much of my brain-space trying to figure it out, and it makes me crazy.
8. My body is supposed to decay. So is yours. Our bodies are absolutely going to decay and die. No matter how much botox we have or how much money we spend trying to keep our bodies young, or how much we try to lift weights or run like we did when we were 20. Our bodies will in fact decay. Let's just accept it.
My husband has won many a swimming competition in his day. He's really, really fast. But recently he has come to accept the fact that when he swims like he did in college, it hurts. His back. His shoulders. Hurt. Alot. You know why? Because he's not 20 anymore. Our bodies will decay. The scale doesn't know that.
9. It makes me too crabby. Plain and simple. The scale makes me crabby. It takes the joy out of eating cake and out of eating strawberries. It takes the joy out of running in the rain. It takes the joy out of doing more push-ups than I did the day before. It takes the joy out of taking a two week break from working out. There's no joy in the numbers. My jeans will tell me if I had too much cake.
10. The main point of my body is not to be a certain number. The main point of my body is to house my heart and my soul for the time God has me on earth, to share His love and make His name known. That's the point of my body. My job in regards to my body is to feed it, nourish it, strengthen it, rest it, honor it as a gift from God, and do my best keep it healthy during my time on earth. But my job is not to be an exact number.
So there you have it. I'm breaking up with my scale. Who's with me?
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.