For a long time I lived in fear of the scale. I refused to own a scale because I was afraid of falling into a trap where my weight somehow determined my self-worth. Last year around this time, though, I bought some furniture from an ALT who was leaving Japan and he threw in a scale for free because he wouldn’t be using it anymore. Having just decided to start losing weight, I thought sure, what the hell.
Today I looked back at some poetry I wrote about weight and dieting last year. At first a lot of my weight loss was coming from an unhealthy place of hating my body or believing I was somehow worse for weighing more. I’m happy to say that now my focus, while still on losing some weight, is much more on health and maintaining the changes I have made over the last year.
When I am home I weigh myself every day. It has now become a part of my morning routine that I don’t even notice. My first alarm goes off at 5:40, my phone alarm app will go off after that when it hears me moving to snooze my watch alarm. I will continue to snooze both alarms until 6:00 when I sit up and check my phone. Eventually I get up and almost always my final watch alarm will go off at 6:10 while I’m peeing. Then I get on the scale, get back into bed, and sit on my phone again until I shower around 6:30. My routine has been carefully honed over months so that now the daily weighing and putting the weight into my phone for tracking is just something that happens.
While at first the daily weigh-in was a struggle and at times a point of shame, it has become a way to remain in control of my body and to learn to appreciate some of the natural changes that happen. Weighing myself every day has taught me that it is perfectly normal for me to go up or down 2-3 lbs in a day. It’s taught me when in my hormone cycle will I naturally gain some weight, and when I will find it most easy to shed a few pounds.
I’ve lost 45-50 lbs (depending on the day) over the last year, and maintained that weight loss for over 6 months. I have found knowing about any changes in my weight immediately has been essential to maintaining that weight loss. Stepping on the scale is a daily reminder to hold myself to those 1600 weekday calories and to find new ways to stay active and care for this body that is the one thing I can truly claim to be mine.
This week I’ve been sleep deprived and making bad food choices as a result because I simply cannot stay awake during the day without the extra calories. It’s hard not to focus on the immediate changes in weight and to think about the long-term picture. I know that in the grand scheme one week of being above my calorie goals is not something that I will regret. The most important thing I’ve learned on this weight loss journey, and from my daily weigh-ins, is to be kind to myself. Nothing is permanent. No weight, no pain, no regret is forever. There is always another day.