Let me paint a picture for you guys. It’s 6.30am, I’m stood on the scales in my pants, not daring to breathe because I want the figure on that absurd little electric screen to make today a good day. My eyes are squeezed shut and I’m so sure that I’ve done enough this week to warrant receiving affirmation from my scales of this. I can already envisage which outfit I’m going to wear. I’m excited. But as I peep through my sleepy lashes, I immediately deflate. I step on and off the scales a few more times, just to have the crushing news delivered once or twice more. My mood shifts. My thoughts darken and gear towards feelings of self-hate and regret and rejection. Yes, I let my scales reject me.
I can’t remember when it started. Sometime in 2017? 2016? I don’t know. But I know that I used to be a strong, self-assured girl who was happy with her body and her appearance, confident in her looks and happy enough in her image that scales were never used as a measure of self-love. Now, that seems crazy. How did I get by without caring what my scales told me? How did I allow myself to start my day without my scales choosing my mood? Because that’s what my scales do. They deliver me good or bad news – every morning, every day. And that news determines whether I am going to put on some makeup and select that pretty little outfit that I know I’ll rock with the self-assuredness of someone who loves herself, or whether I’m going to dejectedly don a baggy t-shirt and scrape my hair back into a bun.
For a brief period of time, I thought I was done with those feelings. Around summertime last year I discovered a weight-loss shake plan, which let’s be honest, sounds disastrous even to you guys reading this. When do those things ever work? But I was obsessed (still am) with losing weight and this was promising to be a fast track in that process. So did I buy in? Of course. Did I lose weight? Heaps of it. Did I put it back on the second I started eating normally again? Damn right I did. And somehow, that made my obsession with my weight even worse. Losing that tiny glimmer of hope that I had found caused me to rocket into self-destruct mode, despite the fact that my body was just the same as before. My dark little mind now mocks me when I look in the mirror and laughs at me when I show my legs, tells me not to change in front of people and dares me to go a day without my rendezvous with the scales.
So how do I fix this, whilst health prevents routine exercise?
Love myself more? I could try. Respect the person in the mirror more? I could try.
Honestly, I don’t know. I don’t have a fix. See, I know about all the things that I should do, but that’s easier said than done, isn’t it? It’s easier to tell yourself to be kind and to accept your own imperfections, but when it comes down to it – I am a perfectionist. It’s going to take a lot more than some optimistic thinking to change the way that I measure self-love.
But if I am to be optimistic, I would hope that one day I will wake up and I will love what I see – and that will be the end of the pernicious relationship that I have with my scales, who tell me when to love myself. And I want you to know that if you have been there, in that picture that I painted for us both, you aren’t alone. You are beautiful and your own worst enemy is the critic inside of your head. I know that doesn’t fix things, but sometimes it makes it easier to know that you have someone on your side, feeling the same feelings and fighting the same battle.
It can be the hardest thing to do to admit to your own weaknesses, especially when life is perfectly portrayed on social media, but here it is – this is mine.