Let me start with a brief introduction: Weight is not always an indicator of one's personal health and well-being, especially for healthy young women who believe their weight determines their self-worth.
Every morning as you enter the locker room, you make a beeline for the scale that lives in the back corner.
You've achieved your goal from the night before to get up and go to the gym first thing in the morning.
You pushed yourself during your workout. Your heart was working its hardest, and even though you're super sweaty, you feel amazing.
You're alive. Proud. Awake.
However, depending on the number that will flash in front of you on the gray, cold machine in two seconds, your entire day could change.
You'll either feel good (but not at the number you want to be just yet) or instantly upset.
All it takes is one number, one indication of your gravitational pull to the earth.
I used to be that girl.
After an incredible workout in which my body was able to sweat, do plenty of pushups and lift heavier than the week before, I used to head to the back corner of the locker room and feel disappointed.
My mood, my outlook on food for that day and my perception all drastically changed after each of the weighing experiences I chose to put myself through. I felt upset with myself, and I hated it.
I recently had my yearly physical at the doctor's office. After the nurse wrote down my measurements on the record sheet, I glanced at it to see where I was.
I immediately started to go into my standard shutdown mode.
All my normal positive thoughts immediately ceased. My self-confidence – which is typically pretty high – began to diminish, and negative thoughts started rapid-firing in my head.
It doesn't matter. But it does! It definitely does. I wish I weighed less.
I used to not get my period. I lost my fertility. I suffered from bad skin, mood swings, high stress levels and the inability to fall asleep at night.
Sure, I weighed less on the scale. But in reality, I was unhealthy, and my digestive and reproductive systems were failing me.
I started eating when I was hungry and nourished my body with plenty of real, whole foods every day. That made the difference.
I don't include processed foods in my diet. I stay away from ingredients I'm sensitive to. I listen to my satiation cues, and I don't enjoy – and therefore don't participate in – the college idea of “Let's get drunk Thursday through Saturday."
I lift weights and do high-intensity workouts. I practice hot yoga. I hike and I meditate.
I'm a much happier and healthier version of myself.
I don't plan to weigh myself ever again. No matter what the number is from now on, it won't make me happy, sad, defeated or upset.
I'm choosing to love myself and honor my body's ability to move, sweat, digest, sleep and have babies one day.
To hell with a three-digit number on a scale that determines the gravitational force between my body and the planet we all reside on. As long as I feel good, I'll be proud of myself.
Here are five reasons I encourage you all to do the same:
1. Your weight is not a direct indicator of your health.
Simply because you're a not a desired number (in your own terms) on the scale does not in any way mean you're unhealthy.
In many cases, weighing more can mean you're happier, healthier, fulfilled, stronger and less stressed and tired than you've been in the past.
2. Anything leading to self-hate is a waste of time.
Your miraculous life will be better spent cooking, catching up with friends and family, going to shows and concerts, volunteering or even just walking.
Literally anything is better than succumbing to self-hate and self-criticism. No person should ever make you feel that way about yourself, and so, a number on a scale definitely shouldn't either.
3. Your body is doing its best under the circumstances it's been given.
If it's recovering from a lot of stress – whether physical, mental or emotional – it's going to have to learn to trust you again.
Offer your body time, and love it unconditionally all the while. It's the only home you've been given to inhabit during this life.
4. Your mentality, diet and emotions fluctuate every season.
It's completely normal for your weight to shift when your emotions and diet do. In fact, your mentality changes it too.
You'll never be one weight your entire life. It's natural for your gravitational pull to change as you do.
5. Eat the damn brownie and feel no shame.
There is no "wagon" to fall off and get back on.
You eat healthy and you exercise. So, enjoy the treat and proceed with your day.
There's never been – and there never will be – a wagon.
A version of this article originally appeared on the author's personal blog.