I peaked out of one eye to read the numbers on the scale I was standing on. I pulled the measuring tape a little tighter around my waist, hoping to make the number half an inch smaller. Every calorie I put into my mouth, got added up in my trusty app. I weighed and measured each ounce of food and tracked my macros down to the exact percentage, tweaking every meal to get it just right.
Numbers controlled my life.
Saying Good-Bye to the Scale
When we moved to American Samoa, we got rid of most of our things, everything from dishes to clothes to the kids’ toys. This being just another great step in our minimalism journey.
As I considered our scale, I thought about my daily routine of stripping down, so there would be nothing to increase that number, and stepping on. Then, allowing those numbers to set the tone for the rest of my day.
Maybe, I thought, hmmmmm. I couldn’t go two years without stepping on a scale, could I?
Having been a fitness instructor for over a decade, my body was kind of like my business card. I always felt this pressure; pressure to be in top shape. Especially whenever I’d tell someone what I did for work. I felt their eyes surveying my body. Judging. Like if my fitness classes were working for me, maybe they’d work for them, too. If my body wasn’t just right, well then, I probably wasn’t very good at my job.
Could I really go two years without this thing which had been my daily duide? The thing was, I wasn’t going to be teaching on the island. I made a decision…
“Good-bye old friend.” I said, as I tossed the scale into the trash. “On the good days, I’ve loved you. I would have kissed you, but feet stand on you and that’s, you know, that’s just gross. On the bad days, I haven’t so much hated you, as much as hated myself. So, thanks for that. Now, it’s time we parted ways.”
Saying Good-Bye to the Numbers
We started our new life on the island. At first, being in control of my diet was the easiest it’s ever been. The food was all new and different, we didn’t have a car, and it took a while for the first pay check to come through. These three things created an environment where I was very deliberate about my food consumption, along with doing a lot of walking. Soon enough, I could feel that my clothes were fitting more loosely. Success!
Soon I decided, not only was I going to stop tracking my weight, but I was going to let go of tracking calories, steps, measurements, all of it! I was going to transfer the energy that I’d always spent on those things into more meaningful pursuits like taking the kids on hikes and to the beach and discovering everything our new island home had to offer. I could keep control without the numbers.
We got comfortable, got a car, and I settled into my new life of being a full-time, stay-at-home, home-schooling, island mom. It was awesome, but draining and never-ending. I could feel myself losing control and getting a little more snug in my clothes.
Over the coming year, I would bounce back and forth, keeping myself within a range that I felt comfortable with. I occasionally wished for my scale, for reassurance of where I was. When I felt my jeans getting tighter, I’d be tempted to start tracking calories again, to make sure I would be able to get the results I wanted.
Each time, I’d remind myself that the numbers were not what mattered. What mattered was that I could find a way to be happy, without needing to rely on the numbers. I had made many changes over the past few years- simplifying my life, living more intentionally, becoming more aware of my actions and how they affected others and the world around me– finding a balance between food, exercise, and life was just one more change that I could, and was crushing! After all, the ultimate goal was to live life to the fullest, accomplish my goals, chase adventures, and find fulfillment in the process.
Moment of Truth
I was on one of my downward arcs, feeling less comfortable in my clothes and finding myself deleting more photos of myself than I kept. I had begun again to be more vigilant about what I was putting in my mouth and how much I was moving during the day.
Frustrated that I was needing to cut back again, but glad that I was finding the balance on my own, I took the kids to buy plane tickets for our upcoming trip. Flying from our small island to another, we had to provide more information than I was expecting. Standing at the service counter, we were just finishing the process, getting the kids’ ages and everything, when the woman behind the counter asked, “Would you come around and step on the scale, so I can get your weight?”
Turns out: Small Island + Small Plane= Weight Recording
Sure. Totally! I’ve got this! I haven’t stepped on a scale in over a year, but what is there to be afraid of? I stepped up, casually glanced over, like it was no big deal.
Tune in next week to read the conclusion- I’ve had something of a revelation and I’m going to share what has worked and what hasn’t, and what I’m doing about what wasn’t working. If you’ve ever struggled with the balance between health and everything else in life, you won’t want to miss this. Bonus: The tips I’ll be sharing can be used by anyone, at home or on the road.