What Does Weight Matter?

I had a strange dream the other night.

In my dream, I was at a doctor’s office for a routine check-up. We all know that for some reason, doctors always want to weigh you at these routine check ups. As if knowing your weight will reveal some individualized key to wellness that they can’t get by asking you some simple questions.

In my dream, I stepped onto the scale with my back to the numbers. For some reason, my dream doctor was too far away to read the scale, so she called out to someone to read it for her. I was about to protest, when one of her nurses yelled across the room, “196.”

I looked down at myself on the scale. I was the same me as I am in reality– the same shape, the same size. How could I possibly weigh 196lbs? At first I was impressed: ‘I’ve been carrying around all of this weight in muscle!’ I thought. Then, I started to feel self-conscious and a little depressed–how could I possibly weigh 196lbs?

I woke up with knot in my throat.

Even though I knew it was a dream, I was thrown off by how much a number affected me. By how much it affected me despite me being the same size in my dream and in reality. What does it matter how much I weigh if I’m healthy, active and happy? What does weight matter, anyway?

In real life (as opposed to dream life) I don’t weigh myself often. Sometimes I’m curious about what I weigh, but memories of the feelings of disappointment that I used to get when I looked at the numbers on a scale far outweigh my curiosity.

I choose not to weigh myself regularly because my weight is not an accurate representation of my health or of who I am.

I chose to stop weighing myself regularly because, for me, seeing that numeric measure of myself nurtured negative habits and fed my negative self-image.

My weight was never good enough for me.

It never changed enough for me: it was never what it was supposed to be.

I stopped weighing myself  every day because I realized that my discontent with a number on a scale was ridiculous– I could wake up in the morning and feel great about my workouts and my healthy lifestyle, then step onto the scale and my good mood would instantly evaporate. Even if  my clothes fit comfortably, or looser than before, if the number on the scale was not what I imagined it would be, I would be instantly upset.  I allowed the scale ruin  many of my mornings and I got tired of feeling bad about a silly number.

Since I stopped weighing myself all the time,  I care less about what I weigh.

I can’t say that I don’t care at all–I still step on the scale every now and then–but I don’t place so much value on that measurement any more. I no longer rely on my weight to tell me that I’m healthy or good enough.

I’d rather measure how much weight my body can lift, and how fast and how far it can run.

I’d rather quantify myself by how much love and laughter I put into the universe and by the things of which my body is capable.

I admit, sometimes I pinch my stomach to see if there’s more tummy there than before…but it’s more important that I’m happy and that I love myself the weigh I am (Ha! get it?).

Loving yourself automatically makes you healthier.

For some, the scale can be a useful tool, but for others, it can produce anxiety and dread.

I know some people who are unaffected by numbers on a scale, but I know more people who hate to have themselves weighed. In my opinion, there are better ways to measure health than numbers on a scale.

I measure my health by how much weight I can squat and how many vegetables I eat. How do you measure yours?

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17 Responses to What Does Weight Matter?

  1. scilla January 23, 2013 at 10:54 AM #

    But the scale number went down after u went paleo amirite? I lost 22lb even tho my goals were health related 🙂

    • Allison January 23, 2013 at 11:12 AM #

      Hi Scilla! I think it’s wonderful that your weight changes as a byproduct of reaching your health goals.

      Actually, my story with paleo and the scale is interesting. Initially I lost about 12 pounds just by adding meat and more veggies back into my diet (after being a vegetarian). Over the past three years of being paleo, I’ve actually GAINED about 15 pounds, but my body has stayed pretty much the same size. I still wear the same clothes I wore 4 years ago for the most part. Just one more reason I don’t pay attention to the number on the scale.

      • scilla January 23, 2013 at 11:32 AM #

        I was a vegetarian too before Paleo lol and yeah the only reason I step on the scale now is to make sure I’m not losing too much !

      • karenb January 23, 2013 at 2:05 PM #

        Obviously it does matter what you weigh and most people are the same. You both mentioned how much you lost or gained in weight and almost every single paleo success story mentions it too.

        I do weigh myself regularly, not every day, around once a week, just to check in with myself and know that measurement. I think it’s as good as a tool as the mirror, trying on skinny jeans or any other method people use to monitor their body.

        To measure my general health I notice how my body feels, mainly pain. Pain issues run in my family (as does overweight) and I’m happy to feel healthy and pain free at 49!

        • Allison January 23, 2013 at 2:13 PM #

          Hi Karen, thanks for sharing.

          I do weigh myself occasionally now. There was a period of time when I couldn’t weigh myself at all because it was just too hard to deal with the emotions that it brought up.

          I don’t weigh myself regularly anymore, but I do have a general idea of how much I weigh. Honestly, the only reason I weigh myself now is out of curiosity– as my body changes based on what I’m eating and what I’m lifting, I think it’s interesting to see how my weight moves. BUT I don’t care about weight as a number like I used to.

          For lots of people, weighing can be an okay tool– as long as you’re measuring your actually health by some other standard.

          I think it’s great that you measure your health by how your body feels!

  2. Nora January 23, 2013 at 11:44 AM #

    I feel like we have some very similar experiences. I too was at a point in my life when I weighed myself every single day. And if the number I saw didn’t drop each time I weighed myself, my mood dropped instead. It was no way to live. I haven’t weighed myself in probably a year. I’m also so much happier than I was at the aforementioned time in my life. I’m learning more and more that my weight isn’t indicative of my worth as a person.

    “I’d rather quantify myself by how much love and laughter I put into the universe and by the things of which my body is capable.” —- That’s a great way to put it. I completely agree!

    • Allison January 23, 2013 at 12:01 PM #

      Thanks for sharing that , Nora.

      “I’m learning more and more that my weight isn’t indicative of my worth as a person. “– that’s huge! I still have trouble separating worth and and weight every now and then. It’s easy to slip back into old patterns. I think it’s great that you’re working toward removing weight from the self-love/worth equation.

  3. Cheryl January 23, 2013 at 3:04 PM #

    I do weigh myself a couple times a week… I don’t put much stock in the number though because even though the number isn’t moving that much or that often – I am losing! Or shall I say shifting? After gaining a good 40 pounds during a three year period, I’ve spent the last year getting a handle on myself!, I’ve lost over half of the weight and even though I would love for that # to be smaller if it doesn’t get there that’s ok…my body is looking better with exercise but even more – my health is great!! And my health is much more important than any number on the scale!!! Thanks for your post!! Gave me something to think about!!

    • Allison January 24, 2013 at 10:43 AM #

      Awesome, Cheryl! Thanks so much for sharing that. Marking your progress by how you body looks and feels AND your health is freeing, isn’t it?

  4. Marie January 23, 2013 at 5:44 PM #

    I can’t believe I am reading this blog today. I just had a conversation with a friend about how when we were younger our bodies were never good enough. We never weighed the right amount. It’s crazy the things you tell yourself! And weigh or don’t weigh. Whatever gives you peace of mind and a healthy life 🙂

    • Allison January 24, 2013 at 10:44 AM #

      Love that! Thanks, Marie!

  5. shawne January 25, 2013 at 7:04 PM #

    This effects so many women I know. We are also Paleo followers, me somewhat modified. It has helped with my husband’s MS and me, for weight control. I just FEEL better. I haven’t gotten on a scale in a while, I’m not focused on it as much these days, just focusing on feeling well.

    • Allison January 26, 2013 at 4:26 PM #

      Thanks for sharing, Shawne– I’m so glad that Paleo is helping you and your husband!

  6. Justin January 25, 2013 at 10:46 PM #

    I’m in middle school and i had to do a research paper on health and i found this very motivational.
    -thank you

    • Allison January 26, 2013 at 4:26 PM #

      Awesome, Justin! Thanks so much for reading

  7. Susan January 28, 2015 at 5:35 PM #

    When I was 17, measured 42-27-41 and was an athlete with muscle, I weighed 175 at 5’9. My doctor said I was 45 lbs overweight and I needed to lose it NOW. He gave me amphetimines and I lost 5lbs and got very unhealthy. It also set me up for an unhealthy relationship with the scale. Fast forward 45 years, I never get on the scale at the doctor’s office. She just has to deal with it. All my labwork is fine, my blood pressure is fine, I eat a raw diet and exercise. No, I will never be thin. All those years took a toll on my self-esteem, health and body. I had to work hard to overcome the trauma of multiple unhealthy diets. Finally, I am in a good place and healthy.

    • Allison January 30, 2015 at 9:18 AM #

      Thanks for sharing, Susan!!

Thoughts? Feel free to comment below!

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