breaking up.

Today I did something a little crazy, at least for me.

I got rid of my scale.

It wasn't broken. In fact, it was in perfect working order.

I threw my perfectly working scale into my trunk with a few trash bags full of clothes, drove to the Goodwill, and handed it all over.

And honestly, I couldn't be happier with my decision.

I was always a healthy kid. I was active. I ate a balanced diet.

But then some really bad things happened in college and I dealt with them by eating and watching TV non-stop. And that, my friends, is a recipe for weight gain.

As it turns out, those habits are really hard to break.

My reasons for throwing out my scale go further than that though. Starting in middle school, I fell victim to the image-centric culture. I hated my body. It was never good enough. I was envious of my sister's narrow dancer's body. I was envious of my friend's straight hair.

As it turns out, those habits are even harder to break.

And lately those nasty thoughts have been rearing their head on a daily basis. I made changes and began eating healthier and working out more. I felt great.

There was a dark side, though. The scale started taking over my life. In the past, I was able to stay in control of the scale. I would hop on it weekly and not dwell on it much the rest of the week.

Lately, though, this has not been the case. It's been all I can think about. I started weighing in daily. Sometimes I would hop on the scale multiple times per day. It was all I could think about. What do I weigh? Have I lost any weight? Why am I not losing weight faster?

Those thoughts grew darker. What's wrong with me? Why am I so broken? Why can't I do anything right?

It stressed me out so much that I actually gained weight.

Then Mom came to visit and made a suggestion: start swimming again.

You see, my entire life I've been a little fish. I love to be in the water. I swam on summer league every year. In high school, I joined the school swim team and a year round team. I may not have been the fastest swimmer on the team but I loved every second I was in the water.

I mulled over Mom's suggestion. On the way home one day, I stopped in Walmart and bought a swimsuit, goggles,and rubbing alcohol (to stave off the dreaded swimmer's ear). The next day, I marched down to the apartment complex office and picked up my pool pass. The day after that I went down to the apartment pool right as it opened and started swimming.

Ever since then, I've gone to the pool to swim laps at least 3 days a week. The lifeguards even put a lane in for me.

Then something funny happened.

I started eating healthier. I wanted fruits and vegetables. I didn't want to snack as much. Every week I had picked up a small thing of candy when I got my groceries. I quit doing that.

It got even better. I tried new and different workouts. I pushed myself harder while doing them.

But still that scale haunted me. I stopped focusing on those positive gains and started obsessing over the scale.

So I made a decision.

Health isn't just about weight. It's so much more than that.

Instead of focusing on one small aspect of my health, I decided to focus on the whole picture. And that included my mental health.

So today I choose to be happy. I choose to accept my body as it is, to appreciate what I have. I may not be an ideal weight or shape, but what I have is pretty darn good. It's high time I start appreciating and not tearing down.

I made the resolution to strive for acceptance and total health a few weeks ago. And the effects were already amazing. I have more confidence. Instead of wearing workout clothes to do everything as I had been, I put on a dress and makeup to run errands. I started more actively participating in online dating. I spoke more to the people I interacted with every day. I looked ahead, not at the ground.

But simply having that scale in my apartment proved too tempting. I had to battle the urge to weigh myself every single day. So I just got rid of the thing.

This is not a free pass to eat whatever I want and never work out. I will still eat healthy. I will still workout regularly.

Because health is important. I want to live a long healthy life. I want to travel the world. I want to have children. I don't want my health to be a barrier to anything.

And it won't be. I will take care of myself.

I just don't need a scale to do that.

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