Earlier this year, I was reenergized to clean up my apartment by watching the Netflix series “Tidying Up” with Japanese decluttering expert Marie Kondo. If you’ve ever spent time decluttering, you’d know that the hardest thing can be getting rid of the things to which we have emotional attachment.
To counteract this phenomena, Marie has her clients do one two things:
1) Pick up the item and hold it in their hands
2) Ask themselves: “Does this bring me joy?”
I love this question because a simple “Yes” or “No” answer helps you bypass the emotional attachment to make a clear decision on whether or not to keep something.
As I picked up the scale that had been sitting in my bathroom for years. Immediately, I was taken back to the memories I had with this item. For years, when I was dieting and struggling with food, I remember feeling anxious and excited each morning when my my internal dialogue would go something like:
“I’ve been so good this week…. I’m soooo gonna see the numbers go down…. Oh wait, let me pee first so that doesn’t mess up the number” (If that’s TMI for you, sorry I’m not sorry :P)
From here, one of two things would happen
If the scale went down, I would rejoice!!! “YES, my efforts are paying off!!” Then, I’d go through my day feeling proud, confident, and excited.
If the scale went up, (which inevitably it would at times due to hormonal fluctuations, water weight, etc.) I would feel devastated and proclaim to myself: “Why bother? I’m going to be fat forever!” The saddest part of this is that this type of thinking would often lead me to eat emotionally. I was victim to the dieting mentality. Studies do show that dieters can often be triggered to overeat emotionally by having a bad scale day. What a crazy, insidious cycle!!!
Returning back to the present day, with the scale still in my hand, the clear answer was, “No, this doesn’t bring me joy.” Since making peace with food and quitting dieting, I also realized that the scale had been collecting dust since I hadn’t even used the scale in a few years… So into the Goodwill donation box it went...
While the scale can be useful for certain things (weighing your luggage or for people who can be completely objective about the numbers), for me and my clients, it would set off a cycle of self-loathing and sometimes binging. So if you you are all like me or my clients, I invite you to let go of what’s not working for you and what is not bringing you joy. There plenty of options to measure your progress in a way that is more gentle and useful for the long-term.