Posts made in February 2nd, 2012

the scale and the closet


Posted on Feb 2, 2012 in Fashion & Beauty

It’s funny how your perspective changes when you have no idea how much you weigh.

I ditched the scale last October and haven’t looked back. It was one of the best things I’ve ever done for my overall mental health and day-to-day happiness. It’s interesting though, because it’s not like the physical measurement of size disappears just because I’m not weighing myself—I still know roughly what physical size I am—what does change though, is how important those different types of measurements become.

It used to be that the daily number that flashed on my trusty scale was the most important gauge of my health. That number was the reward when I was doing well and the punishment when I was faltering. I lived and died by that number. It didn’t matter if I’d done the right things or had some big fitness breakthrough, without verification from the scale, I wasn’t buying it.

I could be in the world’s worst mood, feeling sorry and disgusting, but within the amount of time it took for a “good” number to pop up on the scale, I’d be snapped into pure bliss. That part was awesome. The drastic and powerful opposite was not. I could be having a day where everything was going my way. I could step on that scale with excitement about life. I could feel healthy and fit and strong. And then, a few seconds later, be sucked into the deepest and darkest feelings of failure and self-hate thanks to a “bad” number. My emotions, self-confidence and self-esteem were entirely dependent on how my scale reacted. My relationship with the scale was not only bipolar, but totally, and completely toxic. It’s blue LED numbers held the kind of power that superseded any emotions (good or bad) that I already had. It was like everyday there were two different versions of me you might encounter—Before Scale Cass and After Scale Cass.

So obviously, with this abusive kind of relationship, me and Mr. Scale had to part ways. I know a lot of folks have a great relationship with the scale, but for me, the abuse had to end.

And with that end, an immediate and drastic perspective change happened. Just like what happens when you lose a sense, my recognition and appreciation of other ways to measure my wellness became heightened. Nearly immediately after ditching the scale, I became more aware of how powerful my body was when doing sprints. I noticed for the first time what it really felt like when I wore my favorite pair of jeans. I started eating the right foods because they gave me more energy and clearer skin, not because they would result in a loss on the sale. And most importantly, I realized the best judge of my wellness was simply how I felt. How I felt when I looked in the mirror or how I felt when lifting a heavy kettlebell or how I felt when my husband told me I was beautiful. For so long that stupid, three digit number had clouded all those things for me. I couldn’t get past the 0.2 gain to see that I had a million things to feel amazing about, even if the scale didn’t think so.

This brings me to clothes.

For years, my closet has been filled with thrift store finds and discount store misfits. When I was actively losing weight, I thought there was no need to spend money on clothes because I’d just “shrink” out of them anyway. Just as long as they covered up the right parts, they were fine by me. I’d spend the real money and build a real wardrobe when I was at my goal weight. I’d hit this magical number on the scale and angels would sing, confetti would drop down from the ceiling and suddenly I’d be happy, well-dressed and totally confident. I had these amazing daydreams of frolicking down Fifth Avenue in my size six jeans with a thousand shopping bags on each arm after a massive shopping spree to celebrating hitting my goal.

But then, the goal weight I had in mind never came. And even more than that, my desire to reach (or really, care) about that goal weight disappeared. In fact, my desire to focus on numbers at all vanished and I instead focused on how I felt. A size six now seems totally laughable, not because I don’t believe I could get there but because the “size six” number doesn’t mean anything to me anymore. Now, I find myself thriving with goals that focus on me and my body instead of store sizes and shopping sprees.

So after years of being in waiting to really buy the wardrobe I want, I’m ended up with a body I love and a closet full of clothes I don’t.

It even goes further than being unhappy about my ill-fitting t-shirts and short jeans. It goes to the heart of my self-confidence. I discovered that I am really, truly content with my body and my health on days when I dress wearing clothes that I felt good in. There is no “Oh, I like this outfit, but it’d look better with 20 less pounds.” It is 100%, true body love. I look at myself in the mirror and think, “I’m strong. I’m beautiful. I’m happy.” In contrast, on days when I don my discount store duds, I look in the mirror and think, “You know, I might want to lose a few more pounds.” You can literally plot the points on a graph and see the correlation between days I wear crappy clothes and days my brain spews body-hate.

Where does that leave me? With another bipolar, toxic relationship. But this time, with my closet. Now my closet has the ability to make me feel terrible or amazing about myself at will. And just like with the scale, I’m cutting out the toxicity. It started with my massive cleaning out of the closet this past weekend and ends with me filling it up with amazing, fantastic, beautiful clothes that help me appreciate my strong and healthy body, even if it isn’t a size six.

I’ve always said that I might one day decide to lose more weight, and I still might. But living in this future world of “might” is cheating my present. By holding off on stocking up on clothes that make me feel fantastic, I’m losing the opportunity to have a self-confident-body-lovin’-totally-happy day, today. Right now. This very moment. I’m going to stop that. I’m going to stop focusing so much on this future me that may or may not show up and instead focus on the me that is here right now, and pretty damn awesome. She deserves some pretty things.

Where does this leave us? Well, you’ll probably see a few more fashion posts on BTHR. While, from the outside, it can seem like fashion doesn’t belong on a wellness blog, I think our clothes are just another cog in the gear that drives how we feel about ourselves. And feeling healthy, strong and beautiful through different avenues is what BTHR is all about! I hope you’ll stick around and embrace my not-size-six body with me, new clothes and all.

Do you like what’s in your wardrobe?