Why I started a challenge to stay off the scale

If you follow me on social media, you know that I started a challenge for the month of April, entitled “Bail on the Scale.”

I promoted said challenge with the following video.


Yes, I have feelings about the scale.

I have feelings about our obsession with the scale. 

So I took it out of the bathroom at work. 

And I ran one over with my car. 

For many of us, and women especially, the scale becomes the central ingredient to failure and success. This device is so defining and confirms what writer Annie Lamott refers to as our inner sense of disfigurement.

Our inner sense of disfigurement. There's a loaded phrase. 

I know that there is something so wrong and so broken in me that if other people truly saw what I see, they wouldn’t want to spend time with me. They wouldn’t be my friend. They wouldn’t love me. We have this sense that we are flawed beyond measure but that no one sees it but us. We walk around waiting for someone to discover this hidden secret within us, knowing that the moment our horrible true selves become visible, we will be appropriately banished from their lives. 

We feel so strongly about this disfigurement that when people acknowledge us with something so daring as a compliment, we don't even know what to do with ourselves. 

We deflect kind words. 

“You look fantastic!”

“Oh well, I found this dress on sale for 20 bucks and it fits me alright I guess. I mean at least it hides my love handles.”

Responses like these are so second nature we probably don't even know that we do it.

"You did a terrific job with that presentation today."

"Well I tripped over a few words and that middle slide sucked so I'm surprised anyone knew what I was talking about."

I couldn't be more guilty of this one. Yesterday a friend paid me a compliment about my blog. And my first response?

"I wish I was doing a better job."

We bring our best Eyore to someone else's Tigger when it comes to a compliment. 

I also started this scale challenge because we need to stop chasing good enough. Forget chasing happiness. There is a cultural obsession that once we reach a certain number on the scale, a certain pant size, a certain waist size, we will finally be good enough. 

It's a tremendous burden to walk around with that kind of shame. And yet many of us, men and women alike, do it day in and day out. We all have our measuring sticks and qualities that we're trying to develop and goals we want to achieve. Goal weight is a big one - but we're also trying to measure success in our careers, as parents, as spouses, as humanitarians - but when can we rest in the arm chair of good enough? 

I can't answer that question. I'm pretty obsessed with figuring out what it means to be a good enough coach and writer. But I'm trying to ask. I'm trying to pay attention. That's what I've got for now. 

I don't know what will come of the four week bail on the scale challenge. 

But in the first week, people are supporting one another, a women posted an early morning selfie with her two beautiful children, and one woman has taken to flipping off the scale every time she walks by. 

Maybe, just maybe, we can begin the conversation of realizing that while it is important to establish goals and work towards them, it's equally important to delight in today, and to learn to appreciate that we are good enough right now, here, in this moment.