October 26, 2020
I feel like this is going to be a controversial topic.
Warning: This article contains talk of scales, numbers, and may be triggering for those currently struggling with body dysmorphia and other related body image disorders.
We need to talk about scales. For a really long time, I was so scared of this thing because it actually had the power to ruin my entire day. All I had to do was step on it, and if the number was higher than I wanted, I’d be curled up in fetal position crying. I wouldn’t want to do anything for the rest of the day because in my head, it was pointless. It got to a point where the scale was controlling my happiness. So I did what every body-loving article and influencer on the internet told me to do – THROW IT OUT.
So, was it the right thing to do?
I am not here to argue if scales or good or bad. They are neither good nor bad. It just depends on how you choose to look at it. And the truth is, the way I view the scale and my relationship with the scale has evolved over the years. It’s been both negative AND positive. And that’s something people never talk about because I feel like it’s either you either hate the scale…or you’re a guy.
So let’s go back to the beginning to understand how my relationship with the scale went from being non-existent to obsessive to terrified to empowering. My goal with this video is to teach you how to stop fearing the scale because you simply cannot let this piece of metal and glass control you. I am going to show you how I freed myself from the scale’s power, and put that power back in MY hands.
I believe that there are 4 stages of relationships that one can have with a scale.
#1. The nonexistent relationship where you literally don’t care what you weigh because your weight does not impact your life whatsoever.
#2. The abusive relationship where the number on the scale affects your happiness, controls your mood, and has power over your self-worth. For a lot of girls, a light number means you’re going to have a good day and a heavier number means you’re going to have a bad day.
#3. The break up where you realize how messed up the scale makes you feel so you throw it out and ban yourself from ever stepping it again! This is a healing phase to re-learn that your self worth is not related to your weight.
Most people in the body positive community will tell you that that is pure freedom. That THAT is winning. But there’s actually one more stage. The final stage is hard to reach, but it’s possible and it’s even more freeing and more empowering than stage #3. I’ll get to stage #4 in a little bit.
For now, I want to define each stage a little more…purely from my perspective as a female who has struggled with her weight and her body image.
1. The non-existent relationship
In my experience, this only really existed from zero to eight years old.
One of the first times I realized that weight was even a thing was when I was 8. I was at a family party at one of my auntie’s houses so excited to be eating amazing Vietnamese foods that only came out for special occasions like people’s birthdays or weddings. I had just taken my first sweet and savory bite of bánh ướt when one of the other kids walked up to my table and started staring at me. She pointed her finger at me and asked “Why are you so fat?”
When those words came out of her mouth, my body froze. The food in my mouth suddenly lost all its flavor. I remember my face getting hot and my eyes welling up. I didn’t know how to respond so I just ran to the bathroom. I locked the door, spit out my half-chewed food, and started crying and crying and crying. It was from that day forward that my weight suddenly had meaning. And it wasn’t a good one.
2. The abusive relationship
This stage lasted for me from about 9 years old to my late twenties. Basically, 20 years.
In the abusive relationship stage, I did a lot of bad things. Things that are super uncharacteristic of who I am today and I am super ashamed to share what I am about to share.
I played around with really unhealthy things to try to lose weight. As a teenager, I used to use diet teas, diet pills, fat blockers, fat burners, and laxatives. I was so OBSESSED with getting skinnier and I literally didn’t care how I was going to do it. Plus I didn’t know anything about anything. Honestly, if I were me then, right now, I’d probably fall into the traps of skinny teas and waist trainers. I was naive, desperate, and I just wanted to lose weight so bad so I could fit in. Maybe have more friends. Maybe have boys like me.
I remember specifically this one time in the Fall of Freshman year of college, when I went to Rite Aid to look for diet pills. After spending about 30 minutes going up and down the supplements aisle, I ended up choosing this pack of green tea fat burning pills because it was only $8.99. I secretly carried that brown paper bag back to my dorm thinking I had the solution. I was so excited to take one. I remember it smelling so strongly herbal that I wanted to throw up, but I didn’t care, I was going to suck it up and TAKE IT because THIS was going to make me skinny.
After swallowing 1 pill, like the back of the box said, I proceeded to read my bio textbook on mitochondria or whatever you learn in Bio 101. Then, 5 minutes in, I started to feel my heart thump. Then it thumped faster and faster!!! My face started to get hot and my head started to feel really weird. It felt like I was running without having gone on a run. I was so scared I was going to have a heart attack because my heart kept beating faster and faster and faster! I went to go lie down thinking that in that moment, I actually might die.
Then after college, I did my first and only bikini competition where I was trained by a bodybuilding coach to weigh in every day. If I was heavier, he’d tell me to stop eating so many carbs (this included iceberg lettuce), and then he’d proceed to make me do more cardio. I didn’t question his techniques or advice because he had won a ton of trophies in the bodybuilding world, so I just went into student mode and just listened to my teacher.
Losing weight throughout my 8-week bikini competition journey made me feel like I was achieving something I had never been able to do. It felt so good and so addicting to feel “successful”. Was I happy though? No. If you ask Sam who I became around that time, it was a really mean, really cranky, vanity driven version of Cassey.
After the competition when I decided to go back to “normal-healthy” living, not bikini competitor living (which is not healthy or sustainable for the long term by the way) – my body was so deprived that it soaked up every calorie I was eating. I started to gain weight and I couldn’t control it. My body was so messed up. Every time I stepped on the scale, it made no sense. Sometimes salads would make me gain and pizza would make me lose. Working out didn’t even seem to matter. I had totally damaged my metabolism. I was so scared to step on the scale because anytime I’d see the number jump, I’d cry and let the rest of my day go to waste.
3. The break up
There comes a time when any girl with body image issues should probably just get rid of their scale. When I made the decision to live a scale-free life at the end of my 20s until I was 32, it was freeing. Initially.
It was the phase of my life where I was gaining weight on YouTube and everyone saw. People commented on my body all the time, saying that my workouts must not work because I was getting fat. There was hate from a community of YouTubers who made videos about my body, shaming me for the way I looked and the way I ate. It was during this time period that I had to toughen up and learn how to love my body regardless of how I looked or how much I weighed. I think a lot of you guys probably found my workouts around this time because of my viral video “The Perfect Body” where I visually photoshop myself on camera to look like how people want me to look. Bigger boobs, bigger butt, thinner waist, thigh gappier thighs.
It was from that moment that Blogilates became synonymous with body positivity and it was a good thing for me. I was still healing from years of hating my body, and hearing that other women were feeling the same things I was feeling was so encouraging and so empowering.
Body positivity helped free me from food jail. I was no longer scared of eating foods I used to label as bad. So Sam and I kind of went crazy. We ordered dessert after every meal, we ate late, we went out a lot, and we really had a great time trying out so many new restaurants. It was awesome to have this break from eating healthy because it actually ended up recalibrating my metabolism in a way.
However, when your job is to make fitness videos and you actually need the RIGHT fuel to get through a workout, you just can’t eat like that. I remember being on set for a HIIT video and asking to take a break between filming because I could barely breathe. It was so embarrassing because ALL of my videos are filmed in real-time, no breaks – ever. After that shoot, I realized that real food freedom doesn’t mean eat whatever you want all the time. Food is supposed to help you not hurt you, and my “food freedom” was getting to a point where I couldn’t even do my job right.
So as you can see, there is a stage after stage 3. It doesn’t apply to everyone, because some people’s stage 3 is the type of freedom they need.
But not for me.
Eating “whatever I wanted” did not result in true happiness and freedom because it was hindering my strength and my endurance. It was affecting my body and my business and I was not feeling my best.
That’s why stage 3 for me, was just a temporary healing phase.
4. Empowered relationship with the scale
The empowered relationship is where you are unafraid to step on the scale because you realize it actually doesn’t hold any power over you. A higher number or a lower number on the scale does not affect your mood because you know that your weight is simply a data point and that a scale is simply a tool that could help you reach your goals.
August 2019 was the beginning of stage 4 for me.
You already know that this is when I embarked on my 90-day journey and actually weighed myself every single day. The first day I stepped on the scale, I had to keep repeating to myself that this was just a number. It was still shocking to see how that number after YEARS of not stepping on the scale, but it also felt like I was getting to know myself again. Like I was unafraid to know this extra information about me.
The more I stepped on the scale, the less it scared me. Because I had goals to reach and I needed as many tools to help me as I could! I wanted to get in the best shape of my life mentally and physically and that involved weighing myself, which is fine when you ARE intentionally trying to lose weight, which for the record is NOT a bad thing if you’re going into it with a healthy purpose.
On the contrary, if you’re not in the right headspace when you’re going on a weight loss journey, this is incredibly dangerous for your mental health and I do not want you to go near a scale. Stay in stage 3!
If you still feel like higher numbers make you sad and lower numbers make you happy, I highly suggest that you work on healing yourself first before you do anything related to weight loss. You will be at risk of falling back into stage 2 – the abusive relationship.
If you still want to go on a journey – go on one! But make it about lifting heavier, holding longer planks, running faster, or finishing one of my 7-day or 30-day challenges! You have plenty to choose from on my blog. What you need are some non-numerical achievements to give you a sense of what un-weight related success feels like.
Remember, I didn’t get to stage 4 without being in stage 3 for like five to six years. I took 5-6 years to heal my body image issues and re-calibrate my metabolism. I’ve now been in 4 of my relationship with the scale, the empowered stage, and I feel good. Who knows what stages are still left to be uncovered but if i discover any more, I will share them with you.
I’d love to know which stage you’re currently in with the scale! Please leave a comment below and let’s have a really open discussion about it where you are and where you wanna be. I’ll see you in there.