Do you love the scale? Do you hate the scale? Do you just not care? Whatever your opinion on scales are, you have an opinion. Hopefully it is a healthy one. Those of us with ED’s or are in process of recovery have a definite opinion of the scale. It is our frenemy (friend and enemy). We love it because it brings us happiness when we need it. We love it
because it keeps our otherwise hectic life in control. Yet, we hate it because it brings us unhappiness. We hate it because it controls us. We hate it because it tells us our self-worth, self-value, and when people will love us. All because of one number we have in our heads. We cannot go above that number. We have a safety number (well I did). Once we go above the high number we starve and purge. If we fall below our safety number we binge because we feel sad and out of control than follow it up with purging.
When I was controlled by a scale I use to hide my insanity. The scale was in my parents bathroom. So I had to go in there to use it. I had to time myself and step on the white plastic scale when they weren’t around. If they caught me using it they would either check the number (which would result in gain weight comments), or tell me to get off it. I did it daily. Multiple times a day, knowing that your weight fluctuates during the day, I had to do it. Ask any one who struggles with this, it is only you and that scale. I had numbers on it where I felt my best and that I liked. I had numbers that were my heavy numbers which were signs that I need to lose weight. And I had a number that I couldn’t go under, mainly in part of a truce I made with my mom and gynecologist when I was severely underweight.
One of my first challenges was to step off that plastic white scale. To decrease my time on it. Instead of five times a day, cut back to three or four, etc…Eventually I weened myself off the scale and only stepped on them when I had a dr’s appointment. When I moved to my current therapist he came up with the idea to step on the scale sideways or backwards so I wouldn’t see the number. If I didn’t see the number I had no attachment to the number (I am not a math major but I had number attachments). It wouldn’t ruin my day with thoughts of “I am gaining” or “I am losing” etc…I felt like I looked stupid and I always made a joke of it but I soon came to realize that the nurses didn’t care. Most of them thought I was smart by doing that given my challenges.
The other day I had a major breakthrough. Probably one of my biggest ones in the almost three years of recovery. I saw a number on a white sheet of paper (my check out sheet at the doctor). On that white sheet of paper, I saw my weight. Here is the crazy part: it was heavier than usual, but I didn’t care. I knew that it may not be accurate because of the time of day, the time of month, and just took it with a grain of salt. I knew that I gained a few but that was ok because people still think I weigh less than that. I have muscle, and muscle weighs more than fat. There are lots of reasons for that number. My current weight as of that day was how much I weighed in high school. I honestly think I look smaller now then I did around ten years ago. But my body has also changed shape (yay for late blooming). I took that number and just let it be. I didn’t purge, starve, or over exercise. I just became mindful of it and went on my merry way.
A year ago that would not have happened! 2 years ago that definitely would not have happened.6 months ago there would be a chance that that would not have happened. But there I was completely ok with it. Melvin did creep in and try to talk me into starving. I disobeyed. I was in a good place. Especially since they are figuring out what is really wrong with my GI distress, and that is enough t over rule any weight arguments with Melvin.
So for those of you out there struggling with the scale, don’t give up. Try getting on the scale backwards or sideways. Don’t have the health practitioner tell you anything. Work on getting rid of attachments to numbers (they do not serve you). Keep trekking on. Eventually that white plastic scale (or whatever color of scale you have) won’t have a death grip on you.
Till that day comes, practice Metta (lovingkindness in Sanskrit).