- Sara Mann
Don’t worry, I’m not giving up on recovery, but sometimes in order to recover, I have to give certain things up. In this case, I’m talking about being weighed.
In my own home, I threw out our scale almost three years ago. We don’t keep one in the house, period. Before I entered recovery I would weight myself at least ten times a day…at least. The number was what drove me and determined my mood, worth, identity, body image and security. It took me a long time to get over not having a scale in the home and having no idea what I weighed, but I needed to do it in order to end the behavior of weighing myself obsessively.
One thing that didn’t change though, was I was still being weighed. Since the beginning of my treatment I have worked with a dietician, and that dietician has weighed me every single week (sometimes two) and only skipped if I was out of town or we met every other week. So basically, my entire recovery, although I haven’t weight myself, I have been weighed. The “reason” for this is to watch what my body is doing and use it as a marker of recovery and how my body is recovering.
So you might be asking yourself, “why the heck is she giving up being weighed if it is something that helps her team and herself monitor progress?” Well, I’ll tell you why!
First of all, getting weighed gives me EXTREME anxiety. Every Wednesday when I walk into my dietitians office I have anxiety. My anxiety increases as I walk into the room with the scale, and it gets even worse after the scale does it’s little beeps saying it’s done weighing me. I then walk back into the dietitians office, and then sit there, with my heart pounding, wondering if I gained, lost or stayed the same. It’s terrible. This amount of anxiety about being weighed allows my eating disorder creep in. I find that on the days I’m being weighed I have more intrusive thoughts about food, naming them good and bad, cutting back my portions, worrying about if I need to exercise, if I will gain too much water before I get weighed etc. Not only that, but if I get weighed and find out I stayed the same or gained, it REALLY triggers my eating disorder to the max. I am then stuck, for three days after, fighting and war in my mind to eat despite not losing or even gaining weight. It’s almost like every time I get weighed I have a mini relapse.
Another reason that I not only want to give up being weighed but NEED to give up being weighed is that it strongly effects my mood, emotions and mental stability. If I step on that scale and lost a couple of pounds I am ecstatic. I could basically walk out of the office doing a jig. But if I step off the scale having gained or stayed the same, I am immediately depressed, hopeless and distraught. I have even found myself laying in bed crying for hours over a one pound weight gain. This amount of hopelessness has led me to have suicidal thoughts (yep, I said it) and feel so worthless and defeated that I don’t see the point in getting out and living life “at a weight like this.”
The truth is, I have pretty much ZERO control over my weight right now. Which is another reason I need to give up being weighed. There are times that I have done EVERYTHING right. I ate perfect, I ate enough, I ate nutrient dense foods, I exercised the exact amount I’m allowed, I took all my meds and supplements, followed all the rules and bam, gained four pounds. WTF?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! I have realized that my weight has pretty much nothing to do with how I eat and exercise and everything to do with my body healing. This is the scary thing about recovery. My body will stay this weight while it tries to heal and there isn’t a dang thing I can do about it. The ONLY things that my team has connected to my weight are stress, under-eating, and hormones. It has nothing to do with my food and exercise. I can eat as much as I want and lose weight, but if I restrict I gain. I can eat and exercise perfectly, but if I’m stressed, I gain. I can have the best day ever, but if my hormones are off that week, I gain. There just isn’t much I can control about my weight right now, so why the heck am I weighing myself? If I do everything perfect and stay in total control and then gain weight, it makes me feel like I’ve messed up and I will beat myself up for days wondering what I did wrong. The truth is….I’ve done NOTHING wrong. I’m doing everything right! It’s just my body healing and figuring itself out.
The last reason that I know I have to stop weighing myself is from a faith perspective, I have realized that I idolize it. I do. An idol, according to the internet haha, is an image or representation of a god used as an object of worship. Now I know you might sit back and say WHOA Sara, that’s a little heavy, but honestly, it’s true. I knew I was worshiping my weight when it became something that was on my mind all the time, decided my mood, could make me feel good or bad and decided my identity and my worth. Am I on my hands and knees bowing to my scale? No, not literally, but kind of figuratively. So it needs to go. I believe in my life God deserves that place in my mind and my heart, not how many pounds I am.
To sum it up, I need to give up being weighed because it has become an idol, I have no control over it, it controls me and my mood, even to point of suicidal thoughts, it triggers my eating disorder and causes extreme anxiety. Basically, it isn’t good for me or my mental health AT ALL.
So now that you know why I truly do need to give up being weighed, I want to be honest and tell you why I REEEEAAALY don’t want to do it.
For real….I’m scared of gaining and gaining and gaining and not knowing. The truth is, now that I’m a little heavier, I can’t tell if I’ve gained or lost 5-10 pounds. So I’m afraid I will just gain and before I know it, I will be so heavy that I don’t know what to do. Like it will just creep on. The good news about this fear is I’ve talked to my doctor and dietician about it and they just don’t think it will happen. If I continue to eat enough, watch my stress, rest, exercise in a healthy way and allow my body to heal, it will continue to go back down naturally, no gain. I HAVE to trust what they say.
Which brings me to my second reason I’m scared to stop weighing myself, I don’t want to give up the control! I feel like this is the last bit of my eating disorder, hanging on for dear life, that allows me to “feel” like I’m in control of my body. As we all know from all of my previous blogs, eating disorders are liars. Weighing myself doesn’t give me control, it controls me. So I really need to give up this FALSE sense of control that I have. It’s REALLY SCARY to give this up. I feel like I’m jumping off a ledge hoping there is a soft trampoline to catch me, but not actually entirely sure it will be there….
The last reason I’m nervous to give up being weighed, is it means I just need to trust the process and my doctors. Like I said, weighing gives me a false sense of security and I need to let that go and trust what my doctors say to me.
Obviously giving up being weighed is a very hard thing to do in recovery. So why in the H. E. double hockey sticks am I deciding to do it? What brought me to this point?
To be honest, it was my bible study last week. We are studying the book of Joshua in my B.S.F. (Bible Study Fellowship, I highly recommend it) group. I’ve never really studied the old testament except for the obvious stories, so this was new to me. What I learned was God told Joshua to not fear and be courageous and He would be with him and give him the promised land. Joshua actually had to fight a LOT of battles over seven years to get there. There were only a couple of times that Joshua lost his battles and all of those times were when he or his people decided to be in control and go after their own plan. When they turned to God and followed his lead fearlessly, they won. This all took time and an extreme amount of faith. For me, my recovery has been one battle after another. The parallel between what I’m studying and my own life is so weird and coincidental that it has to be a God thing! Every battle that I have lost, is when I am in control. Every battle in recovery that I have won, has been when I have given it up and followed God’s will with faith. For real, go read all my blogs. The proof is there! After doing my bible study and spending some time in prayer, I realized that I need to win this battle over my scale idol. I NEED to give it up and give it to God. It’s scary to give up being weighed, but God says to move forward without fear and courageously with Him.
So after doing my bible study, I knew what I had to do. I had been on the fence about it for a while, but this was the final “sign” that I needed to let the scale go and trust that I will heal, in the right time and it will be OK. Fearlessly I sat with myself and thought about being weighed and how it is working out for me and this is what the truth is…
It’s not healthy. Weighing myself is simply not healthy. Mentally, emotionally, even physically, it’s just not healthy. It causes stress, suicidal thoughts, tears galore. This is not how God wants me to live OR how I want to live! It’s got to go.
I can’t be in control and have hope at the same time. I have been struggling SO badly with hope. One week I’m hopeful, the next week my hope is lost. Usually it is surrounding when I get weighed and what number that little floor monster spits out at me. I couldn’t figure out why I was so hopeless all the time. I know weight fluctuates and this is a journey but dang, I just could not stay hopeful. Then I realized, I cannot have hope AND be in control. Control drives out the ability to hope. It removes room for God to work or things to happen because I’m controlling all of it. I have found that I am the most hopeful, when I have the least amount of control. So here we go, I’m giving up control and giving up weighing myself.
I need to concentrate on other ways that my body is healing, not just my weight. Over the past four months my body has made HUGE strides towards healing. Do I pay attention to them? NO! Because all I care about is my weight. I’m less swollen, have more energy, have had huge positive hormonal changes, I sleep better, my mood is more stable, my weight is slowly creeping down, I could go on, yet I ignore it all because I only concentrate on whether I have gained or lost a couple of pounds that week. If I remove getting weighed I can see the other glorious ways that my body is slowly healing from a near death experience. I will no longer allow a scale to cloud all my other victories.
Weight fluctuates and I need to be honest with myself and admit that I can’t handle it. My weight in the past four months HAS been slowly going back down. By slowly, I mean glacially. HAHA! The problem is weight fluctuates. If I had only weighed myself once a month or every other month I would see it only going down. But since I have been weighing myself every week I see it go up an amount, then down an amount, then up an amount and then down an amount. I CAN’T HANDLE THIS! If I look in the mirror and really search my heart, it reveals to me that I truly cannot deal with the fluctuation. It causes stress and anxiety and again, that’s no way to live. It’s better for me to get weighed every couple of months and see where I’m at and not every single week and stress over a pound or two!
Ok, this blog is too long, but I had a lot to say about this subject!
In the end, yes, I have decided that I will no longer be weighing myself weekly. I am SCARED OUT OF MY MIND about it, but I know that it will ultimately bring me the peace I am so desperately searching for. I, like Joshua, am going to move forward and fight this new battle without fear and with courage because I’m certain God is with me and His plan for me and my recovery is good. I know I will recover from this and winning this battle is just another step to freedom and btw, having God on my side is a pretty big deal. He can do far more then I could ever imagine so I’ll trust him over myself any day. I know in time I too will reach my promised land just as Joshua did, but maybe we can all pray that it doesn’t take seven years like him! HAHA
- Sara -