Recently I wrote a post about the future and some of the things that I hope to achieve before I die. Although it wasn’t a comprehensive list, it did include a lot of things that I hold very close to my heart.
Lately, the scale and I have become close friends again. I’ve not only used it as a source of punishment but as a source of comfort…”so maybe my entire life sucks and I am falling apart, but at least I can still lose weight. At least I am good at something. Maybe I will finally feel better about myself now.” (Obviously this thought is largely skewed and fueled by the eating disorder)
Right now I need to eat more. As much as I continue to try and get around it, it’s really what needs to be done. It’s the next step in the right direction. Yet a piece of plastic has been holding me back. My fear of gaining weight is so strong, that eating more just doesn’t seem like an option to me right now. It seems next to impossible to be quite honest. Although I am not physically as unstable as I was a few weeks ago, the thought of eating more is largely overpowered by the idea of watching that number start to creep back up.
So what happens when it does?
Because let’s face it, it’s bound to happen after weeks of restricting my intake greatly. I am going to gain weight. I doesn’t matter how much I try to skirt around or avoid the issue, it’s inevitable. I am recovering from an eating disorder where I have spent years on and off starving myself in order to control my weight (and my life). I have gained weight and lost weight repeatedly, so much so that I don’t think my weight has been stable in years.
We live in a culture that is truly screwed up when it comes to weight and food. One that puts a lot of emphasis on being thin and weight loss, dieting especially. One that makes it seem like your life will be amazing and perfect if you are just able to attain your “goal” weight. Although this has nothing to do with my eating disorder, I am not immune to this message. For the longest time I have truly believed that the only way that my life will ever be ok, was if I could reach some magical number. (that constantly changes) That the only way I will ever be comfortable in my own skin is by continuing to manipulate my body to impossible standards. I’ve believed that weight gain is synonymous with failure and that no matter what biology dictates, I am above science and can actually control my weight and body size. That in order to be worthy of love, care and good things in my life, I need to be thin. That I am worthless otherwise.
I’ve let the scale and number dictate my life and my worth for years. I’ve allowed the number to stop me from doing many things in life. So many things that I am ashamed to even admit. Even through the hard work in recovery that I have done over the last 10 months, I still haven’t completely given up the idea of controlling my weight. I haven’t allowed my body to find its natural set point. Or come close to eating enough consistently for my weight to stabilize. I still have turned to the scale constantly in moments of panic. As soon as I start to lose control in my life or try something new, I run back to it for protection. It’s the excuse that always keeps me stuck and unable to push forward.
For the longest time I have clung to the scale, searching for comfort and freedom. Desperately hoping that it was the magical thing that will make things ok. Whether I weigh 100 or 200lbs, I will still have to wake up every day and face life. I will still have cancer and other medical issues. I will still have bills to pay and a loving, supporting fiancé by my side. My life will still be mine to live. My goals are not weight dependent. I can still work with children, do an Ironman and be on jeopardy, no matter what I weigh. Those around me will still love and care for me and my relationships with others won’t change. I will still have my personality, sarcastic joking humor and intelligence. I will still have MY worth. I can laugh, smile and love. I can do everything that I want to do and possibly more. None of these things are dependent on my weight or the size of my body.
However, I can’t realistically say the same with the eating disorder by my side. Obsessing about a number and allowing a scale to dictate my worth, isn’t giving me the freedom or allowing me to live the life that I desire. Instead it’s pushing me farther away from it. It’s causing me to isolate more and listen to those that are trying to help me a lot less. It’s causing me to take one step forward and a bunch back. It’s allowing the eating disorder to continue to be very present and dominating in my life and making recovery a million times harder than it already is. It’s not only hindering my recovery, but it’s hindering my life. The costs are outweighing the benefits by far.
Today I am going to take a big scary leap of faith and end my relationship with the scale. I can’t say it’s going to be easy but I know it’s going to be worth it. Good riddance.