I’ve been obsessed with my scale of late though truthfully, I’m not exactly sure where it is. It was hidden under a pile of towels in the back of a bathroom cupboard for the longest time, ‘til my son needed it to weigh his suitcase for a trip he took in December. Where it ended up after that is a mystery and needing to know its location is an intrusive thought that I’ve been unable to discard.
I don’t weigh myself. Ever. The last time was four years ago. It was the week before I went to a rehab facility for my eating disorder. Prior to that it had been a decade. I got on it that last time to prove to my family I was neither too thin nor too light. It didn’t go well for me.
Since then, I’ve been in avoidance mode but of late, I’ve become obsessed. I want to know.
My eating has been a bit out of control and it frightens me. I spend a great deal of time trying to convince myself that I’m not fat. The thought is there because I’ve been engaging in evening snacking (otherwise know as small binges) not on my eating plan. I spend a great deal of time trying to convince myself that my clothes aren’t lying to me and that I haven’t put on a multiplicity of pounds.
Learning to accept that I don’t need to be rigidly in control all the time is a big part of recovery from my eating disorder and it’s a part I really struggle with. For a great many years, control has been everything.
When I’m under stress, I crave structure and rigidity. When I’m under stress, my eating disorder sees it as an opportunity to jump back into the number one spot. It tries to take over every part of my life again. My eating disorder tries to convince me that without her, I’m doomed to a life of corpulent misery.
Because to be fat would be the worst thing that could happen. At least, that’s what my mind tells me. Because for me, “fat” isn’t just about weight. It means I’m an utter failure as a human being. It means I’m weak, horrible, pathetic, gross, and a failure.
My eating disorder isn’t even afraid of disease. It welcomes the idea of illness-enforced emaciation. I love it when I get the flu.
I saw a commercial recently for psoriasis medication and among the list of horrifying side-effects was weight loss. I started to wonder if I could convince my doctor that I’d developed a skin problem in order to give the medication a try. Seriously warped thinking that a large part of me is horrified by. The eating disorder part, however, was thrilled.
Eating disorders are fatiguing diseases. They don’t give you a break. They hover in your brain like a malevolent infestation, inserting their way into every thought and moment. The constant back and forth between my eating disorder brain and my rational, recovery-wanting one wears on me. I often want to give in and give up. Just eat and be damned. Break free of the chains. Sometimes I do but since the urge isn’t coming from a healing place, I end up here, obsessing over the location of the scale.
I am rigid but sober in my eating and I’m coming up again on four months with no purging. I know, intellectually, that carrying on in this way is the best way to heal. Keep on keeping on and eventually my eating disorder voice will get weaker.
I engage in positive self-talk. I remind myself I’m not my body, that fat isn’t a feeling, that I’m allowed to eat, elephants, lions, and tigers, oh my.
I know I’m on the right path, but part of me is still waiting for the magical mystery cure.
Every time I don’t purge is a win. Every meal I eat is a win. Even if they’re simple and repetitive, the food is normal, and I keep it down. I’m impatient, however, and want to be better now, even though I know life doesn’t happen that way. Upon reflection, that seems like a damn shame.
But I will continue to stay away from the scale for now. To keep on keeping on is all I or anyone can do.