Saying Goodbye to the Weight Scale and the ‘Truth’ It Told Me About My Self-Worth
If you live with an eating disorder, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “NEDA” to 741741.
Scale, you have given it to me straight when others lie. You have been my linchpin since I was 13 years old, when I first stepped on you in my parents’ bathroom. You always told me the truth in which I felt safe.
You, however, have been too important to me throughout my life. I’ve depended on you too much instead of depending on people. Whatever you would tell me would either make or break my day. The number you showed me gave me my self-worth for the day. If the number was lower than yesterday, I was happy. I would strive very hard throughout the day and try to restrict my food and/or exercise more for a “reward” of a lower number the next day. I would channel my energy throughout the day for the fortune you would tell me in the morning (always after peeing, naked and before coffee, of course).
The numbers were a red herring. You led me to believe I was on the right track; I was so close to feeling valuable, worthy, sexy, when your daily numbers would steadily decline. Even when I was restricting as best I could and exercising as much as I could on a somewhat regular basis and I reached a desirable number, I found myself in a paradoxical situation. I didn’t feel free and happy; I felt trapped and miserable. I was exhausted. You held me prisoner. I lived for the “truth” you told me every morning.
When I “fell off the wagon” and ultimately binged, I was terrified of the “truth” you would tell. I would even throw up in hopes of a lighter sentence from you. For as when the numbers went up, I was a “failure.” I was weak, unworthy and doomed to be fat, which I learned was synonymous with lazy and unloveable.
What am I to do? I’ve spent so much time and energy chasing the numbers down. I would try harder, restrict more, weigh and measure my food, go on food plans, special diets, exercise more, count calories, macros, bring my food with me in Tupperware, eat it cold because I’d be starving, chew sugar-free gum ad nauseam despite the gastric distress it brought me. I’ve skipped so many social engagements, romantic dinners, time with friends and family all for the empty promises you whisper. “Keep trying. You will be happy when you’re ‘this’ number. Burn more calories, eat less food.” But even when I would reach the “magic number,” I wasn’t happy.
I’m onto your tricks. I surrender. I’m no longer chasing the numbers down, nor am I going to live in fear of them going up either. It’s kind of unbelievable when I think of it. How can I have been duped almost my entire life that a number on the scale determines my self-worth, my value in society? I’m done worrying about what you have to say. You don’t matter to me anymore. I’m breaking up with you and hope and pray to never step on you again. You don’t determine my worth. It’s time for me to trust myself, my body, and be free to eat and move in a way that is gentle, loving and fun. I’m breaking free from your chains. Goodbye, scale. I’m done with you.
Getty Images photo via Tero Vesalainen