This morning I’m talking about the good ol’ scales. You might be in recovery from an eating disorder and still have a sneaky pair of scales that you cart around everywhere. You might be a friend of someone who weighs themselves all the damn time. Or you might not have an eating disorder but still have a pair of scales in your bathroom that every now and then you feel the impulse to stand on and disappoint yourself every time. Here’s the thing: I don’t think one recovering from an eating disorder should be weighing themselves – it’s counterproductive. And I don’t think one can be fully recovered from an eating disorder and still desire to weigh themselves incessantly. Obviously, the urge will still come up every now and then but one who is fully recovered – they can make the decision to not weigh, I believe.
I haven’t weighed myself since the 31st December 2011. Before that one incident, I hadn’t known my weight for about 4 months. I was your average anoretic or bulimic – I weighed myself constantly. When I moved out of home, I took my scales with me. I would go to the gym and weigh myself, then do three classes and weigh myself again to make sure the number had gone down. If it hadn’t, I hadn’t worked hard enough. I would wake up every morning, go to the bathroom and then weigh myself in only my underwear. If the number had gone up, I’d go for an extra run that morning and only eat an apple until dinner time.
It seems to be the norm these days to have a set of scales in your bathroom. Everyone does, right? When I first moved into Y’s place to start house-sitting for her, she had scales in every bedroom. Knowing that may tempt the eating disorder and send me spiralling down, I politely asked her if she could move them. She put them under her own bed with her other pairs of scales. This incident dumbfounded me – is it so ingrained into us as a society that our weight is so significant that we even place scales in our guests bedrooms? I don’t even know what the norm is anymore.
This morning I woke up with this verse from Matthew 5:30 rolling around in my head:
“And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.” (NIV)
Please don’t switch off yet! I want to make a really big point here.
Whatever causes you to stumble, whatever sends you spiralling down into a hefty relapse, whatever gives the eating disorder a one up on you – cut it off, so to speak. Get rid of it. It might seem impossible, but it is VERY possible. It might appear difficult and it IS difficult. But not too difficult. It is better for you to get rid of your scales than constantly fight the temptation of using them. And this applies to other things too – not just scales. It might be the ‘safe plate’ or ‘safe spoon’ that you can only eat with. Put it at the back of the cupboard and brave some other eating utensils. This is a bit strange, but for me, I had to get rid of a pair of “slimming” underwear that I had purchased for my year 12 formal. Basically, they sucked your gut in. I decided to bite the bullet and put them in the bin. I bet you can think of a stack of things that you’re still clinging to which is giving the ED a one-up on you -cut it off. Anything that is holding you back from a full recovery needs to go.
So, if you’re still bearing with me and this lengthy post and you’re NOT the eating disordered type, I have a little challenge for you too: if you do have scales in your bathroom, why? Are they necessary? Do they make you feel good about yourself? Do they make you feel bad about yourself? Do they improve your life on a day-to-day basis? Do you want your children to see those scales and abuse them by overusing them and becoming obsessed about the number that it reads? Don’t be fooled, kids can and will become obsessed with what the scales say. I weighed myself regularly when I was nine years old. If you don’t really know why you have scales in your bathroom and they really aren’t doing you any good – I dare you to throw them out. I dare you.
So there you have it – my little rant about scales for the morning. I hope it’s been somewhat thought-provoking and challenging for you. And I hope you find the courage to throw away the scales for good.