Thursday, November 10, 2011

Scale Schmale

A couple of days ago, I stepped on the scale and got an error message. Apparently, my battery is finally running out. Not bad for two years’ worth of stepping on and off.

My relationship with the scale has always been full of love and hate. Or maybe obsession and ignorance would be better descriptions.

The first time I lost a significant amount of weight was in 1998. I was completely head-over-heels for a guy who was in grad school in Boston. And I’d make it a goal to be skinnier and skinnier with every one of his visits. This was not accomplished through the healthiest of ways. I basically starved myself and would step on the scale dozens of times each day to check my progress.

The scale became my enemy. My successes and failures were based on the number that would blink at me from between my feet.

In 2000, everything changed. He and I fell apart. My mom died. I started eating. That scale haunted me as I watched the numbers go up. I felt powerless over it.

So I sold it at a garage sale. I was free.

But it was a case of feast or famine. I’d already gone through the famine. It was time to feast.

Without the scale, I had no accountability. It wasn’t yelling (in my mind I could hear its voice, like an angry bully) at me that I wasn’t good enough. It wasn’t mocking me with numbers I never thought I’d see again. I ate and stuffed my feelings in blissful ignorance.

I’d go to the doctor. I’d close my eyes when I stood on the scale and tell the nurse not to tell me.

And I’d eat. And eat some more. And my blissful ignorance became defiant bitterness.

Finally, it gave way to a horrifying realization. I had ignored everything so long, I no longer recognized myself.

In January 2010, when I first decided to start my weight loss journey, I wanted to make sure I knew my number before someone at Weight Watchers told me.

So I went to Walmart to buy a scale. I was totally embarrassed. Here I was, more than 300 pounds (I knew that much) buying a scale. Everyone would laugh at me.

Luckily it was cold, so I was wearing a coat. I picked up the scale, took off my coat and cradled it in front of me. Then I got to the checkout lanes, which were all packed with 10-plus people. I stood there with my bundled scale and prayed for the lines to move quickly.

Normally I’m all about chatting with strangers, but when the woman in front of me struck up a conversation, I was horrified.

“Is that a baby under your coat?” she asked me.

“Um, no. It’s a scale.”

“Oh. I thought you might be trying to keep your baby warm.”

Yeah. So, who knew? Hiding it just made it more obvious—just like my eating disorder.

Oh, scale. You and I have been friends and enemies. We’ve currently settled on frenemies. I don’t base my life on what you say. Because sometimes, I just prefer what my other friend—smaller-size jeans—has to tell me.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i never weigh myself!! i swear i look at people the same height as me and they weight less than me yet i think i look smaller than them. weight means nothing particularly when you have alot of muscle. i loathe scales and havent been on one in years. i go by how my clothes fit!!! you look amazing btw :-)