One of the most common things I hear about from other people in recovery is the daily debate over whether or not to get on the scale. Luckily, for me, my treatment team does not allow me to see my weight as a way to protect me from having a heart attack. I do have a general idea of where my weight is, but without obsessively weighing myself, that number no longer has power over my entire day.
Thinking back to when I had a daily ritual of weighing myself, I quickly understand why that was never a good idea. No matter what the number on the scale said, it wasn't good enough. There were way too many mornings I spent crying on my bathroom floor because my eating disorder told me that number was not where it was supposed to be. Even during the days when my weight reached an all time low, I still gave into those self destructive thoughts.
Body image is an extremely touchy subject among those with eating disorders. One strategy that has helped me on some of my worst body image days (except wearing my brother's shorts) is to pull out a letter I wrote to my body in treatment. Like many of the things we do to boost self esteem, this might sound a little cooky, but trust me it does work. Here's a sample of that letter:
Words cannot express how sorry I am for the things I have put you through over the past few years. I used, starved, neglected, betrayed, ignored, and took advantage of you for far too long. Even though I put you through this torture and almost completely destroyed you, you still stood by my side. You have given me a second chance to take care of you; I don't plan on letting you down this time.
You truly amaze me. There are so many wonderful things that you continue to do for me even though I still put you down with negative, hateful self-talk. For so long I chose to deprive you as a way to be good enough for everyone else. I'm so sorry. No matter how low I let that number on the scale get, it still brought me down. I refuse to that that number dictate our relationship ever again.
Without you I would not have the opportunity to live my life; plain and simple. You have given me the foundation I need to do everything I could ever dream of with my life. Most days I struggle to forgive myself for causing you so much pain.
Even though I sometimes get caught up in Hollywood's idea of perfection- you are perfect. I love the things that you do and the gift that you are. Thanks for giving me a second chance to take care of you. After years of self hatred- I'm done! You deserve much better than that. Let's give this another shot and finally start a healthy relationship with one another.
I love you,
For such a long time I had an unrealistic belief that weight gain is the equivalent of weakness and lack of self control; that number on the scale was the only way to demonstrate strength. I allowed the scale to shatter my relationship with my body.
My advice for the day is, if you still own a scale- GET RID OF IT. Even better, destroy that stupid thing somehow. Run it over with your car, hit it with a sledge hammer, or throw it it in a river; it really doesn't matter how you destroy it, as long as it has meaning. Remembering all of the things our body does for us every single day is a really simple reminder to take care of it.
Today I am making a conscious choice to start building a better relationship with my body. The number on the scale does not define me.