Part of truly being yourself is owning your story. Today, I’m owning a pretty big part of mine…
I did something today that absolutely T-E-R-R-I-F-I-E-D me, something I have avoided- successfully or not, depending upon how you look at it- for years. My heart is still pounding a bit, but thanks to one-click shopping at Amazon.com I didn’t have time to stop and think before I tossed it into my virtual cart. Boom, it was done. No going back. I had to face this once and for all.
Anti-climactic, I know, but the big, scary thing I did was order a digital scale, something I haven’t owned for years. For many people, hopping on the scale is not a big deal, but, as a person that has battled an eating disorder for a good share of my 40 plus years, the thought of owning and stepping on a scale is absolutely terrifying. This scale, for me, represents the fact that I have kicked my disorders in the ass once and for all. This scale represents the fact that I am ready to honestly and openly tackle my weight issues. I couldn’t be more scared and excited at the same time. Correction, I couldn’t be more absolutely terrified…
My descent into the world of eating disorders started around junior high. Bulimia, coupled with an exercise compulsion, was the eating-disorder-drug-of-choice for me. I also had my days that I didn’t eat at all but those days were always followed by giant binges, hours upon hours of exercise, and usually ended with me hovering over the toilet puking my guts out. For me it was about control- one of the few things I could control at that time in my life- and of course, the weight loss. Thus the ride began, a ride that I’d be on for years.
The very worst of the binging, purging, and exercising lasted until high school then it tapered off a bit, rearing it’s ugly head time and time again when my life spun out of control. I finally kicked the purging in my 20’s, I didn’t want my kids to have a mother that was so messed up. I quit puking cold turkey and considered my battle done. Boy, was I wrong.
A funny thing happened after the purging stopped, the binging got worse. The weight crept on and before I knew it the scale topped 200 pounds. That’s when I stopped getting on. To actually own up to that number makes me cringe. In my head I wasn’t an obese person, but photos told otherwise. The person I saw in the mirror wasn’t me.
A few years into my weight gain, with the encouragement and support of my best friend, I joined Weight Watchers. I had to get on a scale every week. The shock of my starting weight still haunts me but the shock factor must have worked. The pounds dropped off. I looked and felt like ME for the first time in years.
The weight stayed off until my early 30’s when I returned to a desk job, quit smoking, and got lazy. I don’t remember gaining weight or buying bigger pants, it seemed to just sort of happen. Before I knew it, I was in a size 18 and back to where I began years earlier. This time around though, I somehow developed a huge fear of owning and getting on a scale. I wonder if there is a name for that? Scalaphobia maybe?
The last time I weighed myself was probably in 2003 and it wasn’t pretty. The scale, an object that I had obsessed over incessantly when I was in the grips of my eating disorder, had once again become an obsession for me. I had suddenly become obsessed with never getting on one. Weight is so much easier to ignore if it doesn’t have a number. It doesn’t have a number if you never step foot on a scale.
Over the years, I have rationalized this avoidance of the scale by blaming my eating disorder itself. Crazy isn’t it? Self-talk is powerful. I justified my not owning a scale by somehow convincing myself that I could easily slip back into the grips of my disorder if I were to resume getting on one. That excuse worked for me for years… until today that is.
It suddenly struck me (more like a giant thump to the forehead) that I am a very emotionally healthy, well-rounded (no pun intended) adult. I have accomplished so many things in my life yet my weight issues are always front and center in my mind. Quite frankly, I’m tired of it. It’s time to put on my big girl panties (once again, no pun intended) and face it once and for all. I am so excited to face my fear and find ME again after all these years.
I know that ordering the scale is just the first step in the long process of dropping the weight and sustaining it- but, it’s a step, no it’s a leap, and a HUGE one at that. I know I still have to get on the darn thing. I know that I still have to make big changes but somehow I know that it will all fall into place. Things are so much easier when you just suck it up and face your fears. There’s no going back now…