I really thought I was special. I thought I could do what everyone else in recovery couldn’t do. In other words, I thought I could have the pieces I wanted from my eating disorder and still be in recovery. Let me break it to you– you can’t actually be in recovery if you’re still clinging on to that leech of an eating disorder. I finally learned that for myself, and what really did it for me was giving up my scale.
Now, let me back up a little. I bought my scale about a year and a half into recovery. I thought I could handle it, and that I could use it like a normal person. But it quickly became my obsession and the numbers became my identity. When the number went down, I celebrated. And by celebrating I mean restricting even more (this was during my lapse). When the number went up, I thought I was a horrible person and punished myself, usually by exercise. Unfortunately, my relationship with my scale quickly went out of control.
To say my scale and I had a love/hate relationship is an understatement. I despised it– for the control it had over me, for the numbers I saw, for the shame I felt using it because I was supposed to be in recovery. I felt like an addict who went back to using again, but told the world she was sober. I hated myself for the double life I was living, for being so hypocritical, and for willingly choosing to buy the scale in the first place. This didn’t align with my true self. What on earth did I get myself into?
But then, I yearned for it, and I loved it. I craved the high I would get from the number going down, the self control I would exert on myself to “fix” things when the number went up. The secret of having a scale at all thrilled me, because I felt like I was somehow proving everyone wrong without them even knowing, as if an outward portrayal of recovery was all I needed to mask my hidden secret. I felt powerful, and it felt good.
However, I finally admitted to myself and to my therapist that I couldn’t have the best of both worlds. I was slipping back into the “red light zone” and with that, back into eating disorder territory. This was something I knew I couldn’t afford. I did NOT want to relapse, and I was determined to stop Ed in his tracks. There was only one thing to do…
I confided in one of my best friends about the dangers of what I was doing, and asked her if she would keep my scale in her house. I did not want to fully get rid of it just yet, because I had big plans to smash it and turn it into art like I did when I was in treatment. She agreed to take it from me before I could even finish my sentence and finally, I felt free.
Scales are something that doctors use for health reasons, to determine dosages of medicines and as a general guide to a person’s health. Scales are not devices that measure your self worth or give you some sort of power. Ed can lie all he wants and feed your susceptible brain with all sorts of blatantly wrong information. It’s up to you what you do with it. As for me, I’m turning down the volume on the Ed channel and smashing the darn scale. That’s one small step for Ed, one large step for recovery!