Monday, February 4, 2008

Weight Loss & the Eating-Disordered Mind


Zeke and Cleo, who is just the sweetest thing ever... when she's in a good mood.

So, I've been having trouble with weight loss. I don't mean that I haven't been losing weight or something; the problem is that I have been losing weight. Anyone else would be overjoyed. I'm just afraid that it's going to cause me to slip back into my eating disorder.

Because, y'see, I have a confession to make: I still weigh myself every. fucking. day. I'm learning to cope with what it says on the scale - but even so, weighing a pound more than I did yesterday will send me into an irritable, easily teared-up state for the rest of the day. Because of one. fucking. pound. (Usually not even that; what really matters is whether or not the last number is one higher.)

I've recovered to the point where I can remain calm if the number on the scale doesn't change, but it still kind of freaks me out. I guess that, to me, it's sort of like a magic mirror or ouija board from which I can take my cue on how the day will go. If my weight is down, it'll be a good day. If my weight is up... well.

That's fucked up. I know that more women than just me do that, too, even if they don't have full-blown eating disorders. It's still fucked up, because we're basing our entire day, our entire lives on a number that no one else will ever know if we don't tell them. Basing our lives on a number instead of...

My mind's gone blank for what we could base our lives on instead. I actually have to reach for an answer: on what we accomplish, on what we create, on the beauty we see inside and outside of ourselves every day. I have a feeling that it's not just me who would be lost for an answer on this subject - and that the vast majority of people who would be lost for an answer are women. Why are women not being taught that their self-esteem should be based on something meaningful - not a number?

The only answer I can come up with, for that question, is that a suffering populace, taught that their suffering is necessary for The Good Of The Nation, is a compliant populace. A hungry populace is too distracted by wondering when and where they'll get their next meal is a compliant populace. A deliberately hungry popular, told that they are better off for it and they are disgusting and selfish and lazy and hateful if they do not continue to be hungry... is a populace with all the compliance of the very best lobotomized patients.

I beg you to remember that women are slightly more than half of the populace. And that we are, largely, starving for anything that will sustain our souls in a climate in which we are considered soulless and therefore negligible. Food. Justice. Love.

But back to me, because y'all know how it's my favorite subject and all. I haven't thrown out my scale for some amorphous reason that, as I said before, has more to do with me feeling lost without it than for any meaningful reason. For a while I made excuses, weighing myself multiple times a day (supposedly while "in recovery"), you know, "just so I can see where I'm at" and "because I'm interested in seeing how low I can get again how my body changes on different diets." You know the shtick.

And it was useless, and it always made me feel worthless. It doesn't have quite that pull on me anymore, because I'm refusing to let it - and getting enough nutrients is surely helping, too. (I mean, hey, if you're eating a diet of primarily fresh fruits and vegetables with a good helping of nuts and sprouts, you're going to get something out of it.) So I recently - about two months ago - stopped weighing myself multiple times a day, and settled for one.

It's disturbing, however, the amount of mental wrangling I had to do to get that inner voice whispering, "You have to be thin again. You have to be thin again at any cost," to shut up. I told myself that it wouldn't show my actual weight if I weighed in later in the day (true), that it wouldn't mean anything because the "extra" weight would be gone by tomorrow (also true) and, of course, that it was just plain inconvenient to rush upstairs, take off all my clothes, and weigh myself every time I ate something or peed (also true, damn it). So I won that battle.

Even on days when I don't weigh myself (which come rarely, but more often than they used to) I feel a sort of weird hollow in my mind all day. A kind of question: how am I supposed to feel about myself if I don't have a number to base it on?

That's fucked up. Dude, that's fucked up.

And partly, it's because I want to know how others see me... I think I base the result of the number off of that, rather than off of an internal guideline of "goodness" or "badness."

So I'm going to try to cut down on my way to throwing out my scale altogether; it just isn't healthy for me and it's another portal back to Disordered Eating Land that I'd do better off without. I think what I'm going to do is, first, stop weighing myself so often - try for once a week... and when I go in for a shower in the morning (since that's usually when I weigh myself) I'm going to spend as much time beforehand as possible until the water gets hot before going into the shower - there's my weak point.

Any ideas of what to do with the scale? I read the section in Fat!So? on dealing with scales, but honestly I liked the "magic scale" best and yet the scale I have is digital.

1 comment:

need2slowdown said...

Do you keep a log of your weight? I highly recommend that.

I've lost close to 30 lbs since I started weighing myself regularly about 3 months ago.

Weighing yourself once in the morning actually works pretty well. On the days that I'm up, I'm mildly peeved, but the important thing is.. it affects my eating behavior for the day.

I log my weight at http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=pMqACNRFHjHkOna--095iUQ
and I'm fairly obsessive about updating and checking it several times a day. I also share it with people I know, so every time I eat something, I have to think .. hmm, now ..xx.. is gonna know that I pigged out late at night.

The rule is simple: Be completely honest and obsessive about keeping the online data current and correct. Share it with as many people as possible.

The social effect of making your eating public is powerful!