Thursday, November 01, 2007
Stepping on the Gallows
Why is it that I equate the doctor's scale to the gallows? I suppose it makes sense: from early childhood that act of stepping on the scale was so full of humiliation and shame, there were times it felt worse than execution, because I had to walk off and either face the disgust and ridicule of my other classmates or look forward to a brow-beating or downright abuse from my doctor. In some wild coincidence my daughter had weigh-in day at school this week, but thank God for her, she doesn't face this embarrassing, mind-scarring experience because her weight falls within society's "normal" range. As bad as it was in my day, at least I didn't get a letter sent home berating my parents for having a fat child with an unacceptable BMI, like they do now.
Why this focus on the scale today? This afternoon is my doctor's appointment to see how my Wellbutrin is doing. I'm not concerned about this: I feel great on it. But I know Dr. Amy is going to weigh me when I walk in, and right now I think I'd rather climb on the gallows mentioned above.
So as to be prepared for this moment, this morning I stepped on the scale at home. I was actually kind of expecting to see a little bit of a loss, or at least stay close to the same from the weigh-in at my last doctor's appointment. Since starting the Wellbutrin I haven't had a full-blown binge, I feel like I've been eating less, and I've been slowly building back up on my physical activity. So I thought it would have had a positive affect.
Oh, foolish me! I actually weighed more. A lot more.
I just wanted to sit down on the bathroom floor and cry. It hit me in the gut like a big nasty glob of shame, anger and sadness, dipped in a crunchy coating of failure. I felt like I was watching all the hard work, dedication and sacrifice I've given over the past three years slipping through my fingers like grains of sand.
But then my anger, which was originally towards myself for screwing up so royally, changed direction. I was furious that the day before I was feeling great about myself, yet a number on a machine could ruin all of that. Why, after all the time, after all I've tried to learn in this Intuitive Eating journey, do I still let myself be emotionally devastated by a number on a scale?
Of course my mind race with diet mentality thoughts: "that's it, I've got to start losing all this weight, I've got to count calories again, I need to exercise two hours a day, I've got to do something about this!" But even thinking these thoughts initiated those old fears of deprivation, and I knew this wasn't the answer.
I have to take a big breath and think clearly about all of this. This weigh-in was just a record of one day, one moment in time. It doesn't reflect the process I'm undergoing. And let's face it: it took me months to gain all this weight (and I'm sorry, I'm so embarrassed by how much it is that I can't even begin to post how much), so it's probably going to take even longer to undo the damage I did. Certainly more than two weeks!
I can't let this reading discourage me and make me feel awful. I have to remember all the positive things I'm doing right now -- yoga, incorporating healthier foods, increasing my exercise -- and realize I'm doing this for my mental and physical health, not my weight or dress size.
I have to get going -- I've got a ton of work to do today. I'll let you know how the appointment goes.