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.


Ty said...

I hope your appointment goes well today.

It's amazing how a set of numbers can ruin your whole day if you let it. Good for you for focusing on all the positive things you are doing.

Andrea said...

Hi Andrea,

I can really empathize with you on the feeling that your emotions are run by the scale.

However I'd like to share something that worked for me the last time that I went to see the doctor. I can't take credit for this brilliant marvel of advice. It comes from Dr. Nancy Bonus, the creator of the Beyond Dieting Program.

In that program, she says that soon after she began her intuitive eating journey, she had to take a doctor's physical.

She had just recently realized that the scale was not an accurate measure of weight loss. Nancy decided to joke around with the doctor and tell him that she was allergic to scales. They made her break out in little bumps of fat all over her body. She turned around as she got weighed and asked the doctor not to tell her the number. They both had a good laugh over it.

Recently I tried the same thing on my last visit to the doctor. It yielded the same results.

Here's the skinny. The doctor will pick up on whatever you are feeling. If you are feeling apprehensive about your decision to weigh yourself, they will know it and some may try to goad you into doing it, however if you approach this challenge as the Juicy Woman I know you probably are, you will step into your power and others will recognize and respect you for it.

Go girl and be a role model to other women fearful of that damned piece of sheet metal. Let me know how it goes.

Andrea, I want to welcome you to join my Yahoo group. If that sounds like fun to you, then come visit:

In the forum, you can pick up a lot of great information about the specifics of how our minds and bodies work as a team.

Sadly it's true, your thoughts really can make you fat as your run in with the scale showed.

But I'll show you how to tame those screaming meanies so that they'll work for you.

Looking forward to sharing more goodies. You can email me at and let me know how it went.



Anonymous said...

Andrea, I just went thru about the same thing! I had been feeling 'lighter', although my pants weren't looser, I felt I had shed some fat on an 'overall' scale. Then I had to go to see my doctor (blasted aging ache and pain!) and of course the dreaded scale moment too. I thought I was being smart - stood backwards on the sucker and asked the nurse to only say 'Up or down'. When she said Up, I was immediately (but minorly) depressed!! Later I thought - dummie! It could have only been a pound or two and I'm stressing over what is most likely a normal flucuation???

Oh how we beat ourselves up and what we really need is a big hug and hearing - HEY You are doing great and are loved too.

Hugs to you - Katcha

Lori said...

I like what Andrea said to you about not knowing what the scale said. I'm glad you were able to focus on the positive things going on in your life.

I hope your appointment goes well. What you've done has had a positive effect. Just keep at it.