Photo by The Bump. Link here.
One of the major parts of eating disorder recovery is recognizing that your weight doesn’t define who you are. That’s easy to digest when your weight is still low, to an extent. Of course I can still lead a fulfilling life, even if I’m 108 pounds. The scale doesn’t define me.
What about if you’re heavy?
On this subject I have fairly little to say at the moment, other than to convey my own struggles as I have gained weight. A combination of bingeing, alcohol abuse, and thyroid disregulation has caused me to quickly gain weight over the last several months, which has just as quickly destabilized my self-image, despite all the protective barriers I’d built. It was one thing to learn body acceptance when I was “skinny,” if you’ll allow the body-centric and distorted brain to speak here; it feels entirely different now that I’m “big.”
It’s hard to remember that weight doesn’t matter when a devious weighing session reveals a number much higher than expected, or than in the past. While the rational part of my mind knows several things, including that being at a higher weight does not correlate with my (or any person’s) beauty, happiness, health, or success, and that my weight isn’t really that high objectively, the irrational part demanding an explanation for the perceivably negative change is insatiable.
Seeing an unexpected (or any) number of the scale can be deeply destabilizing, as I’ve attempted to cope with recently. It can set you back several steps in recovery, which is why most edfolks in recovery will strongly recommend condemning the bathroom scale to the attic. It’s a sentiment that I basically agree with, but one that the edbrain (eating disordered brain) struggles to digest.
Briefly, and conclusively, it’s damned hard to shake years and decades-long perceptions of the importance of weight and what it means to be at a higher weight. It’s easier to fall into old patterns of using the scale as a measure of self-worth and condemning its truths– but these patterns still must be fought.