One of the most common items seen in a bathroom is in fact a scale. While it may seem harmless to weigh yourself periodically or keep track of your weight, for a person who is recovering from an eating disorder, there is really no need for these behaviors.
The Damaging Effects of the Scale
Anyone who has struggled with an eating disorder understands in fact, the love-hate relationship with a scale. Many individuals will use the scale to determine whether or not they should engage in eating disorder behaviors that day, or if more stringent behaviors are needed to get one’s weight to a certain “goal”.
The scale then, becomes a culprit that often triggers and inflames eating disorder behaviors, making it difficult for a person struggling to move beyond the number the scale may reveal.
The reality is that no matter what the scale might show, there is no limit to eating disordered thoughts that surround weight. Often times, a person with an eating disorder will have an unrealistic idea of what their weight should be, taking extreme measures to reach this weight. Furthermore, when a “goal” weight is not achieved, a person might use this as reason to further engage in eating disorder behaviors or take even more severe steps with potentially damaging consequences.
Finding Worth Outside the Scale
In many ways, a person with an eating disorder may learn to build and develop their identity solely based on what a number is reflecting. A number higher that what is determined as “ideal” might mean failure, guilt, shame, frustration, anger, and the like.
Similarly, if an “ideal” weight is achieved, a person might find satisfaction, worth and value. In many ways, feelings revolved around weight are a reflection of a deeper issue that should be addressed and that is typically uncovered in eating disorder recovery.
One important step in recovery is to let go of the scale entirely. There is often a desire to compromise: to keep the scale for weighing periodically or “once in awhile”, but this can only lead to detrimental consequences in recovery . Even if you are in a weight restoration phase of your recovery, your treatment team can be monitoring your weight.
If you are experiencing urges to weight yourself in recovery, it is important to explore this with your support team. Knowing your worth, irrespective of your weight, is possible and will grow with your decision to let go of the scale.
Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!
What are some difficult aspects of letting go of the scale?
About the Author: Crystal is a Masters-level Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) with a specialty focus in eating disorders, maternal/child health and wellness, and intuitive eating. Combining clinical experience with a love of social media and writing, Crystal serves as the Director of Content and Social Media for Eating Disorder Hope/Addiction Hope, where her passion to help others find recovery and healing is integrated into each part of her work.
As a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor, Crystal has dedicated her career to helping others establish a healthy relationship with food and body through her work with EDH/AH and nutrition private practice.
The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of eating disorders. These are not necessarily the views of Eating Disorder Hope, but an effort to offer discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.
We at Eating Disorder Hope understand that eating disorders result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an eating disorder, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.
Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on November 20, 2016
Published on EatingDisorderHope.com