I have been weighed every week (at least once; sometimes twice) since December 2012. That’s approximately four hundred and seventy six times. Today – September 19th 2017 – I was weighed for the last time.
I promised, when I started this blog, that it was going to be about neither weight nor me. You’re going to have to bear with on this one, because it’s sort of about weight and sort of about me, but feel free to go and watch Taylor Swift’s most excellent new music video if what I’m saying isn’t tickling your pickle: I shall not be offended.
I have a complex relationship with being weighed. At first, I was typically anorexic in that I was obsessed with the number of the scale dropping. Eventually, I became too scared that I was not losing weight fast enough, or that I would have gained, and so I became what I would probably classify as more than slightly resistant to being weighed.
Apart from I didn’t. What I actually wanted was for somebody to tell me that I had to be weighed because, in my confused and somewhat unhinged brain, this meant that they cared about me. Looking back now, people did a lot of things to show that they cared very deeply for me but, so obsessed with my weight was I, that I thought the only way they could prove their concern was by semi-forcing me to stand on a plastic box which told them a number which, generally, told them that I wasn’t very well.
I became very concerned, shortly after this, that if the scale showed a higher number, it would also mean that their interest in me would diminish. I used to cut my nails and shave my legs on days when I had to be weighed because I was convinced it would make the difference between somebody caring for me and deciding that I wasn’t worthy of their attention. At this point, I became very phobic of being weighed at all.
In hospital, I obviously had to submit to the terror of the scales. This was hard because, again, obviously, I knew that I had to also submit to the terror of somebody else choosing what I ate. I agreed with my consultant that, although I had to be weighed, I did not have to look at the scales. Not knowing my weight, yet knowing that I was not going to be discharged just because the number had changed was a huge relief.
This suited me, and is the pattern I have followed ever since. I have looked at my weight a couple of times since August 2015, but usually choose not to. At first this was because I was very frightened of my reaction but, more recently, this has been because I don’t believe that the number should be allowed to hold any power over me. I don’t know what is happening to my weight because – as long as it remains in a place where I can do the things that make me happy – it doesn’t actually matter. Also, I have found that, once you get out of the habit of knowing every slight change to how heavy you are, eventually you stop being able to ‘tell’ whether you anything has changed from one week to the next.
And so, today, we decided that it is time to stop weighing. I have remained within a range for six months, and I plan to stay there for as long as that is normal for my body. The change, I think, is that – despite having days where my brain calls me ‘porker’ (rude) – I don’t actually spend that much time thinking about what I can do to manipulate my weight. My ideal body shape hasn’t entirely shifted from what it was, but I have allowed my weight to stay at a physical ideal which allows me to be busy enough with life to not really want to attempt to achieve it.
Honestly, I wouldn’t care if I never have to be weighed again. My therapist says she might ‘surprise’ weigh me occasionally, but that doesn’t bother me either. She cares about me and I have friends and family who care about me too, regardless of any numbers.
The scales, I have found out, actually never cared about me and I, I am happy to say, don’t care about them either.
I began this post by saying that it would be ‘sort of about weight’. I’ve changed my mind because it isn’t about weight at all. None of it is.