I do not like standing on a scale. I don’t like that getting on that scale, and making note of the number it shows, is something I now do every day. I can’t stand those horrible commercials that show a skinny woman prancing in self-confident joy because the Scale God has given her permission to feel good about herself that day.
I do not like it…but I choose to do it because what I am trying to do now requires that data. I need to know how hormones, exercise, food intake, specific types of food and other factors affect my weight. I need to know the patterns of normal fluctuations, and I need to be able to spot trends that are not normal before they go too far.
I need the data because I’m attempting to do something that statistics aren’t too encouraging about: maintain a nonsurgical weight loss of 120 pounds. Past posts such as When Life Decides and Chicken Day talk about why this weight loss was necessary, and the health benefits I am receiving from being lighter. But keeping it off requires that I eat in a fashion many would find unnatural; I stick to very plain foods for the most part and there isn’t much I can order in a restaurant.
So, I’m just going to check in about how the maintenance thing is going. When I started the transition back to food, I weighed about 164 pounds. I dipped another 4 pounds to about 160 during the next few weeks, then began to experience some gain. I was told some gain is quite normal, since the body had undigested food in it again as well as a higher sodium intake. The metabolic rate is also slowed from the low calorie diet, and the body is kind of trying to put on weight at any opportunity, especially during this first six months.
This morning, I weighed 170 pounds. During the first 3 months of maintenance, my weight slowly crept up to the high 160s, and in the last three months it has ranged from 166 to 174. My ego takes a hit from this, because I’d like to get back into the low 160s and stay there. But if I can stay in this range, I will keep the health benefits I have received. My doctors reassure me that it’s still within acceptable parameters and I’m not doing badly at all–many patients get off the fast, go back to their old habits and put on 50 or 60 pounds in this same six months.
But I fear a creeping, continuing gain that will get out of control because that is my past pattern. That’s why I get on the scale every morning, even if I’m pretty sure I won’t like what I see. To be a witness. To avoid the disconnect many compulsive eaters like me can develop; that obliviousness to what my body is doing or how it connects to what I am putting in my mouth. To avoid the damn-the-dryer-is-shrinking-my-clothes syndrome. I have experience with all of these things, and I don’t want more of it.
That scale brings up many feelings for me. It’s hard for me to admit that I do get gratification when the number is down. It’s hard for me to acknowledge that I feel a jolt of fear or resentment when the number is up. It’s hard for me to admit how complicated my feelings are about what “should” be a relatively straightforward mathematical equation: Hmmm, my weight is exhibiting an upward trend. I wish to halt or reverse this process. I’d better lower my caloric intake and/or increase my activity. That this sort of logical conclusion is usually met with a wave of reactive hunger at the thought of having to restrict more.
In short, it’s hard for me to admit that I am, and always will be, a compulsive eater. That this particular manifestation of my addictive self requires this kind of day-to-day management, and that it’s not easy. Even right now, writing this, a part of my mind is complaining that this post is way lower on the coolness meter than the ones about drugs or suicide.
Oh, well. It’s not the first time, or the last, that I have to get over myself. My recovery’s not all spiritual insights and poetry and drama; it’s also taking the stupid vitamins and measuring the stupid oatmeal and going to the stupid appointments. It’s taking care of all levels of myself, including the mundane creature that eats and shits and navigates the physical world. It’s life.