Chapter Three: Scale Wars
Less than a year after I had stopped my food journal and the monthly trips to see the Hulk-like, Pete, I found myself at one of the lowest points in my life; the point at which my weight had become such an immense part of my identity that the bathroom scale became my best friend and most hated enemy. I would wake up each day and be compelled beyond all sense to strip down, stand on the scale, close my eyes, and wait a moment before being either pleasantly surprised or altogether horrified.
Each and every day I would subject myself to the torture of this routine, desperately hoping that I had not only maintained my weight in the previous twenty-four hours, but possibly lost some of it as well. To most people (and even to me now) this entire scenario is utterly ridiculous. How can someone expect there to be much fluctuation in weight from one day to the next? For a teenager with severe self-esteem and body image issues, however, the obsession far outweighed the presence of logical thought and made perfect sense at the time. To my young mind, the numbers were the only thing that mattered. It wasn’t until much later on that I fully comprehended the inner workings of the human body and gained enough understanding to see how unhinged I really was at the time.
My battle with the scale continued for far longer than I would like to admit and as time progressed the issues that were already present intensified ten-fold to the point where the numbers on the scale began to dictate my food intake, but not in the way that one would expect. Instead of eating two or three meals a day like most individuals, I decided that the only way to please the scale was to skip meals entirely. If the scale didn’t show me what I wanted to see, I would eliminate one or more meals from my day. I remember going several days without eating anything beyond a slice or two of bread for fear that it would affect the numeric ideal that my mind was fixated on. If I ate a big meal at any point, I would immediately skip the next and tell my family and friends that I was simply “not hungry” when in reality I was starving.
In the days that followed this new trend, I began to think critically about one very important and overwhelming question that would not leave me alone: was this the beginning of an eating disorder? Even at such a young age I had a very tight grasp on what eating disorders were and how they manifest in adolescence. Despite my understanding of how they work and progress, I somehow convinced myself that there was no possible way that I was developing any sort of problem. I told myself that my obsession with my weight and my compulsion to starve myself from time to time was nothing to be concerned about. I told myself that victims of anorexia were thin, and by being overweight I couldn’t possibly have an eating disorder. I told myself more things than I can even count to the point where I could rationalize any scenario to suit the needs my conscious mind.
It continued this way for quite some time until I reached a point where I would become so hungry that I would binge eat when nobody else was around. When each binge was complete I would feel guilty and absolutely disgusted with myself, compelling me to skip the following one or two meals in order to strike a “balance” and maintain my weight. In a matter of weeks a cycle of self-hatred and psychological abuse began; one in which I would binge at night, weigh myself in the morning, and skip meals throughout the day. The scale sadly became the focal point of my world, determining not only my decision making process with regards to my food intake, but also how I felt about myself as an individual.
In the months that followed I became so focused on my weight and so in denial about my budding psychological condition that I began to gain more enjoyment over my small victories on the scale than in the simple pleasures of a young life. Instead of embracing my youth, I was subjecting myself to the toils of an unnecessary war; a war that at the time seemed like it would never end.
That’s all I have for now. As always comments are welcome. I’m actually curious to know if any of you ever had some of the same issues while growing up.
Until next time…stay classy.
– C.M. Berry