Weighing In on Weighing In: Tales of Recovery from the Scale


I’m in recovery from scale abuse.

You know what I’m talking about — constantly weighing myself, trying to figure out my eating and my life based on how much I weigh.

I’ve been in recovery for decades. I like to even think that I’m recovered. (There’s a big debate in the eating disorder world about recovery vs. recovered. It has to do with whether someone can ever truly be completely recovered. I’ll save that discussion for another post.)

But a recent experience at the doctor’s office got me looking at my recovery/recovered status a little more closely.

Reacting Differently To Weight Gain On The Scale

My earliest memories include weight worries. A round child in a stick-thin family, I was singled out for my “failing.” It wasn’t until I learned to view my size as my natural self — and any changes in my size as a symptom (not necessarily of anything bad) — that I found peace around the issue.

So when I stepped on the scale at the doctor’s office a couple weeks ago (a visit for an ear problem — so why did they have to weigh me?) and saw that my weight was higher than it normally is, my reaction wasn’t distress as much as question.

“Why was my weight higher?”

I ran through the potential reasons that I know so well from working with women who struggle with eating and weight as well as my personal experience.

  • Was it my lifestyle? I have been working a lot more in the last year, which has led to less physical activity and increased consumption of less than optimal food at times. We all understand, to a degree, the impact of that on our weight. (But I don’t think it’s as well understood as many think it is. Again, fodder for another post.)
  • Was chronic inflammation kicking up for me again? Chronic inflammation can cause a host of problems, not the least of which is to tinker with our appetite regulatory system and body homeostasis. I had a problem with chronic inflammation at one point and weight gain was a symptom of that for me.

So weight changes can be a result of either of these issues (which can be interrelated), potentially providing an indicator that something is awry.

I wondered, though, that my clothes seemed to fit the same.

I sat pondering these questions as I waited for the doctor. Again, I wasn’t feeling distressed but I was curious. I wanted to know what my increased weight was potentially telling me about my body, my habits, my health.

Then I thought, “I’m going to check again, this time without shoes.”

Lo and behold, the scale showed my usual weight. Now the shoes in no way accounted for the difference in the two weighings. So it must have been something about the scale.

Before You Stress Yourself Over The Scale…

The lesson? Rather than diving into distress, I considered logically. And I found my answer among the many possibilities.

In this case, the answer was particularly reassuring to me. A perfectionist at heart, I’m in recovery from that, too, but definitely not recovered yet. So it was helpful to see that a “perfect lifestyle” isn’t necessary. Even though my lifestyle has been less than optimal in my view, apparently I’m holding my own at the moment. (Note to self: Don’t wait until it does start having an impact. Self-care is where it’s at.)

Old habits die hard. But they can die.

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One response to “Weighing In on Weighing In: Tales of Recovery from the Scale”

  1. Harriet Krivit says:

    Whenever a recept. or nurse asks me to step on a scale I just say “no” politely. But being that I hadn’t weighed myself in over a year and before recent spine surgery it was required and, I was actually curious. So I did. If my clothes fit pretty much the same what in the world do I care about the number?
    My guide to my body size and weight has one requisite. ” Am I *comfortable? BIG *word for me. Am I feeling comfortable sitting/walking just generally moving around? I thought I was about 135…and she weighed me with shoes and clothes after lunch 138. Boy spot on! I made a comment to her about
    rarely weighing myself because the scale always seemed to be some kind of *judgement call…even maybe moral. Don’t need *it.

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About the Author

Marsha Hudnall, MS, RDN, CD

If you’re looking for an embodiment of dedication disguised as obsession, look no further. Marsha is a registered dietitian who has spent the last four decades working to help women give up dieting rules and understand how to truly take care of themselves. Her mission in life is to help women learn to enjoy eating and living well, without worries about their weight. She encourages women to embrace their love of food, which you might call being a foodie. If so, it’s appropriate because being a foodie means you pay attention when you eat. That’s a recipe made in heaven for eating well. Marsha is the President and Co-Owner of Green Mountain at Fox Run.

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