“Throw away your scale.”
“Just throw it away! Never weigh yourself again.” This is one of the tenets of intuitive eating for several reasons, key among them being the notion that a “bad” weight reading will lead to disgust/discouragement, which can lead to why-do-I-even-try, which can (and in my case, will) lead to a binge. A food extravaganza. Food because I can and f*ck it, I think I will.
So with that in mind, I haven’t weighed myself in quite some time. Of course, I am very curious as to what the result might be, but I am also very afraid, and my fear has made it pretty easy for me to just skip it. But then I went to see my doctor for a yearly checkup.
Going into it, I figured I’d have no problem. I’d just tell them I didn’t want to be weighed. You can do that! So I did. “I’d rather not be weighed,” I told the nurse.
“Oh,” she said, and looked at my chart. “Well, can you take a guess?”
I paused. This was a departure from my pre-rehearsed “refusing to be weighed” scenario. I was not prepared, or else I would have simply said, “No.” Instead, I said, “Guess? Jeez…I really have no idea.” And then I threw out the weight I remembered being, last time I checked. Which was a very high weight for me and I hated to have to say it out loud.
You know what I hated more, though? The next thirty or so seconds, in which:
- The nurse raised her eyebrow.
- Looked me up and down.
- And shook her head.
- I felt humiliated.
- Very humiliated.
- I said, “What, you think it’s more?”
- The nurse said, “YES.”
My immediate and overwhelming reaction was pretty much what you might expect. Oh my God, I thought. Why am I like this? Why have I not gotten this under control by now? I need to quit eating so much, I need to go on a diet, I need to lose weight RIGHT NOW RIGHT THIS SECOND. I AM THE WORST.
That is how I felt. We can’t control how we feel. We can, however, control what we do about it.
You know what I did about it? I went home, finished my work day, and proceeded to eat a ton of food that my body neither wanted nor needed. A food extravaganza, helped along by the fact that my husband had taken my children out of town for the weekend and was not there to judge me. On a normal night – and thanks to several suggestions from my non-diet coach, Haley – I have quite naturally reduced my ice cream intake from an entire pint (for real) to half a pint in the evening. This is not me dieting – this is me putting the ice cream in a bowl versus eating from the carton, and deciding after one bowl that I’ve had enough.
That night, I ate two pints. Two of them. ALL THE ICE CREAM.
Needless to say, this did not improve my outlook on life.
Haley has told me that this is a process and it’s not usually a quick one. She says I may need to quit overanalyzing the process and just go with it. One day she may realize that overanalyzing is my specialty, and let me get on with it.
Speaking of overanalyzing – here’s an interesting development. One morning as I was doing my usual 30-second perusal of Facebook, I came across a photo Haley had posted of her lunch. It involved eggs, cheese, avocado and whatever else. I really wanted that lunch. Like really. I immediately went out and bought several avocados and made something similar, if not quite as photo-ready.
It was very good. After eating it, I felt very good. I was pleasantly full, not over-stuffed or lethargic. I did not feel compelled to complete my meal with half a dozen cookies. When I really, really paid attention to how my body felt, and quit thinking for a minute about how it looked or what it weighs, I realized that on a very not-analyzed-at-all level, a cookie did not appeal to me right then. Not to mention, I had eaten a healthy lunch without trying to eat a healthy lunch. I was not thinking, this is good for me or this is not fattening or wow, I am such a fabulously intuitive eater!
I ate exactly what I wanted, it was good, and it felt good. Haley calls this a win. I call it not being an asshole, but then, I have a long way to go in my food-related maturity.
It will be a while before I get that nurse out of my head, but I think the key might be to quit trying. I am learning that we cannot necessarily remove the negative, but we can – and should – crowd it out with as much positive as possible.
I can’t, and don’t need to, remove my desire for Cherry Garcia ice cream. But I can see, now, how that desire might become harmless. I can see there will be a point where it’s not such a thing, and where the ice cream and the avocados take up equal space in my refrigerator – and in my mind.