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Inches, Not Importance

January 28, 2011

I started reading recovery blogs in the beginning of September 2010. One of the first things I noticed was that for many of the girls, their scale held so much power over them. Especially for those who were deeply struggling with recovery at the time, whatever the scale read determined so much for them. Their mood for the day, what they ate, how much they ate, how much they exercised, what they wore, whether they purged, or whether they popped 2 or 12 laxatives were all decided based on their weight. The number on the scale owned them.

I would read these posts and feel, to a certain degree, sad that these girls were such slaves. But the majority of me was wallowing in self-pity and uncertainty, because none of these girls, who were obviously just as sick as me, were controlled by the same slave owner as I was. The scale was their master. This was mine:

This teeny-tiny tape was calling all the shots. It ruled practically every single aspect of my life. But I rarely measured myself more than once a day. And I never had even the slightest interest in measuring anything other than my waist. That was the routine. Wake up, pee, measure my tummy, and then decide what breakfast was based on that number.

The weight on the scale meant nothing to me. I couldn’t really perceive whether I was “fat” or “thin” that day based on what it told me. But the tape was a language I could understand, one I could understand loud and clear. If I woke up and my stomach was xx inches, then that was ok, but the next morning it couldn’t be more. I think I ended up eating less to subconsciously ensure that my waist would be smaller the next day. Usually it was, and I would be thrilled. Even an 1/8 of an inch less than xx (that’s 0.3 of a centimeter for you metric ladies) would brighten my mood for the whole day. That being said, a mere 1/16 of an inch (0.16 cm) larger would deeply frustrate me and make me such a grump.

It is ridiculous to think that I would base the entire day off of that number. What the tape told me determined how many calories I “needed” and hungry I could be.

Lunch was super random today. I had some delicious honeydew, 1/4 cup edamame with 1 tbs of raisins, and a yogurt mess of chobani + cinnamon + truvia, kashi GL and Cascadian Farms honey-nut O’s (which are nothing like honey-nut cheerios if you’re wondering. I thought they would be. 😦  But they’re still good), and 1/2 banana. Some of the edamame and raisins got jealous and jumped in the yogurt to join the party!


Reading the recovery blogs and about the insane scale dependency left me feeling so confused, like I somehow wasn’t as sick as an anorexic should be. I didn’t care how much I weighed, so how could I have an ED? It didn’t make me restrict more, but it didn’t make me realize how ill I truly was either.

3 weeks ago, I was in the middle of my morning routine and it hit me that I was so sick of it. I was tired of spending 5 minutes measuring my stomach, and of prohibiting myself from eating what and how much I really wanted. I was just exhausted of trying hopelessly to force my body to be something it isn’t and never can be. I started toying with the idea of just not measuring. I liked the thought of waking up, not focusing on my body, and fixing whatever the hell I wanted for breakfast. At the time I first considered it,  I liked the idea, but I wasn’t ready to give up the tape just yet. But I had a feeling that I would stop soon enough.

 I was in an oatmeal mood for dinner. The mix is 3/4 cup rolled oats, 1 golden delicious apple, cherries, and 2 tablespoons of pb. Swap pear for apple and ab for pb, and you have my breakfast.


The next week I had a weigh in. It was then that I discovered I’d lost. I had measured that morning, but didn’t really think about it when I got home because I never measured at night. The next morning though, I recognized the two choices I had: measure, restrict, and keep losing, or put the damn thing away and get healthy. I stood in my bathroom looking at the drawer for a minute. Then I told the ED that his tape no longer owned me, and I left my bathroom to go make the breakfast I was really craving. The tape has been sitting in my drawer, untouched, for almost 3 weeks, and I haven’t looked back. I’ve not felt the urge to measure, and right now, I do not even care to know how many inches my waist is. I know that my health weight gain is all because I haven’t measured my waist. I refuse to let the power of the number slow down this progress.

If I could go back in time to help all of those ladies in the blogs I read who struggled with the numbers, I would in a heartbeat. I’d beg them to understand that a scale can only show weight, not worth. That is all. And to those like me who couldn’t care less about the scale but are obsessed with a length, please understand: a measuring tape shows inches, not importance. You are no less important because you may measure a little larger one day. You don’t deserve to torture yourself with too much exercise. You don’t only deserve food when you see the number shrivel down along with your energy, health, and happiness.  Be kind to yourself. Always be your own best friend, because that is something you do deserve.


The scale, the tape, both, or neither?

Do you ever crave oatmeal (or any breakfast food) for dinner?

3 Comments leave one →
  1. January 28, 2011 10:51 pm

    How wonderful it was to read this! I was always one of those who stood on the scale however, I used to be so afraid of it that I would only stand on it every 2-3 weeks. It wasn’t until I began recovery that I knew that I had to come to terms with the number on the scale and fix my relationship with it. Now, I can’t be bothered stepping on the scale. I only step on it when I need to make sure that I’m on the right track.

    It’s so amazing that you have finally realised you are so much more than what that measuring tape was telling you. Trying to keep up with old eating disordered habits is so incredibly exhausting. It must be such a relief to be able to wake up and go eat what YOU want to eat. I love not having a number dictate my mood. I deal with enough numbers at university, I’d rather not deal with them in my spare time 😉

    I once did crave oatmeal for dinner and it was actually really difficult for me to have it because I lived by the rule that oatmeal was a breakfast food and that lunch and dinner were to be savory only. I got over that one though. Pancakes for dinner would be awesome though 😛


  2. January 29, 2011 6:41 pm

    Scales and I have had a rocky sort of relationship.
    The scale used to be my “master”. I would weigh myself 3-4 times a day. Totally stupid and obsessive now that I look back, but that was my life.

    Then I went through a stage I wouldn’t weigh myself at all because I was scarred of the number. I was scarred of how those around me would react to me losing more weight, and I didn’t feel ready to embrace full recovery yet. Then came the threat of IP, and that made things all the worse.

    Now I’ve found it easier for me not to weigh myself all together. I don’t have a scale at my house, so the only time I get weighed is at the doctor’s office. And I’m so happy not to have that kind of mental stress of pressure on me anymore.

    I used to eat oatmeal for dinner all the time during the first months of my recovery. It seemed to be the only thing my poor stomach could handle. I think I overdid it then, because now it’s usually a “breakfast” only food. But if I ever feel the urge to eat it for dinner I certainly wouldn’t object :D.

  3. February 1, 2011 2:06 pm

    I recently found your blog and I can relate to your story so much! I also did dance for several years of my life but I was never good enough to do it competitively or anything it was just fun for me. But my anorexia started around the time I quit dance. I also was addicted to measuring myself since we never had a scale. I’d measure my thighs and arms all the time and I was so happy if they were even a little bit smaller. Good for you for putting away the tape though–it’s so hard to do!

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