Obsessed With Weight

By September 17, 2012

I am 5’6″ and weigh about 127 on a “good” day. I am obsessed with gaining weight and weigh myself after I eat anything…sometimes up to 10 or 15 times a day. I don’t know how to break this cycle and it’s burning me out. I am terrified of getting fat. My sister is overweight and so was my mother…but even at my heaviest I have only weighed 132 pounds. I am 44 years old and exercise regularly. I don’t know how to eat anymore… I eat junk and then skip “real” meals. I obsess and obsess about my weight and don’t know what to do. – Kim

Dear Kim,

I’m so sad to hear that you’re caught in this cycle with millions of other people. Many eating disorder professionals say, “Scales are for fish!” This means we give way too much power to the scales to determine our worth, when it is only one method of measuring and does not account for water fluctuations, muscular changes and countless other normal physical and metabolic variations.

In other words, what you’re measuring when you step on the scale can have very little to do with what you’ve eaten recently or how much you’ve exercised. (It’s kind of like measuring the water in the Atlantic Ocean to see how much water was released in Vicksburg, Mississippi.) Obsessive weighing sets up a NO WIN cycle, too. If you like what you see, which is probably rare, it only encourages you to give the scale more power. If you don’t like what you see, you feel discouraged and commit yourself even more to the useless cycle of restricting and weighing. And remember… restrictive eating lowers our metabolism and sets us up physically for overeating. This cycle moves us closer to our greatest fear, rather than further away. So, it’s a road that not only leads nowhere, it leads us to a more frightening place.

Most importantly, the numbers on a scale never have and never will be a measure of your self-worth! Independent of the scale, you are precious, unique, powerful and innately worthy! You can’t alter that by a number! I promise. Someday we’ll look back on this time in society and say “What we’re we thinking?”

It takes courage to not let the scale define you. At 44 years old, you’ve reached a really cool age where you can turn all that energy to much more fulfilling causes that bring much more joy. Does that scale know what or who you care about; how hard you try in life; or what you’ve overcome? Of course not. Kim, allow yourself to start a new journey and be one of a thousands of women who refuse to give a metal box the power to define us.

With warmth and respect,