Life In Recovery

haven’t weighed myself in eight years.

I have stepped onto scales at my doctor’s office, but I always request
they never tell me my weight. I leave it to them to monitor it and make
sure I stay within a healthy range and, other than that, my old scale is
just a piece of crap sitting in my closet.

I like it that way.

For the majority of my life, I let a piece of plastic dictate how I
was going to feel. There were, in fact, mornings where I woke up happy
and excited until I saw how much I weighed. I know I am not alone in
this — men and women alike deal with it daily — but how unsettling it
is to stand back and realize that a number can change how we feel about
who we are.

I wish they made scales with words so, instead, they could tell me, “Do
you feel strong? Do you feel healthy? Can you pick up your nephew for a
hug? Can you go for a run with your dog? Can you laugh loudly and
effortlessly? Yes? Then who the hell cares what
order of numbers show up?”

But it’s hard not to care. Every day people and things and our minds
tell us to care. Mental illnesses like anorexia and bulimia cannot just
be out thought. Self-confidence and self-worth cannot just be switched
my worth is more than what is on the scale is easy, but that does
not change how hard it can be to believe it – especially when the world
continues to say something different.

I cannot change the world, though. I cannot change what they seem to value as a whole, but I
can take the power away from what they do.

At the beginning of my recovery (which involved many other things
like therapy, a nutritionist, etc.), I promised myself I wouldn’t rely
on a scale anymore. I don’t remember why exactly, I just knew it wasn’t
serving any purpose for me. At least, any purpose that was beneficial,
which was proven by how terrifying it was to let it go. And, as time
went on, this proved to be truer than anything I could have imagined.
Without that scale, I was forced to look at other
things in my life and issues I had to work through. Without a number to
fall back on and “blame”, I had to learn to identify my feelings, why
they were there, and deal with them.

But, more importantly, the absence of those numbers has given me a
freedom to choose my own strength and my own power. In the space they
left behind I am able to value myself in action, in courage, and in

I haven’t weighed myself in eight years. I don’t know my weight and
don’t care enough to check like I once did. It is up to me to be my own
force now – and, instead of looking down at a scale, I hold my head up
and make the world look me in the face.

S.E. Carson is Irish, can say the alphabet backwards, dances while making dinner, is ridiculously terrified of snakes, and is happily convinced her life might just be a single, long I Love Lucy episode. One of her proudest moments was when a child mistook her for a very tall leprechaun.

A Colorado-native living in North Carolina with her husband and dogs, Carson is writing a book about her experience with, and defeat of, anorexia.

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