Monday, July 26, 2010

The number

"It's never been true, not anywhere at any time, that the value of a soul, of a human spirit, is dependent on a number on a scale." (Geneen Roth)

That statement is absolutely true so why the heck do we buy into the scam? We live and sometimes die by the number on a scale. We're embarrassed by it, rejoice in it,or hide from it. A number. One number.

I know that when I follow the healthy guidelines put forth in Roth's book, I feel better. Physically feel better, mentally feel better... I slow down and think about what I am eating, why I am eating, and how I am eating. I now eat with no outside disturbance, no television to numb my pain or pass the minutes as I used to stuff the food down. Now I focus and breathe and do not punish myself for a number.

Do I want my number to go down? You betcha. I don't know what my final number will be. I do know what doctors' charts suggest and what Weight Watchers advises for my height. However, will I ever be a mere 100 pounds again? Not likely, because even when I was bulimic I weighed a little more than that. I've never been naturally thin. I have self-medicated with food or been quieted down with food since I was a toddler.

How can that be? One of my earliest memories was living with my grandparents and crying for my mother who was not home at the time. Apparently I would not shut up. I remember my grandfather yelling at my grandmother to shut me up. She rushed into the room with candy for me, little pieces that needed individual wrappers taken off. I recall quieting down and stuffing down the feeling of being alone, feeling abandoned and lonely. That was probably the start.

I remember being a chubby little girl, a moon face with big cheeks and pig-tails. I used to eat Oscar Mayer weiners raw from the fridge and at times I ate little bowls full of mayonaise. Who does that? How is that okay for a little girl?

I also remember later, maybe around aged five, living with my parents in a trailer. I often did not want to eat all my dinner. I would stuff food in my ample cheeks and go to the bathroom to spit out the offending mess. I would also stuff it into my napkin and, even more sneakily, I would chew food and mash it underneath the table around little ledges that were there.

I also remember times when I would sit at the table until my meal was done, being forced to eat everything on my plate. No wonder I later developed an eating disorder. People often say that ED's are not about food, but they are about the food just as much as the other reasons for having them. I learned to overeat, to eat unhealthily, to eat everything that was in front of me. We can get into that another time.

Today I just want to remind people that a number is just digits strung together. It's not your heart, your soul, your enchanting qualities, your wacky sense of humor. It's just not and that's the way it is.

1 comment:

Autumn said...

Thanks for the reminder that the scale is not everything and for sharing your battles with food.