Thursday, July 7, 2011

Measures of our worth

I read this article today about a scale bashing party. I thought what a fantastic idea for those who struggle or feel chained to the scale. If you're in the central New Jersey area, this might be a good event for you!

It's funny how a mere piece of metal can be symbolic for many of us. Where did we learn this?

I've never been what I called horribly "chained" to the scale. It mattered, but for me it was more how my pants fit and whatever my tape measure read. Yes, I don't think I've ever mentioned this on this blog, but I used to have a bit of an obsession with my tape measure. Similar to a scale, it used to be the measure for what I was going to consume that day (or not).

Even when I was in college and in my 20s, when I tried buying a scale, I wound up taking it back to the store a few days later. I was somehow afraid I'd become a devout worshiper to it. However, I could not let go of my tape measure which I brought with me to many conferences, sleepovers, visits to my parents's houses, etc. It essentially went with me everywhere!

Where am I now with this once over obsession? Well, it's not completely gone but a whole lot better than it used to be. It no longer holds so much value as it once did but is still a lasting reminder of the ED. It's like the old pair of jeans you know you should get rid of but hold on to for security purposes.

What are reminders of your ED that you know you should really get rid of? Is it the scale, a piece of clothing, a book, etc.? What are other measures of your worth?

On the same taken, have you ever bashed your scale, burned clothing, books, journals, all out of symbolism?


Katie said...

I burned my jeans for my 100th blog post, two and a bit years ago -

It was brilliant! I had so much fun. I don't keep any physical reminders of my eating disorder. I don't think I ever saw such things as measures of my worth, my scale obsession was purely a part of my OCD. If I lost weight I was "safe" and if I gained weight I was "in danger" - it was magical thinking. I had no body dysmorphia and didn't think that emaciation was attractive. I didn't base my self esteem on my weight, I was just compelled to lose more and more. I see eating disorders as much more neurologically based than anything to do with self esteem, although of course eating disorders can lower your self esteem drastically!

Even so, burning my jeans felt awesome :D

Tiptoe said...

Katie, I remember that post. I was trying to find it to link to but couldn't find it, so glad you posted it here.

I agree, there is a neurological component to EDs, no doubt, and many of these types of actions can be considered on the compulsive side-OCDish. Still though, it does dictate way much over our life than it should, and our self-esteem is affected whether it is before or comes later.

We may not perceive ourselves as fat or have body dysmorphia, but the notion of yet to still lose more weight is a thought of how we are continually dissatisfied with ourselves, even if it is a feeling of compel. JMO.

Katie said...

I'm not saying that everyone is like me, I know lots of people for whom body dysmorphia was a massive problem. I just remember being terribly confused by my eating disorder before I started to learn the science behind it, because I have always had fairly good self esteem. It's hard to explain, but I never saw the numbers on the scale as a physical attribute of myself. My body and mind felt completely dissociated, and the weight loss was associated with my head rather than my body. That might sound completely bonkers, but to me it was like needing to wash my hands seven times rather than wanting to see what XXlbs would look like, or feeling that I had to fit into a size X. It was all very weird, which is why I love the scientific stuff - it's the only theory which has ever made sense of my experience. But like I said, burning my jeans and scale bashing is great fun, and I would definitely join in a public event - it was still an instrument of torture, even if my OCD rather than any dissatisfaction with myself was the cause.

Sarah @ Bearing, Eating, Being said...

GREAT post. If you don't mind, I'm going to do a post inspired by this topic so I can show pictures! I'll credit it back to you, of course. Thanks for the idea!

I Hate to Weight said...

i had a tape measure period in college. i measured my waist endlessly.

i was bulimic at that time -- binging heavily and purging frequently --so it was quite something with that tape measure.

there was brief time when i gave up scales and tape measures and worry. i'd had horrible anorexia/bulimia and compulsive eating for years, then i dropped out of college and took some time out. that's when i was fairly okay with things. i was still heavy-ish, but i was okay and sort of peaceful.

unfortunately, i got mono and strep throat very badly and back to back and lost a lot of weight. that started the whole cycle again.

i hurried back to the scale but never picked up the tape measure again.