“You know what’s sad? I’ve never known you to not feel too big,” S said to me yesterday. She’s right. And what is even more tragic – I’ve never known myself to not feel too big.
I don’t want to be like this, and while I can certainly talk a good game – especially when it comes to dealing with adolescent girls and women who struggle with self-acceptance – I absolutely fail at following my advice. Do as I say, not as I do. There are times when I’ve poured myself into dealing with certain patients, giving them more time than I have and more energy than I should, only to track my caloric intake for the day to find out I’ve eaten under 1,000 calories.
“Don’t get on the scale; it’s not a true measure of your health, your body size, or your self-worth, ” I tell women everyday. Yet, here I am looking at those same 3 numbers morning after morning. Holding my breath, hopeful that today the scale will flash a different set of numbers. And when I step off the scale, I feel judged. I feel like a failure. I feel lied to.
I am doing what I am supposed to. I weight train 3 days per week; given up alcohol, chocolate, and ice cream; get my 6-7 hours of sleep nightly; track every single ounce that has passed my lips; increased my protein while significantly decreasing my fat (have you tried to do this? It’s fucking hard); and I have eaten countless dinners of chicken breast-brown rice-steamed broccoli… all perfectly measured and weighed.
And those numbers have remained the same.
And I feel even worse.
I stopped weight training.
I stopped eating.
It’s not as bad as it has been in the past, but I’m definitely back to a very low-calorie diet. And every bit of scientific education I have tells me this is wrong. But when I step on the scale, I hear screaming in my head and a heaviness in my heart. And S does not understand that, nor will she ever. I don’t fault her for that. I know she loves me and wants me to be happy. But does she know that this is not a choice for me? Does she know that I’m trying desperately to do as I say – but I find myself sinking deeper?