Outside of going to the doctor’s office in August for a good ole pap smear and to get tested. I cannot remember the last time I stepped on a scale. And even when I stepped on the scale at the doctor’s office I asked them to keep the weight to themselves. I never focused on my weight till college. I was always a naturally thin girl in high school, I could eat anything and would not gain a pound, weighing in around 120-125(my thighs did not touch) but this was natural for me. Well college came around I started collegiate volleyball. This meant higher level workouts and weight training, and the downfall of drinking and eating food your parents didn’t prepare. I got up to 140 pounds and I hated the way I looked. I had never looked this way! I felt bulky and overly muscled. When I quit volleyball 2 years into college I started fasting on certain days and I ran at least 5 miles a day and I was able to drop the weight I had gained because of volleyball and began to love my body again.
Fast forward a few years and I am living in LA and fit modeling for a few brands and show rooms. To be a good fit model you have to keep consistent measurements, I would sometimes force myself to not eat anything but yogurt some days leading up to a casting or big fitting job; or drinking a hot chocolate before a day of fitting to keep me full and from eating. Now once I booked the job my eating habits went back to normal for the most part. When I came home for the holidays from Los Angeles my mom would always make a point of how I should buy a scale just to keep track of my weight, which I thought was a great idea to keep my fit modeling job. Things took a turn when I entered a toxic and abusive relationship, I went from 130 pounds to leaving the relationship a whole 104 pounds. I don’t blame the relationship on my body dysmorphia, this is something I had developed before. I was the healthy looking 133 pound girl with a flat stomach and could look in the mirror and think hmmm I wish my arms were thinner, etc. etc. But what did develop while I was in the emotionally abusive relationship was stomach and digestive issues. Gross right? But it’s the truth and it is a symptom of abuse people don’t talk about. I actually thought at one point in time I had a parasite, that is how blind I was to the situation in my life. Therapist Kimberly Hershenson says, “Stomach and digestive issues like acid reflux can be a potential way that something like emotional abuse could take a physical form. These kinds of relationships and situations can be extremely stressful (and, of course, exceedingly traumatic) and stress can really take a toll.” And I am living proof of this. “Back in 1997, a review of the science found "a significant association between a history of sexual, physical or emotional abuse and IBS symptoms." When the abuse was at an all time high I could rarely eat a meal without having to rush to the bathroom 5-15 minutes after I finished. Certain mornings after a night of enduring harsh words I would wake up sick and have to use the restroom. There is a link between our brains and digestive system. If you think I am crazy for believing this, think of when you’re nervous over a game, test, presentation, a lot of times you feel like you’re going to crap your pants beforehand. I can honestly say that after being out of the toxic relationship my body's digestive system eventually returned back to normal around 5 months of being free. There is no more running for the restroom after a meal or sprinting to the bathroom in the mornings. But some victims never overcome these symptoms of PTSD.
When I made my exit from my abuser I made it my mission to get back to what I was before, so I did focus on the scale. I would weigh myself often and watch as the numbers crept back from 103 pounds to my goal of 130 pounds. The thing is I was developing a habit and this habit wasn’t healthy for someone who has body dismorphia and suffered anorexia. I never thought owning a scale was toxic but I also never came to the terms that I had a form of body dysmorphia till that year I exited the relationship. I never took my issues seriously because I felt like I was okay and not sick because I wasn’t throwing up after I ate. During the relationship as I began to shed more and more weight I wasn’t looking in the mirror thinking oh my god you are so fat you need to lose weight, it wasn’t ever like that. I thought I wasn’t causing myself harm when in reality I was mentally and physically.
From that dark time to the present I have put on around 50 pounds, fluctuating here and there. 50 pounds! If you had told me this a few years ago I would have freaked the fuck out. I’m thicker than I have ever been, I weigh more than I ever have, yet I am the most comfortable I have been in my skin in years. I mean it, I seriously love my body and the curves that have developed (not saying anything is wrong with being skinny) but I feel that my body is at the weight she is meant to be at. I don’t weigh myself, I judge myself on how I feel looking in the mirror, how my body feels through out the day, and how I am mentally carrying the weight. Am I happy and comfortable in my skin? For the most part yes. Do I still have times where I fat shame myself? Yes. I have come to realize with thickness comes a little gut that I haven’t had before so yes, I am hitting the abs hard this year. I am not judging those that use scales and I am not saying go throw your scale out the window. What I am saying is this is what has made me happier and healthier and if you find yourself in a similar place like the place I wrote about above, ditching the scale might be the right move for you. After all, you are so much more than a number.