5 pounds

You don’t have to look at the scale.

Just because they weigh you doesn’t mean you have to look at the scale.

They are going to weigh you and you need to know how you’re going to handle that.

You don’t need to look. You don’t need to know. You wouldn’t have weighed yourself at home so why weigh yourself now? It’s just a number. You don’t need to….

My heart stopped.

5 lbs.

I gained 5 lbs.

5 lbs. 5 lbs. 5 lbs.

I gained 5 lbs since I weighed myself last. I don’t even know how long ago that was. I made Craig hide the scale. I couldn’t have a healthy relationship with the scale. My resolution was to just get rid of it. What was that…4 months ago? That’s a pound per month. How could you have let this happen. You’re so stupid.

How can anyone take you seriously if you can’t manage your own weight? What kind of healthcare professional do you think you are when you’re the epitome of unhealthy?

The thoughts started spinning. Flashback to every minute I spent in front of the mirror pinching my rolls until I bruised. Measuring and remeasuring my wrists, my big fat man wrists. A dainty bracelet would bust right in half if it ever had the unfortunate placement on my wrist.

I feel so bad. I feel so guilty and feel so sad for anyone who has to look at me. I feel the need to apologize.

I need to make myself small before anyone else has the chance to. If I can tell myself all the ways to hate me, maybe it will take the sting out of someone else’s words.

I know they are all thinking it. I need a bright neon sign hanging above my head telling everyone “I already know. You don’t have to wonder.” Does she know how obvious it is that she gained weight? I feel like addressing everyone first, “Why yes I did gain weight and how are you?” Yes – humor and sarcasm – my tried and true defense mechanisms.

Self hatred is a slippery slope. A slope I thought I’d conquered. I vividly remember sobbing into the mirror. Mom walked in, asked me what was wrong. “I hate myself.” I sputtered. Where do I even begin? If you haven’t lived inside of a body you want to tear yourself out of, how can you possibly understand what it’s like to live at war with yourself 24/7?

The thought process can become addictive. The anxiety, the worry, the compulsive mirror checking, the measuring, it is all addictive. I was doing so well. My thoughts were clean. I was clean. Add that to the list of failures. You’re a failure.

“What would your therapist tell you? Is there a tool you can use right now?” Craig so sweetly suggests as I hang my head in my hands at the dinner table. Not a single technique that I have learned in the years of counseling is useful to me in this moment. What is rational, what is fiction, none of that matters and it is indecipherable.

Someone turned the TV on and cranked it up to 10 and I can’t find the remote. Profanities and insults scream at full volume every waking second. My chest tightens. My skin feels too tight for me to fit in it. I want to cut it off. I want a drink. I want to scream but my mouth is too dry to make words.

The thoughts were gone. I have been at peace. The TV has been off, things have been so quiet for so long it makes the sting of their brash return that much more painful. I was clean. My thoughts were clean. The cycle had broken. I had control. I could name 3 things I liked about myself just like I had learned to do in therapy. That all changed in an instant. Now I can’t think of one. I can’t think of one thing that would qualify me as worthy of love or respect. Especially not love from myself.

5 lbs.

A disproportionate response to reality? Absolutely. But today it is my response.

I can’t control this sneak attack, hateful words spewing out of no where. I can’t control this more than I could control vomit from coming out of my mouth when I have the stomach flu. I can’t will myself better the same as I can’t wish a sinus infection away. It’s going to take time. It’s going to take practice and effort to tuck this all back neatly where it laid dormant for so long until I stepped on that scale.

5 lbs.



I’ll close with this: a piece I wrote years ago, early on in my battle with body dysmorphia.

My mind is playing tricks on me tonight.

It is telling me my waist has more inches today than it did yesterday and telling me that I’m filling in the once loose skin on my arms.

It tells me I’m not good enough or smart enough. It tells me I look like a man.

It tells me to move my legs so many times that I can’t sleep.

It yells in a conversation, “THEY KNOW YOU GAINED WEIGHT. THEY ARE LOOKING AT YOUR ZITS WONDERING WHY YOU CAN’T TAKE CARE OF YOUR SKIN!”

It yearns to be silent. It yearns to have peace. It yearns to appreciate the blue in my eyes instead of the blackheads on my nose.

My mind is loud tonight. My love for myself is scarce tonight.

I hope tomorrow will be better.


For more on my struggle with body dysmorphic disorder, check out this blog post:

7 thoughts on “5 pounds

  1. Ellie says:

    Reading this makes my heart hurt! I want to support you , especially at this time when you are under so much stress as a first responder. I’m just at a loss for knowing how to help . You are a good person , a hard working person who cares about others. These are the important things in life. All the rest is just noise.

  2. Sherri C says:

    It makes my heart hurt too and tears are in my eyes. You are a wonderful person. Hopefully you can get in to see your therapist soon and she /he can help you thru this rough time.

  3. Susan the Farm Quilter says:

    It really sucks when your own brain lies to you. I’m sorry it is so loud. I pray you find that remote to turn it off, forever.

  4. Carolyn Sullivan says:

    ABSOLUTELY!!!! wonderful post. I come from a long line of eating disorder, smokers and drinkers drug users. Luckily I only have and eating disorder. I often HATE myself. Mostly bc I am eating OOC. I do WW, have been or many MANY years. I’m lifetime, but they are not holding meetings. I don’t wt myself, Dr office scales are off! (we all know that) we used to have a scale and it would taunt me “Carolyn good job now you lost, you can have a container of cookies” then the next day “LOL you gained LOL I fooled you!” So I threw it out. I swear I heard it crying my name repenting it’s behavior when the trash collectors threw it in the truck!!!!

  5. Nancy Fratz says:

    Ok, so your post was hard to read, but I got it. Been there, done that with lots of therapy. What I know about myself may noT apply to you but honestly, no matter what I weighed, I was never thin enough.
    I always compared myself to my friends, my very skinny friends who could eat what they wanted and it didn’t show. Their scales, if they even had them, was within 5 pounds of their high school weight.
    My mother was 4’11” and weighed 90 pounds and a size 4 her whole life. Yep, I hate DNA. But think about this, is there anyone who loves you that would love you more if you were 5 pounds (10, or even 20) thinner? I’m pretty sure you know where I’s going with this. Like I said, lots of therapy. I will tell you. What helped me even more than therapy. I am now 65 and I am not skinny but I am healthy. One day I overheard some folks making fun of a friend of mine whom I just adored, and who was a little overweight. I am very quick to defend the people I love and I went to her defense immediately. I probably went way overboard with my defense of her because of my own issues but what a breakthrough it was for me. I realized that the way I was talking and the words I was saying, rang true for me too.I felt the same way about myself that They were feeling for my friend. No wonder there is a bias or prejudice against large people. Most of us don’t choose to be this way, and to this day I don’t know why food is so important to me but I do know this. There is no magic wand and I just got tired of dieting(I mean, how many times am I going to have to lose the same 50 pounds). So, and I know you have heard this time and again but the last thing you want is to pass on to your children your insecurities or a possible eating disorder.
    Think about this, would you love your amazing husband any less if he gained 5 pounds? Or your mom, or anyone in your family? Nope, you would still love them all the same. You don’t know me but I know you-I was you, without the dramatic flare. I’m not saying it’s ok to gain 5 pounds because it wouldn’t mean a thing to you. I’m saying, it would really hurt your father’s feelings if he knew how you felt about yourself. God bless him, that man died knowing he was adored by the whole town and his family.. what a blessing to have 5 children, healthy, close and loving and taking beautiful care of your mom. You know how much comfort that must give him. I am pretty sure he would be so proud of all your many accomplishments and you what a good and caring mom you are. He got to see you in your medical world when he was a patient and I’m certain he was proud as a peacock at how you handled yourself in that world. He would smile and celebrate your paying off your debt like you have. I know you wouldn’t want to make him sad by thinking that you aren’t beautiful because there is a whole lot more to beauty than being thin. I starved for a whole year and gave up all white food and I was miserable-I don’t know how I got through it but all it did was make me an unhappy thinner person.
    You have a gorgeous best friend, Reagan, but you will never look like Reagan. And guess what, your husband loves you, your kids love you and why do you care what others think? See, therapy coming out again. You are beautiful, a natural at motherhood, and I think you are overworked, scared witless about this damn plague and your hubby is working long hours. It’s a lot with 2 active boys that want your attention all day. I think in the long run you will be fine but my dear DNA sucks sometimes and we are who we are supposed to be. It’s just easier to get in the flow and know your strengths. We love your blog and I would love to be part of a family like yours. And besides, whatever happened to Kramer Strong?

  6. Elle says:

    I totally relate to this. I’m up 90 pounds in 40 years. I’ve made the decision this year, to get on the scale every day. Not to torture myself. I do it so that I consider what I did or ate yesterday and determine if it was worth it. Some days I go “well, OK, I’m up 2# and damn those cookies were good”. Then I eat healthy for a few days. Overall, I am down 14 #. I will continue to get on the scale every day. I’m so happy to be down the 14# and I’ve had cookies, pasta, french fries. So no denial diet for me. Getting on the scale does seem to motivate me to have some really healthy eating days every week and it’s working. I suspect it will take me the year to drop another 50# but that’s OK. I do want to be lighter and healthier so I’ll do it.

    I don’t know if this is helpful, but wanted to share. I’m 58 and it’s a rough road. I totally ‘get you’.

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