I’m very competitive and for the past year or so, I’ve had an UP band. The UP band recorded my sleep, exercise, calories, weight, etc.
In addition to the UP band, I also recorded all of my walks with the Runkeeper app. I liked to see if I could walk farther or faster than the last time, constantly competing with myself.
I also would weigh myself. Every day. The scale was sort of my ruler. Let me give you some background.
I am really tall, 5’11″, and I have a large frame. When I went through puberty and got bigger than all of the rest of the girls in my class, I became very self conscious. I was, by no means, fat. But I felt fat because I was just so much bigger than my classmates.
When I was in fifth or sixth grade, my mom started going to Weight Watchers and lost a lot of weight. Once she reached her goal weight, she became a lecturer for Weight Watchers, inspiring others to join her in weight loss. When I told her that I felt like I was too heavy, she began feeding me in the Weight Watchers style, even sending me “diet ” lunches to school. Again, I wasn’t overweight. But I felt like I was.
In high school, in an attempt to drop a few pounds I started taking Ayds diet candy. Does that even sound good? It wasn’t. I had a job and I bought them myself but I hid them in my drawer because I was afraid my mom wouldn’t approve. Did I lose weight? No. Was I fat? No. Not even as a sophomore in high school was I fat.
But I thought I was.
After high school, I joined the Marine Corps. I was over weight (by USMC standards) by about five pounds which they told me I must lose before I went to boot camp. My recruiters told me to take laxatives and water pills. That combined with the running they had me do, helped me to lose the weight and be off to boot camp.
Of course, once in boot camp, because of the way I lost the weight, it came back and I was put on weight control. I had to eat the “diet” foods (lemon jello? really?) and show my tray to my drill instructor before I could sit down and eat the food on it.
Thus began a cycle of weight loss via laxatives, water pills and exercise followed by weight gain, then weight control and finally an eating disorder. When I was 22, I was diagnosed with bulimarexia. I struggled with disordered eating my entire adult life until 1999 when I finally pushed myself over the edge and shut my metabolism down.
I had decided to do a body building show for my 39th birthday. This might have been all well and good if I didn’t decide to do a pageant the week before. Anyone with half a brain knows that those are two very different looks. But I wanted to do it all.
I didn’t do well in either. 4th runner up at the pageant, last at the body building show. After that, my body just started shutting down. But I didn’t know it. I knew I was incredibly tired and I started gaining weight pretty rapidly. So, despite how awful I felt, I started running five miles a day. That didn’t last too long though because within a couple of weeks I was down and out. In bed. It hurt to lay there. I wasn’t sure what I had done to myself but I used every single moment I could bear it to research the internet to find some answers.
I finally figured it out but it took me five doctors to get one doctor who would agree to do a free T-3 test. The cost of the test? $45. After the tens of thousands of dollars they spent finding nothing wrong with me, I was right and the free T-3 test showed that I had shut my metabolism down.
I will forever be grateful to Dr. Wall for listening to me and doing the test. He said he’d do it, since I was insistent but that he was going to do other tests as well. I also had to start taking vitamins intravenously because it was the fastest way to get nutrition to my cells.
I had nearly died.
The shut down of my metabolism caused me to gain 100 pounds over three months, weight that hung around for quite a while. I was now, finally, fat. Weighing in at 270 pounds, I was fat and my joints ached, but I was alive.
It was around three years later before I was able to start losing weight again. Even though it came off very slowly I was happy. It made me believe that I was healing, that my metabolism was back no matter how slow it was.
Throughout all of this there was my scale. I felt like it was one of the last vestiges of the disordered eating. I just couldn’t let it go. But I had an unreasonable relationship with Mr. Scale. If I lost weight on a day, I was happy. If I gained weight, I wasn’t. It directed my life for many long years.
When I was packing to move to San Jose, I debated with myself about leaving the scale in Tulsa. I wasn’t sure I could do it. It felt like I would be leaving a child behind. But in the end, I did. I left Mr. Scale right where he was and drove away.
We got to Arizona before I panicked over what I had done. I quickly texted two of my friends who were quick to assure me I had done the right thing. I calmed down.
Today as I was walking I had a thought: I’m free. Yes, I’m free.
For the first time in years, I have no idea what I weigh because I have no scale. I never replaced the UP band so I have no idea how many hours I’m sleeping or how many steps I’m taking in a day. I stopped recording my walks on the Runkeeper app because I walk extensively downtown and there are stop lights that must be obeyed.
And guess what? I’m fine.
I feel amazing when I walk like I always do when I eat a raw vegan diet. I’m walking a lot because I walk to the grocery store, or any number of places downtown. We are the last apartment before the stairway and I found out that the stairway lets me out right by my parking place. I use the stairs every time I go down or up unless I have the dog or I’m carrying something heavy. There’s a gym here where I ride the Lifecycle every morning in preparation for getting my real bike. How long do I ride? No idea. Somewhere around 35 to 45 minutes I speculate. But, really? It just doesn’t matter.
I’m more active than I’ve been in a long time and I have no idea of the numbers. It’s definitely uncharted territory and it will remain so.