Ignorance is bliss.

Today I had an appointment with the doctor at the wellness center at my school.  I have an infection in my finger (Kind of gross with pus and all so I will spare you the details).  Anyway…the nurse weighed me.  A fairly irrelevant thing to do since I’m sure they were not weighing me to find something out about my finger.  I forgave her though as I suppose it’s standard procedure.

Anywho…I tried not to look at the number.  I really did.  But I couldn’t help myself.  And then I saw it…It was the biggest number I’d ever seen on a scale.  As much as I try to practice this whole fat acceptance thing these days…that number still really rattled me.  Granted I am not a poster child health at every size (I know I am an emotional eater and not a very active person-topics I plan on posting about at a later date) so I haven’t really expected my weight to go down after accepting myself, but I did not consider the idea of it going up either.

Since that doctor’s visit this morning I’ve been trying hard all day to not think about that number…to not think about everything I could be doing to try to bring that number down.  It’s so frickin hard though.  I think I was getting good at accepting me at the weight I was, not considering the need to accept a heavier me.  How terrifying.

Although I will say that if I had seen that number on the scale a couple of years ago…I would have absolutely flipped and gone running back to Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig.  I would have broke down and reverted to that all too familiar state of self-loathing.

So when I saw that number this morning…I actively tried to remind myself of how happy I’ve been lately and how one dumb number does not really change anything.  It’s certainly about the same number as it was yesterday and it didn’t stop me from being happy then…

I can do this.

9 responses to this post.

  1. You can do this. It’s just a number, and the number is not you and is not reflective of your worth.

    If scales are triggering, you can ask not to be weighed (especially for a finger injury – what the?). I’m not sure why doctors in the US insist on weighing people each visit – perhaps to justify the high fees – but it is not necessarily standard practice in other countries. Australian doctors, for instance don’t routinely weigh patients. It is perfectly possible to treat patients by weighing them only when weight is relevant to the treatment.


  2. take a deep breath….and remember that scales vary as much as 20 lbs from scale to scale…..maybe their scale was broken? Also, the number REALLY doesnt matter. hang in there you can do this….and diets DONT work. yea you’d lose the weight….at first….and then itd be back…..and youd gain even more (usually) within 2 years,


  3. Posted by Miriam Heddy on January 29, 2010 at 10:35 am

    One thing I’ve heard a lot of FA/HAES people do is simply refuse to be weighed at the doctor’s office unless the doctor/nurse can offer a concrete reason for why taking a weight is necessary.

    Given that it’s usually not, and given that you, as the patient, have the right to refuse any and all treatment, learning to respond to, “Get up on the scale” with, “Thanks for offering to weigh me, but I’d rather not. So… what’s the next step?” is a great thing for feeling empowered by your doctor’s visits rather than feeling freaked by them.

    As for what the scale says, it’s worth remembering that the number is an entire abstraction, in that it has no inherent meaning except what we give to it. At the NYC Natural History Museum, there’s a scale that’ll tell you how much you weigh on the moon. People step on it and, y’know, it’s interesting to know, but entirely not useful and meaningless. I’m not *on* the moon. None of us are. Knowing how much we weigh on the moon doesn’t tell us anything about the world or ourselves.

    The number on that scale (telling me what I weigh on earth or on the moon) doesn’t tell me:
    What the weather’s like
    Whether I’ll see a rainbow
    Who I’ll meet that day
    How cute I look in that outfit I picked out this morning
    What silly/funny/annoying things my 3 kids will do today
    What the traffic will be like coming home
    What my husband will make for dinner
    Whether Nancy Pelosi will unite Congress on the health care bill

    I don’t know if that helps, but I thought I’d offer it, one FA Feminist to Another.


  4. Posted by Fantine on January 29, 2010 at 10:41 am

    Two years into fat acceptance, I’m finally getting better at advocating for myself. I know that being weighed sends me into a crashing bout of depression. When the medical assistant told me to step on the scale before I got my IUD, I took a deep breath and said, “I prefer not to be weighed unless there is a medical reason.” She said OK and led me into the exam room. Then I asked her to wait a minute or two before taking my blood pressure because I did not feel calm enough, and she did.

    If there ever is a medical reason for them to get my weight (like for medication dosage or something), I have resolved to stand backward on the scale so I don’t see the number. It will be a moment of intense curiosity, but it will pass fast.


  5. Posted by JennyRose on January 29, 2010 at 12:27 pm

    Yes you can do this. I have been an emotional eater most of my life. I have actually had an ED most of my life in the form of bulimia and COE.

    You may have gained weight, not that it matters, because you stopped restricting and that is where your body wants to be. I highly suggest you read Overcoming Overeating. It is both feminist and fat positive. The women who wrote it have been doing this work since the 70s. They claim that dieting is about one of the most unhealthy things we can do to our bodies and minds. They say if you just quit dieting that is enough but if you take it to the next level and end the emotional eating you will feel even better. You will feel better but there is no promise of weight loss. They are also adamant about the right of any person of size to take up space in this world. This, along with working with a T who believes in FA and HAES, has helped me tremendously.

    I think any person of size who reads this book will be very comforted. Their message of total acceptance and returning food to the place it belongs in our lives is so helpful and empowering.

    They are also very anti-scale and offer supportive messages on how to deal with the medical profession. Basically, you want the same treatment a thin person would get for the same ailment. If a thin person would be given antibiotics rather than a lecture about fat for a sinus infection, then so should you.

    I also cut the sizes out of my pants. I know it sounds kind of silly but it helps. Weighing hurts. I sometimes choose to do it “just so I will know.” This serves no point other than to hurt myself.

    Please feel free to contact me if I can be of further help.


  6. Posted by Lori on January 29, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    Getting weighed can be hard. I’ve been getting weighed at every prenatal appointment, and I still struggle with it. My OB and her staff are wonderful and so size-accepting (they have had nothing but positives to say about my habits and have never negative mentioned my size), but I still cringe every single time I go in and see I’ve gained weight, even despite the fact that (due to extended morning sickness that still bothers me at times at 8-1/2 months) I’ve gained significantly less than what I did in my first pregnancy and what my doctor had originally recommended (although since all is well, she’s fine with my not gaining much).

    Aside from being pregnant and nursing, my weight has stayed within about a 10-pound range for over 10 years now. It’s really, really hard for me to get used to seeing the scale go outside of that range, even when I know there is a healthy, normal, and necessary reason for it.


  7. You really can decline to be weighed. I do it all the time. Sometimes I get hassled for it, but most of the time I don’t anymore. I make it clear that this is NOT negotiable nd they usually leave me alone.

    As a patient, you have the RIGHT TO DECLINE ANY MEDICAL TEST at any time. It’s your body. We don’t think of weighing as a medical test, but it is one form of one and you have every right to decline it.

    Just use strong, clear and UNAMBIVALENT language when declining; polite but firm. “I do not weigh” is clear enough.

    If they hassle you, make it clear that IF there were some reason that it was medically necessary to be weighed (weight-based medicine dosing, for example), then you’d be happy to…..but until there is a pressing reason to do so, you decline to do it. “I do not consent” has some legal heft to it and gets their attention if you really need to press your case.

    It really is NOT necessary to be weighed every time you go to the doctor.


  8. I like the stuff on this post and these comments


  9. Thank you everyone for the words of encouragement. Next time I go to the doctor I will try to muster up the courage to ask not to be weighed.


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