My doctor accidentally told me how much I weighed at my physical today.
I immediately burst into tears and started sobbing uncontrollably. I sat there in a hospital gown, my gargantuan thighs peeking out, unable to stop the tears. I think she was shocked by my sudden outburst, but I have never told her the depths of my eating disorder struggles so she doesn’t have much context.
Why was I so shocked by the actual number? I knew I had packed on the pounds since this time last year when she lowered my thyroid medication and I attempted recovery. I had guessed it was 15lbs and I was right.: 15.4lbs exactly. I have refused to weigh myself in a year and a half in order to stop the spiral of restriction from starting again. Now that I know the horrible, hideous, heavy number, I plan to weigh myself every day and restrict more and purge more and exercise more. This is unacceptable. I refuse to be this weight.
She agrees that this amount of weight in one year is not normal although she refuses to credit it to my hypothyroidism because I am medicated. I disagree with her, but she is the “expert”. My LDL cholesterol has gone from being abnormally low to being high enough for me to be at risk from it.
“It must be your diet and lifestyle,” she assures me. “Maybe you should be on a medically supervised weight loss plan?”
I think of my vegetarian diet and of all the days that I eat rice cakes, cottage cheese, hummus and celery and count calories. I think of the hours I spend in the gym and teaching ballet. I think of the only bad food that I eat when I’m on a binge and which I purge immediately after.
“Perhaps you should exercise more to make sure you are burning fat,” she keeps her lecture going and I want to punch her. I have been so sick for three weeks and the guilt at not working out has consumed me. Today I arrive in her office in my exercise clothes and runners, straight from the gym still sweating from my workout.
“Your weight is not bad,” she tells me in an attempt to stop the crying that goes on for an uncomfortably long time. “You are not overweight, you have a healthy BMI so it just depends on how happy you are with your weight.”
“I’m not happy at all. I can’t be this heavy. It distresses me. I am sure I will have a full-blown relapse,” I sob as mascara and snot run down my fat, red face.
She finishes my physical which is now awkward, gives me a vitamin B12 shot and smiles sympathetically at me. “Have a nice day…and take care of yourself.”
Of course I won’t.