Kianna Garmanian, Staff Writer
How could one, single piece of plastic hold so much meaning? How could such an insignificant, materialistic object define the way you view yourself? How could a number have so much power over the human spirit?
This little piece of plastic, otherwise known as the scale, used to define my life. The calculated results determined my day-to-day mood, overall happiness and wellbeing, dignity, and self worth. And worst of all, no number ever brought satisfaction. If the number dropped, it only fueled my desire to continue to restrict and abuse my body. If the number stayed the same or increased, I not only felt trapped in a cycle of misery and shame, but began to overcompensate and push my body harder. Up or down, I lost both ways.
I remember each of my routine weigh-ins– the bottomless pit in my stomach, the anticipation of the outcome, the stress and nervousness I faced, the shakiness of my entire body, the sickness in my heart. I was so scared and powerless, feeling chained to the cycle of numbers and confined to this empty way of life. I only dreamed of the day that I would no longer see myself in this way or allow my appearance or jean size to determine my worth. I only imagined the possibility of freedom, which seemed so far away and unattainable to reach.
So, I kept on dreaming.
And slowly, but surely, those dreams turned into possibilities. Through prayer, guidance, counseling, family and friends, and lots of hard work, a glimpse of hope began to brew in my heart. Could I actually break free? Could I truly see myself through the eyes of Christ?
What once was a broken heart turned into a motivated soul. What once was a dreary smile turned into a fiery personality. What once was lost, was now found.
When I fully recovered from my eating disorder, I was determined to never again step on the scale. I vowed to never allow a piece of plastic to dictate my happiness. There was no need to know my weight, or frankly, to even care about the number. Health is not dictated by a size, but rather your mood, energy, metabolism, immune system, and overall feelings.
Yet, after much time and prayer, I realized that God was calling me to an even deeper freedom.
I work at a physical therapy clinic and there is a scale in one of the rooms. Last month, during my lunch break, I walked down the hallway and, although I would usually just walk past the room and not even dare to look at the scale, this time, I stopped. Something inside was calling me to do something radically unexpected. I turned my head and looked at the scale- the daunting piece of plastic that once ruled my life. The horrid misery that only fueled my eating disorder and brought back treacherous memories.
But this time, I smiled.
I had the biggest grin on my face and knew what I needed to do at that moment. You see, the scale no longer scared me. I needed to prove that this piece of plastic no longer controlled my fears. Even resisting something (like running away or hiding from the scale) shows that it still has power over you. You know the saying, “face your fears.” I hadn’t faced mine yet. Yes, I had been recovering from my eating disorder for months, and yes, I knew that size did not determine worth, but the scale still had power over me. Previous to that day at work, I was still not ready to face it… the epitome of my fears… the dreaded scale.
This time, I was overjoyed! I ran to the scale, paused, and put one foot on at a time. God was calling me to conquer all my fears! The scale would no longer have power over me, because I knew that whatever the number was, I would rejoice in knowing that I am the healthiest I have ever been, which has no relation to the number.
And I did just that. I weighed myself. I looked at the number and saw that I had returned to the same weight I was pre-eating disorder, which meant I gained back all the weight that was lost. And I could not have been happier!
I was overjoyed to call my family and tell them that I conquered the scale! That I saw my weight and could care less. In fact, I was so proud to be in that spot, because that is where my body naturally likes to be at during this time in my life. Our bodies are so amazing and fascinating, always developing and fluctuating as we pass through different stages in life.
I remember thinking a year ago, when I started the process of recovery, that I would never be happy if I returned to my pre-eating disorder weight. Yet here I am, fully recovered at my healthy size, and could not be more ecstatic!
That little piece of plastic that used to define my life no longer even crosses my mind. The game of numbers has ended, and I have been redeemed. I see myself for the person I am, and for once in my life am proud to say that I not only love my soul and spirit, but I love my body.
My beautiful body which allows me to experience this life in its entirety. This is the body that I have offered up to Christ, to do His will each day. These are the hands and feet that vow to serve our Lord. This is me.
Now, I do want to say that from this point on, I have no desire or need to go around weighing myself. Frankly, I could not care less about the scale. I conquered it, fully and completely. But if there is ever a moment, like at the doctor’s office or another setting when I need to be weighed, I would not be running away or closing my eyes. Life is constantly fluctuating and changing, so why should our bodies not also?
So, here is to my new life in Christ- a life that is no longer consumed by diet culture or beauty standards. A life that is full of goodness, truth, and integrity. A life filled with joys and sufferings, goodness and pain. A heart that strives to be united to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
True freedom awaits you and me. Many people say that you can never fully recover from an eating disorder, body image struggles, or any other addiction, yet I could not disagree more. I have experienced a full, complete, and transformational healing, that only comes from responding to God’s grace. It was the hardest battle I ever faced, yet the beauty and growth are unsurpassable. Christ brings FULL healing! Don’t ever doubt the power He has to redeem your soul.
My beautiful friends, you are beautiful; You are worth it; You are good enough; and You can do this! God Bless!
*Readers should note that the author was far along in the recovery process before attempting the feats described in this story. It is not recommended for anyone to attempt such acts in the early stages of recovery.
*Check out The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) website for more information, resources, recovery tips, and tools (https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/).
Or call the free helpline at (800) 931-2237