I’m feeling creative today! When exploring how even the thought of being weighed by a doctor sends a shockwave through my body, I’ve decided to deviate from my usual style of blogging and do it through the art of conversation that will give you insight into how my delightfully complex mind works. “A conversation? From sitting behind your keyboard, Erika?” Yes! I might be writing this script by imagining that I’ve been asked to get on the scales and every part of me just wants to run out of that room, close the door and never return. But I guess what I’m tapping into are the different voices or parts of ourselves that bring out our reasonable or rebellious personality traits. I could try to dress this up as a Freudian’s psychodynamic exploration of the human psyche but let’s see where this conversation takes me. Let’s set the scene. It’s Wednesday morning. I’ve spent the past two weeks feeling the anxiety intensify since making the appointment for a check-up and I’ve somehow got myself into the consultation room with a doctor.
- Okay Erika, if you’d just like to jump on the scales please.
- (Thinks to self: Well, it’s not a question of ‘just’ popping on, thank you very much! Why did I make this appointment?!) I’m really sorry but I don’t want to. (Notices puzzled look on doctor’s face)
- Ah, why’s that?
- All I know is that scales scare me and I don’t want to get on.
- I hear you. I’m not exactly going to force you on there but perhaps we can talk this through.
- (Nooo, I don’t want to verbalise my thoughts because I’m trying hard to come across as a competent adult and you’re going to realise that I have these illogical thoughts. But I need to give the impression that I’m playing ball here… as long as this does not end with me jumping on the scales!). Okay, that sounds useful.
- So, Erika, when I say about jumping on the scales, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind?
- Fear. Immense fear.
- Right, I hear that. What’s the fear about?
- Because if I get on the scales, you’ll then know my weight. That makes me feel uncomfortable.
- Yes, I guess I’ll see what it says. Do you know what your weight is?
- Yes, I do.
- Okay, is it safe to say that this is about me knowing your weight?
- 100%, yes! I guess I want to be so much lighter than I am now but I’m working on that and I’ve actually been blogging about my weight loss over the past year. I record my weight on there (Erika, what’ve you done?!!! Why mention the blog? What if she now comes across it and works out who you are! I mean, doctors are clever. She’ll know it’s me!)
- So, you feel comfortable sharing your weight with people you don’t know?
- Yes as I can hide behind my keyboard. I guess it feels safer.
- You’re doing great talking about this with me, Erika. Let’s keep going with this as I think we’re getting there.
- (Noooo! Can’t we stop there?!!. I know for a fact you’ve got a long patient list today). Mmmmm, right.
- Okay. So, do you feel embarrassed about your weight?
- Yes, I know I’ve come from being super morbidly obese and that’s not where I am now… but I don’t want this figure to become official on my health records.
- But you mentioned that you’ve made amazing progress over the past year and seeing the figure just shows us where you are today – not where you’re going end up with the work you’re putting in.
- Anything else?
- Well, I know I have a history of eating disorders where everything becomes about numbers, such as calories eaten, calories burnt, heart tracing stats, blood test stats, etc. I just feel uncomfortable if everything becomes about the figure on the scales too. I think I could get obsessive about that figure. Not that I’m going to suddenly restrict as I have in the past to extremely low levels but I guess I’m aware that sharing my weight could make me desperate to lower it incredibly quickly… perhaps out of shame.
- Well, I hear you Erika and, yes, there’s much more to eating disorders than BMI so it’s one figure amongst many. Does that make sense? And just think that you’ve made some huge changes to the way you think about food so whilst you think you could suddenly restrict, that won’t necessary happen. Try focusing on the long term goals, like changing your relationship with food, if you haven’t already.
- Yes, it does make sense and, yes, that’s true.
- Erika, can you think why I’d like to know your weight?
- Yeah, all the health risks linked to being overweight or obese. I know my blood pressure’s absolutely fine and my BMI’s reduced lots but what if you then put me on the obesity register…if there’s such a thing. I wonder if I’d feel more comfortable about this once my BMI goes under 30 (Drat!!!!!! Stupid Erika! She now knows I am obese….and there I was tying to disguise this with my choice of clothes!!).
- Mmmm, you’re great at deflecting, are you, Erika!!!! So, once your BMI gets to 29 point something, you’ll jump on? Or will you tell me that you’ll feel more comfortable once your BMI’s under 25?
- (Foiled!!! She’s good at this!) Yeah, it’s like you know me. It might come across like I’m not listening and I’m not taking on board what you’re saying but I am. Honestly. I need to think about this. Can I call you very briefly on Friday about this?
- Okay Erika. I know you’ll think it through. Why not share this conversation on your blog? Do you think that will help?
- Oh, I’m one step ahead of you there, doctor!!!!!
Wow, okay, that’s far longer than I thought it would be with no resolution yet so, y’ know, I’m going to do part 2 of this conversation with myself on Friday. I’m going to keep you in suspense for now as I don’t know whether I’m going to get on the hypothetical scales at the end of this but this has helped. And thank you for bearing with me, you lovely group of people!
Love Erika xx (EDIT: feel free to read Friday’s blog here to see how the conversation ended!!)