Monday, March 1, 2010

Panic at the Scale

According to The Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University less than half of physicians actually address a patient’s weight problem. I have never once been talked to by any of my physicians about being overweight. Not once has a doctor suggested a nutritionist or quizzed me on my diet. Why is that? Is it my sole responsibility to ask for help with weight loss? Is it an uncomfortable subject for my physicians too? Up until now I have been so self conscious and ashamed of my weight that I would never be able to even broach the topic with a doctor- because then my obesity and the risk of disease would be real. No one wants a magnifying glass held up to their flaws, including me.

In elementary school I remember feeling anxious in the pit of my stomach when I was weighed during routine exams. Surrounded by all the other kids I was scared that the nurse would announce my weight and embarrass me. Fact: All throughout elementary school I was ‘healthy’ according to BMI. Yet somehow the healthy ten year old version of myself already learned to hate her body, how sad is that?

When I go to the doctor now as an adult, I still get anxious knowing I have to be weighed. I even ask the nurse to NOT tell me my weight out loud as I turn my head to the side so I don’t have to see the numbers. As if those numbers would somehow tell me something I didn't already know. This deeply rooted insecurity, avoidance, and secrecy surrounding my body is not positive.

Is scale anxiety something other people deal with on such a severe level? Is there really a way to get over it? Ideally health care practitioners would ask patients if they wanted to be weighed. To love my body don’t I have to accept it in every form, including numerical?

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