Since I’ve been in recovery from Food Addiction, I have used a kitchen scale to weigh my food. It had become obvious through much ‘research’ that I had no idea how much food is considered a “normal” portion for someone my size. I’d tried all my life to eat what I thought was normal. If it was peas and spinach, and I was eight years old, it was humungous and I wasn’t going to touch it. I’d lock my teeth closed, my lips fastened tight, daring my parents to force me to eat what I didn’t want to eat. They did and time spent at the dining room table often ended in useless power struggles that I always lost. Inevitably tears were shed, misery ensued, and sun set on another unhappy evening meal in the Somers’ household. The kitchen would be closed but I would sneak back up, and trying to make myself as quiet as a mouse, I would raid the freezer for ice cream, and gorge until I could no longer feel the hurt and pain of losing yet another food struggle with the powers that be.
So it turns out, scales were invented for people like me who needed boundaries set for them–what a concept for a food addict who knew nothing about boundaries or limits or how to take care of oneself. When I was first instructed to use a scale to measure my meals and not rely on my eyes, I felt DEEP shame. What I heard people say to me was: that I was ‘broken’, ‘defective’, ‘unfixable’–I completely misunderstood that someone was trying to help me. That I was being told that I was human, imperfect like all humans, and had a problem that was easy to fix if I would accept that there were tools to help me seemed impossible to grok. I was so used to being called names, shamed, not doing things right that I just assumed it was happening again.
I was wrong. I’ve been wrong about a lot of things as I’ve learned how to recover from a food addiction, as I’ve learned how to use whatever works to turn one’s life around. Many of the things I’ve had to learn have been hard work, but using a scale to weigh my food was easy. I just had to get over the hang up of thinking everyone else was looking at me, and that no one else in the world ever used help to obtain something they wanted. Other food addicts in recovery made suggestions for favorite scales but I had to do my own research. In the end, I found one that I could put my plate on and never have to take it off especially if I was at a restaurant. I wanted one that had numbers that lit up so if a room was darker than I was used to, I didn’t have to do contortion acts to see how much something weighed. In other words, I wanted a scale that made my life easy and guaranteed that I could protect my abstinence from eating MORE!!!
I began to think of my scale as a Higher Power of sorts. It was between me (sanity) and that first compulsive bite (my disease). I was so proud to have something that I could use, and it turns out most people never see my scale unless I bring attention to it, and that works 100% of the time keeping me in a normal size body. I mean really!! Only another addict would say, think, or observe “Surely you could make it harder on yourself!”
True story: I was having dinner at a Vietnamese restaurant in San Francisco years ago. As usual, I put my dinner plate on my scale and kept it there. At the end of the meal, as we stood up to leave, the waiter came up to me and, in a most respectful voice, said “I really admire that you bring your own plate warmer. It keeps the food perfect for you.”
It’s been a long time since I have been using my scale (actually scales. I have travel scales also that are much lighter and I keep small scales in convenient places so that I don’t have to go looking). Over the years, It’s become instinctual to look for my scale before prepping my meal. I don’t mind at all if someone asks me what it is and what I’m doing. I’m so happy to assure people that there is a solution for food addiction and this is something that works for me.
I am no longer ashamed of who I am. Other people have cancer, have all sorts of problems. This is mine. It’s my responsibility to learn how to live with it successfully in the world. My disease stole a lot of my life. That time is over.
Join me. Find the scale of your dreams and post it on this site,
Here’s to recovery!!!