I Overcame Body Dysmorphia When I Stopped ‘Weighing In’

By Kimberly Zapata

When I was 25, I tossed our bathroom scale for good. It wasn’t because it was inaccurate or because it stopped working, it was because I was obsessed.

I was obsessed with my size. I was obsessed with an ideal. I was obsessed with a number: the number I saw on the scale.

Make no mistake: I know many people who worry about their weight. I mean, who doesn’t want to lose five or 10 pounds? Who doesn’t want to “look good” at the beach or impress that 8th grade bully at their high school reunion?

But is it normal to run to the bathroom after every drink, every meal, and every workout? Is it normal exercise before you leave your bedroom each morning and before you sleep each evening? Is it normal to weigh in five, six, and seven times a day?

Yes, and no.

You see, according to ANRED, more than 8 million men and women in the U.S. struggle with an eating disorder and as many as 1 in 200 people struggle with body dysmorphic disorder(BDD). And millions, probably billions, more struggle with their appearance.

But it isn’t normal to hoard food and avoid food. It isn’t normal to eat baby food when you are 22-years-old. And it isn’t normal to act like an adding machine: constantly counting things like how many calories are in two crackers, five sticks of celery, and one 12-ounce cup of coffee. Counting how many calories you have taken in versus how many you have put out. Counting the number of minutes you have run — the number of miles you have to run — in order to “earn” a rice cake, a cup of Cheerios, or a slice of barely-buttered bread. In order to add a splash of fat-free milk to that damn cup of coffee.

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