Weighing In: Can't Bear to See it or Can't Tolerate Not Knowing?



You might imaging all kinds of things are happening
to your body if you don't have the facts.
It's time to hear from you. That is, if you have an opinion on knowing your weight. Does anyone not have strong feelings on this topic? I'm prompted to write this post having recently debated the merits of having clients see/not see their weights. And among us eating disorder professionals, opinions are pretty strong about what's the best approach. And we don't all agree.

On the one hand, whether you're dealing with anorexia, bulimia, or binge eating disorder, seeing your weight early in treatment can be a disaster. It can distract you from trusting the benefits of eating better, of listening to your body, and of nourishing yourself, shifting the focus simply to the number and all you associate with it. It can derail you from staying the course and normalizing your eating--because your preoccupation with the number stops you in your tracks. Often I address the relative change in weight--whether it increased, decreased, or stabilized, is in range, is 'where it needs to be', is 'as expected'--whatever language we've decided would be tolerated, patient by patient.

That of course can lead to use of your very creative imagination! If I say 'things are going well, we don't need to make a change this week' you might jump to conclusions and imagine that you've gained ten pounds or so. Or you might assume that since you've gained--while eating less than you were supposed to--that you'd better cut back this week. Or it might provide reassurance that your worst fears didn't come true, that all is safe--as long as you trust my feedback.

Some providers approach it completely differently. They tell patients their weight, and then they spend time debriefing about it in a very therapeutic way. It removes the 'what if's', because you know exactly what happened. But it can also cause panic and halt your progress; it may make it challenging to continue to stay on course with your eating.

Ultimately, as providers I believe we need to assess where each individual is at. Are you at a place where you can take in information about your weight? Are you able to look at weight change in perspective, or will it cause a set back?

What's your thoughts on knowing your weight as you change your relationship with food? What would you recommend to your provider about weighing and giving you feedback about your weight?

Thanks for taking the time to comment.

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