It started on May 11, 2020. I distinctly remember the day. I felt fine when I woke up, but I knew that something was different. By 11 am, I was in the basement, dripping with sweat, nauseous, and could barely stand. My muscles hurt; my back was sore; I was exhausted. It continued for days, weeks, through the month of June.
I started to lose weight. My eating habits changed. The family noticed that I was cooking differently. I no longer craved sugar. I no longer gazed longingly at the jar of peanut butter. June came and went and the number on the scale dropped. Clothes that had not fit at the start of the pandemic in March were suddenly zipping up. The sweats were still there each morning, but the aches and pains had diminished. I felt stronger, in control, happier.
By the end of July, I was readily admitting that I had LOST my Covid-19! Shed weight! While I had read stories on social media stories about people who had been struggling with the “Covid-15” and the weight gain from eating too much sourdough bread, I felt as if I had escaped the plague. I told friends about my enjoyment from my virtual training, my new meal plans, and how well I was feeling both mentally and physically.
And, then it happened.
My scale got moved. Simply relocated to another spot on the basement floor. To be honest, it’s an old scale. It came with our house. It’s likely fifty years old if it’s a day. BUT, it was my guidepost. It had sat on the exact same two tiles since May 11. I weighed myself every day on that scale, situated on those tiles, in that basement, like clockwork. And then it got moved. And that’s when I fell apart.
Had I really lost those Covid-19? Apparently NOT. Not according to the new placement of the scale. Today, I have only lost 17. Or is it 16? Who the hell knows?! And, now, I feel like a failure. It doesn’t matter that people have noticed my weight loss. It doesn’t matter that clothes fit better. It doesn’t matter that my frozen shoulder is working again. I am sitting here, in a chair, bitching that I am pissed off about a 2-pound weight gain because a fifty-year old scale has told me that I am worthless because I weigh 32 ounces more than I did yesterday.
Why do women let the number on a scale define us? I have fought this battle most of my life. I thought I was done with it. I thought I had beaten the demons. Does an eating disorder ever “leave”? Does treatment ever stop? Why can’t there be a vaccine for the illness? Or, if we have had the disease once in our lives, why can’t we develop anti-bodies that fight the battle for us when the bingeing returns? When does it stop? When are we simply enough? Enough without the comfort of the numbers on the scale.
I don’t have an answer today. I thought I might. I don’t. All I have is me. In a chair. NOT going to my basement to see if the Covid-19 may have changed since this morning. I’ll let you know how it is and how I am tomorrow.