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February 15, 2017

Trust Your Inner Wisdom and Throw Out the Scale

by Jennifer Kreatsoulas, PhD, RYT

My legs nearly buckled under me as a deep, sickening nausea filled my insides. That sick feeling slid up my throat and flooded my brain. My eyes struggled to focus for what felt like hours but was mere seconds.

I found the ground beneath my feet, steadied my hands on the bathroom sink, and pushed myself to upright until I met my own eyes in the mirror. With intentional long, deep breaths I pushed back on the nausea and cleared out the fog in my head.

This was the scene in my bathroom a few months ago when I spotted a scale turned on its side sitting in the crevice between the sink and the wall. For 11 years, I had no idea it was there or that a scale even existed in our home.

I haven’t lived with a scale for decades. In my teens and early 20s, the scale was an obsession and a driver for restriction and other harmful eating disorder behaviors. Since then, I vowed to never have a scale in my home. It’s just not worth the risk or temptation to turn captive to it again.

Initially, I worried my physical reaction meant that I wasn’t as “well” or “recovered” as I believed. But my gut knew that wasn’t the truth. Something else was in play that day in the bathroom, and it wasn’t vestiges of the eating disorder. It was an inner wisdom, a deep and unquestionable inner knowing about my boundaries, limits, and what I need to preserve my physical, mental, and spiritual health.

This inner wisdom manifested in my nervous system when it sensed “danger” and turned on the warning signals of nausea and a foggy head. My inner wisdom remembered my pain and anguish all those years back. The physical reaction was my inner wisdom validating how horrible that time in my life was by flagging the scale as “danger.” This experience wasn’t about showing me that I tricked myself all these years and actually crave the scale. Instead, it was about reinforcing that I never want to be a slave to it again.

I share this story with you because I believe we all possess an inner wisdom, a guiding force often called intuition. The eating disorder severs our connection with this inner knowing as it breaks down our bodies, minds, and spirts. The wires that run between all three of these entities become disconnected and confused. Recovery is the arduous but worthwhile process of bringing these parts of ourselves back into alignment so that we become whole, undivided within, and resilient.

What is your inner wisdom trying to teach you or show you about what you truly need? Next time you catch yourself hesitating before doing something you know could set you back, pause and tune into your inner wisdom—it’s there, in that moment of hesitation. Next time you sense a pit in your stomach, feel your shoulders tighten, or fists clench, pause and notice. Your inner intelligence is trying to reach you through those physical sensations. Maybe it’s also trying to protect you from the scale, another diet, bingeing, purging, lying, hiding, or self-sabotage.

I deeply know how hard it is to trade in eating disorder thinking for this concept and intangible concept of inner wisdom. However, you can trust that your inner wisdom is working hard to guide you away from harm and back to your center.

As for that scale in my bathroom? My husband chucked it! He had no idea it was there either and must have been left by the previous owners. I am happy to report that we are a scale-free home again.

 


Jennifer Kreatsoulas, PhD, RYT, is a yoga teacher and yoga therapist specializing in eating disorders and body image. In recovery herself, Jennifer is extremely passionate about helping others reconnect with their bodies and be empowered in their lives. Jennifer works with clients in person and via Skype. She also teaches yoga at the Monte Nido Eating Disorder Center of Philadelphia and is a partner with the Yoga and Body Image Coalition. She leads weekly trauma-sensitive yoga classes. Jennifer contributes regularly to eating disorder and body image blogs and the YogaLiving Magazine. Connect with Jennifer: www.ChimeYogaTherapy.com