“Oh. You don’t?”
:laughter: …. “Hold on, are you serious?”
“Does your doctor let you get away with that?”
“What do you mean?”
“I’ll get in trouble if I don’t get two vitals for you.”
“I’m with you, honey. Now get on the scale.”
For the past 18 months, I’ve refused to step on the scale when I visit a doctor’s office.
I’ve seen a number of different doctors during that time period–my endocrinologist, my regular doctor, my OBGYN, the university health center doctor, maybe more I’m not thinking about.
Each time, a nurse takes me back and says, “Step on the scale so we can get your weight.”
Each time, I say, “No, I don’t weigh.”
Each time, there’s been a moment of double-take, as if the nurse isn’t sure exactly what to say next. After a moment of confusion, either they ask why or they awkwardly move to the next segment of our appointment, usually taking my blood pressure.
When they ask why, I explain:
Because the number on a scale doesn’t actually tell you much about my health.
Because I’ve been surrounded by people struggling with eating disorders.
Because now I know even more about eating disorders and how toxic our weight-obsessed culture is.
Because I know dieting is the number one trigger for developing an eating disorder.
Because I believe in Health at Every Size.
Because I believe in intuitive eating.
Because numbers don’t help me love my body.
Because all my clothes fit, so I know I haven’t had a drastic weight change reflecting a medical condition.
Because I’m here to talk about XYZ issue which has nothing to do with my weight.
Would I step on a scale before an anesthesiologist decided my dosage before a surgery? Hell yeah, I would. Would I step on a scale if my endocrinologist was worried about my thyroid replacement levels and needed to confirm weight loss/gain? Yup.
Do I need to step on a scale to get a culture for strep throat? Or diagnose a sinus infection? No. No, I do not.
I’m not of a size/weight/shape where doctors routinely chastise me and blame Every Single Health Condition on some ill-formed “need to lose weight.” I know that struggle is real for many people.
I’ve chosen not to weigh as a protest against a system which fixates on weight as synonymous with health (it’s not). I refuse the scale in solidarity with my sisters and brothers for whom numbers lead to dieting leads to eating disorders. I refuse the scale to empower others to refuse the scale.
“Featured pic” at top of this post is by Andrea Parrish-Geyer, follow her work here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/tinytall/