In retrospect, it makes sense… the tools that teach us to lose weight are also the very tools that can backfire and set us down the path toward disordered eating.
When we embark on the weight loss journey for the first or fiftieth time, we’re taught the keys to success: journaling what you eat, exercising regularly, planning meals, making good choices and stepping on the scale once a week to gauge your progress. Measure yourself. Test your body fat. Learn your waist circumference. Become one with your body mass index.
But aren’t all these things obsessive? Where does one draw the line? Why are some people more prone to disordered eating habits than others? Sometimes I wonder if I was predispositioned to head down this path, based on innate personality traits. For example, I’ve read a lot of birth order books and I totally fall into the first-born, Type A archetype.
I have always had OCD tendencies. As a toddler, I wouldn’t rest easily until all my dolls were lined up the right way on my bed and my mom or dad had tucked me under the covers “just so.” As a pre-teen, I couldn’t sleep unless the TV was on in the background at just the right level of volume that it would lull me to sleep, but wouldn’t wake me, either. And as an adult, I check to make sure my curling iron is off and the door is locked at least twice before leaving the house–and sometimes call my husband to triple check, if he’s still home. (This behavior could be considered legitimate, as my house did burn down when I was 8 and I therefore have an understandable fear of fire).
So isn’t it natural that someone with OCD tendencies would end up obsessing over their weight? The interesting thing to note is that when I was heavy, I wasn’t obsessed. In fact, I used to exercise in moderation and sure, I didn’t always eat the wrong things, but I definitely didn’t lose sleep over an extra cookie or a missed lifting session.
Eh… I guess you can call me a chicken frittata. Either way, I’m scrambled!
How about you? Where do you draw the line between positive weight loss methodology and obsessive- compulsive behavior? Do you think personality play a role?