Let’s Talk about Scale SMASHing
By: McCall Manning Dempsey
Back on again.
Bend down, adjust the dial.
Step back on.
Step off again.
This was my daily routine. Stepping on and off the scale over and over and over again. I spent countless years weighing myself twenty, thirty, forty times a day – waiting for that scale to tell me that I was beautiful, smart, kind, caring and worthy.
And of course, it never did.
The scale was an arbitrary number dictating my every move: how I dressed, when I worked out or if I could leave my room. The scale, along with my eating disorder, was my best friend and my captor.
After fifteen years, my life is no longer dictated by the number on the scale. In fact, it is quite the opposite. I SMASH scales for a living and feel like I have the best job in the world.
When I founded Southern Smash in 2012, I wanted to start a movement that everyone could relate to – eating disorder or not. I also wanted to pay it forward to the people and places that had impacted my life and helped me on to the path of recovery.
For many of us, the scale is another way the eating disorder holds us prisoner, but that is not always the case. Millions of people have unhealthy relationships with scales and other exterior things they lean on to define their worth.
We spend so much of our lives hiding behind masks – weight, perfection, straight A’s, career, relationships, the list is endless. Rarely do we stop and see that these masks are keeping us from living authentically and cultivating real relationships.
SO why? Why do we answer to these arbitrary numbers? Why do we let weight, steps, calories, FitBits and numbers dictate our self-worth?
The answer may be different for each of us. And it is up to us to dig deep and find a way to SMASH our masks, bringing our shame into the light.
I like to call Brené Brown my best friend (note: we have not met yet, but I know in my heart we are besties). Brené says, “Shame metastasizes in the darkness. […] Shame cannot survive being spoken. It cannot survive empathy.”
If you are living like I once was, in shame and silence, I encourage you to pick up the sledgehammer and SMASH that eating disorder or whatever is holding you back from living the life you deserve. Because like my best friend says, the antidote to shame is speaking it into the light.
When I admitted to treatment in 2010, I finally began to shed light on my shame, SMASHing my eating disorder and my mask of perfection. No one else could have done that for me. No one else can SMASH your scale or shame gremlin – it has to be you!
I spent fifteen years in the hell of my eating disorder, silenced by shame and secrecy. I waited for someone to come along to tell me it was okay to NOT be perfect. I waited for someone to take my hand and be my guiding light, my rock. But that never happened. I got something even better. I learned how to be my own rock.
There will come a crossroad in your recovery journey where you must pick up the sledgehammer and SMASH what is crushing you. No one can do it for you. You must trust your treatment team, lean into the hurt and give space for grief.
The road to eating disorder recovery is long and imperfect. While you do not choose to have an eating disorder, you do get to choose recovery. The day will come where you must make a decision: keep living in the silent prison of shame or pick up that sledgehammer and SMASH that eating disorder.
Recovery does not happen overnight, rather it is comprised of small decisions and actions that add up to real change. Recovery is not about being perfect without symptoms. Recovery is about self-awareness, falling down, GETTING UP and doing the next best thing.
I encourage you to take time, quiet your mind and find that crossroad. Choose recovery. Choose to empower yourself with the skills to live an authentic life and choose to SMASH that eating disorder!
About the Author:
McCall Dempsey, founder of Southern Smash, is an eating disorder survivor and passionate recovery advocate. After a 15-year battle, McCall sought treatment at the Carolina House in December 2010. Since then she has made eating disorder awareness and prevention her life’s work and passion.
McCall writes the popular blog, Loving Imperfection. Her writing has been featured in various national television, print and online publications, including Today Show, Women’s Health Online and HuffPostLive.com.
A Louisiana native, McCall now resides in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, with her husband, Jordan, and her two children, Manning (6) and Marjorie (4).