National Eating Disorders Association

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Triggers: Being weighed at DR visits


I'm new here. I went through the worst of my eating disorder from 2009-12.

I never got professional help but made the decision to eat and get better on my own. It has been a really hard recovery road which I still struggle with every day.

I have thyroid and ovarian cyst issues and have to visit drs often for checkups.

The first thing they usually say is "get on the scale". I live in constant fear of the scale. I am so scared to see that high weight number because i'm afraid I will lay in bed and cry for days.

I finally got up the courage to tell one nurse that I was recovering from an eating disorder and the scale is a trigger for me. It was the first time I has said it out loud. The nurse wasn't happy about not weighing me but didn't.

At other visits they haven't been so nice. One nurse rolled her eyes at me when I told her I didn't want to be weighed because had almost died from anorexia. She said "well just get on the scale and face me then so you can't see your weight"

I've been avoiding dr visits ever since because it's embarrassing to have to explain every single time I go to a dr. I'm afraid they will also blame any real health issues i'm having on my old eating disorder.

Does anyone else have this as a trigger and any advice on how to help overcome it?


Hi there!!

Hello! Welcome to the forums!! Thank you so much for your courage and bravery for trusting us with your situation! You are very strong!! I hope that I can support you in some way and add to your strength!!

I can completely relate how being weighed at the doctor is super hard. I am sorry that some of the healthcare professionals you have dealt with have not been very understanding or professional. What we struggle with is very foreign to a lot of people so we need to stay strong and be sure that we are able to still get our needs met!!

Whenever I have to get weighed I try a couple of different things to manage that moment. I will turn around and not face the scale, but I agree with you that this is really only helpful when the nurse understands and is truly sympathetic why we need to do that. Another thing I will do is pretend I'm checking my phone when I'm on the scale. It gives me something else to look at so I am distracted from the actual read out. You could even put on your phone a fun picture to look at that will make you smile and help you get passed the stressful moment. I hope these ideas can be of some help!

Have you considered seeing an ED therapist? I think having a therapist is an awesome form of support and a great way to get guidance throughout the recovery process. A doctor that understands ED's are also a great resource to have too!! The way I see it, the more help we can receive in our community of support, the more stable we become and the better we approach each bump in the recovery process! If you are interested in seeing a therapist or a doctor but are not sure where to find one, the NEDA Helpline is here to help! All you need to do is call 1-800-931-2237 and a representative will be there to help you find resources!!

Have you heard of the NEDA Navigator program? It is a great free resource that connects you with a trained volunteer who has experience achieving recovery! It is a great way to ask questions, seek support/advice, and gather more resources for you to utilize!! Here is a link to learn more about the program!!

Please let me know if you have questions! I would love to continue our conversation!!

Stay strong!!

Dr Weigh In's


You are not alone! I had a huge fear of the scales at the doctors office and home ! Its not as bad now but it still isn't easy. I would stand at home in my bathroom and fight with myself for a half an hour. Needing to know what the number was, but the fear of actually having the number right in front of you and what it might say was a horrible and exhausting, but it was even worse not knowing what it was!

I'm not sure if you struggle with the same thing but I was more scared of the numbers not matching at the doctors office to that at home, and then trying to figure out which one is the most accurate. If the scale at the Dr. Office didn't match, It would dictate my entire day.

One of the biggest things I had to learn, was figuring out what exactly about the scale is my trigger. Is it the fear of a number, or is it the fear of the number changing? ( gaining weight), It didn't magically make the trigger go away, but it allowed me to approach it with a different view.

As for explaining every time to the nurse, what I used to do, was tell the receiving nurse ( one that does the vitals and all that fun stuff) that I do not wish to be weighed, and leave it at that. I didn't go into details and the nurse would let my doctor that I was seeing know that I had requested not to be weighed. My doctor would bring a scale into the exam room and that way it was only the doctor that knew my weight and who already knows my past with an ED.

See if your doctor can put a note on your chart that you wish to be weighed privately in the exam room with just the doctor. That might help with the anxiety of having to explain every time.

For me, my fear is the number changing from my morning weigh in to the one at the doctors office, so when I am sitting in the waiting room, i tell myself that the scales are going to be different because this one is on carpet and mine is on tile and they are different scales, or if my appointment is in the evening I tell myself that my morning weight and evening weight are going to be different because of all the things your body does throughout the day ( ie retaining water needed for daily functioning, maybe i need to use the bathroom,, or I grabbed lunch... just things to assure me that the changes in the numbers were because of normal weight fluctuations and not because of actual weight gain.

I hoped this helped!

I know its hard to even think about when your in the moment and in a stressful situation, but remember the doctors are there to help. I would avoid mine like the plague, because I thought she looked at me as if I was a joke or trying to get attention because even though I lost a lot of weight fast I was not underweight for my age/ height , and also because ED is personal and I didn't wan't, at some level to show anyone my tips/tricks/ or habits or whatever you call them because then they would be harder to hide, and people would look at me and watch everything I did and link them together as ED habits and not as someone who is just watching what they eat and starting an exercise routine.

Being in different place mentally, now I have been able to see that my doctor genuinely cares and is just asking those questions to make sure that I am not t going down those dark roads again and to recognize any of my red flags or habits to catch them before they go to far.

Keep telling them

I am very honest when visiting doctors who need to weigh me. I tell them my history with an eating disorder and that I respect that they need the number, but I wish not to see or hear it. Most of the time, I don't get slack from my doctors or nurses.

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