Why I Threw Away My Scales and Overcame an Addiction I Didn’t Know I Had

I started weighing myself when I was about 16 years old when it wasn’t unusual for girls at school to share their ‘number’. I didn’t weigh myself often but I’d occasionally go to my mums bathroom, step on the scales and then try to remember what my best friend weighed and figure out how I compared to that. I guess it was (and I’m sad to say this) kind of typical school girl body stuff. It was only when I reached my early twenties that I started really becoming obsessed with my weight. It’s hard to say what triggered it exactly, but I’m pretty sure it was comments from other girls, and not boys, about my weight that really effected my self-esteem as a young girl concerned with the opinions of her peers. I particularly remember one ‘friend’ commenting on a picture I had uploaded on Facebook of me eating a cupcake which said, “You’ve clearly eaten enough of those”, which in hindsight was outrageous, I was a completely healthy weight! But comments like those stay with you, and when you are already suffering from low self confidence, they can make you believe that your weight is something you are judged on and therefore is linked to how liked you are by others. Back then, it felt like being ‘skinny’ was some kind of right of passage to fit in with the ‘cool group’. It’s no wonder so many young girls left school with body issues and I sincerely hope that the amazing shift in body positivity and inclusiveness that we are seeing championed today means’s that young people can start to truly love and appreciate themselves as they are, at an age where they are forming their confidence and ideas about who they are and where they fit in the world.

Since that time of my life, around the age of 20, I have weighed myself every single morning, stark naked first thing in the day before consuming anything. It’s just what I have always done and I never thought too much of it. I assumed it was just a normal part of life and a way for us to gauge whether we are putting on or losing weight. But I haven’t just weighed myself every day… In fact, for over 4 years I wrote down my weight on my ‘notes’ in my phone EVERY SINGLE DAY. When I told my boyfriend this in a casual conversation a couple of months ago, I remember hearing it out loud for the first time and realising actually that did sound a bit strange and so I began to simply pay attention to this part of my life a little more closely.

Up until last year, I was a massive binge eater in a constant cycle of binge and restrict (read my article on how I overcame it here) accompanied with too much partying which would quickly lead me to go escape to a retreat to shed the weight and ‘booze face’ before going back on the cycle again. I was always at my core desperate to feel healthy and energised and in turn look my best and be my most confident, but I was always pulled back by various triggers in my life. This meant that my weight was constantly fluctuating, so for me weighing myself was a way to keep things under control and know when things were getting too far, in my eyes, and telling me to get back on that healthy wagon. I did a lot of deep inner work and self development on my bingeing and all my other addictions and am proud to say I completely overcame them. I stopped writing down my weight on my phone, but I still weighed myself every morning – it was habitual.

When I got pregnant, and gained 30kg (and no, it was NOT all bump), I had to take a hard look at all my past body issues head on. I got to a point during the pregnancy where I was unable to leave the house because I felt so disgusted in myself and I had so much self hate the idea of anyone I knew seeing me filled me with physical anxiety. It was in this period of my life that I was forced to look more deeply at the issue of body image and what importance it had in my life and how deeply intertwined my weight had become with my feelings of self worth. I would regularly look back at old pictures and pine over my ‘old body’ and then remember that I had in fact hated my body just as much at times before I got pregnant. I sat there cradling my big bump with a Twirl in hand, and thought ‘how did I ever not appreciate my body then?’ I made a vow to myself in that moment, that when I got my body back to (my) normal, I would APPRECIATE, LOVE and RESPECT IT. I was not going to put in all the hard work I knew it would take to lose the weight I had gained, and then not even love my body at the end of it – what the hell is the point in that?

So, as I began the journey to lose my baby weight, the scales became my marker again. It was a rollercoaster. In the first 3 weeks I was seeing the weight fly off, the numbers were dropping and I was getting that ‘hit’ each morning. Then, it stopped. For 5 weeks that number did not budge, no matter how strict my diet was or how much walking I was doing. I would stand on those scales and the frustration I would feel was growing each day. It was totally affecting my mood, and when people would tell me, ‘just stop weighing yourself’, I would totally ignore it. How else would I gauge my progress? They clearly didn’t understand.

Over the next 5 months, I went on a long journey to get back to, and actually under, my pre pregnancy weight. I know I open myself up to criticism here, people may say it’s absurd to be this bothered about your weight when you’ve just had a baby, but for me I was determined to not waste another moment in self loathing. I wanted to feel my best, I wanted to feel energised and I wanted to feel healthy and confident. I genuinely believe that exercising regularly and eating healthily was the only way I was able to manage 3 months of doing nights on my own (as Wade was abroad filming) and still have the energy to work full time and be a mum.  I don’t regret the commitment I gave to this journey, I am proud of it.

Every morning during of those 5 months, I stepped on the scales. Then I reached my ‘goal weight’ and Wade asked me, “is it time to throw away your scales now?”. I was honestly shocked at this question, I had never considered getting rid of my scales and the question itself actually made me physically panic. That’s not a normal response is it, I thought…

As I had now reached my goal weight and had no reason to track my progress, what was I weighing myself each morning for? Now I had to face the reality, I was becoming obsessed with maintaining the same number. Which in itself is insane because water retention, muscle mass, hormone changes and bowel movement all have a HUGE part to play in weight. I was looking at the number on the scale in the morning to tell me how to feel about my body that day. If it had gone up, I would question if I’d ‘done something wrong’ the day before and assume I must look bigger in my clothes, and if the number had gone down, I could feel confident and happy in my body. Wade said to me quite simply, “the number you see on the scales in the morning 100% determines how you feel about yourself for the rest of the day”. This was something I had never even considered, but I knew the moment I heard it that it was absolutely true. Was this simply another addiction? I realised that it most probably was.

The funny thing is, when I look in the mirror, I am honestly so so happy with my body. I GENUINELY LOVE MY BODY and I say that proudly! I love that I’m healthy and strong and I feel good in my clothes and I feel open in my muscles and I am so grateful for it that it allows me to give birth, to run, to dance, to move. I did exactly what I promised myself I would do; love, appreciate and respect it. But the scales were holding me back from complete liberation.

Once I saw what the scales were doing, I couldn’t un-see it. What had once been an implausible thought, was now the one thing I needed to do: ditch the scales. I needed to be able to love my body for how it FELT and not for what I weighed. I feel truly free from a shackle that I didn’t know I had around me, and one that has been there for a decade.

I am so excited that I get to start 2020 in this way, and I felt compelled to share it with you, even though it is very raw, and I am totally worried about being judged for it, but I’m posting it anyway because I really hope it will inspire you guys to see how much those scales are dictating how you feel about your own bodies, and encourage you to ditch them too!

For me, self development and growth is the greatest form of self love – getting to grips with old ideas you have about yourself,  limiting beliefs, addictions or behaviours that no longer serve you and working through them is the most empowering thing you can do. We are not ‘finished products’ no matter how enlightened we feel, there is always still room to grow and to evolve and I fully intend to continuously learn so I that I can continuously teach and help others. 

All my love, Roxie xxx