Why I ditched the scales after all these years

28 Jan 2012 @ 4.26 pm
| Opinion

Jo Haywood explains why she has exited the one-weigh street


I’ve thrown away my scales. Actually, that’s not entirely true. Being the caring, sharing individual that I am, I have donated them to my favourite charity (i.e. the one that put its bag through my door yesterday– it was either a weeping child one or a sad donkey one; I forget which).

This means that for the first time in my life, which stretches to more than 18 years but less than 60, I am free from the shackles of knowing what I weigh. It also means, of course, that I have passed those shackles on to some other poor, defenceless woman (oh come on, a man is not going to buy scales from a charity shop, no matter how sad the donkey is), but let’s gloss over that drop of rain for the moment and carry on with my parade.

It is a ridiculously liberating feeling to not know how much I weigh this morning. It sounds completely counterintuitive, I know, but this lack of knowledge makes me feel more powerful.

I was never one to jump on the scales every day, but once a week – usually on a Friday; never on a Monday – I would hear them calling to me from their hidey-hole under the bed. ‘You’ve been good this week,’ they would whisper seductively. ‘You’ve counted your calories, added up your points, upped your protein, lowered your carbs – it’s time to reap the rewards. Come on, jump on.’

And I would. Not jump, of course, because in my warped, diet-addled brain I believed jumping on the scales would somehow make it think (think!) I was heavier than I actually was. Instead, I would sidle up, sneaking a toe on first, then a full foot and finally – tentatively, delicately, like I imagine a willow-the-wisp might flutter weightlessly on to a buttercup – my whole body.

Two seconds later, I would either be punching the air with delight at losing a pound (sorry, I only deal in old money) or picking my bottom lip off the floor in a gigantic sulk because I had gained a pound. Either way, my next thought would involve chocolate. Specifically a Bounty (dark, not milk; I’m not a complete philistine). If I’d lost a pound, then I deserved a reward. If I’d gained, then what the hell difference could another bar of chocolate make.

And so the whole cycle would begin again. Punishment, rewards, counting, calculating, plotting, and for what? I have no idea. Seriously – not… a… clue. I remember starting dieting in about 1998 and I’ve just kept going.

But no more. I’m done. The scales have fallen from my eyes (been parcelled up in a charity bag and chucked over the hedge into the street).

Yes, it’s a teeny-tiny baby step, but it’s a teeny-tiny baby step in the right direction. I’m dumping the diet for good and channelling all my efforts into rediscovering what a normal, healthy person eats.

Now if only I could find a normal, healthy person…