The bathroom scales became a symbol of Cat Rodie’s yo-yoing dieting and body image issues, here’s how she freed herself of them.

Photo: Cat Rodie (left); Cat with her two girls (right)

Ever been trapped in a vicious circle? I have. For most of my adult life I was caught between a cycle of restrictive diets and binge eating. I would swing from discipline and self-control to haphazardly eating whatever I liked. The result was a yo-yoing weight and moments of dark self-loathing.

But, while most of my body image issues were internal, there was one appliance in my home that came to symbolise my struggle. The bathroom scales.

When I was a teen my mum had talking scales. The robotic voice telling me I was too heavy and had to get off still haunts me. It was just a glitch, but the humiliation burned. Of course, I can appreciate the funny side now, but man, I hated those scales.

As an adult, I chose a simpler model. No robotic voice, no memory card recording my weekly (or daily) weigh-ins. But while my scales didn’t talk they still managed to humiliate me. It didn’t matter that it was just the two of us in the bathroom. The numbers never lied. When they were down, I felt jubilant. But when they were up? I was crushed.

It seems ridiculous now that I allowed my scales to wreak such havoc on my self-esteem. But like many young women I attached great significance to the number on the scales. The vicious circle kept turning. And the scales played a major part.

RELATED: Why am I not losing body fat?

Then I had a baby. I gained a ridiculous amount of weight and allowed myself to balloon. I wasn’t just eating for two, I was relishing the chance to enjoy my food without the weigh-in induced guilt.

When my daughter was born I stopped weighing myself altogether. It didn’t matter what the number was. I knew it was going to be bigger than it ever had been before and denial was easier to live with. I didn’t need the mechanical judgement; I had more important things to worry about.

Eventually (I’m talking years here – another baby, a change in career and a new house) I decided that it was time to lose the weight. It wasn’t so much the excess kilos, but with young daughters in tow I wanted to be a positive role model.

I started to exercise more and worked with a personal trainer, I cut alcohol out of my diet and I started to practice mindful eating. I used new recipes and experimented with family meals. My jeans started to feel loose. I knew I was losing weight.

But while I was curious about the numbers I knew that the scales wouldn’t support me. I was enjoying my new lifestyle and stepping on the scales could jeopardize that. It just wasn’t worth the risk.

RELATED: When you lose weight where does the fat go?

I started to note centimetres lost instead of kilos. The tape measure was far less confronting that the scales. I suppose without decades of negative association I could see the numbers objectively.

It’s been 18 months now. I have weighed myself twice in that time, psyching myself up before hopping on the scales at the gym. But while I was happy to note my weight loss, the anxiety of standing on the scales reminded me that knowing the numbers isn’t as important as enjoying the journey.

My bathroom scales are still packed away, and they’re never coming out again.

September 27, 201612:18pm

nutrition | body+soul

Read more