Anorexia, myself and I – The scales of justice


We love to house and pet sit for nice people who live in nice houses! We have stayed in some amazing properties and looked after some crazy and lovely pets! So what is the biggest downside to house sitting?!

As soon as my foot passes the threshold of another house, the first thing I think of is where are the bathroom scales of justice, will they own a set and are they of the particular brand I trust to be truthful?!

I know – most people would be thinking, ‘oh wow look at their lovely kitchen’ or ‘I cannot wait to sit outside in the garden” – Nope not me!

I can guarantee you will own a set of bathroom scales, and yes I do mean the sort you hop on rather than what you weigh your flour in! It seems scales are a part of our everyday lives, even people without an eating disorder have an avid interest in what they weigh.

Why? Where does this come from? Why are we so led by the number on the scales?

Clearly, we all don’t want to turn into fatties and having a set of scales is a way of ‘something’ politely and quietly letting you know in the comfort of your own home when the pounds are creeping on. Scales can be a healthy way of managing your weight.

Scales can be a healthy way of managing your weight.

Health TV programs insist on getting various people to stand in their underwear and be weighed – each person judged on that figure that unapologetically presents itself. The person is ecstatic if the number is less than the week before, it’s like they have won the lottery. What could be more important than that figure on the scales?!

Unhealthy fixation

Being the professional writer that I am (?) I have researched a little about our fixation with scales.

Thankfully I found  a lot of health websites out there encouraging you to ‘throw them away’ or listing 100 reasons why you should stop weighing yourself. All positive stuff encouraging us to stop the ‘daily weigh in’

Interestingly I found a weight watchers manual on ‘how to use your weight watchers scales’ – it lists a serious amount of really useful information on weighing yourself – YES I was actually surprised. I was ready to laugh out loud and chastise it.

The top ‘why have I put on weight’ questions people search for were interesting. So in the name of research, I thought I would answer them!

Does building muscle make you heavier?! 

If you are weight training and trying to build muscle, the number on the scales will either stay the same or go up, contrary to popular belief muscle does not weight more than fat, a pound is a pound. BUT you can feel stronger, look toned and be heavier than when you first started your fitness regime.

How did I put on weight overnight?

If you go out and have a salty meal with a tipple or two, throw in some carbohydrate (the bread roll) and you can weigh anything from 2 – 3lbs more the next day. Your body will cling onto any fluids to deal with the salt, alcohol and carb overload. Water retention plays a massive factor in what you weigh and how your weight can fluctuate. If you do insist on weighing yourself, this is a good simple

Water retention plays a massive factor in what you weigh and how your weight can fluctuate. If you do insist on weighing yourself, this is a good simple reference site. It takes an additional 3500 extra calories a week to gain a pound of weight, so putting on a pound of actual FAT overnight would be impossible!

Personal and up close

I am being light hearted about this subject but I have an unhealthy addiction to scales, I say that as unfortunately, it comes with the territory of my eating disorder and every time I convince myself I will not get on the scales. I know as soon as the first weigh in has happened I will be addicted for as long as I am near them.

Each day will be dictated to by the scales and ultimately 9/10 the number will make or ruin my day. Usually, ruin.

I liken it to putting a bottle of vodka in front of an alcoholic and telling them not to drink it, sit there look at it and know its there all day but don’t touch it.

At a recent house sit they did indeed have a pair of scales and it made for a bad week, when it should have been a really enjoyable week in a lovely house looking after adorable pets. The first morning I wake and I had actually been poorly for a couple of days and would have lost fluid and undoubtedly been lighter, so I jumped on the scales and a very LOW number presented itself to me. Prior to this I had not weighed myself for a few weeks, its impossible to own scales on a narrowboat.

This LOW number made for a good day, I think I allowed myself a few more mouthfuls than usual so it must have been a good day. The next day, I of course cannot wait to jump on the scales again and re – affirm my LOW number and I was actually 2lbs heavier. Well you may as well have ripped my heart out there and then, for someone like me its like the world has ended and I have failed – in an epic way. The rest of the day did not go well! I looked online at how this weight gain could have been possible (hence the knowledge above) and convinced myself it was water retention……

For the next week everyday went this way, I did not go back down to the LOW number of the first day and that was a kick in the teeth each day. Even on days when I chose to eat less, the number would go up or down by 2lbs or so! Do I wish I had not bothered at all and asked the other half to hide them – absolutely! Did I feel a buzz from the anticipation of what they might say each morning – absolutely.

I am constantly told I am bony, too thin, I look ill but nothing shouts it louder to me than what the scales say – believe me the number is never LOW enough.

As I have researched scales and their place in our lives, it really has become clear they are a pretty poor judge of what we really weigh. Do scales have a place in our lives, to some extent YES – in a Drs surgery or other professional place but not in our homes where we can find another excuse to not feel so good about ourselves.

If you own the scales of justice, just handle with care and use common sense. Don’t let them ruin your day as much as they have the innate ability to ruin mine.

One day I will be at a place where I will not care what a piece of inaccurate manufactured scales of justice tell me, until then they remain my vodka.



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