Nova Scotia

Scale not bringing you joy? Smash it, says Eating Disorders Nova Scotia

Amid a national tidying craze, Eating Disorders NS wants people to consider ditching the bathroom scale if it doesn't make them happy.

Organization collecting scales to destroy at Feb. 10 event

Eating Disorders Nova Scotia says bathroom scales aren't a true measure of health. It is calling on people to destroy their scales as a fun, therapeutic way to remove it from their lives. (Robert Short/CBC)

As people across the country rid their homes of clothing and books, Eating Disorders Nova Scotia is suggesting another item to toss out — the bathroom scale.

The organization decided to take advantage of the tidying craze sparked by Marie Kondo and her expert cleaning advice that calls for people to remove items that don't "spark joy."

It's calling for donations of scales that will be destroyed in Halifax's Rage Room at the end of eating disorder awareness week, which began Friday. The event will be held Feb. 10.

"We were kind of chatting about how our scales don't bring us joy, aren't a measure of our health," said Shaleen Jones, executive director of the organization.

"For many folks who are in recovery from an eating disorder, part of the recovery process involves ditching the scale and not using that as a measurement tool."

Collette Deschenes smashed her scale on the University of Alberta campus in 2016 during her recovery from an eating disorder. She says the experience was liberating. (Submitted by Collette Deschenes)

The idea came from Collette Deschenes, a peer mentor with the group. She used a sledgehammer to destroy her own scale three years ago.

"It gave me a feeling of freedom," she said. "I was actually in treatment, in recovery for an eating disorder at the time when I smashed it. Prior to that, in the depths of my eating disorder, I definitely weighed myself obsessively."

The scale smash isn't limited to those with eating disorders. Both Deschenes and Jones say scales can be toxic, and people can believe the number represents their worth.

"If you've had enough of being told how to look, what to eat, how you should weigh this could be a therapeutic event for you," said Deschenes.

Jones is also encouraging people to destroy other items that she calls diet culture relics, including measuring tapes and fitness trackers.

"It's a challenging time of year when folks who are in recovery are trying to break free from those messages and trying to silence those voices in their heads that are telling them, 'You're too big, you're too small.'"

Deschenes says her life has changed dramatically since her own scale smashing. She hasn't weighed herself since.

She hopes more people follow their lead and kick their scales to the curb.

"My life revolved around my body and my weight, and that scale was a tool that propelled that."