Friday, August 13, 2010

The scale, she is a cruel mistress...

Seven days ago, after a solid week of Points counting and daily bouts of vigorous activity (which I performed in temperatures akin to those at the bottom of an active volcano, I’ll have you know. It’s been so hot I haven’t taken my dog out walking with me because it’s just too dangerous to expose her to that kind of heat what with her inability to sweat and all. My safety, however, isn’t an issue as I happen to be a gifted perspirer and maintaining a protective layer of sweat at all times has prevented me from bursting into flames. So far. Stupid global warming.), I stepped on the scale with a positive attitude and a smile for the Weight Watchers employee behind the counter and was rewarded with the following sentence:
“You stayed exactly the same as last week.”

To which I shrugged and replied: “Bummer. Well, whattaya gonna do, huh?”

That’s what I said out loud, anyway. My internal dialogue was somewhat less philosophical. While my face was all “Hey, those are the breaks!” my brain was sneering, stomping it’s imaginary feet into the dirt, and cussing like a longshoreman. Nothing? At all? I bet if I’d stopped to use the bathroom before weighing in I could have eked out* at least a tenth of a pound. I had JUST weighed myself at home before I left (Yes. I weigh myself occasionally during the week, and I know some people don’t do that and have many, many opinions as to why it’s a bad idea that range from sensible to holier than thou. I’ve heard ‘em. I get it. Don’t judge me!) and according to my scale I was down nearly 2 pounds and the two scales in my life are generally 100% in sync. And while we’re at it, I should mention that even my expected 1.whatever loss wasn’t exactly making me jump for joy in the first place, so ending up with a big fat goose egg for the week left me a little on the bitter side.

I know this is a silly attitude. I know that the five seconds we step up on the scale each week is just a snapshot in time, a single frame in the thousands—millions, really—that make up the rest of our lives. I know that my weight in that same five seconds isn’t always a reflection of the work I put in the seven days that preceded it. I know that sometimes the scale doesn’t cooperate no matter how well your week has gone, or how much you deserve to see a payoff when you step on it. I even know that there is one week every month when that most blessed gift of womanhood wreaks havoc on my system in ways too numerous to mention (but not too numerous to track on the iPeriod app!) and that last week was that very week for me. I know all of that. But right that second, when the sting of unearned disappointment was fresh, I just didn’t care.

I slipped on my flip flops, stepped away from the scale, and started toward the chairs in the meeting area when the thought entered my petulant little brain that I shouldn’t stay for the meeting that day. Since I hadn’t gotten the validation I deserved from the scale, surely the best way to retaliate would be to refuse to sit down and participate in a conversation about a program that clearly didn’t work like it’s supposed to, stomp off in a huff and let them watch my big behind sashay right out the door thank you very much while I rolled my eyes because THAT WOULD SHOW THEM!

So I began digging through my purse for my keys, my sunglasses slipping down off my head while I juggled that week’s meeting materials and my water bottle in one hand, while using my other hand to plumb the depths of my handbag for the keys that I suddenly realized weren’t there because I’d left them on the counter in my haste to run away from that hateful little bucket of bolts that had taken a pin to my good mood balloon seconds before. So I walked over, slid the keys toward me, and the lady behind the counter asked cheerfully “You’re staying for the meeting, aren’t you Sara?”

And just like that, I was.

I’ve been doing this for a long time. And the truth is that I’ve learned to accept that I’ll be doing it forever. And as such, with forever being such a long time and all, it’s probably likely that not every day is going to be hearts and flowers and slow-motion romps through fragrant meadows. Some days are going to be harder than others, and I’m going to have to let the rational, mature Weight Watcher inside me grapple with the holy terror of an inner child who still believes that not being able to eat all her points each day in Hostess cupcakes is like so, TOTALLY unfair. On that morning, that particular battle ended with a stern look and a whispered threat to the little girl who took over my body temporarily instead of me having to take her whiny self outside and pop her on her ample bottom.

They say in Weight Watchers circles that sometimes you need the meeting and sometimes the meeting needs you. I needed the meeting that day. I needed to remember that I really believe all those platitudes about the scale only being one measure of our success, and that in the end the number it reads doesn’t matter as much as we think it does. I had a really good week last week. I had another one this week. If I’m doing what I should, then the scale will pony up the goods. Eventually.

But just for the record: Grrr.

*Editing note: I originally used the phrase “squeezed out” in this sentence but it skeeved me out when I read it back.


  1. Ohhhhhhhhhh Sara,

    I can FEEL your pain, very deeply I can feel your pain!!! I have had several extremely good weeks with my POINTS and exercise and yet, the scales seem to reflect differently. I have stepped off those scales with tears rolling down my cheeks as I headed to sit and wait on class to begin. I have struggled with leaving because I had nothing but frustration and disappointment showing on my face and in my mind. But, I stayed for class. And, basically, felt better after class.

    I keep reminding myself that if I continue to do what I know is right, the scales will eventually have to give up the lighter weight. It will HAVE to submit to my actions. July was a rough month!!! It didn't submit very good at all. I lost only a net of 5 pounds that month.

    Like you, I realize that these changes/choices I'm making right now have to become my new lifestyle. So, when my week's weigh-in results are disappointing, I rant and rave a bit.................then, I step back and look at the big picture. Please check out my blog and see what you think about my "big picture."

    I'm adding myself as a follower here and look forward to keeping up with your journey. I'd love it if you joined my on my blog and journey!

    The choice is MINE!!
    Cynthia \o/

  2. God do I ever get that. When you make the sacrifice you expect to get the reward. And all the big picture attitude doesn't change a thing. But who does retailation hurt? You of course. So you have to suck it up. But them's sure the tough days on a diet.

    Stay strong Sara. It'll happen. And you know it will. But I will whine with you a little bit. Just to commiserate.

  3. The scale, she is a beyatch! I saved your post to my special Favorites folder names "SCALE" because I sometimes need to read other's experiences with the scale. I broke up with WW and blamed WW. Now I know it was me..I didn't weigh and measure everything. And once I didn't lose consistently I gave up. AND the big one that I've learned after much time is that weight loss doesn't work the way we think it does. You know how they say 1-2 pounds a week is a good way to lose. It may take a whole month to show a difference on the scale, but you've actually lost inches or you suddenly lose a big number one week after weeks of nothing. Be patient.

  4. Hi Sara! I feel your pain and this was great motivation for me. Your blog is a good read.