Saturday, October 21, 2006

My Losing Battle

I'll say at the start that I have won--at least temporarily--my losing battle. 9-10% of my spring 2006 weight is gone. I've lost, depending on the manufacturer, a dress size. For the first time in years, I joyously bought jeans without pleats in the front or elastic in the waist. While not exactly a shadow of my former self, I am nonetheless the me I was more than a dozen, perhaps more, years ago.

So what takes the weight off a woman adverse to diets, for whom traditional counting calories or fat grams or eating "nothing white," has been anathema?

In a word: disgust. After my annual April physical, and the once a year torture therein called "let's get your weight", I was disgusted with myself. I weighed more than I had with either pregnancy. The doctor (bless him, although my husband says he has experience with middle-aged women and just knew better than to broach the subject) never mentioned it. Perhaps that was the biggest shame-inducer. I know what you weigh. You know what you weigh. Are you going to put on 5 again by next spring?

How had this happened? Beyond the fact that I'd grown comfortable with the extra pounds and we'd thrown out the bathroom scale when it broke 15 years ago? Or beyond the fact, that the evidence of eating anything I wanted without care had centered around my middle? I walk two miles a day and lift weights, but something wasn't working.

So, in total disgust with myself, I bought a new bathroom scale, a digital model. Scales have vastly improved since I'd last cared to look at them, over 25 years ago, and I found one that measured within two-tenths of a pound. I thought that was close enough. After stepping on it the first time, I had the truth about my suspicions: the doc's scale was weighing heavy by 4 pounds.The smugness was temporary. I didn't want to weigh the four less either.

One might call it a self-imposed come-to-Jesus meeting. I would not starve myself. I would not tell anyone that I was dieting. I would set myself a goal of a half-pound a week. This extra didn't come on all at once and would not disappear for good by going all at once, either.

I made myself accountable for every bite and two-tenths of a pound. I weighed each morning when I got up. I exercised harder. I banished avocadoes from the house, not because they're not good for you by the sliver, but because I could eat a whole one at every meal. If I wanted something sweet, it would be fruit. If I wanted to snack before dinner, I would wait 20 minutes and see if I was still hungry. Oftentimes, I was not. And I set myself a goal: I would lose 8 pounds by my August birthday, putting myself on the border of where I really wanted to be.

And it came off! Sometimes it came back on, especially on Monday when we had eaten out over the weekend. I would put my ascetic cap back on and battle it again. Four weeks before my birthday, I'd lost 10 pounds. It was a good place to be. My slacks were hanging better; zippers went up without protest.

I leveled off, then dropped another two. And maybe another two. Can't really tell. I thought the scale was being unusually nice with its pronouncements this morning so I brought up two 5-pound sacks of flour. Sure enough, they weight 9.2 pounds. I moved the scale around to a more level place on the tile and got the 10 pound reading.

Tomorrow's weight may be a shocker so I'd better warn my husband that he'll have an extra eight-tenths of a pound to account for.

Me--I'm ready for it.

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