With all the fad diets around and the aftermath of the seasonal festivities sitting firmly around the waistline of the nation, it is not surprising that the bathroom scales are eyeing me accusingly every time I am in their vicinity. They do that to most of us in winter, when the odd extra pound or so can sneak in unnoticed beneath the thick jumpers that cover a multitude of sins.
The scales were bought, not for me, but to weigh a parcel for my son. They now sit in the corner of my bathroom where my own scales would have sat, had I not deliberately dispensed with them some time ago. I came to the conclusion that bathroom scales are one of the most depressing contraptions ever invented and, with that in mind, consigned them to the scrap heap.
They are often wildly inaccurate and can vary by several pounds depending upon where you put them. Then, by depressing you further than any actual gain of weight merits, they throw you into either starvation or comfort-eating mode. Therefore, I decided that scales themselves were bad for my weight, let alone my mental well-being, and should carry a warning to that effect. Or should be carried to the local tip. Preferably in small, bite-sized pieces.
I gave up weighing myself. I’m a woman… the daily fluctuation in the volume of curves has never borne much correlation to the actual poundage. As long as my clothes fit, I knew I was okay. I ate pretty much what I wanted and the jeans-to-muffin-top ratio stayed pretty much constant.
Then I hit middle age.
It is a time of life when we finally grow into ourselves…
…and I started growing into my skin, filling it out nicely.
I also ate less, because the family had left home and there was no reason to cook huge meals… and no appetite for them either. Food is best when shared. I grazed instead.
My weight, if you’ll pardon the expression, bottomed out, leaving me curvier than before, a little cuddlier, but, apart from the anatomical area that now requires a roomier shirt, I still wear the same size clothes. I just fill them better.
If I was, say, a six foot Amazon of a woman, the extra weight would be barely noticeable. On your compact, shorter-than-average hobbit-sized person, however, an extra pound or three goes a long way. Mainly outwards. Therefore, I have to conclude that the problem does not reside with inarguable extra pounds so much as with the minimalistic verticality.
But… according to the scales that are attempting to terrorise me from the bathroom, I weigh a stone more than I did when my figure was an enviable hourglass, before babies and the instant menopause of surgery took a hand. According to the ‘ideal weight’ charts that abound on the internet, those fourteen pounds make my weight now fall into the official category of ‘obese’. I know very well that I need to lose a few pounds. I have a mirror. I know that I am a little heavier than my own ideal weight. But obese?
Who writes these things? And who for? Stick insects?
The only time I have ever fallen within the printed parameters of ‘ideal weight’ charts, I was seriously ill and looked it. You could play the xylophone on my ribs. At my current age, and with my morphology, I do not expect to be sylph-like. Because I never was. What bothers me is how many, consulting such charts, are genuinely horrified by the classification of obesity and see starvation diets and worse looming on their personal horizon.
However, the village diet will take care of my excess, slowly but surely.
The village diet is a simple affair… I live in one. For a start it means that me and the dog are not limited to a quick stroll around the park. We get to walk. We also have just one small shop that has limited opening hours. On my way home from work in town, I buy the absolute minimum that I need each day. There is no temptation in fridge or pantry. No cookies or treats… just light meals and fruit. Unless I then want to drive ten miles in the dark for a chocolate bar, there is no way I can snack on sinful goodies. Perfect.
My food intake is thus carefully and sensibly regulated. I must inevitably lose weight, right?
According to the damned scales, my weight hasn’t shifted in the half a year since they moved in. Either way. Not by so much as half a pound. Not even over Christmas. Not even with the mince pies and Christmas cake.
I therefore conclude that either the scales are malfunctioning or they are being downright dishonest.
Or maybe my body has decided its own ideal weight, all by itself, the way it always did?
And maybe the scales should go the way of the others.
P.S. For anyone seeking sensible dietary advice, visit Sally Cronin‘s excellent series on weight loss and nutrition.