It is January and once again I have made the pilgrimage to the bathroom for the required sacrifice of pride to welcome in the new year. As protocol demands, on Jan. 1, I grimly stripped, stepped on the scale and began to move through the stages of grief.
Denial: That can’t be right!! The stupid thing must be broken!!
Anger: What does it want from me?? I take walks! I drink water! I eat my veggies (breaded and deep-fried, but veggies just the same) AND I really wanted another brownie last night but I didn’t take it! And this is how you repay me! The anger stage lasts quite some time. Dave and the cats have learned to take shelter.
Sadness: I’m a fat blob. Nobody loves me. Nothing fits. And I hate my hair.
Acceptance: Fine. What’s the number for that weight loss program?
Dave, emerging from hiding and wanting to help: “Don’t call them. You hate that program. Why not try this other…”
Me: “YOU DON’T THINK I CAN DO IT??!! YOU THINK I’M SO FAR GONE THAT I NEED A PROGRAM??? HOW COME THE SINK IS STILL DRIPPING???”
Oops, not quite through the anger stage yet.
We all know this story won’t end well. For years, I blamed myself. But it isn’t my fault. It’s the scale’s fault. Scales are not just the innocent mechanical bearers of bad news that we believe them to be. No. All scales are manufactured in hell and arrive on store shelves via a special portal from below.
For proof, I will refer you to the second law of thermodynamics, which states that the natural tendency of all things, when left to themselves, is to go downhill and degenerate into a more and more disordered state. This is why your house is a mess. The year 2020 was a beautiful example of this law in action. Everything went downhill. Our health, bank accounts and friendships have all gone deteriorated. But the scale? Have any of those numbers gone in the normal downward direction? They have not. In defiance of all the laws of nature, scale numbers have steadily gone up all year long. It’s unnatural.
There is only one permanent solution to the problem of the scale and that is to hire an exorcist.
Well, there might be one other option. In theory, you could just accept yourself for the beautiful person you already are, make the best health choices you can every day, quit worrying about your weight and throw the scale in the dumpster.
But that’s crazy talk. This is America and your self-esteem must be based on the scale showing you a number at least 10 pounds less than it will ever show you.
I do, however, have a couple of temporary solutions, once COVID allows for human interaction again. Warning, the second plan is really unhealthy, and both are costly, but then again so are the programs in those magazines at the supermarket checkout. At least my ideas are fun.
The first suggestion comes from Mary Roach’s book, “Packing for Mars.” As you know, in zero gravity, things float. I mean everything floats, including your internal organs. That means if you can get yourself on one of those flights that do high-speed loop-the-loops for a brief zero-gravity effect, your organs will float up into your ribcage, giving you the waistline of your dreams and your saggy skin will miraculously be pulled high and tight. Take a picture because the miracle is short lived. Still, it’ll be great while it lasts.
If you find the first idea scary, no worries, you’ll love this next one. Book a weeklong cruise to the destination of your choice and go have the time of your life. On a cruise, it’s all you can eat all the time and the food is unbelievable. You should eat it all. (Incidentally, the best travel tip I ever got is this — room service is also free on a cruise, so when you get up in the morning you should order something light, maybe a flaky croissant, to sustain you while you get dressed, and then head up to the breakfast buffet).
OK, here comes the weight loss part. When you get home, take a deep breath and waddle up to your scale. Be prepared for a shock, it won’t be pretty. In my case, I was horrified to see that I had gained 8 pounds in a single week! But don’t worry! These pounds will fall off. They really will! Not because of any self-restraint on your part, but because there’s no way you’ll have either the time or money to eat like you did on vacation. I usually ate about three kinds of soups, a couple of fancy side salads plus a green salad, three loaves of bread, five beautifully presented appetizers, three main dishes and at least three gourmet desserts every night for dinner — not to mention an equivalent amount for breakfast and lunch and a steady supply of snacks.
Once I returned to my normal levels of gluttony at home, the weight came off easily with no effort on my part. Truly a once in a life-time event. My hope for 2021 is to be able to go on an even longer cruise at the end of the year to experience even greater weight loss benefits at the start of 2022. I’ll show the scale who’s boss!
Anneli Byrd is an academic advisor in Weber State University’s Student Success Center.