The bathroom scale started sending unusual messages as soon as the unusually pleasant and warm fall weather began to turn. I have a pretty small frame, and I’ve kept fairly slim in recent years due to a regular yoga practice, so when my weight varied by a whole 10 pounds on the digital screen one day a few weeks ago, I was more befuddled than alarmed.
Was the scale broken? Or had I really been, unconsciously, fattening up for a cold winter like a prize goose?
It turned out that not just was the scale’s aging battery dying, the whole scale was going on the fritz. I have put off getting a new one.
It has always been my habit to weigh myself every morning. Whenever the scale goes up two pounds from one day to the next, I decide it is time to pay attention to what I am eating. Now that there’s no device in the house to sound the alarm, I’ve thrown caution to the winds and eaten whatever, whenever, all through Thanksgiving and over the last two weeks since. It’s going to be interesting to find out what the new scale will tell me — one way or the other.
All during my adult life, I have devoted a lot of time to experimenting with different diets, from the scientific to the ridiculous. At least twice I have come under the misimpression that I had invented a unique brand of weight control and should write a book about it.
The first method had to do with the difference between glucose and sucrose, which contains fructose. I can’t remember how I thought it was supposed to work, but I was a real enthusiast for my pet theory for a time. The second “diet” was a simple matter of imagination: Instead of going for an actual helping of mashed potatoes, for example, I would conjure them up in my mind and visualize myself eating them. This actually worked for a while, but, in retrospect, it’s hardly an original approach.
Then there was the time I went on a protein-and-water diet. My doctor told me not to do it for more than two weeks. Obviously, if you lose weight on a two-week, get-thinner-quick regimen, it’s hardly likely to be permanent. But I did learn something from it: Protein in the morning fends off hunger. (But I guess you knew that?)
In classic Jewish mother fashion, my grandmother used to insist, especially when I was a teenager, that I needed more meat on my bones. She, herself, was quite thin, but I’m afraid I’ve always taken after the other side of the family, which isn’t.
Notably, the mealtime traditions my grandmother brought with her from Eastern Europe did not include dessert. The only sweet I remember her making was a blueberry “pie” that wasn’t pie at all but deep-dish sponge cake over a layer of blueberries.
My mother’s dessert offerings, such as they were, were limited to Jell-O and chocolate pudding. To this day, I’m her daughter. I would rather have a second portion of whatever the savory stew might be at dinner than ice cream and cookies at meal’s end. Wait, oh dear . . . I’m afraid I am probably going to have to eat my words. Christmas cookies are only two weeks away.
Ah, well, the scale can wait till the New Year.