‘Hop on the scales,’ are four words many women dread when visiting the doctor. It is easy enough to avoid the bathroom scales when you are at home – even easier when you put them away neatly in a cupboard, or the garage, or a skip. In a doctor’s office though there is no escape and the little rectangular box of doom sits mutely waiting to judge you.

The last time I went to the doctors, she did not ask me to get on the scales, which was a bit annoying as I had lost weight for the first time in years. Not only had I stopped the ascent of the hockey stick graph on the computer, I had begun to reverse it. I was not thin, I was still very over weight, but I was a little less obese than I had been the last time I had gone and been asked to, ‘hop on the digital cube of despair.’

A long, long time ago I lost a load of weight. It felt good and there was a slither of my adult life when I did not mind, ‘hopping on the scales.’ It felt good and liberating to confidently march up, step on (with shoes) and know that it was all going to be OK.

‘Fifty seven.’ I had announced.

‘Yes I thought about fifty seven,’ said the doctor, ‘I am usually very good at guessing weight.’

She was a lady in her fifties and had a very gentle demeanour. She must have seen hundreds and hundreds of patients slinking away to the corner, faces set as if for execution as the small white judge of doom sat quietly in the corner ready make their day bad.

I was thinking about that doctor this morning, and why she had fixed upon 57 as a guess. It was pretty precise, but the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. It was not 60, which might have been an upsetting weight to reach. Fifty nine might as well be sixty, but fifty seven is not too devastating if the weight is going up and  still makes 55 seem achievable if you are aiming in the other direction.

As it happens, I have not weighed fifty seven for a long, long time – and I pretty much had just about hit that weight when I stabilized and then went up a bit to sixty. I never did get back to the mythical 55, which I passed through without stopped when I was about 17, but as I was at the gym a lot I comforted myself with the belief that I probably had a lot of muscle, which is heavier than fat.

A little more weight has trickled off me. I will not be 57 at Christmas – or anywhere near it, but I will not be as big as I was last year. This week I rifled through clothes in my wardrobe that I have not been able to wear for years. I tried on a pair of trousers that used to be ones I would wear after Christmas because they were more forgiving. I would not want to wear then at the moment, but I was comforted that I could at least get into them. It was not pretty, but I was in.

I am going to take a break over Xmas from my sugar free, alcohol free existence. When I lost a load of weight a number of years ago, I was able to relax the rules over Xmas and then pick up again in the new year without too much catastrophe – I sort of surfed the weight loss wave through the deadly fortnight of indulgence and managed to come out the other side still smiling.

I have eating down to a routine now: omelette for breakfast, salad for lunch and veggies for dinner. There is about two years’ supply of chocolates under the Xmas tree and I just have to wait another 7-10 days and I can let my hair down for a bit. Maybe, sometime around  March next year, which will be my birthday, I can once again near that mythical figure of 57 for just a while.


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