While I’m never what you’d call a morning person, most days I do rise and shine with a bit more levity and luster than I did after the holidays. Nope, I wasn’t hung over (but good guess) and I didn’t get that holiday flu some friends caught. But my stomach was knotted in dread over what lay across the hall in the bathroom. I grabbed my glasses off the dresser on the way in—a sure sign I was taking an unpleasant detour from my morning routine. (Having to see details in the bathroom is never good in my book).
By the time my bare feet hit the cold floor, I was talking myself up. “I’m not alone. Everywhere all over the world, nearly everybody is taking this walk with me.” I paused, trying to feel the chi of all those souls moving with me in unified purpose. I got nothin’…just cold feet and a knowing that the only noble course was to stand tall, suck it up and seek the truth. I needed to move my feet off the floor and onto the scale and not chicken out.
The next steps in the routine were all too familiar. Dust the thing off. Square it up till it’s optimally aligned with the base of the toilet and the angle of the morning sun under the window. Tap the stupid thing with my toe to zero it out, resist the urge to muckle onto the wall for “help” and climb aboard. Next, watch helplessly as the little LED display shudders and goes blank as though trying to recalculate Newton’s law of gravity. If necessary, move big toes out of the way that are hiding the inevitable and…wait for it, wait for it…there’s my number!
“Aw, jeez, what was I thinking?” I groaned. How was it that my dismay sounded much the same as those blissful sighs I’d emitted, long and low, as I lingered over my sack of Lindor truffles just a few days ago? “Awwww, man, these are just to die for!” I’d let their lucious peanut butter chocolatey-ness ooze into my every awareness until all that mattered was that I was a very, very good girl who deserved this once a year treat. Each wave of texture and flavor was so amazing, I could kid myself that Santa or some other stroke of good girl serenditpity had put them in my Christmas stocking. Truth was, they’d been placed there by dutiful Daughter Number One to whom I’d given a very short and very explicit stocking stuffer list. “Lindor Truffles,” I ordered, “and they have to be the peanut butter ones.” I got what I asked for and—despite the silent inner knowing that my groans of pleasure would soon have a different ring to them as they resonated off the bathroom walls—I dove in over and over.
Once again, in the harsh first light of the new year, I realized the truffles and the pie and the “special” coffee and the gravy-topped mashed tater towers and all the other treats I swore were “to die for” brought only cruel nanoseconds of euphoria that killed hours and hours of everyday dietary diligence. “Oh, I’ll be back to teeny carrots and protein cereal soon enough,” I told myself between mouthfuls. And—surprise, surprise—my prediction was so accurate, it was spooky.
“Yeah, I saw it coming,” I admitted, shuffling from the bathroom in defeat. I could have throttled back. I could have refrained from snickering when I read the pre-holiday advice columns. “Distract yourself with party conversation,” one instructed. “It will help you stay three feet away from the buffet table most of the time and enjoy what the holidays are really all about, which is reconnecting with family.” Oh well, so I hadn’t made it more than three inches away from the nearest candy dish or Chex mix bowl since the middle of November. But I did reconnect with family between mouthfuls. Besides, it could be worse. It could always be worse.
On the spectrum of shame dictated by my bathroom scale, this year I landed just this side of the danger zone. As I waited for my number to reveal itself, my own personal metering system flashed once more in my head. What range would I fall into?
Zone 1: Whoops, looks like I need to remember that one serving of wine only half fills that big, bulbous glass.
Zone 2: No wonder I’ve been favoring those “relaxed” jeans.
Zone 3: I need to throw out this friggin’ fancy digital scale and get an old fashioned one that actually works.
Zone 4: Oh, crap, serves you right, you lazy, spineless, worthless waste of blubber filled skin.
Luckily, I ended up in between zones 1 and 2. It wasn’t a ka…chunk moment, but it wasn’t a hugging my naked self one either. Ka…chunk is the sound the real serious doctor’s office scale makes when the nurse, after sizing me up and sliding the top metal arrow all the way to the right, gives up and shoves the lower fifty-pounder over one notch. Ka…chunk! “Hmmm, so this is the woman whose husband makes homemade wine,” I feel her saying at that point. “Guess she better rethink those empty calories!”
Nope, I didn’t let myself go that far off track. My weight gain was closer to a sack of sugar than a sack of dog food or, thank goodness, one of those sacks the Blue Seal Feeds guy has to strong arm out to my car for me. So, I guess I did an OK job keeping myself balanced between sinfulness and celebration, at least enough so I won’t need to be melting off my extra truffles and treats way past ice out. That’s because, like most other disciplines of living out in the woods, not allowing myself to “work my way up in tonnage” springs just as much from frugality as it does from needing to stay hearty and healthy. Sure I want to eat right to maintain the best possible half-used-up body I can. But I’m also motivated to not bust out of my jeans and onto the next size. When I moved to the outskirts of Rangeley, Maine, you see, I cleared my closet of ka…chunk clothing. All my pleated pants and paunch pocketed shorts are now history. I’m kinda out of options, considering I have a distaste for shopping and anything mall-like that’s stronger than anything chocolate coated or rum soaked. Plus, relying on online catalog delivery out here could leave me virtually pantless till spring. So, I’m stuck without much choice but to keep moving, eat right, and stay this side of chubby. Had it been a ka…chunk year, that would have meant stretching my daily walks halfway the next county and back and leaving an extra pair of glasses in the bathroom. But this year, as long as I keep my scale and my walking boots dusted off, I figure I’ll be back to my ideal weight just in time to demand some Valentine candies.