Sunday, April 25, 2010

Scaled Down

I had to go to a few doctor appointments lately. Besides the time involved, the eye-crossing impossibility of fitting something in a schedule already stretched tight, there was one other problem: the weigh in.

How can I express how very much I hate to be weighed at a doctor's office? Or, let's be plain about this, how much I hate to be weighed at all?

Scales and I go way back, to when I first got my weight problem at age fifteen. That's when I first began perfecting my scale shenanigans. The first thing I did was I always adjusted the scale at home to be a few pounds under zero. I don't remember exactly why I started doing this but I do remember that there was  some complicated math involved which took into account the times that scale had been wrong before and the difference between a hard surface weigh-in or a carpet weigh-in. In other words, just like forty is the new thirty, in my house, negative three was the new zero.

Then there was the weigh-in itself. Naked from my shower, and on twinkle toes, I approached the scale with extreme caution, like maybe it was a grenade. Near-sighted, I would get close to it to inspect for the proper negative three setting. Then, all being in order, I would flutter up onto it, first one foot and then the other, looking down - nearly blind - and ready to make a quick getaway once I saw even a glimmering of an acceptable number, even if the scale was on its way to a different one. Then I fluttered off.

I didn't have a love/hate relationship with the scale, it was pure hate/hate.

Finally, my husband put an end to my agony. One time, during a garage sale, he snuck our scale outside and sold it. Now I only get weighed at doctors' offices, whether it's once every six months or twice in one week.

So how do I prepare for a doctor appointment? Do I carefully gather all my questions about my illness? Do I gather all my available medical records and x-rays?

No, I stand in my closet and I carefully examine my wardrobe to see what I can wear that is the lightest weight. I mull over whether it would look weird to wear cotton shorts in the winter? Do I own any gauze? Can I wear a negligee? I consider it quite a milestone that I'm willing to wear clothes at all. In the elevator going up to the doctor's office I surreptitiously slip off my watch and wedding rings. My poor doctor thinks I've been divorced for years.

At the scale, the same thing always happens. The heartless nurse marches me over to the thing like a prisoner. She seems surprised by the delay as I slip off my shoes. Does she actually expect me to accept a hit of a pound or two for shoes? Then, while I literally stop breathing, she starts playing with the weights, a little up, a little down, sliding here and there. Finally it stops. I look. It's okay. Still, next time I'm closing my eyes. 

What kind of games do you play with your scale? Are you the type who hops on and off ten times a day or not at all? Do you hate being weighed at a doctor's office? Do you ever try to wear lightweight clothing?


  1. I get on, I get off.i scoot it to the left, to the right..closer to the door..turn it around.
    I try to get the same read in three different spaces..then it's my official weight.
    I do this if it's high or low.
    For years I didn't weigh myself at all.
    Which is how I got to 262.4 lbs in the first place.
    The scale is my friend, and my enemy.
    these days it's mostly a friend.

  2. I've stopped looking. The number takes on too much significance for me. It distracts me from focusing on how I'm feeling, how my clothes are fitting, whether I know I'm exercising enough for my body and mind's well-being. But I used to leave all the heavy stuff on. Because then I could blame the number on my shoes. And my jewelry and my purse and my ...

  3. Chris, the scale that I used to play all those games with was a really heavy one - it was quite a workout schlepping it all over the house! I used to get vastly different readings but then again, I wasn't quite standing on it all the way!

  4. Stacia, I can't even imagine a world in which I would be weighed with my purse! (You've seen that luggage I call a purse, right?!) But, to blame everything on it... Hmmm

    My husband one time got weighed with shoes, key chains, his camera, all these tools he carries for our store - unbelievable! Then he was complaining about the weight.

  5. This post made me smile! I have plenty of scale shennanigans myself!

    I don't own one anymore, but I hate the one at the doctor's office. I remove shoes and set down my purse ALWAYS and if there's a coat on, that goes, too.

    I love the mental image of you, wrapped in gauze, arriving at the doctor! Humor aside, I hope all is well with you.

  6. Of course I hate it! I always way more there. And I am the same way, trying to wear lighter clothes and rushing to get my shoes off. At home I weigh every morning, post-pee and with after taking off my night shirt. (Undies stay on.) I could not imagine going without a scale at home.

  7. I love this post. I absolutely have all the same thoughts. Here is my quirk. I get on the scale backwards and tell her not to tell me the number and sometimes, I just plain refuse to get on it. I am certain it pisses off the nurse but being that I too am a nurse , I let it go. I do hate this quirk that I have. I keep hoping it will go away as I get older....but no such luck yet. Great post!

  8. This is such a brave and honest post about a subject that almost all us women struggle to deal with. Your description of your weigh ins as a teenager reminds me so much of my own shenanigans. One of the things I really want to try and make sure of with my daughter is that she grows up with a healthy attitude to food and weight, no easy task in this image obsessed world of ours.

  9. We do all struggle with this. Some of us more than others. Only in recent years have I learned to judge more by the fit of clothes and how I feel than anything I might see on the scale.

    But I still hate that weigh-in at the doctor's office. Everything that can come off, does. But what I loathe even more? When they check my height, to see if I'm shrinking...

  10. I've been committed to getting my weight and health under control for three weeks now. Using the Body for Life method, I'm trying really hard to do the right thing and not expect miracles. Small victories. A bit here, a bit there and I should be good with that. That should be enough to keep me motivated. My scales (both of them and the ones at the gym) haven't gotten the memo.

    I get on naked. Get off. Pee. Get back on. Wait a couple of hours. Get on again. Sometimes there is cursing involved because I am to my chagrin expecting miracles.

    Thank you for your fun post.

  11. Hilarious post (as always). Don't hate me for saying this, but I never had a weight problem, so I just didn't have any relationship with a scale. Then when my migraines got bad about four years ago I got too thin (yeah, your heart bleeds). Well, then I moved in with my mom and she put that weight back on in *no time.* So, then I weighed more than I ever have in my WHOLE LIFE. Now, I am *not happy* about said weight and I still have migraines. However, my migraines are getting worse and my weight is dropping again. There is a direct corrolation. It is hard to eat when you feel really nauseated. So, I am probably back to my same old weight or thereabouts. I have a doctor appt Thursday. I have no doubt that they will weigh me. Now, I am totally rethinking what to wear...

  12. I'm a Weight Watchers drop-out with 30 pounds still to go, but I used to only go to morning meetings, after peeing, no water.

  13. I hate the scale too, but not as much as when I was pregnant...and REALLY liked ice cream.

    After the weight came off, I felt slightly better about it, but I still have my ritual about getting weighed, whether at home or at the doctor's office..

    All kidding aside, hope that the doctor's appointments are routine and everything is okay...

  14. ahhh yes... when I was going to Weight Watchers, I had a "weigh in outfit". It was the lightest outfit I owned- some really flimsy, thin, workout pants and a cotton tshirt- and I wore it summer or winter. I also removed all jewelry and took one last stop at the bathroom on the way into the meeting to pee- any little bit of water in my bladder might mess up my number. I am aware it is neurotic and so glad to read that others share in my neurosis.

  15. I always weigh in naked. But never after a shower! I figure the extra weight of water in my hair will add pounds. I also won't weigh myself after eating breakfast, only first thing in the morning BEFORE the shower. I want to give myself the lightest chances I got.

    I actually only weigh myself every other month or so when I think about it. Although lately I've been trying to cut back on the snacking so I check in once a week to see if it is doing any good (5 pounds so far!)

  16. I never weigh myself. I stand backwards if I have to and tell them never to tell me!!!!

    I so don't want to know. Nothing good comes from knowing.

  17. I haven't owned a scale for years. I don't really think about my weight unless I'm pregnant. And, even then, it is determine I am not losing too much weight in the beginning.

    Still, I am considering buying one. This means that I probably won't do that for 10 more years. I am lazy, what can I say?

  18. I like what BLW says about clothes fitting. Right now, I'm not doing so well on that front. Things are feeling tight in places they never have before. Ew. Here's hoping you got through the weigh-ins and the appointments with success!

  19. Ew. The scale. Ew. Ew. Ew.
    I have one. I go through phases. I avoid it when I'm in a stagnant phase. Like, oh...the last year or TWO.
    I just want the LAST TEN POUNDS GONE DAMMIT.
    Damn the scale and the clothes that JUST WON'T FIT RIGHT.

  20. Don't own scales AT ALL! Never have. Just one little bit of advice on the dr's visit, though. Have them take your blood pressure before you get on the scales. Learned that when pregnant with the twins.

  21. I have to chuckle at your debating what to wear to get weighed at the doctor's office. It is exactly what I go through every week in preparing for my Weight Watcher's weigh-in. Which pants are the lightest, or perhaps this skirt weighs less. Don't tell anyone but I have been known to weigh my clothing! I never wear jeans or any pants weighing over 10 ounces, and the top has to be very light and gauzy, or I wear a tank top, covered by a sweater which I naturally remove before getting weighed and hope no one is looking at my flabby arms! Oh, what we go through for the sake of a few ounces!