Using both hands, I slide the bathroom scale away from the wall. It is flat, silver-rimmed, angelic, as if no unpleasant news could ever emerge from its opaque surface.
After first resting my palms against the wall to steady myself, I step on the scale. I close my eyes, count to five, and then open to read the digital numbers.
, I say aloud, although no one is in earshot to hear me.
There was a time when that number would have distressed me. It would've sent me rushing to search for a solution that would've lassoed that number and dragged it downward to a desired 100. But now, at age 77, after nearly a lifetime of obsession with my weight, I no longer seek a fix.
One-Oh-Six isn't horrible
, I tell myself.
I'm only four-foot-nine-inches tall, and those 106 pounds appear to be collecting - as if they were a family reunion of ten generations -- at my waistline. And, in a full-length mirror, my image seems to resemble a water tower. (Instead of H20, my short cylinder is filled with salt, oil, and beef from the Asian dinner the night before. Those were the nasty ingredients that shot my weight up to its current altitude.)
I'm truly grateful that other things have replaced my former weight obsession, including technology. So, if I did a Google search to find a Weight Watchers meeting near my zip code -- just in case -- that'd make sense, wouldn't it? It's the hunt driving me, after all, not the long-erased addiction.
In my morning journal, I record the page number, time, and my weight. I'm a list maker, you see, a writer who appreciates details. With this daily practice, I am able to go back to journals of many years ago and review the events that demanded memorializing. (In November of 2012, 99.)
I drink my black coffee as I write, and after 30 minutes, it's time for breakfast: a quarter cup of orange juice, a half cup of blueberries, one dried prune, four slices of banana, one tablespoon of plain yogurt. This is followed by one-third of a bagel, one teaspoon of original cream cheese, one slice of lox. It feels good being able to eat whatever I want, and to no longer be concerned about the scale.
I'm amused when I think back to the time when my weight mattered to me, unlike this present day. Grade school. Mother.
You don't need that
, she says as she swats my hand from the apple strudel cooling on the stove.
I can't remember, did she then take me to the diet doctor, or was I already in high school when those visits occurred. After weighing in, a nurse would hand out pills for morning, noon, and night, and then schedule the next appointment.
Weight Watchers opened in Chicago in the '70s, and my two daughters would sometimes accompany me to weekly meetings. Is this true, or am I imagining it: did one of them announce to the leader, after I stepped off the scale and was told I had gained instead of lost:
Mommy ate a candy bar
My first husband was tall and skinny. I was short and pudgy. (120) Although he and my mother differed on many things, they bonded about my body. Using his nickname for me, he once joked to our daughters as I reached for a slice of cake,
Mother loves her sweets
. We all laughed.
My second husband was short and wiry. A runner and an athlete -- he played softball, ran half marathons, and worked out at the Lakeview YMCA three times a week for 40 years (he was featured in their newsletter). We both became vegetarians; I dropped out after a few months, but Tommy continued the practice until his deathbed. (Now that I think about it, he could've been slightly anorexic in his obsession.) I can't remember him ever mentioning my weight, which I think was around 102 during our marriage and fell to 99 during his hospice.
I know that tomorrow when I step on the scale, the number will likely be One-Oh-Four. And my smart, snickering scale will confirm the two-pound loss. Although I haven't let the One-Oh-Six bother me, I'm certain I will do what any other rational, self-confident woman will do and simply avoid salty dishes, select fish for a main course, and substitute a half cup of applesauce for the same amount of low calorie frozen yogurt.
It's wonderful to be in my seventh decade, content with my self-image, and not the least bit obsessed with my weight.