See No Evil

Weight Watch

Image by Gino Carteciano via Flickr

The new year is here and it’s already great.

I knew it would be great when I overslept (thanks to an iPhone alarm glitch). Stumbling out of bed in the dark, I rushed to the shower and almost immediately struck my foot on an immoveable object—the bathroom scale. Like a scene out of a Hitchcock movie (for you Gen Xers he made really really scary movies in our day), the scale sprang to life and immediately flashed “00,” seemingly beckoning, taunting or just plain daring me to step on board.

I backed away. Maybe it was the too many smoked hams, dressing to die for, pies that made me weep with pleasure and, of course, egg nog to wash it all down that gave me pause. At the same time I swear I heard one of my old professors whispering in my ear, “The numbers don’t lie.” What happened to the good old days when you just got in the bathtub and saw how much water you displaced?

“No sir, not today,” I chanted to no one in particular. But it got me thinking. If I never stepped on the scale, or any scale for that matter, how would I know how much I weighed? I could guess by how well my clothes fit, but that could take a while before seeing a change. Perhaps seeing the waistband button explode and ricochet off the dressing mirror might be a clue. But I’d probably just fault the Chinese tailor that sewed the button on too loose to begin with for causing that calamity.

While watching an episode of “The Biggest Loser,” I cringed when couples stood on the giant scales together, exposing their personal and combined weights for the world to see. But it did make me wonder: when did they know they were growing beyond normal? Now it turns out the Center for Disease Control (is there nothing they won’t measure?) estimates that only 22% of us weigh daily or at least every other day. They also suggest only 15% of us track our daily calorie intake. Experts suggest if we did both of these things we would at least be aware and could take action about our weight before we burst our buttons.

If it’s true the numbers don’t lie, then the very least I could do would be to step on the scales everyday and commit to take action when the numbers creep up. I can’t use the holidays as an excuse forever. It could be empowering actually; many things will happen in 2011 that are out of my control, but knowing my daily weight and committing to bring it in line when it begins to creep upward may be just the resolution I can keep.

At least until next year.

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About Steve P. Sanders

A general internist writing and sharing ideas and art.

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