She stared down at the scales in dismay and got dressed disappointed. She counted some grapes into a Tuppaware container for her mid-morning snack at work.
Later in the supermarket she made sure to avoid the cheese aisle. To be honest, she might as well avoid the whole supermarket. Nearly 3lb heavier today. And all she’d eaten yesterday was tuna salad and celery. And grapes. Always grapes.
“Don’t give in to triggers” said the snide little diet app. “Make new habits! Eat your colours!” Her new habit was snacking on grapes rather than chocolate but it did not seem to be making any difference.
Everyone else said what they thought she wanted to hear:
-You look gorgeous already.
-You don’t neeed to lose weight.
-Have you tried the boiled egg diet? It worked wonders for my friend.
-Fancy a slice of cheesecake? It’s reduced sugar..”
It was such hard work being on this new diet. She had been following it for five long weeks. Logging everything she ate. Cutting out all cheese, nuts, wine and chocolate. Not to mention hot buttered toast — her favourite treat.
She had wanted to lose 10lbs in 10 weeks. Ready for the wedding and that beautiful floaty dress. Ready for the beach. Bikini days. Lush sunsets. Lithe limbs. And all the other magazine fantasies she had believed. She thought losing 10lb would be a breeze.
She had been weighing herself every morning, as instructed by the patronising robot on the app. She had to buy a set of scales to do this. Previously going by how her body felt and how her clothes fitted. Normally she was weighed once a year at the hospital check-up and it was always more or less the same. Now she suddenly felt the need to be slimmer because of the wedding.
On the first week of the new regime, she lost 5lb. — Obviously water, she thought ruefully afterwards. Over the next week the weight was regained. And during the past three weeks she would occasionally shed up to 2lb overnight and feel empowered as if the slim hips and lean limbs she coveted were within reach. The next day she invariably regained the weight — sometimes, like today, a few ounces more. For no reason she could identify.
In the five weeks to date, she had lost a total of 2lb. TWO POUNDS! Two bags of grapes. What a failure.
She stood still for a moment behind her trolley and thought about her frustration. Why was she making this small challenge into a mountain? Why was she on the diet at all? Yes, she had once weighed less than now. A few years ago when the sky fell in and she was miserable.
She had also weighed more. Yet throughout her whole adult life she had remained the same overall size. In fact she still fitted comfortably into clothes from 25 years ago. She was fit. Her stomach was flatter than many people her age, in spite of childbirth and injuries along the way. Why was she letting the weighing scales control her life?
She knew she was loved. Did she think she might be loved more if there were less of her? More intense love over a smaller area? She choked on her own laughter at this concept and pushed the trolley.
Was the psycho diet plan a complete waste of time though? She passed by the bogof blueberries (automatically picking up two cartons):
“I suppose I’ve learned new things about myself and my relationship with food — plus how many grapes fit into my lunchbox! Even though I have not lost weight, I feel different — stronger somehow..”
She had to admit she was sleeping better. Feeling more alive. Reducing carbs and alcohol intake was doing her a favour. Eating more slowly and noticing the flavour and texture of food too..
The floaty dress already fitted perfectly. She’d had it a while. The wedding had been postponed twice.. “Wear a smile and your dress won’t matter” that’s what her favourite aunt told her when she was four and ripped her best dress playing in the yard.
Perhaps her perceived excess fat was how she appeared younger than her 50 years. Full cheeks, firm breasts. Few wrinkles. Could that number on the scales she kept trying to reduce be her natural ‘good’ weight.. Her happy weight?
“Hello there! You look radiant today. What’s your secret?”
She smiled at her neighbour. “Oh, that’s sweet of you. I’m just feeling happy and looking forward to the rest of the summer. Loving this sunshine too”.
Gliding down the aisle, she picked up sunscreen and a small wedge of Brie on the way to the checkout.
Her friend’s wedding was going to be wonderful.
This post is not about weight. It is about perception, self awareness and becoming real. Check out more of my stories on my blog: