Why am I divorcing my scale

When my husband and I packed our car for a winter road trip from Baltimore to Florida, we took clothes, medicine, a Keurig, a set of dog steps and electric dental floss – but left the scales to the House.

I was fed up with his cold, calculated decrees. I’m not sure what I ever saw there – I should have left it at Bed, Bath, and Beyond. He has no empathy. Not once did he leave me a note saying “a long way to go” or “you’re a good person anyway.”

It wasn’t the first time I had tried to create distance between us. A few years ago I moved it out of my bathroom and into the dressing room at the other end of the house. I was hoping for “out of sight out of mind”.

In vain.

The move didn’t deter me from shamelessly ripping off my nightgown and checking my morning weight daily. Every time it flashed a low number, (relatively speaking), I swelled with pride. But, if I had gained about a pound, thanks to the fried calamari and sauvignon blanc the night before, I would lower my head in humiliation.

I wasn’t sure I was ready for a final separation, but I was definitely up for a trial.

After the first few weeks without these daily weigh-ins, I felt liberated. I stopped toggling between “on” or “off” my diet. Instead, I started listening to my body. I ate when I was hungry and chose what I wanted. One morning I even ordered blueberry pancakes for breakfast. I lost my desire for nocturnal frenzy. It turned out that deprivation was the most fattening aspect of my diet.

I also walked – three to five miles a day. And, not for punishment, but because I enjoyed it.

Everything was sublime, the breakup was working – until the day we went house hunting in Delray Beach.

Our real estate agent had offered us to preview an apartment with a breathtaking view of the intercostal. It was lovely. From the balcony, I could watch the sailboats maneuver with the wind. The living-dining room combination, as the agent pointed out, “was big enough to spread out a dining room table for holiday dinners.” There was a large kitchen and the worktops had been replaced with slate.

And then she showed us the main bathroom. That’s where, out of the corner of my eye, I spotted him. Tucked into a corner next to the bidet, it was identical to the one I had left at home. The kind that you have to climb twice: the first time it displays zeros, the second time your weight.

I lost interest in intercoastal, family dinners and upgraded counters. The only thing that mattered to me was the scale. As my husband and the realtor gathered in the living room to look at the models, I excused myself and went straight back to that bathroom. For a moment, I considered taking off my chunky-soled tennis shoes, leggings, top, earrings, watch, and bracelet, but time was running out. I took another peek around me to make sure the coast was clear and stepped on it – twice.

I weighed three pounds less than when we left home. And I thought I might subtract three more for clothes.

Six books. It was too good to be true.

I went back into the living room and said to our agent, “Would you mind going to the bathroom and weighing yourself? I need to know if the scale is accurate.

She gave me a “you must be kidding” before answering “No”.

Back in our car, I wondered, what’s wrong with me? Had I really asked the agent, someone I barely knew, to weigh himself – and on someone else’s scale? I was mortified.

Then a funny thing happened. During the last weeks of our trip, because I thought I had lost six pounds, I was more proud of my appearance. I left my hair curly. I do my makeup – even if we were just going to a neighborhood restaurant. I wore fitted tops rather than oversized puffy blouses.

Yesterday we came home. Before unpacking my suitcase, checking the mail or calling my kids, I ran to the scale.

I held my breath and gently put my bare feet on its base.

I had neither lost nor gained an ounce.

The Delray Beach scale was off – maybe it hadn’t been calibrated.

For a moment, I was distraught.

Then I thought of the freedom I had experienced without those daily weigh-ins. Even though I hadn’t lost any weight, I felt good about myself.

I’m better off without the scale than with it. I will no longer assess my self-worth based on a silly number. I refuse to continue giving power to an inanimate object.

The trial separation is complete.

I’m filing for divorce – with liberal visitation.

Laura Black (www.laurablack.net) is a lawyer, businesswoman, author, and speaker who focuses on the challenges of middle-aged and older women with humor and affirmation.

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