The Smell of Success…or Perhaps an Abundance of Broccoli
“Can I just go into the bathroom and take off my clothes and come back out for a redo?” I asked the Tidy Tiny sporting a delicious wool cardigan and a name tag letting me know she’d lost 24 pounds and kept it off for 12 years. “I’d actually go for a naked weigh-in this week, if it got me to that elusive -30 pound mark. I’m so close.”
Unequivocally, a naked weigh-in at a Midwestern Weight Watchers meeting would rain trauma on participants and onlookers alike, it being akin in desperate nonsensicalism to naked yoga–from the “Ewww” to the “Why would you?” to the “I sooo didn’t need to see that in a public place” to the consensus of “Slap a loincloth on it already, Mavis.”
But I was feeling desperate. And, as ever, nonsensical. Fortunately, Tidy Tiny and her delicious wool cardigan sitting there at the table, ready to record my weight, were willing to play along. You see, I was .2 of a pound away from hitting the mark of 30 pounds lost. POINT TWO.
Had I not just emptied my bladder and blown my nose, I would have tried that. Had Tidy Tiny been less tidy and her sweater less delicious, I might have conscripted her into spontaneous enema duty (once you make that friend, you keep her for life!). As it was, though, I was already pretty lean, if not in body then in bodily accoutrements.
To be blunt: I already wasn’t wearing a bra or underwear, so don’t even try to suggest their removal.
Yes, yes, now you’re starting to get a whiff of the mania that accompanies the weekly weigh-in. Every week, I do a long and intense work-out before changing into my lightest clothing (leaving off all underwear) and heading to the weigh-in. Like Rocky hoping to make weight before taking on Apollo Creed, I hit my weekly meeting pumped and dehydrated, full only of The Eye of the Tiger.
If any of this strikes you as Hella Crazy, then I’d argue two things: 1) You’re very right; 2) Weight issues have not plagued you throughout your life.
So there I stood, panty free, wondering if there was any way to fool the scale into giving me the psychological win of that round number: -30. My fingernails were already short, and I’d forgotten my collapsible pair of travel scissors, or I’d have begged TT to give me a sassy weight-diminishing haircut. The fact that she was working a one-inch-long ‘do herself indicated she was well acquainted with that game.
Eventually, TT and I agreed a naked weigh-in might have far-reaching negative ramifications for the organization and for Jennifer Hudson’s ability to appear in commercials that aired before 10 p.m.; at this point, however, Tidy Tiny (or, as I’d started to think of her: My Enema Buddy) leaned towards me conspiratorially and whispered, “Take off your glasses, and let’s try again.”
Seriously, you want her for your enema buddy, too, don’t you?
Stop coveting MEB. She’s mine. We have a thing.
Happily, I jumped back on the scale–this action did NOT break it, so shut up, Meanypants. Tossing my glasses onto the table, I looked down hopefully, expectantly.
Of course, I’m not only hefty; I’m also legally blind (this is where we make a case that Byron has no choice but to love me for my mind), so I couldn’t read the four-inch-high digits that indicated my weight. “What does it say? Did we do it? Am I there?” I panted, excitedly.
“Aw, hon. Nope. It didn’t change.” Looking mischievous, MEB asked, “Is there anything else you can take off?”
“Well, there’s my wedding ring, but it’s made from string, a gum wrapper, and spit, so I don’t think that would make a difference. I’m out of luck.” I sighed for dramatic effect before proclaiming, “Heck, it gives me something to shoot for next week. I’ll get there.”
Miming the call me gesture with pinky to mouth and thumb to ear, I departed MEB and joined the meeting, already in progress. As I enjoyed a quiet chortle about the weigh-in, I sucked down a 16-ounce bottle of water in under a minute and listened to my compatriots discuss stress eating. Luckily, rehydrating kept me from raising my hand and contributing, “I don’t actually eat from stress so much; mostly, I eat because I’m freaking hungry all the time and also because there’s something about eating really good food–and eating that food with abandon–that feels as though life is being lived with gusto, and I’m nothing if not a very gusto-tory person. GET IT? ‘Gusto-tory’ is wordplay on ‘gustatory,’ so I tied it back into food there at the end! Go, Me!!!”
Next week, I might need to bring a 64-ounce bottle of water, just to assure my mouth is too busy drinking to allow for meeting participation.
Fifteen minutes later, the Weight Watchers meeting ended, and those who weren’t milling around, chatting about knee pain or purchasing boxes of highly-processed “healthy foods”–only $6.00 for four protein bars!–began flowing up the stairs and out to the parking lot. Those wearing step-counting pedometers registered another 43 steps, just shifting from chair to car.
Because I harbor a stash of childhood memories set in church basements, memories that thrum with bass notes of power inequality and unexpressed discontent, I’m relieved, at the close of each WW meeting, to exit the undercroft and plunge into the cleansing night air. (Representative childhood recollection: gangs of wild children in Sunday best having to bide their time during coffee hour–usually amusing themselves by finding pencils in abandoned Sunday School rooms and attempting to hurl graphite projectiles at the ceiling until the lead stuck–while the men sat in relaxed and leisurely fashion on folding chairs, eating baked goods and sharing hunting stories as stressed-out women slapped on forced smiles and aprons and worked the kitchen. Nearer my God to Thee, not so much)
However, that evening as I climbed the stairs, making my exodus from The Lord’s Big Rec Room, a place where women come to wash dishes while men recover, cookies in hand, from the taxing effort of washing away sin,
all promise of cleansing night air was fouled.
Ahead of me on the stairs from the basement up to the narthex was a woman in her mid-sixties. Just as her posterior reached the height of my face, a loud “BLURP” emitted from her undercroft.
My first reaction was, “Did I just make a new enema buddy?”
My second reaction was, “Is it possible she just burped loudly, and I only thought she tooted with a vigor that has it still echoing all the way down at the transept?”
My third reaction was, “I duz believz ma brainz cain’t think no mo for becuz itz clouded by fuuuummmmes.”
Oh, yea, Bubbles had ripped one, right there in the narthex. Speaking of traumatic church memories.
To her credit, Bubbles laughed and said, “Oopsie! Sorry about that. These days that happens about once an hour.”
My first reaction was, “Only once an hour? You’re an object of delicacy and grace compared to me, Bubbles.”
My second reaction was, “Then again, I don’t provide evidence of my lack of delicacy and grace right in public and in people’s faces. Remember how I didn’t go take off all my clothes for the naked weigh-in? I also don’t poot big wafts of gas into the midst of strangers, either. I might be more of a tooter than you, Bubbles, but at least I have some control.”
My third reaction relaxed and conceded,”Well, yea, we’re all human, and I’m guessing the black beans and quinoa you’ve been eating under the Simply Filling PointsPlus plan are having their natural effect. The guts will do what the guts gots to do.”
By the time we reached the parking lot, Bubbles and her companion were comparing notes on local skiing conditions, mourning the lack of opportunities this snowless year. Agreeing to head home and check the website that gives reports and reviews of ski trails around the region, the ladies bid each other good night and hopped into their cars.
My first reaction was, “Those ladies know about skinnyski.com?”
My second reaction was, “Of course they do. The great thing about cross-country skiing is that it burns off more calories than anything, and it can be done by people of all ages, all throughout their lives.”
My third reaction was, “And what a blessing it will be for all of us to have Bubbles out skiing amongst the birches, sliding her body and tooting loudly, well away from strangers’ faces.”
My final reaction that night, as I sat in my car and stuck a piece of sugarless gum into my hungry maw,
was that maybe it’s fine–just fine–that I’ve got a bit more to go on the weight loss. I’m not sure I’m ready to bid adieu to MEB and Bubbles and the group leader who punctuates her most vehement statements with a clap of the hands and the words “Holy smashes!”
Every time I go see them all, it’s like My Crazy has found a new home.