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”

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.




27 responses to “The Smell of Success…or Perhaps an Abundance of Broccoli”

  1. sweffing Avatar

    Gosh I’m impressed, thirty pounds as near as dammit. Is this purely healthy eating, not eating at all, or huge amounts of exercise? Good luck for next week’s weigh in.

  2. Logo™ Avatar

    Girl, if you’d done the enema you TOTALLY would have made it!!
    That is some impressive weight loss, wtg you.

    Also, I too have always found that churches are a great place to find crazies, be made crazy, and inflict my own craziness on others.

  3. Julie Sucha Anderson Avatar

    Congrats on the 30 pounds. So jealous. I’ve been paying for online Weight Watchers for a year. Can’t remember my password. I will have to attend the group. When I did that years ago, I lost 28 pounds. I do remember the anxiety involved with weigh in. How I’d always wait for my morning daily before I went to class.

    Perhaps when I get it together better – back to blogging and other things, I’ll be better about my health.

  4. Murr Brewster Avatar

    Did you try washing away sin? I could drop a half pound just from the waist up.

  5. MichiganME Avatar

    30 pounds!!! WooHoo, that’s inspirational! What a great post—so true, especially loved this line…”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,…”

  6. Choochoo Avatar

    Congrats! Have you been secretly bouncing around in front of aerobics vids?

  7. She Curmudgeon Avatar

    Rather than litter your blog with tons of stalker-y comments let me just say I have hooted, sniffled, and loved my way through your past few weeks’ entries, each one as well-written, charming, funny, and full of the kind of frank talk and forgiveness of our own human frailties (in the end) as the others. Thank you.

  8. Meg Avatar

    I am thoroughly impressed. Mostly at the 30 pound weight loss, but also with your tenacity in attending WW meetings. I just can’t stick it out. I, too, am an expert at strategically planned weigh-ins. It’s practically OCD with me. Only first thing in the morning, naked, after “elimination”, before even a sip of water. Any upward deviation can usually be explained by violation of one of these cardinal rules or, alas, something “salty” the previous evening; or perhaps the scale is off balance because it is sitting funny on the bathrom tile floor; or I haven’t shaved my legs in a while.

  9. lime Avatar

    30 lbs. man, if i didn’t love you so much i’d hate you a little for that. i think i found all you lost. damn shame it didn’t stay in between the couch cushions. but 30 lbs, congrats, really.

    and may i echo an amen in response to logo’s comment about church=crazy of all varieties.

  10. chlost Avatar

    I am raising my fist in celebration of your 30 pound loss. Yes! 30. That .2 means nothing!
    I am also so greatly impressed that you are doing this. I wish you lived near me and I could go with you to the meetings. I think we would get along well,and we could be each other’s enema buddies.
    A toot in the face beats a stick in the eye… my father would have said.

  11. Lil Avatar

    Wow. 30 pounds. As far as I’m concerned the 2/10ths doesn’t even count. I’m impressed as all get out. Now if only there was a brilliant way to do that from the couch.

  12. Friko Avatar

    congratulations on being nearly there and commiseration on being not quite (all) there.
    Those gusto-tory pleasures (I’m sure all the people who read your blog got it without explanation) are just too enticing, I know the hardship they cause at this time of year. I too am suffering, albeit in the privacy of my own bathroom. I never step on the scales unless I’ve peed first. And just before I step under the shower which means naked. And still the damn scales don’t work.

    I actually did a bit of a whine myself about the extra winter poundage. I will NEVER wear sweatpants, if it kills me; and I will NEVER expose my shame in public. I have, however, taken to wearing ‘reducing’ knickers, which at least distribute the bulges evenly between what was once a trim waist and my upper thighs.

    I am too old to start running and indulging in violent exercise; but if you hear of somebody collapsing into the dirt clutching a trowel, that’ll be me.

  13. Secret Agent Woman Avatar

    .2 has to be well within the standard error of measurement, so Yay! on the 30 pounds! I will dedicate the beer next to me to your accomplishment.

  14. Jenn @ Juggling Life Avatar

    You will make 30 next week for sure. I had hit 35, but I’m at 30 now–though I quit going to meetings a while ago.

    I had a different philosophy on the weigh-in–I wore the same outfit each week, but the same weight clothing (yoga pants, camisole, light hoodie) and full jewelry (watch, two bracelets, two rings and my earrings–and one bracelet is fairly heavy), so that if I ever really needed that 1/2 a pound I could get it no problem.

    Congrats on the hard work paying off!

  15. Deborah Avatar

    You are to be commended for 29.8 and so what if it takes an extra week to get there? I realize that you’d like to have WW in your rear-view mirror as soon as possible, but given the grist it gives you for the blog mill, I wouldn’t be too quick to say goodbye. Wigh-ins sound a lot like trying to ‘make weight’ for wrestlers. My daughter was just on the edge of a higher weight class when she wrestled and used to go through some horrendous machinations to drop a half-kilo, which I had some considerable trouble accepting. Visions of bulimia filled my head.
    On the way from Frankfurt on my last plane ride, my seatmate let rip a silent-but-deadly and then followed that up with a very audible belch encore. He was otherwise a considerate passenger but possibly perplexed as to why I would not communicate with him beyond the bare minimum.
    Being one of those hateful people who never had to think about weight, I am nevertheless arriving at a point where I can sympathize with you. Menopause is the ultimate leveller and I will never again think that losing even a few pounds is easy. Being as active as you are is your best ally, but what’s with being hungry all the time?? I can understand just wanting to eat for the sake of having wonderful stuff to chew, but surely feeling like you’re starving is not right?

    As always, I enjoyed the asides (‘once you make that friend, you keep her for life!’) and am pretty sure that part of what Byron loves about you is your funny bone.

  16. kmkat Avatar

    30 pounds?!!


    Good for you! My favorite line was about the highly processed “healthy” foods, $6 for 4 protein bars. Ever since H.J. Heinz (I think) bought WW, I have been skeptical of their products. Real food for real weight loss, that’s my motto. (“So how’s that workin’ for ya, Kat?” “Um, well… look, a bird!”)

  17. Green Girl in Wisconsin Avatar

    My belly hurts from laughing. And I keep replaying that scene from Bridesmaids where Megan says, “I want to apologize. I’m not even confident on which end that came out of.”
    Now, down to brass tacks. I used to date a wrestler who would spit into a cup all day and wear a sauna suit to make weight.
    I love you for your brain and your humor, though your body is probably FINE.

  18. Robin Preble Avatar
    Robin Preble

    I always love a good fart post. Nicely done.

  19. Kathryn Avatar

    I didn’t think you had 30 pounds to lose, so if you did then congrats on losing them. I’ve found them and am saving them for you.
    Now, to the important stuff. A fart in the face. What were you even thinking, letting your face follow so close to someone’s bum up the stairs? You have to admit, you’re at least 50% to blame in this situation. You like to play with fire? Well sometimes you get burned!
    Safety: First rule of stair-climbing with a crowd: maintain 18″ face-to-bum distance at all times.
    Etiquette: Expel all personal gasses before climb commences. Do squats if you have to. If you feel the urge to pass wind while climbing, quickly turn and face down the stairs (pretend to look for your friend Hortense, if necessary) releasing the gas toward the calves of the climbers ahead of you. Muffle the sound of gas expulsion with rapid hand clapping and mouth-raspberrying for the full duration of the expulsion. Pause on the stairs, still facing backwards until all gas has risen to above the tallest head level (approx 40 seconds). Extend and release rear waistband of your pants in order to facilitate rapid clear-out of fabric-clinging residues. When noise and gas are all safely finished, resume stair climb.
    All of this is pure common sense, but obviously you and your fellow pound shuckers missed this lesson somewhere along the line. Feel free to print and post this comment in a prominent place at your WW meeting place. Lives will be saved!

  20. Julie Ryan Avatar
    Julie Ryan

    Joce, you crack me up. I’ve always thought of a fart as tiny molecules of poop floating about. In the face – ouch.

    What’s cool about WW is that even though you may have little in common with the others in the room, the social pressure of being accountable to other real people becomes a motivating factor. We hear their voices telling some story as we consider our next food move. Congrats — think how good it will feel when spring comes to Duluth!

  21. Pearl Avatar


    There must be a WW’s badge — or perhaps beads? — that you should receive and sew to an article of clothing after being farted at.

    Smiling and shaking my head,


  22. Mother Theresa Avatar

    Well, there you have it, that woman’s flabby woof-woof is proof that global warming exists! No matter how much weight you lose, you have to keep going to those meetings. That’s pure blog fodder gold!

  23. Julie Sucha Anderson Avatar

    Hey, out of context, but did you see the Northern LIghts tonight? Just saw a clip of them visible in Duluth tonight, due to the solar storm. So hoping you were outside. I recall seeing them one night while visiting my folks in Green Bay. Most incredible thing I’ve ever seen.

  24. Friko Avatar

    Hi, I hope you still get thin?

    What is “jonesing” for something?

    1. Friko Avatar

      this, this, this! Nothing to do with this post, just a typo!

    2. Jocelyn Avatar

      Yes, I am still working at getting thin (currently -33.6 lbs down); thanks for checking in!

      “Jonesing” is a phrase that, I believe, first came out of drug culture (specifically heroin) in the 1960s/70s (I’m kind of making this up, but I think that’s its origin). When someone needed a “fix,” he or she would be “jonesing” for the drug. Nowadays, it is often used to mean a feeling of deep, pulsing need.

  25. Hilary Avatar

    You’re a hoot.. not to be confused with “toot”.. we have Bubbles for that.

    Congrats on reaching (just about) 30 pounds of weight loss. That’s not an easy accomplishment. I know because that’s about what I need to drop. Good for you. 🙂

    Thanks for your recent visit to my blog. Always nice to see a new face.

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