Shameless Woman

Pursuing an integrated life of sensuality, health, healing and rejuvenation

My Master, My Scale

My separation from the scale lasted exactly ten years

It beckons me from across the room. “Come to me now! No excuses. Get naked if you must, but it won't really matter. Just come.”

I don't want to. I hate weighing myself. I hate my scale. My relationship with my scale has never been a good one. It is my demonic Dom. We have played a game of non-consensual S/M for as long as I can remember. There is no negotiation and there are no safe words. And what's worse, I never know what it ‘s going to tell me as the numbers light up its sneering digital face. There is absolutely no way to prepare myself for each encounter.

For years, I simply stopped weighing myself.  Even though everyone told me that if I wanted to be a successful dieter or, even more important, a successful weight maintainer, I would have to make friends with the scale. If I wanted to lose weight, my counselors advised, I would have to ‘weigh in’ once a week. If I was on a maintenance plan, I’d have to engage every other day. There are different weigh in strategies depending on which circle of weight control hell you’re in.

The experts and my mother didn't really understand what my scale could do to me. Oh sure, if I was “good” and the numbers dropped or held (depending on my goal of the moment) I would feel fabulous. There might even be dancing or a ritual weight loss meal that included a forbidden treat to celebrate the moment! After all, I earned it.

But if the satanic beast’s glowing numbers went up, I came unglued. There wasn't enough mood disorder medication in the world to stop my self loathing. I had to flee that toxic relationship. I couldn't take the ups and downs. The scale was unrepentantly abusive.

Oh sure, lots of people encouraged me to stay in the relationship. They advised counseling, and group therapy like Weight Watchers where I could weigh in with the knowledge that I’d  be safe. There would be support and strategies for coping with the constant fluctuations that were the barometer of my life. But I knew better. 

My separation from the scale lasted exactly ten years. That decade of freedom allowed me to heal many of my issues around body image and my relationship with food. I was into size acceptance, eating intuitively, and plus sizes. I was the living incarnation of a chubby, chic, sex goddess. I labeled myself “Curvy” and I even wrote a book about my transformation and sexual awakening that was in part due to ditching the diet and dumping the scale. It all worked for me. It even launched me on a new career path--author, life coach, sexuality and weight  provocateur/blogger. I thought I had beaten the scale. But no one never ever beats “the Dom.”

In the midst of my self acceptance bliss, an unexpected health crisis forced me back onto the scale in a doctor's office. I turned my back and refused to to look. The doctor coughed politely, mumbled the dread the number and adamantly proclaimed I’d have to lose weight and make peace with the beast if I didn’t want to keel over.

Good luck with that. Dieting never worked for me. It hardly works for anybody. America is fat and getting fatter. Even my doctor was fat. It was obvious he wasn’t on speaking terms with the scale either. But I had no choice.  I had to buck up. So I did what any self-realized expert on woman's issues would do: I called my agent and turned myself into my next project.

That’s how ReCharge (or How I Saved My Big Sexy Fat Ass) was born.

I am just back from a traditional fat farm, called Hilton Head Health (H3 to the cognoscenti) where the scale was so big it could have weighed a side of beef instead of dainty me. It was my third go at weight loss, the most conventional among them. I actually understood the calorie-conscious identifiable meals as opposed to the viscous green “energy soup” at the raw food n’ colonic retreat. 

By the time I got to H3, I had lost 20 pounds over six months. My heath was improving. And, slowly, I am getting desensitized to the scale. It still gives me the heebie-jeebies, though. When I arrived at Hilton Head, the first thing the counselors did, naturally, was weigh and measure me. I couldn’t believe the childlike joy I felt when that damn Dom admitted I hadn’t put on an ounce since my close encounter with the uncooked.

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There are few things in life more satisfying than a positive weigh-in. Some would say it’s better than sex. And it sucked me right back into relationship. 

The scale and I were intimate again, at least for the moment. I did my happy weight dance. I called my mother to share the news. And from there I spent five days on a 1200 calorie diet and exercised almost four hours a day in my sweaty desire to please the scale. Zumba was involved. 

Every morning I got up before anyone else and had alone time with the scale. And every morning it said the same thing. The scale refused to budge. I dropped inches but not a single pound.

The fabulous H3 weight loss coaches urged me to hold on. The pounds would drop. And I knew they were right.  Five days just wasn't long enough. But still, I was pissed at the scale. Why was it being so mean? I came back, didn’t I?  I was playing according its rules, wasn’t I?  I even sacrificed dessert during ‘Gourmet Night’ at the fat farm! Unheard of! My fellow fatties closed in, ready to kill for that cheesecake sliver. I stuck with the diuretic tea and let them have at it. 

On my last morning, just before the taxi came to take me to the airport, I did a predawn power walk back to the main house where the scale was enshrined. I punched in the code and slipped in. The lights were on and no one was around. Perfect. I made my way to the weigh-in room, sure that today the scale would finally give it up. One lousy pound. I wanted to step on the beast. Oh god, I was hooked. I wanted it. I got to the weigh in room and grabbed the doorknob. It wouldn’t turn. I jiggled and shook it. Locked!  I wanted to kick the door. As I stomped away I could swear I heard cackling from the other side. That damn scale. So smug. Well, we’ll see who has the last laugh. I’ll be back.

Pamela Madsen is a fertility/sex educator, blogger, author of Shameless and founder of The American Fertility Association.

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