The digital display of my brand-new scale rolls through the numbers until it settles on 198.6. Really? The same number as last week? But I worked so hard!
I thought about all the mornings I'd gotten up to slip in an extra 15-minute yoga workout; the morning Zumba and water aerobics classes at the YMCA; afternoons spent having wild "dance parties" with my 2-1/2-year-old son, or putting him in the stroller and walking 3 miles round trip to the grocery store or post office.
I thought about the morning shakes: chia seeds, protein powder and berries. I thought of all the lean meats, fiber-filled starchy carbs (like lentils and sweet potatoes), the non-starchy veggies (like broccoli, peppers and spinach); and healthy fats (like tree nuts, avocado and olive oil).
I thought of all the things I hadn't eaten: sugars and sweeteners; gluten; corn; eggs; peanuts; soy; and dairy. I thought of the processed foods I'd left on the grocery stores and the half a slice of chocolate cake my husband brought back from an office dinner and put in the freezer for me when I told him I couldn't eat it.
There was no way that my number was the same as last week, especially when almost all my measurements had gone down. My pants were getting so loose that even a belt couldn't keep me from walking on them. I'd danced right out of my loose exercise bra in my Zumba class, for heaven's sake!
Maybe if I moved the scale to a different part of the floor, it would show my true results. I moved it to a wobbly place where my old scale had always registered as much as a pound difference. The scale blinked thoughtfully and showed me: 198.6.
I know! It was probably because of my full bladder (even though I customarily pee before weighing myself). So I made an effort to squeeze any remaining liquid out of my system and tried again. The scale would not relent: 198.6.
You know, I was feeling a little -- how can I put this delicately -- backed up, so maybe I'd just go downstairs, drink a cup (or two) of coffee, and let nature get the digestive system moving. Then, I'd try again, and surely, that would show me the number I deserved to see. But sadly, this too could not convince the scale to budge. Sure, initially, it showed 198.0, but then when I moved it to yet another spot in the floor, it returned to its original assessment: 198.6.
You've got to be kidding me.
A longtime watcher of "The Biggest Loser," I was familiar with such nonsensical scale results. I'd watched contestants sweet and pant and work, only to find that their big losses of the first week were followed by either moderate or downright pathetic results the second and third weeks.
In my case, I'd lost an amazing 8 pounds the first week, following the Virgin Diet, created by nutritionist J.J. Virgin. Her plan, which operates on the principle of identifying problem foods that may be getting in the way of weight loss, is essentially an elimination diet, used for years by doctors to spot food tolerance problems. In addition, she adds recommendations for foods that can heal the digestive system while also being tasty and satisfying, as well as other tips on portion sizes, meal times and water consumption. As someone who's been struggling to lose the 50+ pounds I gained when pregnant with my little Kung Fu Panda -- now 2 1/2 -- I was thrilled to see such dramatic results. Last week, my second week on the plan, I'd lost a more modest 1 pound. But today's standstill in terms of weight-loss progress was not making me happy.
Well, I told myself, I might as well accept the results and concentrate on moving forward. As I put my clothes back on, I thought about all the positive reviews I'd read of this scale, which was the reason I'd bought it. Reviewers had raved about its consistency, its accuracy.
But then I remembered: one reviewer said that her scale never zeroed out properly on the first reading and was as much as 4 pounds high. On the second and subsequent weighings, she'd called it remarkably accurate. Well, I'd better try it one more time, just in case.
For those who aren't familiar with the saying, I was basing this piece on the adage that "the definition of insanity is to repeat the same actions, expecting different results." And don't we all?