Ed Levine's Serious Diet, Week 16: The Tale of the Scale

20080502-scale.jpgI have a love-hate relationship with my scale. Check that. Actually, I have a hate-hate relationship with it. Every diet book and diet plan addresses the role the scale should or does play in your life as a dieter. At Weight Watchers, each member weighs in once a week. Other diet plans say don't worry about the scale, measure your progress in inches with a tailor's tape measure or by repeatedly trying on an article of clothing.

The point is that whatever role we assign to our scale, it looms large in a dieter's life. We want it to be our friend, to be the bearer of good news. I also use my scale (right), a sleek, trim black number with an actual name, Thinner, as a governor. If I have a bad diet day or two, I climb on Thinner to acknowledge the adverse effect those bad days are having on my diet. If Thinner tells me I've gained a pound or two I can then redouble my efforts to lose weight in the ensuing days.

But sometimes, when I've gone off the deep (or should I say "heavy") end, I can't screw up the courage to get on the scale. That's when my relationship with Thinner gets particularly complicated--or freighted, to use a bad pun.

Scale Avoidance

Saturday I went to a party where Mary Pat Walsh, a first-class cook and film producer whose food I had heard about but never tried, put out a particularly delicious spread: pieces of moist, succulent chicken with beautiful burnished brown skin, the first local asparagus of the season, a fregola salad, and here's the killer, oatmeal-raisin cookies and chocolate cookies that she served warm.

I don't know about you, but I find warm cookies of any kind impossible to resist. Mary Pat sent around platter after platter of these absolutely wonderful cookies that called out for an ice-cold milk chaser (I resisted). I had one of each kind (they were small, about the size of a raised silver dollar), but I knew right then and there that I was not going to be able to bring myself to get on Thinner on Sunday.

Sunday I decided to conduct my breakfast sandwich taste test, and that spooked me into not getting on the scale on Monday.

Monday I actually had two business lunch dates, and I decided to conduct a brownie taste test in the office (results to follow), so I avoided Thinner like the plague on Tuesday.

Tuesday I played squash (actually I also played Thursday), and my heart rate monitor indicated that I burned 500 calories chasing that little black ball.

Wednesday I had a business lunch at Del Posto, which was stupendous (have the spinach pasta with Bolognese sauce and the gnocchi), so a visit to the scale was out of the question on Thursday.

Yesterday I went to a new French restaurant in New York I was curious about for any number of reasons. I had the vegetables en cocotte as an appetizer and the roast chicken for my main course. I'm sure a more disciplined serious eater would have removed the chicken's crisp skin, but there was no way I was not going to eat the best part of what was otherwise an ordinary bird with dry white meat. I'm going to be writing about this restaurant, so I had to have at least one dessert. I shared a tarte tatin that was accompanied by a moat of crème fraîche.


Facing the Music

That meal takes us to this morning, when I have no excuses, when I have to face the serious eaters and Thinner. C'mon, my sleek black machine, be my friend. Don't make me have to knock you around my bathroom floor. If you give me good news, Thinner, I promise never to talk trash or get physical with you again.

I remained even for the week. My Thinner avoidance didn't end up costing me. I'll let you live, Thinner. Just don't get smart with me, or I might have to replace you with a doctor's scale.

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