It’s a 12 inch metallic square sitting innocuously under the bathroom cupboard and it rules my life.
Welcome to WWW or the Weight Watchers World, where the day begins with the customary weighing in—not to compete in wrestling matches a la Dangal heroines, but to keep track of the overindulgences of the night before!
The digital scale offers no scope of error or personalized adjustments like you made on the old-fashioned, round weighing machine (‘It’s not quite on the 90 mark is it?’).
No, the smug digital contraption simply tells it like it is.
So you ate that Gozo homemade ice cream, (you finished the carton, didn’t you?), you then ate the Haldiram chiwda and added a cheese slice for good measure—how will the hapless scale show a reduced value pray?
The excuses your mind conjures up in seconds on seeing the implacable verdict are indeed praise-worthy in their intent, scale and ingenuity. You didn’t drink enough water the previous day—so water retention. You didn’t sleep the requisite 8 hours—so sleep deprivation (of course if you had slept the full 8, the scale would be much less!). You stood on the monstrous machine just after your morning tea and ablutions, you should have waited another hour and it would then surely have reflected a smaller number—so wrong timing.
And when all the excuses exhaust themselves—and after all when you’re 90 plus kg how much would a cup of tea and a glass of water add to your substantial setting—the recriminations and resolutions begin.
I will sleep early tonight, I won’t binge watch OTT shows, I’ll leave the phone in another room so I don’t scroll status updates past 2 am—with one masterly stroke I will eliminate all binge eating too and tomorrow the scale will applaud my discipline.
It’s the stress of coping with Covid, this comfort eating and surely one is allowed to self soothe—oops, another excuse creeps into the impressive regimen you’re making for yourself.
Except that you’ve made it a hundred times in the past.
Dieticians could probably use you as a consultant since you’ve tried every diet known to man since the start of the Universe.
They might not use your picture—doubling up as both the Before and After one—coz that might not be good for business but your experienced feedback definitely will. Perhaps they could also cut you a small portion of the Queen’s ransom they charge as consultancy and diet chart follow-up fees.
Celebrity ones who’ve written books and have Bollywood superstars as clients would be out of your range of course but even the free gyandished out by them on their Insta handles is out of your reach—avocado on toast, blueberry and kale smoothies, jaggery and cinnamon sprinkled granola and such-like. And all meals prepared half hour before you eat them.
You begin to loathe not just the dieticians and their fancier namesakes–the nutritionists, the wellness experts, the holistic healers—you also get irritated at the images they use to depict wholesome healthy bodies. Usually leotard wearing or form fitting tracks and tees, the models probably don’t eat anything but lettuce all day and yet you have to believe it’s their ‘balanced’ diet and exercise that gets them looking the way they do.
It’s quite another matter that you are firmly convinced that such slim (and tall, and willowy, usually with long flowing tresses) creatures have it easy in life for everything—looks, love, careers, admiration, popularity. A kind of slim-figure-solves-all envy.
While you yo-yo between undoable diets and binge-eating, weight loss targets and subsequent inevitable slumps, with your scale doling out its daily drama of hope and despair. It is after all the most consistent element in your life—and has been for decades—an extra half kilo on either side determines which way your day will go.
In this battle of the bulge, as elusive and hard-won as the search for true love, there’s a slow-motion film that plays in your mind on a loop where you are wearing size 28 Levi’s and stilettos (instead of the flat sandals that usually support your generous frame), your hair billowing in the wind, running towards your aspirational suitor, who is successful, rich, funny and also thin!
When you do return to reality, what you ought to do instead is try to make friends with your excess kilos, if not with good grace then at least without the voice of continuous body-shaming and guilt ringing inyour ears each time you eat an ice-cream.
A kind of de-colonizing of your mind, purging it of the constant self-derision and fat-person jokes, and writing your own version of a happy ending.
One that doesn’t involve you tipping the scales at 55 kg!
Meet the Writer: Minnie Vaid
Minnie Vaid wears many hats—a journalist, documentary film maker, television professional and author. She is passionate about fighting against injustice via her films and books, is happiest while shooting with villagers in rural India and loves Shahrukh Khan–perhaps in precisely that order!