Going old school with bathroom scales

Remember those doctor’s scales where you couldn’t cheat on your body weight? Those annoying weights, a big one and little one, slid along the bar until the tip dropped, then you had to edge them back until the tip floated in space in the middle of a metal square.

I had one of those a few years ago but gave it away as during a psychotic episode caused by moving my household belongings into storage. I’ve been stuck with electronic bathroom scales ever since, and I hate them for their unreliability. Last month, I fasted for seven days. The scales told me I’d lost 10 pounds, but I felt no difference in my pant comfort. A 10-lb weight loss should mean I’ve dropped a size. Weird.

I knew something was wrong. I threw out those electronic scales and the three other dysfunctional ones I’d stacked in the closet. I went in search of doctor’s scales. I found one online for a reasonable $50. The iron in these things is worth at least that.


They were a little more rustic than I expected. The woman said they had belonged to her elderly father who, I gather, had passed away.

I had to put them together. There were two harp-shaped pieces underneath the foot plate. There are various hooks and loops that need to be assembled. It took awhile but with a fair amount of cursing I got everything together.

I put a 25-lb kettle bell on the scales and adjusted the sliding weights on the bar. Then I replaced the kettle bell with my feet and immediately saw something wrong. It showed a number that was 10 lbs too heavy, or….hold a sec. Oh shit.

I used a lot of insulin over the Christmas holidays. But I must have been this weight for awhile. The realization I’ve put on 40 lbs since spring is unsettling. It certainly hasn’t been from eating carbohydrates; it’s got to be the injected insulin required by frequent bouts of stress.

I realize that now that I see l73 lbs staring me in the face I have have to deal with it. These scales won’t lie. There’s no shred of electronics in them. No need to tap my foot on the foot plate for calibration. I just step on board and see if the metal point goes up or down.

Normally such a revelation of my weight would pitch me into a slump. But just this morning I had a glucose spike and accompanying Dexcom alarm that prompted me to inject six units of insulin. I hadn’t eaten for hours. I was sitting quietly, looking at Facebook marketplace for tiny recreational trailers. My “rapid rise” alarm propelled me into action.

In 30 minutes, my glucose rose 5 mmols, just from unfelt stress. It won’t drop on its own — I have to address it with insulin. And that injection causes the problem with my pants fitting.

The only solution, as I’ve said repeatedly, is fasting. And fasting only works as long as I’m not experiencing a bout of hidden stress. At least now I have a reliable way to track my weight, and that’s one problem solved.

This morning I spray-painted the scales a shiny black. They’ll do just fine.



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