By Bill Primavera
How many times, I wonder, have my wife Margaret and I targeted the next Monday to start a new diet? It would be impossible to calculate, but this time around, as I ponder all the reasons that I let my weight go, I suspect that where I live is a major contributing factor.
You see, I am happily ensconced in a luxury condo with our president’s name sprawled across a sign at our entrance – although the letter “T” has been stolen several times – I can attest that, yes, where we live can affect our weight.
When I lived for nearly a half-century in a maintenance-intense single-family house, I was in much better physical shape and didn’t tax my weight scale as much as I do today. There were incalculable chores to be done inside and out – especially out – that required energy expense that I now neatly tuck in a savings account called weight gain.
My living arrangement has made everything just too easy for me, starting with a one-floor spread on the top floor of a building with an elevator. No longer do I have to trudge down steps to the basement for tools or up to the second floor to sleep or to the attic to store things. And there is no outside yard work.
I hesitate to mention that my current residence affords a gym and indoor and outdoor swimming pools, as well as a quarter-mile track and a walking path that goes on for miles. And, I did avail myself of all these accommodations – when I first moved in. But I have sluffed off as one tends to do when an activity isn’t at the top of one’s list of favorite things.
While my dietary efforts for the most part have been in vain, that doesn’t mean that I don’t try daily to beat the odds. Part of that process involves an almost unnatural relationship with my bathroom scale.
Every morning, I surrender myself to it just before I jump into the shower. If this simple act stopped there, it would be considered perfectly normal behavior, but there’s a secret ritual that has developed over the years that may render normalcy questionable.
The ritual kicks in when my big toe steps lightly on the scale as I wait with baited breath as digital figures start their little dance. The final number pops up in excessively large digital display, the only reading I am able to achieve without my glasses.
Typically, I don’t accept the preliminary hard evidence of my imprudence. Surely the scale must need to “warm up” before it gives me an accurate reading. I step off and onto the scale again, but this time, I lower my weight slowly as I lean on a shelf nearby. The result of this little trick may actually be higher than the first reading.
As I write this, I’m thinking to myself, okay, now the reader knows I’m weird, but considering that one out of three women and one in five men in this country are on a diet, surely other people’s home scales get a workout.
With our distant ancestors, not fettered by body image issues, it was the need for measurement in commerce that created the first scale. Evidence of the earliest scales in Roman times shows that they were actually balancing systems, using two plates attached to an overhead beam fixed on a central pole, much like the smaller version held by Lady Justice. The weight of any object for trade, like gold, was measured by placing it on one plate and weight-setting stones on the other, until equilibrium was reached.
Today, bathroom scales come in many models and range from the inexpensive and simple to the more elaborate, supported by technology, where we can also know our Mass Body Index.
Through the years, I’ve met a few people who have told me they never get on a scale and don’t have one in their homes. Their only weight monitoring system might be to cut back on dessert when they feel their pants getting a little snug. This system is so foreign, so unfathomable to me that I can only marvel at it.
But, judging from the number of bathrooms I’ve visited as a real estate agent, I would say that these lucky people are in the minority and that the bathroom scale is one home gadget that is here to stay.
Bill Primavera is a residential and commercial Realtor® associated with William Raveis Real Estate, as well as a publicist and journalist who writes regularly as The Home Guru. For questions about home maintenance or to engage him to help you buy or sell a home, call him at 914-522-2076.