Those Five Dreaded Words

“Please step on the scale.”

Today I have an appointment with my very lovely gynecologist.  And her very friendly nurse will very graciously ask me to weigh in and I will very much be dreading the experience as I do every time I visit a doctor.  And I very much suspect that very many of you can very easily identify with this!

My feelings may come from a different place than yours.  I have never had a doctor give me “the talk” about having to lose some weight.  (And conversely, when I was at one of my heaviest weights, not obese but clearly weighing too much for my small size, the new doctor I saw actually said, “Well your weight is fine,” which I attribute to the fact that she herself was obviously obese!)  But, with my many years of ups and downs (and ups and downs), I have often been embarrassed by the thought that an observant doctor would notice my crazy yo-yo history.

My biggest complaint about doctor office scales is that they don’t take into account everything I so carefully account for at home.  The number (that is unfortunately marked down in my chart for perpetuity) is always higher than what I see each morning when I step onto my bathroom scale.  Because, as you can imagine, when I weigh myself daily I do it post-pee, pre-food/drink, without clothes, in private!  When I weigh in at the doctor’s office, none of those conditions apply.

Most years, no one commented on the number.  And one year my internist praised me for losing weight, asked how I did it and related that she should do something similar.  But then the next time I needed to go back I was filled with dread knowing I had regained yet again and suspecting she would notice and ask about it.  Okay, to be totally honest, I actually put off going the next time because I didn’t want to face the potential reaction to my gain.

I hate that first moment, after I have trepidatiously stepped on the scale, as I watch the nurse reach for a sliding weight as she starts to estimate.  Should I be offended if she thinks I weigh more than I do?  Should I be flattered if she starts with too low a number?  Should I just close my eyes and focus on what I know I weigh in those first moments of the day?

So, today, as always, when I hear those five dreaded words, they will be followed with eight of my own:  “Let me just take off my shoes first.”  Now I’m off to go find my lightest weight clothes to wear:)  And socks with no holes.

Any words you ever dread hearing?




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66 responses to “Those Five Dreaded Words

  1. i hate weighing at the doctors they always seem to weigh me 10lbs heavier then everywhere else it is depressing

  2. Lee

    I’ve been on WW since 2-4-11 and have seen about 15 pound weight loss. Just two days ago, I went only line and checked my doctor records for the past 12 years. Each visit shows my weigh in. My next appointment is the Friday before Memorial Day and if I can reach my goal in the next 5 weeks, I will be at the weight I was back in 2002. That is incentive enough for me so I won’t dread stepping up on the scale.

    As far as dreaded words….right now I’ve only heard it once since February: “You’re up”.

    • Karen

      Good for you!!! And that bit about checking the records online… never heard of it. I would be curious to see mine.

  3. IMHO any visit to the gynecologist comes with TWO sets of dreaded words, “please step on the scale” soon to be followed by “put your feet in the stirrups!” LOL! Good luck today and just think, it’ll be over for a whole year!

    • Karen

      Ah yes, I agree. The whole thing is rather sweat inducing for me. My doctor is really very sweet though and I dread the day when she retires, hopefully not until I don’t need her anymore!

  4. Rae

    I don’t mind – only because it fluctuates SO much from office to office day to day, that I usually just tell them what to slide it to and let them adjust it accordingly. My gyno nurse will say ‘well lets see, let’s take 4lbs off for your clothes today, that sweatshirt looks heavy’. Hah. I love her generosity 😉

    • Karen

      I have soooo never had a nurse do that for me! Someone once told me they thought that the scales were set to account for that but I don’t think so.

  5. Love Sharon’s 2nd set of words, to which I could only add, “and slide down…way down”. Ugh!

    I have begun to ask that I don’t see my weight nor be told what their reading is because it plays with my head too much. I add that I’m always working on it. This way I acknowledge my overweight for the doc’s sake, but don’t have to hear an artificial # inconsistent with my daily indicator at home.

    Have a good w/e.

  6. I had the same thought as Sharon. The stirrups command is the one I despise.

    My primary doctor has never offered an unsolicited comment on my weight loss. I bounced in there 50 pounds down and he never said a word. Nothing at 100 pounds either. I had to bring it up both times. My brand new post weight-loss gynecologist, however, asked me about weight during my initial interview with her and when I explained that I’d lost100 pounds, I thought she was going to break into a cheer. After she asked me if I did it in a healthy way. 🙂 Even now, her first words to me are generally some sort of praise about my continued maintenance. Maybe it’s the difference between men and women, or maybe as you suggested, it has something to do with the doctor’s weight. My PC doctor bears a striking resemblance to Lou Costello. 🙂

    • Karen

      As I was reading I had the same gender thought before I got to you writing that. Almost all my doctor’s are women. Over the years I have just gravitated that way and have read that my theory on their bedside manner and spending more time than men is confirmed.

  7. Oh Good Lord, I try to wear my thinest SHORTS, short-sleeved tee, NO JEWELRY, and most light-weight flip flops to the doctor! All to save a precious pound or two on that damned scale! LOL

    I have cancelled and re-scheduled appts., too, for the same reason. I’ve gone on uber restrictive diets in the four weeks or so leading up to an appt./re-check. I’ve even SKIPPED DINNER the night before.

    Ridiculous, all of it. LOL

    Hope the news wasn’t too painful. 😉

    • Karen

      Fortunately it wasn’t. I am curious to go back and see what I weighed there last year (since like you I have done the up and down thing this year) but will resist that little obsessiveness.

  8. I definitely have a hate relationship with scales.

    • Karen

      I wonder how many people who really need to see a doctor are avoiding going because of the scale and maybe it would be optional so that they’d at least get in a visit. Hmmm.

  9. One word! MOooooooooooOOOOOOOOOOOM?

  10. I always try to remove shoes, socks, jackets and just about any clothing item possible short of stripping when I have the weigh-in each year. My gyno is great; she knew me years ago when I was heavy and when I returned to her last decade is always complimentary about keeping most of the pounds off. Bet it will all go great today!

    • Karen

      Don’t you love when your doctor actually remembers you or knows who you are rather than being just another body they see in the course of the day.

  11. Karen – I hear you! Me, since I weigh more than people think due to my muscle & like you, I weigh first thing, no shoes, same type of clothes – well, I always take off my shoes whether they like it or not AND I tell them what I weight in the morn AND I remind them of muscles – :-). Most got that! 😉

    Words – fresh bread out of the oven – I will want to eat it all! 😉

  12. The worst words at the doctor are “just relax” cuz all that does is make me more nervous.

    lol last time I went to the doctor she had a light up speculum and I was like is that gonna electrocute me?! lol.

    • Karen

      Too funny – I just wrote that in a reply to a comment above. I recently saw a segment on Dr. Oz about the view from inside the speculum. Didn’t do much for my anticipation.

  13. Good post – and I agree.
    I just hate hearing the number – because, as you said, it’s always higher than at home. I also hate that even when I’ve lost weight, they don’t seem to notice – because, well, I’m just plain overweight. I have to ask (knowing what I weighed last time) what my last weight was just so they say “OH – you LOST – Good for you!”. I think I’ve only ever had one Dr. brave enough to say I needed to work on my weight. Then she told me some crazy diet that at that point, I smiled, nodded my head and thought “RIGHT – no NORMAL person is going to do that!”. Funny – years later, I tried it – and I lost. Maaaaayyyybeee she knew what she was talking about.
    Anywho – good post and I love your header/design!

    • Karen

      Thanks. I splurged and hired someone to make it for me.

      I had forgotten until I read your comment that I did have a conversation once with my allergy doctor about the diet I was on. It came up because the plan has you eat nuts and I thought I had an allergy.

  14. sunnydaze

    Funny post and comments. 😀 Have a great weekend!

  15. Your last 8 words got me laughing!!! Thanks!
    I’ve gone through phases where I refused to look and wouldn’t let them tell me.
    I’m thinking we all have our own very long saga with this topic.
    I was actually the most shocked when my gyno told me NOT to worry about losing weight and get pregnant right away. I was 230 pounds at the time, but my biological clock outweighed even that weight!
    Pregnancy was one of my best diets. My metabolism worked and at the end I was down 20 pounds from my starting weight. Plus, I had the extra human to show for it!
    If I wasn’t so old I’d do it again.

    • Karen

      I’ve never heard of anyone who did that before! Lucky you:) I do remember thinking “Of course I’ll nurse if it burns 500 extra calories a day.”

  16. Jan

    Ugh! Don’t remind me. My appointment is next month. I hate always having to tell them to put the “bar thing” on 150 and work their way UP from there. *sigh*

    • Karen

      This time the scale was digital which surprised me. Not sure which is worse but I’m thinking I really hate those bars.

  17. I have a friend (she also “exfoliated” the scale) who steps on the scale backwards and tells them not to tell her the number. 🙂

    Dreaded words: Gosh, I can’t think of anything light-hearted. All I can think of is, “Something happened to your child.”

  18. I used to dread those words, too. But, I don;t anymore. While I am not at my target weight by any means, I am more at peace with where my weight is than ever before. I continue to work toward better health which is more important to me right now than what the scale says. But, I hope it was not too bad.

    • Karen

      Nope, not too bad. I think for me it is just such a reflection of my yo-yo-ing past. But, fingers crossed, I am now making that past a thing that stays in the past.

  19. LOL, I have skipped a doctor appointment before because of the scale too. He told me he wanted me to lose 10 pounds by my next appointment and I didn’t so I rescheduled!

  20. Nicole

    Don’t get me wrong, I love my doctor but he once told me something long ago…”Nicole all you have to dois close your mouth”, lol..coming from a guy who is a bean pole and certainly doesn’t have any issues with food.
    I should have listened to him. Gotta love him tho.

  21. Ha. Youi pretty much captured my most dreaded words. I have actually cancelled MD appointments to avoid those words…and the grim news that followed. Deb

  22. Yes, all very familiar, including the fear that Dr. will notice the yo-yo changes.

    Different now for me, because I don’t weigh at home (in private, in the nude, post-pee and pre-coffee) at all. Last visit to my Dr., I was actually surprised at the number, and for the first time in my life, did not take off my shoes (but I did remove my winter coat). We’ll see how it goes next time…

    • Karen

      If I didn’t weigh at home I guess I’d be eager to know. Or even more in dread! I read once about someone who bought a new scale and took it to the doctor’s office when she went to compare the numbers.

  23. Ugh, the words I dread hearing are, “Okay, so just skooch down a bit” yuck!

  24. I would go ahead and say that any words spoken by a gynecologist are worth dreading.

    Stopping in from the LBS tea party

  25. As I’m reading this I get the benefit of knowing that your appointment is now over and done with for hopefully another year and that things (fingers crossed) went fine. Our weight is such a private thing; I hate it when other people have control over things I may not think is any of their business….there’s that word ‘control’ again. It’s been appearing more and more often with me, lately. Hmm.

  26. I dread hearing “No”.
    No, you cannot do that.
    No, you don’t have to worry about that.
    No, you shouldn’t…

    and the list is huge.

    No, only limits me when I choose to not acknowledge what I KNOW.

    I know how to succeed at what I aspire to be.

    Today I aspire to be happy as I enjoy easter.
    Tomorrow I aspire to weight 1/3 of a pound less than I do today.
    I know how to do both.

    Happy Easter

  27. I think the solution is to do it as a part of the TSA checkup at the airport. You already need to take your shoes off, and an x-ray is part of the exam.

    • Karen

      Funny. I have yet to go through one of those body scanners. I think my teen was disappointed we didn’t do that on our recent trip to LA.

  28. Oh man, I hate that moment at the dr’s office! I definitely feel better if she starts the thing lower! For so long, I just tried to ignore it and say it is what it is, but that mentality is what got me into this mess! My aunt actually refused to get on the scale once at the gyno, she just told them they didn’t need to know! lol

  29. I don’t allow my doctor to weigh me any more…there’s no need. There are plenty of other numbers she tracks that tell her about my health and all of those numbers are really great!

    • Karen

      It is interesting to consider which, if any, of our doctor’s really need that particular measure. One time at my gyno’s office they did my height too. But only that once that I remember. Hmm.

  30. Miz

    late to this…but mine?


    from the husband 🙂

  31. Like Teresa, pregnancy cause my metabolism to kick in and I lost weight during both of mine! Unusual but just shows that there is such a thing as an out of whack metabolism and it is not just a matter of eat less, exercise more for all of us!

    My doc has an electronic scale now but I used to set the “big weight” in the right slot for the nurse because she seemed so hesitant to move it up to the correct place! I admit that I don’t enjoy the public weigh-in but I don’t avoid the doc because of it.

    Getting the call AFTER the appointment about test results – those are the words I dread.

    • Karen

      It is never good when they call! Mine had a digital scale this visit too. My internist hasn’t changed yet that I know of.

  32. Okay, so I’m late to the conversation, but the “socks with holes” bit is too funny. I’m going to have to try that next time. (I went to the doc just today and had to step on the scale. I didn’t think to wear holey socks, though.)

    I dread, “Would you like fries with that?” It’s so hard to say no!

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