‘Dingy,’ I thought, ‘Dingy and dark and dirty and dingy.’ I hesitated by the door, briefly wondering why on earth I was here, and grabbed my handbag a little tighter. Funny how a handbag has become the security blanket for the adult woman – something to hold onto while the world tips into chaos around you. You can be at a strange party, at Blairgowrie Recreation Center (like I was, after much driving up and down the same road, slightly lost, with the man that gave me directions frantically pointing the other way every time I passed him) or any slightly awkward social event, but with your handbag you feel protected. It’s a shield. And something to do with your hands. What men do I’ll never know. Hands in pockets? Crossed arms? Pass another beer?
Anyway. There were two plumpish, much-older-than-me women settled on the chipped school chairs, laid out in a semi-circle around a small desk covered in papers. Behind the desk was another woman, old – her skin pooled on her face, rippled with wrinkles – and thin. Almost too thin. ‘She could probably do to gain a little wei-‘
‘Are you here to join Weigh Less?’ the little old lady asked. She handed me some forms and sent me off to fill them in. I came back a few minutes later – after a few women had been weighed – and handed them in. I could see her hearing aid sticking jauntily and almost invisibly out of her ear. ‘I just saw you, didn’t I?’ she asked. I was a bit puzzled. There were less than ten people in the room in total. The number of chairs laid out was hopelessly optimistic. Of course she had just seen me. And I was the only new member. I silently nodded while we assessed what type of eater I was (Type B, good during the week but with a tendency to indulge on weekends) and I handed her my credit card to deduct my first payment.
At this point I need to clarify that I thought I was at Weight Watchers, not Weigh Less, which is why I asked about the winter special Weight Watchers had been advertising. ‘You can do that,’ LOL (little old lady) replied, ‘But if you sign up with Discovery it’s much cheaper.’ When I left the class and realised I’d signed up for Weigh Less and not Weight Watchers I wondered about her comment, since Weigh Less DIDN’T have a winter special. Her little old brain was probably lacking some essential fats from her all-too-successful Weigh Less weightloss, I thought.
Leaving the dingy hall with my shiny new Weigh Less file, full of my current-soon-to-be-slashed weight and Phase One eating plans, and myself full of shiny optimism from the stories I’d been hearing (‘I lost 10kgs since Feb on Weigh Less!’ said one), I thought ‘Hey, how bad can this be?’