It’s the same damn thing every time.

This summer, I was on a roll, baby. I was doing a fairly decent job of watching what I was eating, and I was tracking my calories in (using Calorie Counter on my phone). I was working out most days of the week, relying on the Insanity workouts and mixing in some running and swimming and classes at the gym. I felt fantastic. The numbers on the scale were going down, I had lots of energy, and I felt really proud. I could see the difference in my arms, in my abs, in my face. I remember thinking (the same way I think every time I start to lose weight) that I would never — NEVER — see certain numbers on the scale again. Why would I? This is clearly how I’m supposed to live.

And then, a couple of months ago, I stopped weighing myself daily. I don’t remember the exact reason why, but it’s always essentially the same thing, something along the lines of “had friends in town/went out for pizza/drank myself silly/overindulged at breakfast/went out to eat again/drank a bit of wine to unwind from the crazy weekend” and, after all that, I thought I’d give myself a couple of days to get back on track. “By Wednesday, or Thursday at the latest, I’ll have lost that weekend weight by eating right, stepping away from the chardonnay, and getting in a couple of extra workouts,” I undoubtedly told myself. But then there was pizza left in the fridge, and I was probably too lazy to cook on Monday, so I ate crappy again. “But it’s just one extra day. I can totally undo this damage,” I surely said.

And of course, I didn’t track my calories on those days, because, well, it would just be embarrassing to admit how many calories I was taking in. And besides, it was just a little bitty temporary detour. I was going to get back on track at any time. Any time. But I didn’t, so I continued not weighing myself (because, you know, if I don’t see the numbers, then they might not change!), and, when certain clothes got a little snug, I just wore different ones! Never mind the fact that my maxi dress no longer fell in a straight, fluid line from the band below my bust — if I stood just right and sucked in a little, you totally couldn’t tell. If I positioned my face in a certain way, the extra, I don’t know, faciness was completely hidden from view. Problem solved!

And then, there was the breaking point. This time, it was Thanksgiving, but in the past, it’s been birthdays, vacations, a picture in a bathing suit, etc. It became completely clear that I was on the brink of letting things get out of hand. I can tell you all day long about how I’ve never been “thin,” and how I’m big boned and have a lot of muscle, but the biggest bones and all the muscle in the world weren’t adding up to the numbers I saw when I finally stepped on the scale on Sunday. I was devastated, and furious. Furious that I let this happen and furious that I let a stupid number on a scale make such an impact on my attitude. A few (or a lot of) extra pounds doesn’t make me less of a good person, but you wouldn’t know that to talk to me right after weighing in.

So, I recommitted to eating well and working out hard. And joy of joys, the weight started melting off right away. As it always does, when I’ve been stuffing my face with cheese and booze like I’m the second coming of Henry VIII. The elation! The pride! It’s incredible! I feel so full of hope and optimism right now — will this be the time I (finally) reach my ideal weight? Will I figure out this moderation thing (because it is not a word in my vocabulary) and learn to keep that number low without feeling like I’m missing out on the fun things in life?

Or will I do the exact same thing I do every time, and work really hard to lose a few pounds, then throw it all away after a weekend of excess, and start the cycle all over and bury my concerns in pizza?

(You know, until I realize it’s time to start weighing in again.)