Tuesday, 10 April 2007

Geordie curios

I have no idea if you get Weigh Houses in other cities in the UK. I've never seen one anywhere else before. And I'd never ventured in before today. It was just a part of the Grainger Market that I'd never explored.

I went in today. We don't own a pair of scales; I don't believe that the numbers you see on scales (or for that matter your BMI) have much, if anything, to do with your health. Some people who subsist on diet coke and cigarettes can think they are healthy; some athletes would be told they were obese because of their sheer muscle bulk. And if I own scales I tend to obsess about them and weigh myself constantly, beating myself up with numbers, even though I know that the daily fluctuations mean next to nothing.

But I got curious today. I wanted to see what was in there if nothing else. It's basically just an office; it looks quite bare when you walk in. There's a high desk, in front of which is a black slab for you to stand on. Behind the desk sits a woman, collecting ten pence pieces and handing out tickets stamped with the date and with your weight written on in stone, pounds and ounces in return. (I have no idea why your weight is somehow exempt from the metric system, but I'm sure that if it wasn't, they would have been prosecuted by now.)

On the wall opposite are leaflets about your health for the curious to pick up, take home and inwardly digest. I wonder how many people actually do; presumably some people must or they wouldn't bother to put them out, but it doesn't seem like the best way to promote a healthy lifestyle.

It struck me how friendly and cheerful the place is; people come in, take their shoes off and get weighed, but everyone seemed cheerful, no matter what the numbers said.

I don't plan on going back often, but I'm curious to see how my weight changes as I join a running club and start eating to fuel my runs. Paying 10p a time should stop me from obsessing too much.


Anxious said...

I've never heard of a Weigh House. Equally, it's somewhere I would avoid like the plague! I, like you, don't believe that we should obsess about fluctuations of pounds here and there.

After a few months of running, it was clear that I'd lost weight when all my clothes were two sizes too big. I didn't need scales to tell me that.

They kept weighing me at the hospital - I told them not to tell me...

b said...

I hated myself for going in, but curiosity really did get the better of me. I'm more curious about the muscle and fat thing... I think my weight will stay fairly constant but the make up of my body will change.

It's nice to know that it's not just me that thinks like that, because ALL my friends are obsessed with their weight. And they're all intelligent people who I think should know better. Then again, on getting married, they have all or are all changing their names too. I don't expect any single person not to change their names, but it might have been nice if *someone* had kept it. There are alternatives, people!

loria said...

hey stranger -

Happy Birthday :D