I walked into the change room at the Y this morning and saw it was empty. Small, wet footprints leading to the pool were the only signs anyone had been around, and I felt instant relief I could do this alone.

But as I walked in farther, past the mirrors that make you look skinny and the lockers that make you remember high school, dread replaced the initial relief. For there, in the corner, was The Scale looking strict and unhappy, almost as if she could smell the brownies on my breath from the night before. I inched forward and prayed I’d get lucky, that maybe my jeans really had shrunk in the drier. And my T-shirts had too.

It was a weigh-in that was a long time in coming. At the beginning of December, I decided I would avoid The Scale because I knew even her frank numbers weren’t going to stop me from indulging. While Christmas was in full force, I ate and ate and ate and continued the trend into New Year’s.

Since, I’ve been trying to lose all the rolling weight I’ve gained. But they’ve been long days, dear readers. Sure, they start with oatmeal and fruit but as the day goes on, my stomach gets angrier and angrier. By 5 p.m. I’m nibbling on Triscuits and cheddar. By 9 p.m. I’m succumbing to whatever I can find.

And though I’ve tried to keep the cupboards temptation-free, I’ve sunk to new lows in fulfilling my cravings, including an old bag of Amish corn kernels (turns out they taste pretty good popped in bacon fat) and a package of dusty bittersweet chocolate chips. Last night, I found myself wondering what coconut flakes taste like on their own.

Still, despite the cheating, I figured I’d lost a little bit of weight. After all, oatmeal has got to count for something, right? And God knows I’m hungry all the time so that had to be a good sign too. So, after my friend convinced me to go to a body pump class, I figured it was time to visit Her.

I’m not sure if maybe I’m more neurotic than most but weighing myself is a big deal. First, the only scales I trust are the old-timey variety where you have to manipulate the weights yourself and get that little needle balanced in the center. Moving the weights up or down is somehow important to me, like I’m actually in control of deciding what my weight is. Those digital contraptions that instantly throw out a number like a Magic Eight ball just seem suspect to me, like they really do have good and bad moods.

Second, people who leave their shoes and hoodies on when they weigh themselves? I can’t relate to them at all. In fact, I don’t even know if I could be friends with them. For me, the shoes come off before I even get close to the scale. And, if I’m alone and feeling truly desperate, the yoga pants come off too. They weigh half a pound, after all.

Third, it has to be The Scale at the Y; she’s the only one I trust.

When I stepped on Her this morning, there were many things running through my mind. What if I was actually much heavier than I thought I was? What if I was much lighter? If I were much lighter, I was getting Arby’s for lunch — with horsey sauce. If I was much heavier, it was oatmeal again.

I quickly moved the 100-pound weight over and then started inching forward the smaller weight, wincing as I moved past my goal weight and then nearly shutting my eyes as I moved up and up.

As the needle finally settled in the middle, I was shocked and appalled at what Christmas indulgence had done to me. It wasn’t good, dear readers, and I instantly knew it was going to be a long couple of months.

But, as I drove home, I decided it was at least good I now knew where I stood. The Scale had punched some reality back into me. So now the real diet, the one without the cheating, begins. Have any tips for me?

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