My husband, Mark, a master at self-deception, just passed along his latest insights on weight loss. "It's a proven fact (all of Mark's facts are proven) that people who keep a scale in their home are guaranteed to be thinner than those who don't have scales," he said.

After careful deliberation, I asked Mark to elucidate further.

"It's simple. Knowing there's a scale lurking about makes me feels guilty about overeating."

"I don't get it," I said.

"A scale is like a nagging mother. She doesn't need to say a word, but just knowing she's in the house is enough. The mere image of her is confronting. It's the same with a scale."

The analogy eluded me.

"For instance," Mark explained, "last night when I was about to sneak into my candy drawer...."

"You have a candy drawer?"

"Of course, I've had it for years. It's just that I never mentioned it."

"It seems like a glaring omission," I said.

"I don't tell you everything," he said sheepishly.

"What else haven't you told me?"

"Just the candy," he became flustered.

"Getting back to the scale," I said.

"The point is that having a scale in the bathroom makes me less apt to eat the candy. If I did, the scale would know, and immediately add pounds."

"An inanimate object doesn't have a brain. It simply registers the ugly truth."

"That's correct," Mark agreed. "It tells it like it is. Therefore, I'm less inclined to binge when there's a scale watching my every move."

"The scale sits on the bathroom floor. It doesn't have eyes nor does it pass judgment."

"That's what you don't understand," Mark said. "It's subliminal. The scale represents a higher power. It senses when something is askew. For instance, last night I overindulged by eating an entire jumbo dark chocolate Hershey bar with almonds plus some leftover candy canes. I paid the price. This morning, I went into the bathroom and merely placed my foot on the scale. It went kaflooey."

"Define `kaflooey.'"

"The scale registered 7 pounds. Anyone knows a foot doesn't weight 7 pounds."

"With or without shoes?" I asked.

"What I'm trying to say is that the scale, sensing my misdemeanor, retaliated. I can only imagine what would have happened if I placed my entire body on it."

"It would register your weight."

"That's exactly what I'm saying: it would humiliate me, diminishing me to a man with no self-control; a blob who acts out his hedonistic cravings."

"I have a suggestion," I told him. "Stop weighing yourself.''

"That would be the ultimate act of cowardliness. I'm bigger than that. I weigh myself every day as a way of proving that I'm the picture of health - a man who exhibits strength of character and practices sound eating habits."

"But, you're not. You're a candy-hoarder. Your eating habits leave a lot to be desired, and not only that, you always ask for seconds. Last night at dinner you told the waiter to bring you another serving of veal."

"That's because the first serving was so small I finished it in three bites. A man of my stature needs more substantial portions."

"A man of your stature needs to lose 10 pounds."

"My doctor says I'm doing fine."

"Your doctor is 30 pounds overweight. In his eyes, you're thin. My advice is get back on the treadmill, monitor your food intake and stay away from your candy drawer."

"That's impossible," Mark said, "My drawer is stacked with leftover Halloween candy. It will take me months to wade through it."

"Think of the starving children who never got their treats because you confiscated them."

"I know," Mark said. "And don't think it hasn't come back to haunt me. By all rights, I should be punished."

"What do you think is appropriate disciplinary action?" I asked.

"Going upstairs and weighing myself. That way I'll be jolted back to reality."

"Good idea," I acknowledged. "The scale will put things into perspective, and you'll be on the road toward self-improvement. But, first you need to clean out your candy drawer as the first attempt at mending your ways."

Later that afternoon, Mark appeared, looking like a reformed sinner.

"My candy drawer is empty," he announced with bravado.

"What did you do with the candy?"

"Before throwing it out, I put it on the scale. It weighed four pounds. So, you see, I've already lost weight."

"Your logic is astounding."

"I'm a man on a mission," Mark said.

"You'll soon be back to your ideal weight," I lovingly assured him.

"I'll never know," Mark said. "I also got rid of the scale. Living in denial has its perks." Weighing the odds, Mark's drawer will be overflowing with holiday candy by the first of the year.

Westporter Judith Marks-White shares her humorous views every Wednesday in the Westport News. She can be reached via e-mail at joodth@snet.net or at www.judithmarks-white.com.