It’s a Friday afternoon and, as usual, I’ve spent an hour of my morning attending a Weight Watchers meeting with my fellow comrades in the trenches of weight management. I’m now lunching on my own version of the WW garden vegetable soup (adding and deleting vegetables, depending on what I found at the store after the meeting) and making plans for the dinner I’m going to make. Such is the life of someone who is part of Weight Watchers. Planning… cooking… making daily choices that work toward that ultimate goal of “lifetime weight management”.
Let me backtrack a few years… yes, years. I officially became a WW member in October of 2004. I reluctantly swapped some of my worst habits for healthier options… I slowly bought into the idea that weight loss could actually be possible for me… I worked out intermittently… and I eventually lost about 30 pounds over a 2 year period and made it to my “Lifetime goal” in October 2006. I had experienced a successful venture and I thought, as most WW members initially do, I’ve got this…. I can do this on my own. I had struggled mightily as I got closer to the goal set by WW, as determined by my height and age, and finally got a doctor’s note to allow my goal to be 2 pounds above the highest WW-recommended number, which was lower than I had been in decades. I was thrilled and envisioned working for WW, encouraging and inspiring others to lifelong weight management. Alas, that dream was not to happen. Because my goal was met by using a doctor’s note, I was not eligible for employment with WW. Reminds me of Garth Brooks’ song “Unanswered Prayers”: Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers. Remember when you’re talkin’ to the man upstairs That just because he doesn’t answer doesn’t mean he don’t care. Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers. It truly was a blessing that I wasn’t hired to work for WW… it just took me awhile to recognize and appreciate that gift.
Over the next three years, I worked hard to stay within the guidelines set by WW for Lifetime Members. I was proud to have attained this status but it was oh so difficult for me to maintain. I would yo-yo up and down, depending on the time of the month, since lifetime members only needed to weigh in once a month and be within 2 pounds of their goal weight to remain “free” and not pay to attend the meetings. I started slacking off… planning went by the wayside… I’d cook what was easiest instead of what might be nutritionally better… I got arrogant and lazy… and the weight started creeping back on.
Going back to WW was rough. I swallowed my pride and jumped in with both feet. Sadly, my heart still wasn’t totally engaged and, while I attended WW meetings, bought the cookbooks, ate the “right” foods, I still had a hard time losing the weight I’d regained. I wasn’t incorporating exercise as part of my daily/weekly routine and I was still “playing” with the program. I loved the idea of having foods that I could eat “for free”, so I embraced the Core program… until I realized that MY way of working the Core program was totally wrong. Poor M actually thanked me when I switched back to the Flex program and counted points for everything again! I still wasn’t being consistent… tracking has always been the key for me… not just tracking until I run out of points for the day, but tracking everything I eat, regardless of the outcome.
As life changes, so does Weight Watchers. The Core/Flex program gave way to the Winning Points program, which then became the Points Plus program. I’ve been slow to embrace new programs, so I always feel as if I am a step or two behind the curve. I can “talk the talk” with the best of them, but the “walking the walk” has taken a bit longer this time. Slowly, I’m getting my head around the concept of “move more, eat less” and am actually adding some sort of exercise to my daily activities. I’ve blamed my weight on everything from my MS to my schedule… but it’s time to take control and make lifelong changes that will serve me well as I glimpse “50” on the horizon. I’m still struggling, but I’m starting to see results of some of my positive steps.
Blogging about this struggle is one of those positive steps. Feedback from readers helps me feel less alone, no matter the fact that I’m surrounded by the like-minded in our weekly meetings. I’ve tried embracing other food plans but Weight Watchers is still the one that covers all the bases for me. The act of tracking on my iPhone, using WW e-tools, and following recipes has to be included in my daily activities. Planning has always been my strong suit… now I need to make sure that I’m actually making me a priority in that planning.
Who wants to join me on this next stage of my journey? I am GOING to get back to my goal weight… with no pressure of an ending date. After all… this is “Lifelong Weight Management”… right?