What's the difference? Honestly, portion control. I have trained myself to eat in a very healthy manner. I go gaga at the farmer's market. I broil fish and eat peaches like it's my job. And I seriously enjoy doing it. Of course, I have a penchant for unhealthy foods. I love chocolate. I can eat a jar of peanut butter in a couple days. I like fried things. I like greasy things. But I'm fairly comfortable repressing all that at this point and keeping the unhealthy choices as SOMETIMES. There does seem to be just plain eating too much and I think that's what Weight Watchers is helping me reassess. A cup of pasta... 1/5 of my daily intake is NOT a lot of pasta. Also Weight Watchers puts an incredible emphasis on fruit and vegetables. So now, if I want to snack, I'm grabbing a grapefruit or orange instead of a Luna Bar (5 points).
I'm shocked how quickly I can burn through points. I'm also shocked that I'm allowed unlimited fruits and vegetables (more or less).
I first joined Weight Watchers in the seventh grade. They had a branch a couple blocks from my apartment. I remember my mom calling and seeing if a 12 year old was allowed to join. I was (I wonder if that's still true). Crazy that that's half my life ago now. What a long struggle this has been. I actually really enjoyed going to meetings. I was kind of the mascot of the group. I think the ladies liked having a kid around. My mom would accompany me to meetings. Sometimes I'd bring random friends from school to sit in with me. Weight Watchers was a social event.
I don't quite remember when I stopped. Probably got busy with school. Went to summer camp. Was in a play. Didn't have time for it. Didn't have the focus for it.
I joined again in high school. This time without my mother. This time with a growing despair; a growing unhappiness towards my body. It didn't stick. I'd lose weight and be really into the program but the SECOND I reached a hiccup it would be Armageddon. I'd grow resentful, unhappy, unfocused and lose energy and motivation.
I joined a second time in high school. This time with a friend of mine. Same story. Initial interest, eventual dissipation. Every time I'd swear this was it. This was the time I was going to lose all the weight. My friend would put olive oil on her chicken to grill it and I'd insist she count the points for the oil. She got annoyed with me, I got annoyed with her. We stopped going.
I joined a third time in high school. This time with my father. My dad is like me except has a longer attention span. My dad when he sets his mind to something follows through 100%. It's insane. I don't think at this point I was ready to be back. It was pressure from home. An over involvement of my family and my desire to appease everyone. I stopped going. My dad kept going. Unintentionally shaming me. My dad lost around 30lbs, looked svelte. I was still fat. Still unsuccessful.
Off to college.
True to form, I gained my freshman 15. I tried a different diet, lost 40lbs. Gained 40lbs somewhere in my junior year. Senior year I decided I would try to lose weight again. I signed up for Weight Watchers online. And guiltily kept paying for it far longer than I was using it. I'm not even sure I really did much toward it. I remember my boyfriend at the time was on my computer when I got an email update from them and I felt so humiliated. How could he know I was trying to lose weight? I'm sure he didn't think twice about it. But, years later, I remember that horrific moment.
After graduating I started an incredibly emotionally taxing and stressful job where I gained another 15 pounds. My "before" picture to the right is a pretty solid example of that time. I was big. I felt big. Not unattractive, but a large person. My BMI was close to 38 (keep in mind "obese" is a BMI of 30, "healthy" is below 25 -- I was farther away from "overweight" than a borderline "obese" person was from "healthy"). I joined Weight Watchers again, encouraged by a wonderful coworker. I went to a few meetings. I halfheartedly kept www.weightwatchers.com open on my browser. I tracked sometimes. Eventually, again, I stopped. Weight Watchers was not for me, I ultimately concluded. Clearly I was no good at this. No attention for this. And this would NOT be where I would lose my weight.
Finally found a new job. An incredibly boring job. A three person office for a job that one efficient person could do part-time. Around the same time I got a call from my internist (who I had tried to forcibly remove from my weight) with Christine's name and phone number.
Christine is amazing. Simply amazing. I'm not totally sure how she got through to me but considering we're approaching our two year anniversary, she's done incredibly well. I've dropped (from her last calculation) 69lbs. I try to be a healthy person. I am trying to renegotiate all the relationships in my life (both with myself, food and inter-personally). And then I hit a bump. I don't know if it's fair to call it a plateau because I think I was eating to sustain my weight. I was eating to maintain and I really had trouble imagining cutting out food. So I sit within 10lbs for a year. I honestly don't think I was significantly heavier than I am right now a year ago. maybe 6-8lbs?
And so finally, it's time to try something new. My Google Reader is FILLED with blogs of people trying to be healthy and/or lose weight. Chock full of them. A really resonant strand is Weight Watchers. So many of the people I follow use Weight Watchers to help them achieve their goal. And I have focus now. It's taken a lot to get me down to this weight. I have a degree of motivation (my stronger motivation will always be to not feel deprived/hungry). And I finally thought that maybe this was it. Maybe Weight Watchers could help me now. Maybe it was not right in the past but it is now.
My father needs to lose weight. He's getting older, it's putting stress on his body. He'll be healthier thinner. That's fact. He just needs a push in the right direction. A roll down the hill to get him on the band wagon again. I figured even if I decided Weight Watcher wasn't for me, at least it would be a good thing to get my dad on the program.
A while back I found the weigh in book from the first time I ever went to Weight Watchers. My starting weight was somewhere around 127 pounds. I continue to be depressed that I saw myself as needing to change my body. That I managed to gain almost 100lbs since the first time I conceived of myself as overweight. 127 isn't even my GOAL weight at this point. I don't think I'll ever be 127lbs again and that is just peachy. I just wish my 12 year old self had a clue.
I'm feeling really happy and comfortable in Weight Watchers (for the one week I've been on it --- stay tuned as always). My boyfriend helps me tally points at the end of the night. I reach out to friends/coworkers for support. It's not a humiliating act. It's not a negative act. I feel REALLY good about where my body is at this point in time and I also feel really good about the changes and mindfulness that are accompanying it.