I have been seriously fighting with my weight (or just resigning myself, unhappily, to it) for a decade. Before that, I had to stay vigilant, and I had to count calories and work out to lose weight after each of my pregnancies, but it wasn’t an all-out war. In the past 10 years, since I approached 40, I gained about 40 pounds gradually over a year or so, then took those off by counting calories and continuing to exercise (I’ve never quit going to the gym) the next year. Then it crept back on. I tried the hCG protocol (twice) that lasts a very rough 30 days, lost some weight but not enough, and it came back on. I did Atkins reasonably successfully for a while and lost some weight. But not enough.
Then, 3 years ago, my oldest daughter moved out of the house and got married. I knew it was hard for me to have her gone (even though she lives less than an hour away, it just made me sad to know she was permanently “gone” and our lives as a whole family unit wouldn’t be the same again), but I didn’t realize just how depressed it made me. I ATE. I ate, and I ate. I went through quarts of ice cream. Those prepacked ones from Baskin Robbins. I baked and I ate. And I piled on 30 pounds.
And I’d try to lose some, and I would. A little. And I tried to just accept that I was going to be that much more heavy than the “fattest” I had considered myself. I tried not to focus on my weight or how I looked. And while it is important (so important!) not to tie self-worth to body image and looks, it became more difficult to just do things. I was tired so much more (I’m tired a lot anyway because I do so much!). I couldn’t bend over very easily to put on shoes that required some intricate buckling. I couldn’t paint my toenails very easily at all. Simple physical actions were surprisingly and depressingly difficult.
I wanted to get rid of this extra-extra 40 pounds. So badly. But I was stressed and tired and my brain and heart were just full of so many other things. It takes a certain combination of factors to be able to really be successful in doing what’s necessary to take off pounds. And every one of those has to happen to be able to get going. I was slowly starting to get ready to get going early this year, and I talked about it with my counselor and I thought about it. Often. In various ways. I finally decided I needed some support. I couldn’t do this on my own. And even though my counselor and a couple of other people I knew had strongly recommended Weight Watchers, I just resisted. This April, I finally decided it was my best shot: it had support groups. I needed outside help.
I registered online. I downloaded the app. I figured out what meeting times would probably be best for me. I started having some hope that I could do this, which was a big element of that formula for success. Hope. I decided that now I was committed, so I was gonna have to do it this way. I also told myself that I would ease into it. I had some really bad habits of turning to food (read: stuff that was not good for my body, of course) for stress relief and comfort because I am pretty much responsible for everyone and everything else in my life. Food was always there for me. But it was hurting me. So I didn’t want to tear that away and make it feel impossible. I’d just start peeling away a layer here and there. So for a couple of weeks, I let myself eat things I still knew weren’t good for me, but I did it less. I was gentle with myself and just said, “OK, self, we’re transitioning. This doesn’t have to be cold turkey.”
I went to the meeting. I weighed in. I didn’t use the app with its points tracker for a few days because I hadn’t had time to figure it out yet. But I ate the way I knew I should: less sweets, fewer breads, more fruits and veggies. And I said to myself, “OK, let’s start figuring out how to track.” And it wasn’t very hard at all.
And then I was in it. Fully. First weeks are good because you lose a good amount, at least I’ve found. So I lost enough in about 10 days that I felt, “Hey, you got this! This can work!”
At the first meeting, I heard, “This is a journey.” And that has been my mantra more than anything else. When I traveled to Europe and knew I’d be eating breads and some amazingly delicious foods not too low in points, I was a bit terrified because I’d only been on WW for about 7 weeks and I was doing great. I didn’t want to lose momentum. But I walked a TON around Europe and enjoyed and savored the food, while not just eating everything possible. I still lost weight. Yes!
When some weeks have been slower in loss than others or I’ve sat and eaten a half a bag of kettle corn or a few tablespoons (or six?) of peanut butter, I’ve told myself, “It’s a journey.” I haven’t let any “slide” make me feel I’m just completely off the wagon … tomorrow is another day, another opportunity to just keep going and “working the program,” as they say.
I’ve journeyed this far 4 1/2 months and now lost 41 pounds! I celebrate the victories of pounds lost. This week I’m back in the 100s rather than 200s, and I’m back to wearing clothes I’d had to put away. I’m bending over and moving around in ways I couldn’t for a few years. I’m not thin. I do plan to keep losing weight. I don’t know how “thin” I’ll get. I’m realistic enough to know that at my age, I’m highly likely not going to be 130 again as I was 15 and more years ago. But I do plan to just keep going. Keep using the tools I’ve been given, keep going to meetings to find support in that particular way, keep celebrating myself and what I’m doing well. I’m celebrating a cholesterol level that is now really good. I’m celebrating the weights I’m lifting that have strengthened me and made me even have to pop them up 5 or 10 pounds to challenge me again. I’m feeling better about myself.
For me, this program has been fantastic. I never thought I’d join an organized weight loss program. I should have done it far sooner, but that’s OK. It’s a journey! Life is a journey. We learn what we learn when we’re ready to learn it. And that’s all OK. Here’s to more successes in whatever forms I find them (family, work, hobbies, faith) as I continue on through this journey of life!
I’m a book reviewer, editor, and writer with four daughters and tons of projects always keeping me hopping. I blog at Life and Lims and run the book review site Rated Reads.