Saturday, January 06, 2007

Journey of a Chronic Weight Watcher

Notice - no trademark by the words "Weight Watcher". I am a backslidden life time member of the organization. I respect it, and believe in it. I know it so well I could teach it (the one thing I object to, however, is that they change it every year so that you have to buy new materials). I mean "weight watcher" in the sense that I have been watching my weight all my life, since I became aware of the need (or perceived need). This post may be boring to some, but since this has become a journal of the (probably) last 1/3 of my life, as well as memories of the first 2/3, I am using this as a way of putting my thoughts in order.

I think when they named that organization (Weight Watchers™), they got it right - we who join have spent, and continue to spend, our lives watching our weight - watching it go up, watching it go down, watching it go up again, never quite catching on to the concept or gaining the skill of maintaining (with apologies to anyone out there who has accomplished this, and with the desire to know how and the request that you give us your secret). I don't think even the organization has figured that out, because they have no avenue for those who have reached their goals and still need support (at least they hadn't when I was going to meetings).

I blatantly stated a few days ago that I do not make New Year's Resolutions. I looked up the word "resolution" in the dictionary - it says, among many scientific and un-understandable definitions, "something that is resolved." Brilliant. I could have told you that! So I went to "resolve." It says, "to form a resolution." Would you call that a vicious circle? There was some hint that determination is involved.

I don't think you need to wait until January 1 to start on a path to self-improvement, but it does seem like a nice clean place to start. I decided to set a reachable goal. I took my new little pocket calendar, which had a place to set goals, and I set a goal of 2 pounds lost per week, with at least 3 times in the gym each week. The impetus for these goals was stepping on the scale at the gym last Friday and finding myself at a number I never thought possible for myself - a number I had "resolved" never to reach. I am not good at sharing my journey with people in my "real life." I can't do meetings any more - I've watched too many new members figure that they have it made because they'll "never eat a cookie again." I did so well that I actually got my Before/After pictures published in WW Magazine. I know I can do it. I don't want to spend money doing it. I will do it. I am making you my accountability group. This morning I weighed and had lost 4 pounds well, maybe one of those pounds came from all the hair I had chopped off last Saturday!). I am psyched once again. I will report once a week, for my sake, and as an accountability measure.

I was born at 8 pounds 12 ounces. My mom was 18. She was unable to nurse, and there was no support for that in those days. She was told to feed me formula made with Karo Syrup (turning it into sweetened milk!) That's what they did back in the 1940s. I read one time that fat cells are formed when we're babies. I had to tell my mom "thanks a lot!"

The thing that really puzzles me, though, is that I have always thought of myself as overweight. I grew to a height of 5'10" by the time I was in high school. I have a very intense recollection of a day in the 6th grade. We were "poor preacher's kids" in those days, but we didn't know we were poor. That's another whole story. We got new clothes as gifts for Christmas and birthday, and wore hand-me-downs often. (Remind me someday to tell you the story of what happened to the hand-me-downs that we finally took to the city dump!) This particular day, like a digital picture in my mind, I was standing leaning against the stair railing on the third floor in the hall of our school building. It was a rest room break, I believe. I had on a new outfit I was very proud of - red corduroy skirt and red/white striped shirt. Someone - I don't remember boy or girl, but I think it might have been a boy, making it worse - said, "You look like a barn." That may have been the beginning of my self-concept that I was overweight. Because when I look back at pictures of myself in high school, I was not. I did gain the "freshman 15" in college, but after that, I look just fine. Maybe I lost weight without trying when I was teaching school in southeast Kansas and doing my own cooking for the first time. You can see by pictures of my wedding on my anniversary post that I was not overweight at that time.

I look at pictures of myself after my kids were born, and don't see evidence of this overweight person I thought I was. But I do recall doing a lot of baking in those days, enjoying that, and enjoying too much of the eating of my creations. I also baked a lot of bread. DC is very self-controlled and NEVER overeats ( was VERY thin). That became an issue for me, because even though I looked okay, I always weighed more than he did.

I remember the day I decided it was time for me to start getting exercise. I never had before. I got a good pair of shoes and began walking around my neighborhood. It became my solitary time - my time away from the children - my time to think and pray. It felt really good. I became a walking maniac - at least 4 miles a day. I listened to good music and really moved.

When Kev was in 3rd grade, he wrote a little piece for Mother's Day. It said, "My mother' name is Dawn. She is very tall. She likes to wear sweat pants." I took a good look at myself, took some "before" pictures in those sweat pants (from the back and side), and joined Weight Watchers™. As said before, I did well and learned all I ever needed to know about losing weight.

I've yo-yo'd, which I know is not good for the body. I've aged, so my metabolism has changed. I quit walking as much and joined a gym. Walking ceased to be as much fun when I had to take my church key and plan my route to get there about halfway through the walk, so I could go in a use the rest room! I began working full-time, and sat more. I saw pictures of myself again a few years ago and realized that I had once again gained, because I don't tend to step on the scale just for the fun of it! In fact, at the doctor's office, I ask if I can be weighed so that I can't see the number, or not to be weighed at all (which I learned you can do).

I decided to use a weight loss aid - I know I know. It worked for me, though! I wasn't as hungry, I exercised, I ate less, I lost 30 pounds. (Soon thereafter the magic ingredient was removed from the market as a danger to our healty - Yikes!) The interesting thing about weight loss is that people don't start to notice until about 15 pounds are gone. But the worst thing to me is when someone says, "Hey, you're losing weight, aren't you?" when you're not! I always wonder what they have in their minds as a mental image of how bad I look! Same goes when you get a new hair cut, or a new outfit, and they say, "Boy, you really look nice today." The accent never goes on the "really look nice" part, but the TODAY part. How bad did they think I looked yesterday?? Is that a bit of insecurity showing through?? (BTW, DC decided to lose weight at the same time I did (yes, he finally started showing a bit of aging), and when I got down to where he was, he had gone down further. GRRR!)

In the last five years, I have become more and more careless about food and exercise. When I am going through a lot of "stuff," I do use food as a comfort. I don't feel like exercising. I want to hibernate into my little cocoon of my recliner and my blanket and numb my mind and body with old sitcoms or shows from my past in TV Land! I think a shrink could have a great time with that! I could write a book on this part, no doubt.

I am in a so much better part of life right now and feeling the need to get my body back. So - when I stepped on that scale last Friday, I decided - what better time than January 1, 2007, to get back on track. I'm using the last WW plan I had, and it still works, even though they've changed it at least 5 times since then. I'm on my way!!


PEA said...

Dear Dawn, congratulations on losing 4 pounds already!! Well done and it's certainly an incentive to continue losing the unwanted weight. I remember how easy it was for me to lose weight...if I wanted to lose 10 pounds in a month, all I needed to do was eat less and exercise. Now that I'm in my 40's I don't find it as easy...the weight is MUCH harder to get rid of as we get older and we have to work twice as hard to get it off. I've never joined Weight Watchers...or any of those others...I'm sorry, I just don't believe in them. I know they have helped people and I'm not demeaning that me it's just a money racket. Gosh, I sound so bitter! lol Anyway, the very best of luck and may you achieve your ideal weight in a healthy way:-) xoxo

Anonymous said...

you are such a kindred spirit to me...for some reason I got a mag in the mail WW I guess it finally caught up with me from my last move, anyway it had dear Fergie on the cover, you know I got to thinking about it and she is the only one I've ever seen maintain a weight loss...and another thing is her tips were not too too helpful to me at all...I'm thinking did she have surgery?? I guess WW can be done if you do it her way...I don't know...but I'm like you lets grab a blankie and turn on TV Land!!

Linda said...

I think you've told me once or twice that I'd written what you could have - well right back at you. The weighty story of my life - more or less. I have to get back on the stick too. My cholesterol is out of sight. I just can't seem to motivate myself. I decided the other night that I am addicted to food. Why else would I eat when I am absolutely not hungry?
I don't need to lose much right now, but if I continue in the manner to which I am growing shamefully accumtomed - there will be more!!! I'll try to do better. Keep me accountable.
Oh - and the door is always open for you here.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dawn,
Well, you're doing better than me. I've only lost one pound and I have been exercising faithfully. (I have also been eating faithfully!) LOL!
I'm 5'10" too, and really want to take off at least 10 pounds.
Gotta keep on it. Let's do this together!! (We don't need weight watchers!!)

Pamela said...

Congratulations on your first four pound weight loss! Woohoo!

Sounds like you are on your way and doing it a healthy way. Nothing like working out at the gym! Good luck and I will look forward to cheering you on!

Anonymous said...

4lbs is great!! that's what i lost my first week too. i only hope that when i decide to get my booty back in gear, i'm that lucky again.

Danielle said...

Ugh. Weightloss. Is it that time of year again? I hear ya, Dawn. You and I are the same height. So we can "hide" extra pounds...then...all of a sudden...they've crept up on us! aaaack!

Keep doing what you're doing. Nothing like getting the body moving to care for the temples we've been given! Best wishes!

Tammy said...

Good for you for being on the right track, Dawn!

Before kids, I was mostly a thin person...not any more. Maybe not considered truly a chubby person by most, but I have gained so much in the last few years that I don't even step on the scale.

I want to get back into shape by working out again, and now that Christmas is over, stop nibbling on goodies.
I'm right there with you! Let's do it!

Lala's world said...

ok loved this post, I can so relate, I am the youngest of 4 girls and they are all like a size my smallest I was a size 7 and that was after being in Kenya for 6 months (I lost 30lbs there). Now I am at the biggest I have ever been NOT pregnant and I look at photos where I felt fat and think what was my problem!!! so I am going to start going to the gym and working at my own pace to get the 25+ pounds I need to get off....hopefully I keep my motivation!
all the best with your goals sounds like you will make it!

Karla said...

Yup! Since I've been married I've had trouble with my weight getting just a little too close to the unhealthy side. This time, I'm actually a little over "the line."
I've done the WW thing. It worked great for me, but I got lazy. I've done a couple other things, they worked. Again, I got lazy.
I *just* started a program that my church offers called First Place. A Christ-centered weight loss/healthy living (more emphasis on the healthy living) program. I think it will be really good for me to have the accountability of attending meetings every week (at least for the next 8 weeks) - when you spend time sitting in a circle and talking about God and weight loss and healthy lifestyle, you form a bond with folks - and if a class is missed, they'll let you know about it! :)
I wish you all the best in meeting your goals! :)

kpjara said...

I'm right there with you sister and I'm getting back on track with the walking...amazing how quickly that little task gets dumped (by me) when I'm busy!!!

Morning Glory said...

That's quite a journey. Good luck with the newest plan. Four pounds is great!!

Anonymous said...

I was never in my life overweight until my last child really and I didn't gain it with him, but several years after and had a bad kidney infection that lasted about a year for some reason...a bit complicated to explain but I ALWAYS thought I was overweight and like you when I look at pictures I was this skinny but healthy for the most part person. I was called a "garbage disposal" and took that to mean I was fat. I just ate a lot because I was so active. I am barely 5'4". I have never done weight watchers but since my heart ordeal I have definitely been watching my weight and what I eat. Thanks for the story and encouragement!

Maine Mom said...

I think everyone, including myself can relate to this post. Good luck with the weight loss! I'll be expecting a report every week :-)

Anonymous said...

Hang in there! It sounds like you have the willpower to lose it, you just need the determination to keep it off. Best wishes!

Anonymous said...

I can relate very well to your story! I need to get my behind moving and lose some weight. No doubt the older you get the harder it is. Congratulations on 4 lbs.! That's a great start!

Anonymous said...

I could have written this blog!!! I have had the same struggles throughout my lifetime and I am now at the same place that you are. I have decided that I need to lose some weight as well. I know as you report your progress, it will be an encouragement to me, so let's get with it!!! Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Dear Dawn, thank you very much for sharing your WW-experience. As you already know, I (re-)started my program. It's day No.3 today and I get in very slowly. It's really hard to resist all these yummy little things that whisper "eat me, eat me, eat me"... Though it's quite hard, I really fight my weaker self. That isn't easy coz I often struggle on depression.
But I'm really proud of myself coz I kept my points. And I also gained some Bonuspoints. I didn't do anything but walking until now but I discovered yet it does something. I take the stairs instead of lift and go for a walk during my lunch break. After "climbing" stairs I'm nearly out of breath bout proud I resisted the lift. These are little things I try to motivate myself with.
I never was in for eating much vegetables but in the last three days a at them. And I liked them. So I really hope I will get it this time and loose my overweight. I know I can be skinny, coz I was in 2000. I wore size 12, now I have 20. That's frustrating. I decided to take my "size-12-wearing-bikini-and-miniskirt"-photo (I'll post it in my blog soon) with me all the time so that I can try to motivate myself everytime I need it.

I'm sure it won't be an easy way to loose my weight but I want to take it anyway. I'm a lucky girl, my hubby (to be) is always by my side. And he still loves me. And adores me. That's enough to hold on.

So please keep your fingers crossed for me.
And it would be very nice if you stop by my blog the one or other day and leave me a little comment of motivation.
Like a kind of Granny talking to her grandchildren and giving good advice. Unfortunately I don't have a granny anymore and my mom died in 1998. So the only "mommy-person" is my mother-in-law (to be) but we don't meet very often.

Maybe you can adopt me just here in the blogosphere? I could need good advice sometimes ;)

Thanks for listening,
big Hugs from Germany,

P.S.:I'm sorry if I didn't find the right words or phrases, but I hope you understood it anyway. I'm not a native speaker and I'm very tired.
I'll go to bed right after posting this.

Gina said...

I'm a Lifetime memeber of Weight Watchers and a former employee. You hit the nail on the head. They are all about losing weight but offer little to no support for maintenance. I've been at my goal weight for 18 months. I quit going to meetings after I quit working for them. I was becoming a slave to the scale and quite frankly on the verge of an eating disorder. I'm better off on my own. I was a devoted WW member until I started working for them. Believe me. If you saw what I did, you wouldn't give them another dime. The corporate big wigs are unbelieveably arrogant.