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!!